Actually, this reminds me of a talk we had at an art studio - the owner said that your first show will be attended by your family and friends, your second by family and friends and some friends of theirs and eventually your family and friends will be outnumbered by 'the public'. I suppose even this event was a bit like that.
We were treated to readings by Celia and Kerryn, drawing demonstrations by Shaun and Mark as well as discussions of the writing and publishing process.
It was quite inspiring, even for me who has no ambitions to be a writer. One of the most inspiring things I heard was from Shaun Tan who has a book of some of his work over the past 12 years (The Bird King and other sketches), mostly pictures that he has not had published but that have been the inspiration for ideas - some of it, he says, is not really publishable, except in this form, as a collection of inspirations and doodlings. I'm not saying it quite like he did but I found it encouraging, that he talked about work that he has done but has not been satisfied with but that still has been useful in his creative process.
A few of the author-illustrators said that their ideas come from their drawings - Shaun said that his often come from drawing landscapes.
He also said that he doesn't like working on white paper, he sometimes finds it daunting. So he uses coloured paper, partly because he sees art as depicting light and so he likes to start with a background onto which he can put light.
I will try - again - to work in a journal or artist's notebook/sketchbook (I am erratically working in my Artist's Notebook - I go to the site occasionally and see what others are doing). I have not been a drawer in the past but keep hearing that it is essential - and I do enjoy it when I actually get out and try.
Each book was a picture story book and each was very different from the others. They were pitched at different age groups and had different messages within them. The styles of drawing were very different and evoked different responses from me. Congratulations to all the authors.
The book signing was at Ward Sagar, an educational bookshop in Eltham. It was like a blast from the past, all the children's books I used to use in my teaching as well as the teachers' books and resources. I couldn't resist looking at some of the thematic ideas and remembering some of the fun things we used to do.