My First Picture Book

Here are some illustrations from my first picture book Kalah, written a life time ago now around 1982. It never got published and looking back at it I can see why. The story is really bad about a wild creature who is captured in the Blue Mountains and put on display in the city. In the end he escapes but not through his own ingenuity. It is all too placid and dull. I didn’t get as far as sending it off to publishers. I did show it to a well known illustrator though who was very generous with his time.

I can see its weaknesses easily now but not then. In any creative pursuit, the thing we must always strive for is raising our standard. And the way to do this is with more seeing, more reading and more doing.

Read the best literature, look at the best art.

13 thoughts on “My First Picture Book

  1. But they are beautiful illustrations, Gabrielle! 😛 Love the Australiana – and quite different to what you usually do. Maybe you can still do something with it – update the story??

  2. How priceless it is to look back at our work with objectivity and humility, as you have done (although the book does look beautiful!).

    Would you consider redrafting it? Sometimes so much value is found in our ideas from the past, and with the added gift of time and experience, we can perhaps formulate something new and even better…

    1. Tania, That was so long ago. It was also a ‘me’ of the past. I was going through some emotional times then hence the creature captured in a cage. Funny now when I look back.

  3. What a shame, and waste… I’m hoping you may just find the “oomph” needed to make it a reality one day 🙂

  4. Hi Gabi, Isn’t funny how we change not just as people but as writers? Of course, our work improves, develops and we see all the flaws of our early crafting when we look back on old ms, but I find it fascinating how much it reveals of the changes in our lives, and perspectives too. Great post, Gabi. 🙂 Chris

  5. Lovely illustrations, Gabrielle. It’s a pity that the story never seemed to work.
    I think its fascinating how much we improve in a day, a month, a year. As human beings, we are so moved and changed with every little influence.

    Now, you could probably replicate that story, but with a thousand times more quality.

    We’re always learning, I suppose 🙂

    1. At the time I wrote that story I had never read anything on writing or even thought I wanted to be a writer.
      I was sitting alone and depressed in the coffee shop at the Hilton Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan when this story came to me so I wrote it down.

      So often stories come to us in times of trouble and great need. Such is the power of story.

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