I Commend to you The Society of Visual Storytelling

I need to gush effusively about a new resource I recently discovered, called “Society of Visual Storytelling”. I’ve found my interwebs soul-mate (that’s not a thing but maybe it should be).

If you want to skip the back-story scroll on down to The Society of Visual Storytelling heading. For the rest of you who enjoy a good ramble, this year I had an epiphany. I had an epiphany about where I want to take my art and I’ve been working towards it ever since. I decided that I want to be a picture book author-illustrator when I grow up. On a side note, I remember having this epiphany as a child when I decided to set up a publishing operation with a friend who was to write the stories which I would illustrate. I even loaned her my typewriter. Yes, a typewriter. I don’t know why she needed a typewriter to write stores but I guess it just seemed more professional that way. As an adult I shied away from this notion for a long time because of some prejudices I held about the type of art suited to children’s picture books. The first chink of light which penetrated this thinking was learning about picture books for adults – namely Shaun Tan’s (who I met a couple of weeks ago!). I became seduced by the possibility of creating picture books for adults. I still am but the more I learned about children’s picture books the more nuanced my understanding of them became.

Shaun Tan The Singing Bones Exhibition

Shaun Tan (and me!), The Singing Bones Exhibition

What I thought were my too-dark-for-children notions for picture book stories pale in comparison to Maurice Sendak’s “Outside Over There”, in which Ida’s baby brother is kidnapped by goblins and replaced with a horrifying ice replica, which begins to melt in a delightfully gruesome way. Incidentally, this story is recognised as inspiring my favourite movie of all time, “The Labyrinth”.

Outside over there Maurice Sendak 02

Maurice Sendak, Outside Over There

I also used to be under the impression that only bright, happy, primary colours were aloud when creating for children but then I discovered a huge amount of children’s books rendered in sophisticated muted colors, such as the work of Renata Liwska in “The Quiet Book”

Renata Liwska Color Scheme

Renata Liwska, The Quiet Book

What finally gave me the extra nudge to begin pursuing this newfound passion was when every other person at my open studio weekend last April asked me if I’d ever illustrated a children’s picture book. I took this as a sign that maybe, just maybe I could do this. So I took the advice of an editor of a local art-scene magazine and did a children’s book writing course. Then I decided to do an illustrating for children’s book course and now I’ve discovered the Society of Visual Storytelling!

Society of Visual Storytelling

The Society of Visual Storytelling, is a veritable treasure trove of tutorials, courses, and critiques for anyone who wants to weave a visual narrative. Not just for folks who want to illustrate picture books, it’s great for graphic novelists, comic book artists, and chapter book illustrators. There are two things that I’m especially excited about…

Subscription Based Courses

You can purchase individual courses but what I’m really excited about is the subscription option – starting at $12.50 per month you get access to all of their courses! Some of those courses are valued at $300! I cannot wait to have time to subscribe and get started. I know, I sound like an advertisement or something, but I’m really not getting paid for this. I’m just so happy. Some of the courses I’m especially interested in are:

Society of Visual Storytelling - painting techniques


The guys do this thing they call “3rd Thursday” where you can submit work which illustrates a prompt of their choosing and the top 5 get a critique and the top 3 win free courses. These critiques are incredibly in depth and super interesting to watch. Anyone can enter a piece of art to be critiqued – you don’t have to be a subscriber and anyone can watch the critiques as well. I’ve been binge watching them since I discovered them a couple of days ago.

That was disgustingly gushy for a service I haven’t even used yet. But seriously, you can’t not think this is the bee’s knees. Next post I’ll be sure to show you what I’m working on at the moment.

Some New Original Art and Life Stuff

Fine Art Acrylic Painting

Lark 16×12", Acrylic on Canvas - Original and print available in my Etsy shop

It’s an irony of blogging that when I have the most to write about I blog the least because I’m too busy doing all of the things I could be blogging about. I don’t want to be one of those people who qualify the statement that they have a blog with the word “neglected”. I love my blog and I enjoy what writing gives me – attention and reflection and if I’m very lucky, insight.

This year has been one of the most eventful, intense, and exciting years of my life. We all have nightmares which we hope we never have to live and don’t know if we’d survive should they manifest themselves in our waking lives. One of mine made that leap from my mind to reality this year, something that I’d dreaded my entire adult life. It was preceded by many small paper cuts to the soul. In short, I found my birth mother. It was a harrowing, utterly exhausting, and joyous experience. All of this coincided with circumstances and events which were stressful in and of themselves and at times I was flattened by their weight.

Canvas painting giclee print

This year I’ve also experienced the joy and fear of gaining an intense laser-like clarity about what I want to do with my art career – something that has always eluded me. I want it so badly I spent a day feeling terrified at the thought of how much time I’ve already wasted. There’s so much to do and to learn and I worry that I’m so far behind. More on that later.

Right now I’m doing the kind of illustration work I’ve dreamt of doing for many years. I am proud of the artwork I’m creating. It’s also taken many years to get to the point where I can say that. I’m excited for the work I’m going to do in the future. Everything is coming together.

Fine art print kids wall art

So yes, I’ve been away for a while. But there has been art. And that is why I began writing this post. There is more in the Etsy shop, keeping “Lark” company. I’ll post more images of them another time.

Dandenong Ranges Open Studios: Come hang out with me in my studio!

You guys know I bought a house with my partner last year in the delightful forested hills of the Dandenong Ranges, right. I’ve been as busy as a bee creating art in my cosy log-fire warmed studio this year for my premiere open studio weekend with Dandenong Ranges Open Studios.

I highly recommend checking out the other 35 participating Hills artists.

Basically, for a single weekend this autumn you are invited to experience the world that unfolds within the working studios of 36 artists in the charming Dandenong Ranges.

Dandenong ranges open studios

Quick Preview?

Here’s a few enticing (hopefully) work in progress sneak peeks of acrylic paintings and mixed media art that will be available to view and purchase directly from my studio.

Work in progress katherine herriman

wip sketch

muted colors color palette

muted colors color scheme

work in progress acrylic painting

illustration art wip

work in progress acrylic painting

mixed media art work in progress


I will be launching my first ever series of prints on the Open Studios weekend!

Fine Art Print Nellie Windmill

In the meantime, you can download a guide here or start planning your art trail through the Hills!

Sad & Lovely, Lovely & Sad

I wanted to share this performance piece by Neil Gaiman before I made the connection that I’m actually going to see Neil Gaiman in Melbourne this Saturday and I shared a quote of his on the blog just last week. I seem to have a slight fixation. But a worthy one. That’s the trick; obsession is actually quite healthy if you’ve good taste.

This post is actually about more than Neil Gaiman though. I wanted to share some things which are both lovely and sad: a favourite combination of mine.

Neil Gaiman “The Bed Song”

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

I’ll let these excerpts from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows tumblr blog explain what this exquisite, poetic creation is all about. These are some of the definitions of obscure sorrows that resonated with me the most.

sonder dictionary of obscure sorrows

midsummer dictionary of obscure sorrows

dictionary of obscure sorrows chrysalism

I adore this question and answer which simply and eloquently describes why I find these definitions so compelling.

icharos asked: “I think you could make a living creating words to describe such deeply intimate sorrows. It would be like going to a doctor but instead of prescribing medication, you give the torment a name, and suddenly tangled emotions fall neatly into place and with that quiet word, you can breathe.”

Beautiful idea, and my dream job. I think the act of naming something implies, very simply, that you’re not alone. We give names to things so we can talk about them. Once there’s a word for an experience, it feels contained somehow—and the container has a handle, which makes it much easier to pick up and pass around. Kinda comforting.

I know it’s been a while since I last shared some art so next week I’ll post some images of what I’m working on and tell you all about an exciting upcoming event!

The Meaning of Life

I write this as a cloud of fog drifts by my window and the soothing sound of rain filters in from our damp woodland garden. So far 2015 has been a fog of anxiety as I prepare for my first major art festival this coming Autumn, but not today. I spent a glorious day yesterday blissfully rainy-day-sketching. Sketching for me is a flow activity and I desperately needed to still my clamoring mind. Today I’ve decided to share this Neil Gaiman quote, which has further instilled in me a sense of peace.

Neil Gaiman Quote