For Marjorie 2015 was an even busier year than 2014. A large part of the year was spent conceptualising and designing the visual look and feel of an American series of children's books by Jim Henry of Texas, USA. All the individual books in the series are published under the umbrella title The Adventures of Willy Nilly & Thumper. Marjorie finished the rough illustrations of the first two books in November and started their final illustrations in December of 2015.
Book One: The Lost Treasure of Mount Methuselah and Book Two: The Hermit’s Last Hairs are both scheduled to be published in the first half of 2016.
Here are some of the rough illustrations for The Lost Treasure of Mount Methuselah (Book One):
Here are some of the rough illustrations for The Hermit's Last Hairs (Book Two):
Some background notes: The Willy Nilly stories have been made up and told in Jim Henry’s family for three generations. Like his grandfather and father before him, Jim continued the tradition by telling bedtime stories about the adventures of Willy Nilly first to his three children and later to his eleven grandchildren. Now, together with New York editor Simone Kaplan (previously editor at Henry Holt and at Harper Collins NY), Jim is in the process of publishing a selection of these stories.
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While working on these American publications Marjorie was also doing illustrations for Storiemuis (“Story Mouse”), a series of Afrikaans children's books written by Leon Rousseau and published by Human & Rousseau Publishers in Cape Town. Marjorie is one of three illustrators, together with Karen Ahlschläger and Johann Strauss, commissioned for the first two collections of stories and poems. She completed her final illustrations for Book 1 and Book 2 in 2015 and they were published in October of that year.
Books 3, 4, 5 & 6 are in the pipeline. Marjorie will be doing those illustrations in 2016, again together with the two other illustrators, Karen Ahlschläger and Johann Strauss.
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Marjorie also illustrated a book by South African author Wendy Maartens. It is a collection of stories, all related to the sea and to be published in both English (as Sea Stories) and Afrikaans (as Stories van die See) in 2016.
* * * * * * * * * * *In 2015 Marjorie was once again, for the seventh consecutive year, invited to present the 5-day Children’s Book Illustration Course at the Centre for Comic, Illustrative and Book Arts (CCIBA) at the Stellenbosch University’s Department of Visual Arts. This forms part of a series of creative workshops offered by the university during the Spring Break.
Marjorie continued as Co-RA for the South African chapter of the SCBWI. Together with Dr Elaine Ridge (the other Co-RA) and their committee members she organized a variety of workshops, talks, get-togethers and review sessions for local children's book writers and illustrators. This year they organised a writers’ retreat and invited Alan Durant, well-known British children’s book writer, as the guest presenter.
Marjorie completed the rough illustrations for two children's books and the final illustrations for four more during 2015 - indeed a very busy year...
2016 is the year of the Monkey - Oh dear, Monkeys always seem to be so very, very busy and extremely active!