04 May, 2015

Old Photos

Early photo restoration Deborah Niland
I've been having a great time looking at and sorting photos from the family collections.  Some of these photos need a lot of restoration because of fading, marks, and damage due to age and fragility.

I found this one of my mother when she was a little girl.  I have restored it quite a bit but it still needs a lot of work.  It is such a sweet photo.

02 April, 2015

Easter Bunnies

Kano Osanabu (1796-1846)

  Happy Easter!  Here is a fine selection of rabbits depicted by different artists.

Mori Kansai (1814-1894)

Kawamura Bumpo c.1807
Old woodblock print
Shao Fan
Hui Yuan Chang
James W Johnson

17 December, 2014

Christmas Greetings!

Have a very Merry Christmas, everyone! 
Wishing you all a jolly festive season with family and friends.
Looking forward to more fun in 2015.

Here are some beautiful illustrations of birds in the colours of Christmas!

08 December, 2014

Maurice Saxby

I was saddened to hear that grand old man of children's literature, Maurice Saxby, died recently.

He was an enthusiastic and tireless promoter of children's literature and had an encyclopaedic knowledge of this genre.

Many an author, artist, teacher, academic or would-be creative person could not help but be inspired by his encouragement and generosity, whether through his books, lectures, articles or in person.

I will miss his cheery disposition and youthful outlook. He will be greatly missed.

Vale Maurice Saxby (1924 -2014)

12 November, 2014

This Little Piggy Went Singing

At last my illustrations have been published in a brand new picture book and it's in the book shops now!.  This is a sequel to This Little Piggy Went Singing written by Margaret Wild.  The new book features the piggies getting ready for Christmas and excitedly enjoying the journey to the big day!

It is just the book to get you in the Christmas mood. The illustrations were great fun to do especially as they involved happy piglets in a festive spirit.  I love the sparkly glittery cover.

Thanks to Allen and Unwin, the publishers! 

Piggy Cover by Deborah Niland

Piggy shopping by Deborah Niland

Piggy playing flute by Deborah Niland

12 July, 2014

More Piggies

I've been hard at work illustrating a sequel to This Little Piggy Went Dancing!  The new picture book will be called This Little Piggy Went Singing and is again written by Margaret Wild. 

This time the piggies are preparing for Christmas and all the illustrations have a joyous happy vibe.  The book is planned for publication towards the end of this year.

Below is a sneak peek!

Looking for Santa

Baking gingerbread

Hanging Christmas stockings

22 March, 2014

For Dog Lovers

David Shannon has a special way with dogs.  Any dog owner reading or looking at this book will recognize that the author has nailed it.  The illustrations captures the quirky nature of Fergus, his beloved West Highland terrier.

The pictures below are from Good Boy, Fergus. It was written and illustrated by David Shannon, and published by The Blue Sky Press in New York.

A funny cheerful book for children.

23 December, 2013

Christmas Greetings!

It's that time of year again and as usual we are very busy in this household.

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and enjoyable holidays.

I'm looking forward to a great New Year and a new grandchild to add to the fun.

Back in 2014.

11 October, 2013

This Little Piggy Went Dancing

 My new book has just been published and it's swarming with little pigs!

Teaming up with the fabulous Margaret Wild who wrote the words, I have let myself loose by creating an abundance of active piglets!

To get into a piggy mood, I'll be adding some fun activity pages in the coming week.

This book is published by Allen & Unwin and is available now.

29 August, 2013

Mulga Bill's Bicycle...Part 5

Mulga Bill's Bicycle 2013
I have been doing some research into the background of 'Banjo' Paterson's poem, Mulga Bill's Bicycle.

My father, the writer D'Arcy Niland, grew up in a household where books were a rarity.  When he had a family of his own, he would often frequent the local second-hand bookshops and bring home boxes of books to add to our home library.

The titles varied from the weird to classic, to fiction and non-fiction.  Books of poetry stood next to titles like Monsters of the Deep. It was a treasure trove to our family growing up.
There was always a book on hand to suit the mood.

It also encouraged a love of history, science, natural history, humour, poetry and songs.

So it was one of these books plucked from a shelf that inspired our illustrated version of Mulga Bill's Bicycle.

That book was Rio Grande's Last Race and other Verses by A B Paterson. The edition I have is a very old copy, dated 1924.

In the last few years historical research has become easier online, as many libraries and institutions are digitising their records, books and newspapers.  When researching the background of the poem Mulga Bill's Bicycle, I found a small newspaper item from The Sydney Morning Herald, 17th July 1896.

As the first illustrator of this poem was Norman Hardy, I did a little research on this artist as well.
This item is from The Sydney Mail, 8th January, 1898.

This Norman Hardy painting below now resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I haven't uncovered the illustrations he drew for Mulga Bill's Bicycle as yet. 
That research will be for another time.