I've actually been having so much fun, I forgot to blog. While we sort out the logistics of publishing 'When I was a boy in Sudan', I've started making the first rough dummy for its companion book, 'When I was a girl in Sudan'. This book is narrated by a Tasmanian Sudanese elder, Paskaline, and has been written into picturebook form by Terry Whitebeach and others.
It's an illustrator's dream, especially for a female illustrator. Sudanese girls and women like to wear richly patterned fabrics from head to toe, braid their hair (if long - sometimes it's very short), paint henna patterns on their feet, hands, legs and arms, and wear beads in bands of colour. Their fabric designs are often based on crops - maize, sesame and the like. The text is quite light-hearted. Here is a little song a Sudanese girl might sing about her boyfriend, to show off:
My boyfriend has arrived here
His English is like a white man speaking
His Arabic is very sweet too
It sounds sweet to me
He has to take me today
I don't feel the need to paint realistic scenes, but instead feel free to give full rein to my imagination and capture those rhythms visually.
These are very rough sketches in ink to establish shapes and tones and patterns that I will try to get into the book. Rather than being a narrative, it's a collection of memories and I can illustrate little domestic details, including food. And feet!