Upcoming events for April/May/June

I’ve got bunch of workshops and talks over the next three months, including sessions at writers’ festivals in Armadale, Midland, Margaret River and Sydney!

To get email notifications of future events, you can either:
– subscribe to new blog posts via the little box on the right.
– sign up for my newsletter, The James Foley-o, and get all my news and events in a quarterly email.

April 8-23 – Eggsibition

Exhibition, noun = a public display of works of art or items of interest, held in an art gallery or museum.
Eggsibition, noun =  an exhibition about Eggs!

The eggcelent creatives at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators have cooked up a cracking good collection of work. Come along to Paper Bird Children’s Books & Arts in Fremantle to see what they’ve hatched.

The Eggsibition is open for the whole WA Easter holidays. There will be prints for sale, as well as plenty of amazing books by WA authors and illustrators.

WHEN: April 8-23
TIME: 9-5 Mon-Sat, 10-4 Sun
WHERE: Paper Bird Children’s Books & Arts, 52 Henry St, Fremantle, WA
AGES: all
COST: free entry

April 29 – Kid’s art workshop
(Armadale Writers’ Festival)

Join myself as well as author-illustrators Kylie Howarth and Sean Avery, for a fun creative workshop! You’ll get to work with all three of us on awesome activities.

WHEN: Wednesday April 12
TIME: 1:30pm – 3:00pm
WHERE: Armadale District Hall
AGES: 6-10yo
COST: free
BOOKINGS: essential. Click here to register.

May 19-June 21 – HeARTlines children’s literature exhibition

The exhibition of book illustrations will be held at the gallery spaces at MJAC featuring artwork by Moira Court, Frané Lessac, Matt Ottley, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Kylie Howarth, Terry Denton, Aska, Chris Nixon, Brian Simmonds and me! This extensive exhibition will display original large scale illustrations and paintings, initial sketches and a unique insight into an artists’ process from idea to final product.

WHEN: open Tues-Sat between May 19 and June 21.
WHERE: Midland Junction Arts Centre, 276 Great Eastern Hwy, Midland WA
AGES: all ages
COST: free

May 27 – adults workshop: Where Children’s Book Ideas Come From (Sydney Writers’ Festival)

You have mountains of ideas, but how do you pull them together into a book? In this workshop, I’ll look at just how much heavy duty mental effort is involved. I took more than four years, on and off, to  develop my latest graphic novel, Brobot, rejecting hundreds of character designs, multiple storyboards and lots of weird ideas along the way. I’ll discuss where I get ideas and how I learned to write and illustrate for children.

WHEN: Saturday May 27
TIME: 9:30am – 12:30pm
WHERE: Science House, NYU Sydney, 157-161 Gloucester St, The Rocks, NSW
AGES: for adults
COST: $100 ($80 concession)
BOOKINGS: essential. Click here to register.

May 28 – kids workshop: robot lab
(Sydney Writers’ Festival)

What kind of robot would you like to invent? Ask me, the writer and illustrator of Brobot, how you can design your dream robot. Come along and turn recycled materials into your own version of Wall-E.

WHEN: Sunday May 28
TIME: My workshop session is from 10:00am – 12:00pm. The lab is open 10:00am – 4:00pm.
WHERE: Bangarra Studio Theatre, 15 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, NSW
AGES: 5-12
COST: free. No bookings required.
More details here.

May 28 – Vikings and Zombies and Robots, Oh My!
(Sydney Writers’ Festival)

Did you know that James Foley made his first book in kindy? He’s now an acclaimed
author and illustrator whose books My Dead Bunny and The Last Viking were
shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. Foley shares his creative
journey and explains how he went from drawing cartoons for the school newspaper to
creating a zombie rabbit. To top it all off, he’ll help us invent the ultimate robot – just
like Sally Tinker in his graphic novel, Brobot.

WHEN: Sunday May 28
TIME: 2:30pm – 3:15pm
WHERE: Sydney Dance 2, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
AGES: 5yo+
COST: free event.
BOOKINGS: essential. Maximum 4 tickets per event per booking.
Click here to book.

June 3 – Picture Book Illustration workshop for adults
(Margaret River Readers & Writers’ Festival)

I’ll explain what goes into illustrating a story, including the techniques that are used and the secrets of character design. You’ll get to try some basic illustration techniques too.

WHEN: Saturday June 3
TIME: 9:30am – 11:00am
WHERE: South Regional TAFE, 272 Bussell Highway, Margaret River, WA.
AGES: for adults
COST: $50 for adults, $45 for Margaret River Arts Hub members.
BOOKINGS: click here to book.

June 4 – Coffee and Papers
(Margaret River Readers & Writers’ Festival)

Start your morning with a coffee, the day’s news and hot topics as told by our  journalists, festival guests and local icons who make Margaret River what it is.
Ian Parmenter (hot topics), Tim Baker (surf report), James Foley (cartoon), The West Australian and West Regionals Journalists. Facilitator: Niomi O’Hara

WHEN: Saturday June 3
TIME: 9:30am – 10:30am
WHERE: Margaret River Cultural Centre, 51 Wallcliffe Road
AGES: for adults
COST: $20 for adults, free for pensioners
BOOKINGS: click here to book.

June 17 – Draw Cartoon Characters workshop (6 – 16yo)
(Heartlines Children’s Literature Festival)

Learn how to draw your own cartoon characters with children’s author and illustrator James Foley. By the end of this workshop you’ll know the basics of drawing funny facial expressions and bodies, and how to develop your own character.

WHEN: Saturday June 17
10.00am – 11.00am | 6 – 10 years
11.30am – 12.30pm | 11 – 15 years
1.15pm – 2.15pm | 16 years +
WHERE: Midland Junction Arts Centre 276 Great Eastern Highway, Midland, WA
COST: $5 | $4.50 MAC Members
BOOKINGS: click here to book.

I’ll also be touring Sydney, Melbourne and Launceston towards the end of June. Details to come.

FAQ: What advice do you have for aspiring writers and illustrators?

Many people think they could write or illustrate a children’s book.

Few could.

Some try, and

a small number are actually published.

Partly this is due to skill level. It takes many years to get your work up to the professional standard suitable for publication. Most people do not persevere and see it through.

In my opinion, the most inspiring advice for aspiring writers and illustrators comes from Ira Glass, the US radio broadcaster. Here’s a little snippet:

All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good … a lot of people never get past this phase.

Does that sound like you? It perfectly sums up the early part of my creative journey, when I was struggling to get my work up to standard and to get my first book contract.

Ira goes on to explain how to close that gap between your skill and your ambitions. The full quote is insightful, simple and brilliant. Rather than just copy and paste the whole quote verbatim, I found a short film-version put together by filmmaker Daniel Sax (see below). It’s brilliant too.

If you’re struggling with staying motivated on your own creative journey, please please please watch this video. Then turn off the internet and go make your art!

The evolution of Sally Tinker

My latest book, Brobot, was released in 2016. It’s a graphic novel for younger readers. I first started working on it in 2012. Over those four years I drew many different versions of the main characters – Sally, Joe and Brobot – and I’ll be sharing some of those over the next few months on this blog.


ABOVE: One of the earliest sketches of Sally Tinker. From 2012. This is from the very first draft picture book (well before we realised it needed to be a comic). She’s very cute here, and is in much the same style as Josh from The Last Viking. She has a tiny hint of the attitude she shows in the final book.


ABOVE: Another early sketch of Sally, from 2013, back when I was still trying to figure out her hairstyle and costume. Note that here she still has dots for eyes like Josh did in The Last Viking, rather than the cartoony circular eyes she has in the final book.



ABOVE: Another version of Sally, from 2015. Closer to her final version but not quite there. She now has circles for eyes, and her grumpy demeanour. The oversized rubber gloves didn’t make it to the final version.

Reference maquette for 'Sally', the main character in my work-in-progress. #kidlit #kidlitart #clay @fremantlepress

A post shared by James Foley (@james_r_foley) on

ABOVE: Maquettes are super helpful when you want to figure out how a character looks in 3D. I was having particular trouble with Sally’s hairstyle and profile, and a maquette helped me figure that out. This is from January 2016, just as I started the final artwork.


ABOVE: The final version of Sally Tinker, Feb 2016. When you draw the character from different angles like this, it’s called a ‘turnaround’. It’s a reference you keep by your desk when you illustrate a story so that you can keep your character consistent (ie this is also called keeping your character “on model”). I drew this after I had completed the final illustrations for the book. Pro tip: you should really make your turnaround sheets BEFORE you do the final illustrations, not after 😉

Brobot-3d-final-400pxBuy ‘Brobot’ now

FAQ: How do I get my book published?

This is my most Frequently Asked Question by far.

So you’ve written and/or illustrated your amazing children’s book. Now you want to get it published. You have two options available: traditional publishing and self-publishing … plus a third option that you should avoid.

Before we get into these options further, ask yourself what you’re aiming to do with your book:

  • Do you just want one copy that you can read to your kids?
  • Or a couple of copies that you can share with family and friends?
  • Or do you think your story really has legs, and could sell competitively in bookstores?

If you just want one or a couple of copies for personal use, then definitely self-publish – but go with a website like Blurb. You upload your content, they print copies and post them back to you, and you keep copyright. Easy, done, sorted.

If you truly believe that your work is of a publishable standard, then I recommend going for traditional mainstream publishing through a publishing company, or if you have the stamina for it, go for self-publishing.

I’ll explain these two options below, plus a third option that you need to avoid.

Option 1: traditional, mainstream publishing

This is where a publishing company helps you to edit their work, organises printing, marketing and distribution, and pays you an advance and royalties.

There are two main pathways to mainstream publication.

Please note that these two pathways are not mutually exclusive, and can be happening at the same time.

Pathway A: The Slush Pile

You send your work to several publishers. Your manuscript is added to the ‘slush pile’, a collection of every unread manuscript sent by you and everyone else hoping to be published by that company. Don’t be discouraged though; publishers do go through their slush piles bit by bit, and people do actually get their manuscripts discovered this way. Because of the slush pile though it can take many months for a publisher to respond to your submission query (and these days a number of publishers are saying, ‘if you don’t hear back from us in x number of months, assume that your submission was not accepted’).

SO You wait for responses. You get rejected many times. You keep writing/illustrating in the meantime, still practicing your craft. Then hopefully, eventually, your work is good enough to be published, and a publisher notices your work and offers to publish it.

Pathway B: Professional organisations

2: You join an organisation like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and/or the Australian Society of Authors (ASA). You go to events where you get to meet editors and publishers and you book some critique sessions. You get face-to-face feedback, and advice for how to improve your work. You go away and practice some more. Then hopefully, eventually, your work is good enough to be published, and a publisher notices your work and offers to publish it.

The place of illustrators in mainstream publishing

Note that:

  • usually, the publisher picks the illustrator.
  • most of the time the writer and the illustrator DO NOT collaborate before submitting to a publisher.

I explain the reasons for this in another post called ‘How do I find an illustrator for my book?’

If you want to be a children’s book writer, you absolutely must know how the illustrator’s role intertwines with yours. So please do read this post plus the points about illustrators in the next section.

Sending submissions to publishers

Before you send anything to any publisher, visit your local bookshop and have a look at the children’s book section. Make a stack of books that seem like the ones you would like to make. See who publishes them, then check out the publishers’ websites and see if they accept submissions. Note what you would need to submit, and stick to the submission guidelines. Some want hard copies, some only accept digital copies. Some only accept submissions on certain days of the week, and some at certain times of the year. Do your homework and follow the guidelines on each publisher’s website.

If you’re a writer only, then generally you’ll be asked to send a copy of your manuscript in a certain format, maybe with a cover letter.

If you’re an illustrator only, then generally you’ll be asked to send a sample or samples of your best work, again with a cover letter.

If you’re a writer AND an illustrator, then generally you’ll be asked to submit a copy of the manuscript, plus a black and white storyboard and/or a dummy book, plus two or three samples of what the finished artwork might look like.

If you’re a writer and you’ve already collaborated with an illustrator:
this is not generally how mainstream publishing works. Sometimes you’re in a situation where you’ve written a manuscript and you asked your partner/sibling/aunty/friend/neighbour/random acquaintance to do some illustrations – now you’re going to submit all your work together. That’s great. However. This puts you in an unusual position. You may find that a publisher loves the words of the story but not the illustrations. OR they love the illustrations but not the words. OR  they may see potential in both the words and the illustrations, but they think the words need to be edited and the plot needs to be changed a bit, in which case the illustrations might also need to change. So if you’ve collaborated with an illustrator before submitting to a publisher, be prepared for these possibilities.

Whatever you do, don’t complete final illustrations for an entire book before submitting to a publisher. That’s a lot of work to put in, and the publisher might want you to change everything.

Copyright, Advances and Royalties

in traditional publishing arrangements, illustrators retain copyright over their illustrations, and writers retain copyright over their text. They share royalties from the books: 5% of RRP each (the rest goes to booksellers, distributors, printers and publishers). Royalty statements are sent every 6 months; payments are sent at this time as well, providing you’ve made some sales.

The writer and illustrator also receive an advance payment when they sign the publishing contract – this is an advance of expected royalties. So if the advance is $1000, then you have to sell enough books to earn that advance back before you can get any more royalties. If you don’t sell enough books to earn the advance back, you still get to keep the full advance. The publishers assume all financial risk and responsibility in this model; they take care of printing, marketing and distribution.

For advice on publishing contracts, buy the book ‘Australian Book Contracts‘ from the Australian Society of Authors. Also, check out their model publishing agreement template; it’s free for ASA members or $11 for non-members. The ASA also offers a contract assessment service for ASA members or state writers’ centre members.

For advice on the legal and business issues related to writing, buy the book ‘Between The Lines‘ from the Australian Society of Authors.

For more information on traditional publishing:

Read the Australian Society of Authors’ advice on how to get published.

Check out this post I wrote called 6 books to help you make better picture books.

Option 2: self-publishing

Self-publishing is a whole other ball game. You literally take on the role of the traditional publisher, which means you get complete control over the project but also the entire financial risk. You need to organise your own design and printing, plus your own marketing and distribution to bookstores (online and/or bricks-and-mortar).

I know of only a few successful children’s book writers and illustrators who self-publish; they all do it full time and approach it like a business, so it’s possible for them to make a decent living from it. They are exceptions to the rule.

The main services out there for self-publishing are Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which allows you to create ebooks for Amazon Kindle readers; Amazon Createspace, which is a print-on-demand service; or Ingram Spark, which allows you to make both e-books and print-on-demand books. I’ve never used these myself, but my self-publishing colleagues do; it’s up to you to excerise due diligence and do your research before entering into any commercial agreements with these websites.

The role of illustrators in self-publishing

You and the illustrator need to work out whether you want to share the financial risk or whether the illustrator wants to be paid up front.

I cover this in more detail in another post called ‘How do I find an illustrator for my book?’

If you’re considering self-publishing your writing and enlisting an illustrator, please do read that post before you get started down that road.

For more info on self-publishing:

Check out the Australian Society of Authors’ free advice on self-publishing.

The ASA also has a paper available called Introduction to Digital Self-Publishing; it’s free for ASA members or $11 for non-members.

Also check out WritingWA’s free resources for self-publishers.

Join the facebook group For Love or Money, a support group for independent authors. You can ask questions and find advice. It was set up by author S.K. Quinn, and her book The Indie Author’s Survival Guide is a must-read for anyone heading down the self-publishing road.

Option 3 (which is not an option): vanity publishing

Option 3 is where a company tries to look like a mainstream traditional publisher but is really a glorified and very expensive self-publishing service. In our industry it’s called ‘vanity publishing’.

Vanity publishers are the ones that offer to help you publish your book for a fee – usually a VERY LARGE and UPFRONT fee. They may want to retain copyright. They may not show you a contract until after you’ve paid. Vanity publishers make their money off the exorbitant fees they charge you and not off the book sales; thus they have little to no interest in marketing and distributing your book.

I know a young dad who worked hard to pull his book idea together, then approached a ‘publisher’, and had to pay a huge sum to have the book designed and printed. He got 5 free copies, then he had to pay the ‘publisher’ again to release the rest of the stock. He actually had to pay per copy to get his hands on his own book. It was extortion. The company didn’t take care of any marketing or distribution, that was all left up to the dad. Unfortunately, he didn’t realise how publishing was supposed to work – he just assumed that this was the usual process, and he lost almost ten thousand dollars in the process. I’ve heard of another naïve author who paid over twice that to have her book ‘published’. Essentially the company just printed it, and again left all the marketing and distribution to the author. So please, be wary of any company that says you need to pay them huge amounts to get your book published and printed.

Before paying any company to publish your book, I urge you to read a paper by the Australian Society of Authors called Paying for Publication: Points to Consider. It’s free for ASA members or $11 for non-members. This is a very small and worthwhile investment that could save you huge expenses in the long run.

Also check out the Australian Society of Authors’ free advice on self-publishing. They also have a paper called Introduction to Digital Self-Publishing, which is free for ASA members or $11 for non-members.

Next steps

Immerse yourself in the industry and learn as much as you can:

Good luck!

FAQ: How do I find an illustrator for my book?

Here’s another in my Frequently Asked Question series.

So you’ve written a picture book manuscript; now you want to find an illustrator.

Before we get to that, we need to clear up some misconceptions about how writers work with illustrators, and consider how they’re paid and contracted.

Working with illustrators

It’s a common belief that the writer and illustrator work together when they make a picture book. It seems to make sense. Norman Jorgensen and I worked together to develop our picture books The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns, but we were actually exceptions to the rule.

In mainstream publishing,
the author doesn’t get to choose the illustrator. 

The publisher does that. Also,

the author doesn’t usually interact with the illustrator
or tell them exactly how they want the pictures to look.

The publisher takes care of the art direction process too.

It’s much more efficient for the publisher to keep the writer and illustrator apart; it helps them to control and streamline the creative process, and to ensure the quality of the outcome. By separating the writer and illustrator the publisher can focus on editing the writing and illustration processes individually (you can’t start too much of the illustration before the words are finished, anyway). It also means you can ensure that the two creatives, who may not be good at collaborating, or who may not get along, are able to do their best work individually without distracting or directing each other.

Another important point to note here is expertise. Illustrators have studied many many years to become good at what they do – they create visual narratives. The best illustrators add an extra layer of story and meaning to the text of a picture book. So when I hear a writer say, “I’ve written a picture book manuscript and I know exactly how I want every picture to look,” alarm bells start ringing. You probably don’t actually know how the pictures should look. Not really. If you did, you would have illustrated them already.

In relation to that point-

in mainstream publishing, picture book manuscripts
DO NOT include any notes to the illustrator.

The only exception is when a major plot point revolves around something that needs to be included in the pictures that isn’t mentioned in the text. Other than that, it’s considered impolite to impress upon the illustrator how you think everything should look, and it’s a turn-off to publishers as well. Picture books are a collaborative medium – not in the sense that the writer and the illustrator develop the story together (because usually they don’t) – but because the words and the pictures interact to form the whole story.  The best picture book writers know this, and allow gaps in their text for the illustrator to fill out the narrative, to inject their own ideas and expertise. They know that they have to let go of some control once the illustrator comes on board.

It’s different of course if you’re a writer who’s self-publishing. Then you get complete control over the project, and who your illustrator is, naturally you get more say in what and how they illustrate, too. But it would still be advisable to allow the illustrator to have input into the development of the visual narrative; as I said earlier, if you were the expert at illustrating, then you would illustrate it yourself. If your illustrator is worth their salt then it’s likely they’ll have some interesting ideas for visualising the story that you couldn’t have imagined.

Paying and contracting illustrators

In mainstream publishing
the writer and the illustrator receive individual advances,
and split all royalties 50/50.

It’s the fairest way to split the proceedings. The publisher takes care of all that for you and sends you a royalty statement twice a year.

If you’re self-publishing,
you need to negotiate payment with the illustrator.

Self-publishing involves a significant financial risk and a huge workload; you need to organise graphic design, printing, storage, marketing and distribution. How will your illustrator be involved in this? Will they also design the book and get it ready for print, or will they just provide you with the illustrations? Will they help market and distribute the book? Will they want to be paid on a royalty basis, or will they want to be paid upfront for their work, or do they want a mix of both – i.e. an advance that’s set against future royalties? Will they be willing to sell the copyright on their artwork so that you can do what you like with it afterwards (i.e. prints, merchandising, etc)? All of these things need to be considered and negotiated with the illustrator before they start work. It’s too hard to sort it out afterwards. Get it all sorted before the illustrator starts work, and put it in writing.

The Australian Society of Authors website includes a list of standard book illustration rates and a standard publishing agreement for you to download.

Finding illustrators

Now that you know all about how to work with illustrators, and how they’re paid and contracted, you’re finally ready to find the perfect illustrator for your self-published book!

You can find Australian children’s book illustration specialists at

You can find general illustrators and some children’s book illustrators at

Please note that I DO NOT provide illustrations for self-published manuscripts. I’m a full-time professional author and illustrator and that keeps me very busy. But the websites above are chock full of incredible illustrators, one of which could be perfect for your project.

Good luck!

FAQ: How did you get into books?

The Last Viking book launch, June 24th, 2011. (L-R) Norman, James, Kris Williams, our editor Cate Sutherland, and Director of the Children's Literature Centre Lesley Reece
The Last Viking book launch, June 24th, 2011. (L-R) Norman, James, Kris Williams, our editor Cate Sutherland, and Director of the Children’s Literature Centre Lesley Reece

To the pre-published, the children’s book industry can seem like a secret club. How do you get to be one of those people on the inside, who have their stories and illustrations published professionally? It’s something I get asked a lot.

So, how did I get into books?

In my early twenties I sent illustration samples to a bunch of publishers. My work wasn’t good enough yet and it was rejected many times. So I practiced for five or six more years. I joined SCBWI and surrounded myself with amazing inspiring talented people. I kept practicing, made connections with editors and publishers and experienced professionals, and in the next three years got my first two book contracts.

Once I got my first contract, it was another two years before the book was finished, printed, distributed, marketed and then finally for sale in bookshops; I wasn’t an ‘overnight success’. Things move slowly in the world of children’s books.

So if you’re wanting to get into this industry, prepare yourself for a long and challenging creative journey to get to your first book contract. And then get ready for the even greater challenge of completing that first book! Don’t give up though; it will be worth it.

I’ll go into a bit more detail about my journey below. I’ve also written a more detailed version that you can read here.

My journey (the short version):

In 1994 I was in year 7 and got my first award for writing and illustrating.

In 1999 I graduated high school with a bit more skill but not enough to be published, and I didn’t have much confidence in my work. I still dreamed of being a writer and illustrator one day.

By 2003 I’d gotten better. I was published as a freelance cartoonist, but I still wasn’t ready to illustrate books. I sent off illustration samples but they were mostly rejected. I kept writing and illustrating, and much of what I made was not good enough to be published, but I improved little by little.

By 2008 I’d gotten better again. I joined SCBWI. I made my first contacts in the children’s book industry; I met other fledgling creators who became my support network; I started coming up with one or two workable book ideas.

In 2009 I collaborated with fellow SCBWI member Norman Jorgensen on a picture book idea called The Last Viking, which was picked up by Fremantle Press. This was my first book contract.

In 2010 I had a picture book manuscript critique with the publisher at Walker Books. My story was called In The Lion. Sarah liked the story and offered to publish it.

In 2011 The Last Viking was published.

In 2012 In The Lion was published.

In 2013 I had built up enough contacts and work with schools, local councils and libraries to go full-time as a children’s writer/ illustrator, speaker, educator and workshop facilitator.

Ever since, I’ve tried to have at least one book published per year. I spend about a quarter of my year making a book, and the rest of the time visiting schools and libraries, attending writers’ festivals, doing freelance work and community projects, and volunteering for SCBWI.

You can read a more detailed recount of my journey here.

In summary:

I was not published overnight.

Most people working in the children’s book industry are not overnight successes either; we all worked at our craft for years and years before getting published (and we’re still working at it). Be prepared to put in many years of work before you get to where you want to be.

Good luck!

9 ways to encourage young artists

When I meet parents at events they often say,

‘my child loves to draw/write/create. How can I encourage their interest?’

Best-selling Australian author Matthew Reilly says, ‘never underestimate the power of your encouragement.’ He writes it in the thank you section at the back of every one of his books; he knows that it got him to where he is today. Encouragement is an incredibly powerful thing; young artists grow when they know that people believe in them and support their interest. (The same goes for adult artists, too!).

My advice comes from my work as an artist (who was once a young artist), my studies in primary teaching and psych (though I’m not a child psychology expert by any means), and my experience of working with kids in workshops. Here’s 9 things you can do to encourage the young writer and/or illustrator in your life … or even your own inner artist.

Continue reading “9 ways to encourage young artists”

Upcoming events, January-March 2017

I’ve got bunch of workshops over the next three months, most of them free! But firstly, a public service announcement:

Please check my upcoming events page for updates to these and other events – sometimes new events are added at the last minute, or details can change.

To get email notifications of future events, you can either:
– subscribe to this blog via the little box on the right; you’ll get each post emailed to you.
– sign up for my free newsletter, The James Foley-o, and get all my news and events in a single quarterly email.

Jan 21 – Books From Your Backyard – FREE EVENT

I’m doing a free mini-workshop this school holidays!

Come to ‘Books From Your Backyard’ at the State Library of WA. I’ll be there along with 9 other local authors and illustrators – Frané Lessac, Gabriel Evans, Kelly Canby, Teena Raffa-Mulligan, Bec J. Smith, Cris Burne, Aska, Elaine Forrestal, Dianne Wolfer and Norman Jorgensen. We’re each hosting a little session, giving readings, and running fun activities for kids. And it’s all FREEEEEEE. My session is from 3-3:25pm, after which I’ll be signing copies of my latest book Brobot.

Please share this event far and wide – it’s open to all kids and their parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles (even your weird smelly Uncle Bob).

WHEN: Saturday January 21
EVENT TIMES: 10:30am – 4pm
MY SESSION TIME: 3:00pm – 3:25pm (followed by book signings)
WHERE: The Story Place, mezzanine floor, State Library of WA, Francis St Perth.
COST: free
BOOKINGS: not required
PROGRAM: click here.

Feb 23-26 – Perth Writers’ Festival sessions

I’m stoked to be presenting at PWF’s schools day and family day this year.

***NB: For school groups only.***
WHEN: Thursday February 23
TIME: 12:45pm – 1:30pm
WHERE: Dolphin Theatre,
University of WA, Crawley.
AGES: Years 1-3
COSTS: 1 session $7.50; 3 sessions (full day): $18
BOOKINGS: online via the PIAF website, or by phone: (08) 6488 5555

***NB: Limited spaces. Book tickets ASAP***
WHEN: Sunday February 26
TIME: 9:30am – 10:30am
WHERE: Fox Lecture Theatre, University of WA, Crawley.
COST: $12
BOOKINGS: online via the PIAF website, or by phone: (08) 6488 5555

WHEN: Sunday February 26
TIME: 12pm – 12:40pm
WHERE: Hacket Hall, University of WA, Crawley.
AGES: 6+
COST: free!
BOOKINGS: not required

I’ll also be part of the ‘Curated By Kids’ program on the Family Day (Feb 26th). I’m not sure exactly what that will entail yet – I might be interviewed, or I might participate in an illustrator duel, or I might be tarred and feathered … we’ll all find out on the day!

March 23-25:  ‘Between The Lines’ Literature Festival, Busselton

This festival is mostly for local schools in the Busselton region, but will also include a book signing at Dymocks Busselton on Saturday March 25th at 10am.

Follow their facebook page for more details.

March 25 – Cartooning workshop for kids,
Busselton Library

Join me for a hands-on introduction to the art of cartooning. Learn how to draw facial expressions and bodies, and create your own characters!

WHEN: Saturday March 25
TIME: 1pm – 2pm
WHERE: Busselton Library, Stanley St Busselton, WA.
AGES: 8-12yo
COST: free!
BOOKINGS: contact the library on (08) 9754 1588


And further on in the year, I’ll be at these events:

April: Armadale Writers Festival, WA (TBA)

May/June: Margaret River Writers’ Festival, WA (TBA)

June: HeARTlines Festival, Mundaring, WA (TBA)

June: Sydney/Melbourne tour (TBA)

Brobot: from roughs to final artwork

Hello! I’ve pulled together some gifs to show you how I made some of the illustrations in Brobot. You can see how I got from the first rough drawing to the final artwork for each illustration. Check them out below.

(NB: if you’re receiving this post by email and the gifs don’t appear, just click on the post title above to view the original post on my website).







Brobot-3d-final-400pxBuy ‘Brobot’ now