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.

13 August, 2013

The Art of Margaret Early

I have two treasured children's books, retold and illustrated by Australian artist, Margaret Early.

The titles are Robin Hood and The Sleeping Beauty.  Margaret does exquisite work.  Each painting is a gem. Her other books in this series include William Tell and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.

All these beautiful books were published by Walter McVitty Books in Australia.  The production is excellent.

Unfortunately, I do believe these books are now out of print so I'll be hanging on to my copies to enjoy with the grandchildren.

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

Robin Hood

The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty

21 May, 2013

Mulga Bill's Bicycle...Part 4

Here are some more activities to celebrate my long-living Mulga Bill's Bicycle picture book.
Please click on each image to print out the size you require.

One maze is a little more challenging than the other.

Have fun!





07 May, 2013

Annie's Chair

Annie's Chair is the title one of my children's books which I wrote and illustrated.  First published in 2005 by Penguin Group Australia, it has been incredibly successful with editions published in Korea, China, USA and Canada.

I have received some lovely letters and emails from kids about this book.

You can read more about Annie's Chair here.




I based the dog in the story on my own beautiful dog.  He's been a great companion and enjoys life every day.  He still thinks he's a puppy even though his increasing white whiskers betray that notion.

I have created an activity for the kids based on an illustration from my book.
Click on the image to print out in the size you want, and colour in bright colours.





30 April, 2013

Mulga Bill's Bicycle...Part 3

I have been looking through my old sketchbooks and came across this drawing.  It's a study for one of the illustrations my sister and I completed for our picture book Mulga Bill's Bicycle.

In those days I did a lot of sketching with a nib pen and ink or ink wash. The result is a freer expression and a way to capture the essence of a situation or character without a lot of detail.

Preliminary sketch 1972 - Mulga Bill's Bicycle -Deborah Niland
Using this sketch as a base, the following illustration was finished using a fine pen and watercolour.

Published illustration 1973 - Mulga Bill's Bicycle - Kilmeny and Deborah Niland