IF the test of a good book illustrator is how well their pictures connect to the text, then multi-talented Langwarrin resident Nicky Johnston has nailed it.
The former Frankston High School student’s pictures – which have been described as “whimsical”, “soft” and “emotional” – will now be enjoyed by children and their parents around the globe, with the Frankston launch of her latest project, The Fix-It Man, by an international publisher.
The children’s book deals with grief and loss in a subtle, sensitive way, and is the first illustration project that the artist, speaker, author and educator hasn’t written herself.
Ms Johnston will join Queensland author Dimity Powell for the book’s launch at Frankston Library on 18 March, featuring guest presenter BeyondBlue CEO Georgie Harman.
A mother of four children, the primary school teacher and author of six books has plenty of experience using pictures to deliver serious messages.
She has written and illustrated a series of children’s book on challenging subjects, such as anxiety in young people, and knew immediately that The Fix-It Man was a project she wanted to tackle.
“As soon as I read it, the images came to me instantly and I visualised the pictures that would help tell the story,” she said.
“This book tackles the serious subject of loss and grief, but it is so beautifully told and delightfully filled with hope and love that it really connects with people.”
Ms Johnston is also the director of a Facebook group that runs a 52-week illustration challenge with weekly themes to inspire and motivate artists and help them network with publishers and each other.
“Pictures can help increase the depth of understanding of some difficult subjects, and when the publisher of The Fix-It Man saw my illustration challenge pictures on Facebook they thought they’d suit the book, so I am really thrilled to be involved.”
The launch, between 1-3pm, on Saturday 18 March, will also include signings, kids’ activities, afternoon tea and raffle prizes.
Search for ‘The Fix-It Man Booklaunch’ at eventbrite.com.au or call Frankston Library on 9784 1020 to attend the event.