My photo
Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Monday, October 28, 2013

When I was a girl in Sudan

Having just roundly abused an author friend for failing to post news on her blog, I thought I'd better take my own advice and say what I'm up to!

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
He has to take me today
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!


  1. Hi Gay,
    Looks exciting. Doing all the research into fabric colours etc must be fun... :)

  2. Wow Gay....what an exciting project! Your illustrations are full of joy! Love the dancing feet!!

  3. Richly patterned fabrics and elaborate ornamentation! I've recently been all about that sort of thing too, but with a decidedly European bent in my case. So FANTASTIC that you're doing another book, and sounds even more fun the last! Looking great so far, particularly the lovely platter of food and the dancing henna'd feet. :)