Beth was interviewed by Shevonne Hunt for the awesome Kinderling radio show Kinderling Conversation, all about kids, health and relationships.
Anyone who uses crowdfunding to fund a project will tell you that it’s a lot of hard work.
They will advise everyone who comes after them to minimise rewards you need to post. To not include lots of little items. To pay a company to fulfill all the orders…
We didn’t follow that (good) advice. We have lots of different types of packages and elements to the rewards. We have been doing it ourselves… We have had a lot of help (thanks Mandy, James, Wendy, Daria, Marie, Trevor, Alan and Leo!).
It has been a massive undertaking. Fun a lot of the time. Overwhelming a lot of the time.
AFTER NINE TRIPS TO THE POST OFFICE, WE ARE EXCITED TO TELL YOU THAT ALL THE KICKSTARTER BOOK PACKAGES HAVE NOW BEEN SENT!!!
Australian copies should be with people by the end of November. International orders will take longer. You will hopefully have them by Christmas.
As for the digital downloads… I have been working hard on the e-book of blog posts (my Mum has been proofing them from her hospital bed, dear lady), and Jeff’s EP is taking shape. We are looking forward to making and sharing the other Kickstarter rewards: artworks, personal consultations and the launch are also still to come in early 2016. Thanks for your patience.
If you didn’t get the chance to pre-order a copy during the Kickstarter you can now buy the board book from our online shop!
I am giving a talk in Sydney on October 13 at the Lord Dudley Hotel in Woollahra.
It’s part of the great line up of talks and masterclasses organised by Mama Creatives.
It would be wonderful to see you there! You can purchase tickets here.
More about the talk:
Enjoy an inspiring, informative and passionate talk by artist, filmmaker, photographer and writer Beth Taylor, who will be sharing her story, body of work and discussing You’re Doing Great, Baby – a book she has co-written and illustrated with her husband – over dinner and drinks in the company of other creative mamas!
“Motherhood has profoundly altered my perception of myself and the world, and changed everything about my art practice. It’s taught me about love, compassion and struggle.”
A look at Beth’s diverse range of work – from photography to writing and illustration, infused with personal stories of the heart-bursting highs and gut-wrenching lows of being both a mother and an artist, and what she learnt from her experience of having postnatal depression and mild postnatal psychosis after the births of her two boys.
There will also be a raffle on the night to raise funds for PANDA.
Getting ready for the talk has prompted me to update my portfolio on our main website – hooray for deadlines. Check it out!
Penny Johnson from ABC’s great Babytalk podcast interviewed Beth about You’re Doing Great, Baby.
You’re Doing Great Baby! Is a picture book for babies but it has a subtle message .. parent’s you’re doing just great too! The book was born (like a lot of parenting projects) when a young couple realised that having a baby was a lot harder than they expected… and they really wanted a way of expressing this to friends and families while giving them support and encouragement as they went. So ‘You’re Doing Great Baby!’ was born, a picture book that when read out loud gives parents a beautiful affirmation that they are doing just fine too!
What an amazing month that was! We had never done anything like that before (writing and illustrating a book, publishing 21 blog posts in one month or creating and marketing a crowdfunding campaign) so we had no idea what it would be like. It was fun, emotionally exhausting, hard work and an amazing learning experience. And as Jeff is fond of reminding me IT’S NOT OVER YET! We still have rewards to create, a launch to plan and lots of other things to do.
Thank you so much to all the backers, and those who shared the project far and wide. The online copy of the book had over 4,000 page views which is amazing. The money raised by our Kickstarter project is enabling us to get 750 copies of the board book printed, along with producing the other rewards.
For those who didn’t pre-order a book and would like to buy one, please sign up for our newsletter (link below) and we’ll let you know when they’re ready to buy.
I was meaning to publish a thank you post on the blog earlier this week but I kept on falling asleep with the kids – knackered after pushing through August. And then I saw the pictures of Aylan Kurdi and I felt dumbstruck and deeply sad.
Feeling helpless, and somewhat hopeless, about the larger state of the world and at the same time hopeful for my own children makes me think about the big questions. What are we all doing here? How can I best use all the great good luck I’ve been given? What is my purpose in life?
I have wondered about this at different junctures in my life. When I was in primary school I wanted to save the world and be Prime Minister. At uni I thought my purpose was to create something of lasting value as an artist. And right now I think it’s to do my best to be kind. Kind to myself and others and the world. Years ago I would have thought that credo was lightweight or unambitious but the older I get the more it feels revolutionary. It’s one of those things that is elegantly simple, but if you look closely it’s actually really complex.
So we are getting doing our tax returns, writing mega lists of all the things left to do, taking the boys to swimming lessons, cooking, tidying, wiping up bits of boiled egg from the floor, donating money to refugee charities, going to work and coming home, writing blog posts… the stuff of a life we are very grateful for.
This is a post about finding ways to keep creating things when you’re a parent (other than breakfasts, lunches, dinners and clean laundry). And the joys and frustrations of being a parent who needs to create.
After a rocky start, becoming a Mum was the best thing that ever happened to me, both personally and creatively. I had always known that creative work was important to me, but there’s nothing like suddenly having a lot less time to make you stop procrastinating and just do something.
I trained as a documentary writer/director but I wasn’t confident enough about my work to pursue my ideas or apply for grants after I finished film school. I found a full-time permanent job that was related to film, and then pretty soon after that I got pregnant.
Once Leo was born and I had recovered from the shock of it all I was drawn to creative practice I could fit into nap-time and didn’t require other people, big budgets or expensive equipment. I had also grown up a lot and cared less about what other people thought of my work.
Parenting is a hugely creative thing to be engaged in. You are constantly adapting to suit your child/ren’s needs and playing imaginative games, playing with language, song, paint, dance and all sorts of different media (ATM my youngest, Clem, is into wood-chips and banana, and Leo is into pastels and mask making). But it’s not enough for me to just facilitate their creative expression – I want a turn too!
There’s lots of time to daydream but not very much time to actually put pen to paper, brush to canvas or fingers to keyboard.
“I had to learn to be fast, faster than I’d ever been, for every second counts with a child. I had to teach myself to commit phrases and words to memory when I did not have a pen, to scribble notes to myself on the backs of envelopes … I learnt to compose everything in my head rather than on the page, to have whole paragraphs, whole chapters, completely worked out before I even sat down.
… I write this book in my dreams, in buses, in the quiet moments before I go to sleep, in the ink of my blood. I have learnt to write in air.”
– Susan Johnson, A Better Woman: A Memoir
Although we were talking about picture ideas from the beginning, Jeff and I wrote the text for You’re Doing Great, Baby (which you can read in full online here) before we drew any pictures for it.
Jeff is by far the better drawer of the two of us, and we thought it would be fun to keep the project just us, so he did the drawings and I coloured them in with watercolours.
If I ever need proof that practicing something over and over makes you better at it, then this is it. Jeff drew and drew, honing the characters as he went. I coloured some of the pictures five times before we were happy with them.
Some pictures (like Mum and Baby lying on the mat on the grass) took two weeks to finish. So many blades of grass! And we did that one three or four times.
Here are some examples of the evolution of the artworks.
Jeff needed quite a bit of persuasion before he was willing to draw the pictures for our book. I like to call him “the reluctant illustrator”. It sounds all elusive and brooding – which if you’ve ever met Jeff is totally not how he is.
I love Jeff’s illustrations so much, and it was incredible to watch his drawings get better and better as he practiced. I’m going to do a post about the evolution of the artworks soon.
While we were still coming up with the story, we toyed around with the idea of having illustrations of lots of different parents and babies (a la favourites The Baby’s Catalogue or Look At You! A Baby Body Book). But in the end we decided that the best way to tell the story was to depict one parent (a Mum – the most common primary care-giver) and baby.
A lot of the illustrations you see in the book were inspired by experiences we had had and photos from Leo and Clem’s early life. Here are some examples:
I will spare you the photo of me going to the toilet with a baby on my lap. Although variations on that scenario happen almost daily, we had to stage it because funnily enough that wasn’t part of our family album.
Jeff and I have finished all the illustrations for the book, apart from the front and back cover and the dedication page. So in other words, we are getting there!
It has been all hands on deck in our house…
You can read more about our process and how we are co-writing and co-illustrating the book here.