• Update… 2016 overview to see what Marjorie did in 2016

    Update… An 2015 overview to see what Marjorie did in 2015

    Update… An 2014 overview to see what Marjorie did in 2014 – Go to http://www.marjorie-cv.blogspot.com/2014/11/marjorie-van-heerdens-2014-childrens.html

    Update… An 2013 overview to see what Marjorie did in 2013 – Go to http://www.marjorie-cv.blogspot.com/2014/01/marjorie-van-heerdens-2013.html

    Update… An 2012 overview Go to http://www.marjorie-cv.blogspot.com/2013/01/marjorie-van-heerdens-2012.html to see all the “fun” I had in 2012 – a busy year for me. Also go to see the blog I made about the books, Numbers Do and Ears Hear (a pair of bilingual books for very young children written by Chu-Ren Huang & Kathleen Ahrens and illustrated by Me) published by a Chinese publisher Sun-Ya in 2012. http://booksfromtheeast.blogspot.com/ 

    CV before 2012

    Marjorie van Heerden grew up on a farm in the Hex River Valley in South Africa. From an early age she loved drawing animals and fairies and people and dinosaurs and children and dragons and monsters and today they appear in all shapes and sizes in the more than 100 books that feature her work. Since the publication of her first children’s picture book in 1983 Marjorie van Heerden has been published as illustrator or illustrator/author in 33 languages in Africa, England, Europe, the East, Canada and the USA.
    She and her husband lived and worked in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, South Africa for 20 years, in Johannesburg (SA) for another ten, travelled for eighteen months on honeymoon in a camper van around Europe, lived for a year on the banks of Lake Michigan in the USA and for four years in a forest on a mountain north of Athens in Greece. From each of these places Marjorie drew inspiration for her menagerie of animals, fairies, dragons, monsters and people.
    Since 2003 the Van Heerdens live next to the sea in Gordon’s Bay, once again near Cape Town. Their two children are grown up and out of the house. Marjorie’s studio is in the loft and she sits looking at the magnificent view over False Bay while she writes and illustrates her stories.
    Marjorie tirelessly works for the development of South African children’s book writers and illustrators and in 2003 she started the South African chapter of the international Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI) based in Los Angeles and active in more than 40 countries around the globe. She is currently the co-regional advisor of the SA chapter. (She also started the SCBWI chapter in Greece in 2000).
    In 2009 Human & Rousseau Publishers commissioned Marjorie van Heerden to illustrate André P. Brink’s Afrikaans translation of Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). The publication coincided with the celebrated novelist, scholar and translator’s 75th birthday.
    In 2008 Marjorie, with children’s book author, Wendy Hartmann, won the M.E.R Award for best illustrated children’s book, for Nina and Little Duck published by Human & Rousseau (SA) in 2007 (also available in Afrikaans) and in 2011 she won the W.B Mkhize Award given by the Usiba Writers’ Guild for Uhambo LukaLulama Olude (Zulu version of Lulama’s long way home, which she wrote and illustrated (Giraffe Books, an imprint of Pan MacMillan.
    She has just completed two Chinese children’s picture books written by Kathleen Ahrens, the SCBWI Regional Advisor chairperson and Chu-Ren Huang. Published in China in 2012  – 


  • I love picture books. I remember when I was about four years old my mother gave me a book called Ferdinand the Bull (first published in 1937). Half a century later I realize what a profound impact that little book had on me – in my young mind it triggered a fascination with the interaction between words and pictures. I remember pouring over that book and loving lines like “His mother saw that he was not lonely, and because she was an understanding mother; even though she was a cow, she let him just sit there and be happy.” I remember some pictures showed far away scenes with big empty white areas on the rest of the page and other pictures showed close-up figures completely filling the page. I wanted to draw pictures like that. Later, when it became clear that my dyslexia made words harder than pictures, I started focusing more and more on expressing myself though drawing, even as a child. And it all started with a little bull who loved smelling the flowers.
    To share a few notes on the technique and materials I currently enjoy using when I illustrate a children’s picture book: After completing a full set of rough pencil drawings and sorting out the design and layout of the book, I like to choose a specific paper that would suit the atmosphere of the story best. Generally I find that a fast-paced story wants a rougher paper, whereas an intimate, quiet story benefits from a smoother, fine paper on which I can do much more detailed work. I then redraw the illustration onto the selected paper, often using a light box. Next I paint a wash onto the illustration area of the page to indicate light source and finish the detailed drawing with crayons over the wash.
    I use Caran d’Ache ‘Neocolor II Aquarelle’ oil pastels. Oil pastels that are water soluble! It also scans very well. Four makes of paper that work well for me are Canson Mi-teintes 160g/m2 (when I want yo use a colour paper), Fabriano 4 Liscio 220g/m2 (especially when working in Monochrne – Pen and ink or conti pencil), Bainbridge Coquille Bristol #2 Has a lovely texture – I did the Alice in Wonderland illustrations on this paper) and Saunders HP 190 grms – (wonderful for washes – takes watercolour very well), I currently like the last one best…

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