12 x 12 Challenge – Writing 12 PB drafts in 12 months

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but I did not vanish into thin air

I’ve been busy with writing and with editing as well as posting my illustration efforts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Writing for children

Writing children’s picture books may sound easy. But don’t be fooled! I’ve worked many years as an editor for IT, finance and research content and can say this much: children’s books are just as complex if not more complex to bring to perfection!

Ready to submit? Not so fast!

I thought I was ready to submit my children’s picture book manuscript ‘Miah and the Moon’. Approximately last August I realised I really wasn’t!

Be prepared

This means, should I be in the lucky position that a literary agent or publisher expresses their interest in ‘Miah and the Moon’ I would need to have at least two additional polished manuscripts ready. Unfortunately, I don’t.

Decompress and get back in the game

After a moment of anxiety followed by long walks in nature, various yoga routines and silent meditations, I realised the moment to act is ‘now’. Now is the time to act on whatever I felt was missing for me to submit my work and fill the gaps. And so I did.

Go for it in whichever way suits you best. But go for it!

After searching for the right solution to my problem I nailed it down to two options: Either becoming an SCWBI member or a 12 x 12 member.

Becoming a 12 x 12 member

Because the main factor for my despair last August 2017 was that I needed more written material to show for, I went and subscribed to the 12 x 12 challenge membership. If you’re unfamiliar with 12 x 12, it’s a one year challenge with the goal to produce 12 picture book manuscript (drafts) in 12 months.

So far so good


I polished the ‘Miah and the Moon’ manuscript and got familiar with the 12 x 12 forum and how things work. It’s a lot of information to take in and takes time to learn it all. The community is supportive and kind. One of the many benefits of being a member: I did not miss out on the picture book pitch events over on Twitter this year!


I’ve written a second picture book draft called ‘Mikkie and Molly’. It’s still unpolished but has taken a satisfying shape already. I’m eager to sketch a few illustration and storyboard samples, already.


Last but not least, while illustrating a cow, I was kissed by a muse to write a picture book draft titled ‘Matilda flies with Birds’. In this example, a simple sketch led to a picture book story.


I love to draw and to tell stories. It gives me immense pleasure to combine illustrating and writing. Before joining 12 x 12, I thought I may have to give up one or the other. But now I’ve discovered it is more than okay to do both. I’m not alone.

12 x 12

The registration deadline for 12 x 12 is closed to new members. But if you follow the link: 12 x 12 Membership you can opt to be alerted when registration for 2019 opens. Please feel free to ask me any questions regarding the 12 x 12 challenge in the comments below. I’ll try my best to answer them.Until then, I’ll be posting my 12 x 12  journey on this blog. Maybe it’ll help you decide whether it’s as good fit for you as it is for me.


Doing a little writing challenge and combining it with my daily sketch for 60 days.

I’ll be writing everyday at least 500 words (unedited) for 31 days. Both challenges are intended for the extra exercise and routine.

Of course I am also wishing to create engaging content for you, too. But please forgive me if I’m just rambling on.

As for today, it marks the third day of my daily sketch and the second day of the writing challenge.

Time: gouache and gold ink; daily sketch day 3/60


I did not intend to paint clocks. And, had I realised what a terribly complex topic writing about the concept of time would turn out to be, I would have painted some simple blotches to which I could have wrote just anything! But I stuck it through, for better of for worse. Tomorrow I’ll need to come up with something simpler to write about. 😉

Time (31 day writing challenge 2/31)

The last couple of years, I’ve had a feeling that time is passing really fast. And I mean, really fast! 2016 felt not different. Is time flying by? Or am I flying with time?

Accepting age as a factor for a fast time perception alone does not satisfy me at all. I really dislike when people blame ‘whatever’ on age. But I’ll give the age argument a fair chance and contemplate its influence on my personal time perception:

Let me travel back to when I was a toddler. I barely remember anything in the first couple of years of my life. Or let’s phrase it differently; I’ve go no memory of time related sensations. I’m guessing, as a child, I still did not have enough awareness to add the time factor into the experiences I was making. Early on in life, my only concern was to quench my thirst or hunger, poop, rest or explore this strange new place I found myself in and be as cute as possible to make sure the ones feeding me (my parents – a concept I did not understand in the beginning of my existence) will continue with keeping me warm, dry and well fed.

Around the age of three and four, memories started to kick in and got archived. Gradually there were more things to remember and more things to look forward to. A great experience wished to be repeated and not so great ones, well, avoided. And before I even realised it happening, I was stuck in either past memories (good or bad) or dreaming or fearing the future, disassociating myself from the present.

I feel that my ability as a child to be more in the present did not stem from my age as such, but from my disinterest in the past and the future and an in-the-moment concentration on what I was experiencing. The more I grew into the time concept of past and future, the more I was jolted out of the ‘timeless’ experience of the now into a decelerated perception of my passing days and existence.

As I grew older troubles and worries derived from challenging circumstances made life harder. Worries in particular are like chains that couple past traumas with future angst. It’s like an endless loop in coding or a dog chasing its tale. There is no clear beginning nor visible end to worries. Looking back I can say that worries decelerated my time perception massively.

Until, well, because I set upon a path to consciously return to the present moment, which in my case would be by means of yoga and meditation I was able to break out of the endless loop and feeling of stagnation.

Time can pass quickly when we are engaged in something we enjoy, but it can also pass quickly while we are engaged in so much ‘doing’ that we miss out on the ‘being’, which in my opinion is also a lesser than desirable state of being. There needs to be a balance of movement and stillness within time.

Thinking about it, from a happy person’s perspective life will not seem much longer than a blink of an eye. For a person who is suffering, life is an endless endurance and time seemingly stands still.

The thing is, circumstances cannot necessarily be influenced directly or even changed. Life will always bring its fair share of challenging situations. There will always be things do that I do not enjoy so much. But, whatever the circumstance, I can always decide to be happy and engage in life with utmost awareness and aliveness to make the best of the present moment and fly with time.

Time should not just fly by nor should it stand still. We should fly with time and make best use of it.


For now, I just want to fall into bed!

Good night and sweet dreams.

Happy New Year! To a delightful 2017!

I’m sitting in my office/kitchen looking out the window and admiring snowflakes softly floating from the night sky. It’s the first snowfall this winter season. To me, snowflakes are absolutely beautiful, magical, divine.

When looking at a whole year, snowy nights are rather rare. Maybe this is what makes them so special?

But now back to what I actually showed up to this post for:


I hope your two first days started off well!

May you experience a juicy year full of

love, light, and positively surprising and consciousness expanding moments!

To a delightful 2017!

Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock
Spirit Animal Guides for 2017: whale, octopus, slug, hawk, white peacock

Every end of the year, I do a shamanic journey to find my spirit animal for the upcoming one. This year is no different, except that it brings with it an abundance of spirit animal guides to join my year’s journey: whale, octopus, slug, hawk and white peacock.

I’m also getting a strong feeling that this year will have its fair share of possibilities and upcoming opportunities. My only concern is whether I’ll be brave enough to seize the opportunity as it arises. The thing about opportunities is: they are fleeting and cannot be thought over for too long. Unfortunately, I can be an ‘over thinker’ and I believe, I’ve missed many a good opportunity because of it. May my spirit animal guides help me out of the maze of over thinking into the vast skies of clarity.

Furthermore, this totem pole marks the first page of a sketch book with 60 blank pages. I received it for my birthday last year and have decided to do a simple sketch (mainly colour) a day. The purpose of this tiny exercise is to relax into whatever is being created. Kind of like a ‘creative stretching’ or ‘colour meditation’. It’s about letting go of the mind and being the observer of where the hand and brush takes me.

It does not have to result in anything other than trying out something new and daring to fail (as in disharmonious colour combinations, or wobbly lines or whatever else I [my judgemental mind] may not be happy with). I think it is important to have the freedom to fail in art. Because, maybe I will created 59 pages of b.s. but the 60th page will be a revelation of new creative potentials. It might even take 60x60page sketchbooks before that happens. Doesn’t matter, it will take as many pages and sketchbooks as it will take. All that counts is that I show up to the page and fill them with lines and colour as well as breathe deeply and relax into the activity.

page 2 of 60
page 2 of 60


Time to breathe deeply. Good night.

Advent Day 17 – Marks my Bday & White Peacock Revisited

Yep, I’m a full-fledged Sagittarius.

Usually, I don’t write about my birthday – but today something is somewhat different.

Yesterday’s ‘White Peacock’ illustration was so disturbing to me. I literally loathed it! And this feeling continued throughout the night and during today’s Advent and, well, my birthday, too.

I decided, the illustration needed to be revisited. I needed to create an improved version for today’s advent – although I had many other ideas: cake with candles, gingerbread man with birthday cake, huge cupcake with candle, Mrs Santa baking birthday cake, etc.

But the power of the White Peacock was stronger and demanded my attention. And, it was only after another session of peacock feather and symmetry frustration that I understood why.


Peacock Revisited
Peacock Revisited


The way I see it, birthdays mark the beginnings of a personal new year.

And although, in my case, the general New Year is only two weeks away from my personal one, these transitions happen differently, yet possess identical power in terms of introspection.

Every general New Year, I seek out an animal spirit totem that will guide me with its wisdom through the new year.

To find the animal spirit totem, I will use a deck of cards. If a real-life animal gets my attention before I lay the deck of cards on New Year’s eve, I will go with it. Last year it was a gecko and it indeed guided me well through this year.

Sometimes, it takes me a while to register the animal that is seeking my attention.

Like with the white peacock, where it took me a good day of annoyance over an illustration to tune into its symbolism.

To recognise the animal messenger (whether in meditations, dreams, in real life, in my mind, or even whilst googling for something entirely different),  something in my mind, heart or soul needs to start to move (annoyance – or amazement, awe, disgust, etc.). It usually triggers some kind of emotional or cognitive response.

And this is what happened today:

I was working on the peacock illustration when I received a beautiful birthday message from a very dear friend of mine that touched me to tears. One of the things he wrote was:

May you shine like a Sun for centuries in the millions of hearts! ‘Lavanya’ [meaning of name] is the life force and you represent that! ~ Madan

I was not feeling ‘unhappy’ today. I had a nice day. But maybe I could describe the feeling with ’empty’ or ‘pointless’ and still discontent with the ‘bloody’ peacock.

Upon reading Madan’s touching message, things shifted to the better. I also felt the urge to research white peacock animal spirit totem meanings.

I discovered, there is a connection between Madan’s message, the meaning of my name and the message of the white peacock.

In short, if I really wish to tap into my life force, the force (wait a minute, this reminds me: the new Star Wars movie is out! 😉 – anyways, where was I? Ah yes – ) that makes me shine from within and gives me the ability to touch hearts as I move down the path of life:  White Peacock will be my guide in the upcoming year.

Also, quite clear to me now: the illustration is not to my liking yet,  because I need yet to ‘become’ the White Peacock.

There is much more to the White Peacock’s message, but I will leave it at this for now. I’ve got 365 days to imbibe its message and teachings – and to get the illustration right! – Don’t worry, I will not post ‘a peacock a day’ until 17th Dec 2017! 😀


May the force be with you!

Celebrating Autumn

For tonight’s #colour_collective colour Orange:

Celebrating Autumn for #colour_collective's Orange: made with photohop
Celebrating Autumn for #colour_collective’s Orange: made with Photoshop

Missed out on last week’s #colour_collective, which was Sage Gray, thanks to a two-day long migraine and a back spasm. Nothing to worry about, though, as I am recovering steadily.

But, isn’t it usually only after a physical system crash that we are made aware of what we normally take for granted?

Every day, this complex construct we call body gets its job done day and night!

And very often we torture it with stupid habits. I tend to sit for too many hours in front of the computer screen, Wacom screen or easel. I tend to push my creative flows beyond my physical limits. And that’s just stupid!

One should always strive for the middle way.

That is why I am also so ever grateful for yoga as it supports a speedy but gentle recovery. I am picking up my swimming routine again, too. I do love to swim but sometimes, when it comes to sports, lethargy or lazy bum behaviour gets the best of me.

As for right now, I shall not exaggerate with sitting for too long in front of the computer straining my head, shoulders and back obsessing over typos, synonyms, and grammar. Please forgive if my writing comes across as sloppy tonight.

And while I am physically limited in terms of how long I can sit in front of the computer, stand in front of my easel or walk around a day, I’m using this time to contemplate and plot my #inktober content (an inked drawing a day in October – for details see on Mr Jake Parker’s website and do consider joining!)

Last year, I missed the boat and only managed to hop on at the end of the month with a couple of Halloween themed inked illustrations.

This year, I wish to create a story – something like a graphic novel or picture book story.

And although the content may not turn out to be a masterpiece, this #inktober shall be remembered as:
‘The one that crashed my writer’s block’.

Hope you’ll join me!

Happy September 2016 Equinox!


Catching up with #colour_collective: Rose Quartz, Viridian, Deep Lilac, Naples Yellow & Cool Grey and #MeetTheCCArtist

To fill my creative well*, 2016 began with a thorough detox in a contemplative and meditative manner.

Meanwhile, the desire to catch up with and rejoin the wonderful #colour_collective community arose and I’ve decided to combine all that I have missed out on so far in one image:

Catching up with #colour_collective: Rose Quartz, Viridian, Deep Lilac, Naples Yellow & Cool Grey and #MeetTheCCArtist
Catching up with #colour_collective: Rose Quartz, Viridian, Deep Lilac, Naples Yellow & Cool Grey and #MeetTheCCArtist
Before #colour_collective’s 2016 sequel commenced on 22 January, #colour_collective artists came together on Twitter to introduce themselves through #MeetTheCCArtist on 15 January, 2016.

Something definitely worth checking out on Twitter, in case you haven’t already – lovely art works!

Hm, while writing this post, I’ve just noticed that thanks to my #MeetTheCCArtist contribution, I am a step closer to adding an ‘About’ page to this blog.

Wishing all a lovely weekend!


(*see Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’)

Late #colour_collective – Myrtle Green #illo_advent day 11 – At the Fireplace

'At the Fireplace' for #colour_collective's Myrtle Green and #illo_advent day 11
‘At the Fireplace’ for #colour_collective’s Myrtle Green and #illo_advent: black pigment liner 0.1, mixed media paper made from 90% bamboo fibre and 10% rag, 24cmx32cm, 265g/sqm, Photoshop



Entering the hex code for Myrtle Green into Photoshop is definitely easier than trying to mix the colour with the available ones in my colour palette mainly consisting of Yellow, Cyan and Magenta.

Unlike what I expected, I do like the simplicity of the outcome of this one.

But, this will be my last #colour_collective contribution for 2015.

Every artist needs a break now and then in order to ‘fill the well’ – as Julia Cameron in her book *’The Artist’s Way’ puts it so nicely – so now it is time to fill mine.

And, in case you are still looking for Christmas presents, I’ve just set up a teeny tiny shop at Society6 with currently two of my works: available are prints of my blue/yellow ‘French bulldog‘ painting (acrylic on canvas) and ‘Fascination‘ painting (water-colour on mixed media paper).

Link to the shop: http://www.society6.com/babybluesnowflake

More is to follow in 2016.

Last but not least, a huge big thank you to all my followers and visitors to this blog for viewing, liking, commenting on and sharing my artwork. Your support and encouragement is very much appreciated and I plan to be back with a lot more **’one baby step at a time’.

May you all experience a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

*A highly recommended read!

**quoted from the book ‘The Artist’s Way’.


Another yoga-themed illustration for this evening’s #colour_collective colour Robin Egg Blue.

Natarajasana for #colour_collective’s colour Robin Egg Blue: black pigment liner 0.05 & 0.1, water colours, mixed media paper made from 90% bamboo fibre and 10% rag, 24cmx32cm, 265g/sqm
Natarajasana for #colour_collective’s colour Robin Egg Blue: black pigment liner 0.05 & 0.1, water colours, mixed media paper made from 90% bamboo fibre and 10% rag, 24cmx32cm, 265g/sqm


Not sure if I will ever make it to Mount Kailash, but it certainly is on my list of things to do some day.

Mountains in general fill me with awe and reverence.

But when it comes to traveling to Mount Kailash, I get the distinct feeling it must be an extraordinary and very rewarding undertaking.

Although, I did read that traveling to Mount Kailash can be quite a challenge on a physical as well as on a mental level.

After all, we are speaking about altitudes between 4600 meters and 5500 meters – I reckon it is wise to be well prepared.

As for now, an easier undertaking – an illustrated journey to Mount Kailash.


Next week’s colour for #colour_collective is yet to be announced.

For more information see @Clr_Collective and @PennyNevilleLee (#colour_collective creator) and do check out the wonderful illustrations that were posted so far.

Wishing all a peaceful and happy weekend!

Lucid Dream

for #paintseptember day 7

Lucid Dreaming: black pigment liner 0.2, Indian ink, water colours, gold leaf
Lucid Dreaming: black pigment liner 0.2, Indian ink, water colours, gold leaf

Lucid Dream

Profoundly deep,
calm blue.
Royalty lies
within your hue.

Peaceful waters
of the ocean,
reflecting clarity
through devotion.

In all Her splendor
and majesty,
Nanda Devi
beckons me:

be brave,
come to me.