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The day I Illustrated a Children's book

(Long Post but with Pictures :-))

I'm happy to share with you my experience during the time I illustrated a children's book. I was part of team 7, comprised of Loreto the writer and Rofhiwa the designer and Kelly Norwood the editor at Book Dash Jozi in February this year(2017). It was a fun and exciting experience for me. I met and interacted with awesome writers, artists and designers from several African countries who thanks to World Reader and the Goethe Institute, had come together to create low-cost children’s books to promote a reading culture.

You can read Mogau’s Gift for free on the book dash app in the play store or their website

Mogau painting

Also check out the other intriguing books created by other talented writers and illustrators on the event. You can also download print ready files from the site and distribute to schools or friends under a cc-by license…means you have to credit the creators.


So how did it start?

I came across a post on Facebook inviting writers and illustrators to apply to be selected for the event.

BookDash Event poster

Like most artists, my imposter syndrome kicked in and told me not to apply. However, I still did...the following day at least. I thought to myself, what do I loose by applying? After about four months, I got a call asking weather I'd be interested to fly to Johannesburg to illustrate. Of course I was interested. Best random call ever!!

I had never bothered to get a passport but now I had a reason to. It was a smooth process, at least for me, and in no time I was on a flight to Johannesburg.

The Flight was only four hours long and went smoothly. Landing on a chilly morning in Johannesburg, I found my assigned driver holding a card written Goethe Institute as agreed before departure. He drove me to the Courtyard Hotel, where the rest of the team was staying. I have to say, Johannesburg is lovely!! I enjoyed ,my ride from RO Tambo airport.

I could then finally meet and join the entire team.


On a Saturday morning, we rose up early to embark on creating books for the kids. Everyone looked ecstatic with what was about to happen. It was an event that started at 9am and continued till 8pm where we would showcase our work. On a single Book Dash day, creative teams work fast to make beautiful children’s books that anyone can freely access, print and distribute. Its called BOOKDASH!!

Illustrators Briefing

After briefing, we got right into it.

I was so excited because, I was in a foreign country surrounded by amazing artists, designers and story-writers... soo much creativity in one place. plus, I had never done a children's book before!!

Get ready to start

sketch, sketch, sketch some more as time flies by quickly >>>>|

In the evening, some teams begun celebrating that they were through. I was in panic mode since I still had several pages to work on. More teams finished and I felt like I could give up but I soldiered on.

Presentation time

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to finish in time and had three pages left. I promised to finish them the following day. (I mean look a the detail!!!! my gaaawwwdd!!)

That was a lesson I learned on that day, sometimes you just have to compromise the quality of work due to the amount of time given. Well, I'm a perfectionist and I regret nothing, it looks amazing!! To me that's what matters. It's a book I'd have wanted to read/be read to as a child...

Other Notable Event was the School visits organized by World reader and Bookdash.

We were randomly paired to talk to young minds about stories. To help them learn how they too can become amazing story-tellers and illustrators. My partner was Lot from the Goethe Institute and Marima, a brilliant story teller. She prefers to be called Shi. Shi and I worked as a good team (see what I did there, I had to, couldn't resist)


We visited OLICO Youth. Its an school promoting Open Learning in Community and they provide Academic support for township school youth using technology to bridge gaps in learner knowledge. Their main focus is Maths & Literacy. Our host was Maxine, lovely lady.

Maxine, Lot, Shi, Shaddie

We were privileged to talk to the brilliant kids about story telling and Illustration. Shi and I took them through the process of creating an illustrated story where by, we gave them context and guide them in deciding how the story begun and ended as I illustrated. I showed them how to draw a simple character using fundamentals, SHAPES.

Believe me, teaching kids art is so much fun. I loved the gaze they had the entire duration of our session. Also seeing them confidently draw KYLE, our character was so rewarding for me. In the end, quite a number came to me to show me their masterpiece. That was quite a moment for me, the highlight of the day.

I'd love to do more events like that, where I interact with young minds who are open to learning how to draw or animate.

Later we goofed around.

Group pic at Olico

It was a good day!

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