Video transcript
NSW Premier's Reading Challenge 2024 - Launch and Sami Bayly guided illustration

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[intro music]

JADE ARNOLD: Hi, and welcome to the 2024 NSW Premier's Reading Challenge. My name is Jade Arnold, and I have the phenomenal privilege of running the PRC, and I'm joined today by the amazing Australian author and illustrator, Sami Bayly, who is the illustrator of our beautiful PRC artwork this year, and we're here to celebrate the start of the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge as it enters its 23rd year. Welcome, Sami, and thank you for joining us. How are you today?

SAMI BAYLY: I'm great. Thanks for having me today. It's going to be lots of fun.

JADE ARNOLD: Amazing. It's so lovely to have you with us. So, Sami, every year, hundreds of thousands of students all across NSW take part in the reading challenge. Last year, over 430,000 students from 2,800 schools participated. So, if you're one of the hundreds of thousands of students out there participating again this year, and whether it's your first year or your 10th participating, welcome to our digital launch.

Today, we're going to talk to you about why we hope you'll join us for another massive year of reading this year. We're also going to go over the rules to the PRC and show you how to log your reading on the student experience site.

Sami is going to talk to us about her amazing career as an author and illustrator, and she's also going to share about the inspiration behind creating the artwork for this year's poster, and she's then going to lead us in a guided illustration. So, make sure that you have a pencil and a sheet of paper ready. Are you ready, Sami?

SAMI BAYLY: Oh, yes.

JADE ARNOLD: Amazing. Let's get started. Chapter 1. Rules of the Premier's Reading Challenge. The PRC is a reading challenge open to all students in NSW from Kindergarten to Year 10, and its aim is to encourage students to read for enjoyment. By participating in this challenge, we want you to set aside time to read, to read more than you would ordinarily, and to read different genres or different types of books that you might not otherwise read. Most importantly, we want you to enjoy the books that you read because that's what the PRC is all about.

COURTNEY: Reading for my own enjoyment, it kind of takes you into a new world. So, your imagination kind of grows to a new level.

JAKE: 'Cause I love to read. It passes the time.

COURTNEY: I think that now, with phones and stuff, it's very hard to have wild imaginations, and books can help it.

JOSI: I love it because it's almost-- it is as entertaining as a movie, and you can take a book anywhere, and it just kind of transports me to another world where I can just enjoy it.

CHARLIE: I wanted to take part in the PRC this year because me and my dad set a list of goals this year, and one of them was to read a lot of books. So, it aligns perfectly.

NATE: Well, when my teacher told me about it, that I can be part of this challenge, and I already read enough, so I decided, why not give it a go?

JOSI: Well, I love reading, and I love a challenge, and I thought it would be great motivation for me to pick up more books and just expand my little circle of literature.

ALYSSA: A few of my friends were doing it, and I wanted to try and read a bit more and get back into reading because I haven't read a lot the last few years.

JANENE ROSSER: Well, my first love is reading through being an English teacher. So, anything to do with reading, I'm excited about. I'm excited to see the library come to life, and the heart of the school is the library, and the learning culture of the school is represented through the library. So, to see us abuzz with enjoying reading and a bit of competition with the reading is exciting.

ELISABETH DUBOIS: The PRC is a great framework to get students to read more books more widely, especially from diverse authors, and that gets students to experience things from a different lens, and what it does do is create more empathetic readers.

JADE ARNOLD: If you're someone who already reads a lot, this probably sounds pretty easy to you. So, we hope that you'll take on the challenge of reading 20 or 30 books this year. But if you're someone who hasn't enjoyed reading in the past or hasn't for a little while, there are over 11,000 books on the PRC booklists to choose from, with a wide range of novels, graphic novels, verse novels, non-fiction titles, and picture books for every challenge level.

So, there's a book out there for everyone. We hope you can work with your teacher librarian, your friends, and your parents or carers, to help you find books that you'll fall in love with as you work towards completing the Challenge.

Let's go through the rules of the PRC. Students need to complete their online student reading record by the closing date of the Challenge and have it validated by their school's PRC coordinator to receive a certificate. In 2024, the PRC closes on the 23rd of August at 11:59 pm.

There are 5 different challenge levels within the PRC, and the rules vary slightly for each challenge level. There's the K-2 Challenge, the 3-4 Challenge, the 5-6 Challenge, the 7-10 Challenge, and the 3-10 Challenge for students with additional learning needs or disabilities.

If you are in Kindergarten to Year 2, you need to read 30 books in total. These books can be read to you by someone else. You can buddy read with another student or you can read your books independently. All books that you read can be in English or in your home language. If you can read simple chapter books on your own, then you can attempt the 3-4 Challenge instead.

If you're in Year 3 to Year 10, you need to read 20 books in total. You must read the books on your own, but someone else can help you choose them. Personal choice books can be read in your home language, but Challenge books need to be read in English. Books read since last year's Challenge closed can be added to your online reading log for this year.

There are 2 different types of books that you can read on the PRC: Challenge books and personal choice books. A Challenge book is a book on the PRC booklist for your challenge levels. You can find books on the PRC booklists by searching the student experience site. Many school libraries and some public libraries also identify PRC Challenge books on their online catalogues and by placing stickers on the spines of a book.

If you're participating in the K-2 Challenge, you need to read a minimum of 20 Challenge books. If you're participating in any other challenge level, you need to read a minimum of 10 PRC Challenge books from your challenge level booklists.

If you're reading Challenge books from an approved PRC series, up to 5 books from this series can count towards your PRC Challenge books, and up to 10 more can be added as personal choice books. A personal choice book is any book that is not on the PRC booklist or is on a booklist outside of your challenge level.

All students on all challenge levels can read and log up to 10 personal choice books. The remaining books must be from relevant PRC booklists. Before we go any further, let's look at the series rule.

Let's say that you decided to read all 18 books in the 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series this year, which is an approved series on the 5-6 booklist, and you wanted to add those to your online student reading record for the PRC. The first 5 books that you entered would appear as PRC Challenge books on your reading record.

The next 10 books will automatically be added as personal choice books, taking up all 10 choice spots on your reading record. You wouldn't be able to enter any other personal choice books on your reading record, including the remaining 3 books in the series. Series books can be added to your reading record in any order, and series that are 5 books or less do not trigger the series rule.

If you're having any issues finding books to read or logging your books on your online reading record, make sure you talk to your school's PRC coordinator for help. Every student who completes their online reading record and has it validated by their PRC coordinator will receive a certificate signed by the premier of NSW.

There are also 3 milestone awards that recognise ongoing reading: the gold certificate, the platinum certificate and the PRC medal. Students receive a gold certificate after successfully completing the PRC 4 times and a platinum certificate after completing it 7 times. The years that you participate do not have to be consecutive. This means that you can earn a gold or a platinum certificate even if there are years that you haven't participated in the PRC.

The PRC medal is the highest award a NSW student can receive for reading, and it is only awarded to students in Years 9 or 10. It recognises 7 years of independent completion of the PRC, and it is awarded to Year 9 students who have participated in the Challenge every year without missing a year from Year 3 to Year 9 inclusive, or to Year 10 students who have completed the PRC 7 times between Year 3 and Year 10, meaning that they have only missed completing the PRC once. Students can only receive a medal once, either in Year 9 or in Year 10.

Chapter 2. Recording your books on the PRC website. Now that you're familiar with the rules of the PRC, it's important that you know how to add your books to your online student reading record. If you navigate to the PRC site via the student portal, it will take you straight to the student experience site.

But if you perform a Google search for the PRC website or if you type in the URL, it will take you to the main site first. Click on the banner image here, which will take you to the student experience site. Then click Log In in the top right corner and enter your Department of Education username and password. When logged in, an avatar will appear here.

The yellow search bar is designed to help you find books that you might like to read as part of the PRC. You can discover books by your challenge level or by genre, and you can combine multiple options to create a targeted shortlist for you.

Scroll through the list to find books that you might be interested in. Click on a book to bring up a summary of the book to help you decide if you'd like to read it. You can add a book to your save list by clicking on the Bookmark icon. This will help you keep track of books that you would like to read, and you can then use your save list to help you find books in your library to read for the PRC.

The blue search bar is designed to help you check if a specific book is on a PRC booklist, and you can search by title, author, PRC ID, or the book's ISBN.

Once you have read a book, start building your online reading record by clicking the Add to Reading Log button. As you add books to your reading record, you'll level up, and your avatar will change to reflect your new level. To view your saved books, your reading log, or your Challenge history, click on the avatar in the top right corner.

Your PRC record saves all the books that you've saved for future reading, and you can add these to your reading record or remove them from your save list if needed. The second tab displays your reading log. You can continue to add Challenge books here by using this search bar.

If you've read a book that doesn't appear on the PRC booklists, add it here as a choice book by entering the book's title and author. Click on the third tab and then the hyperlink to view your Challenge history. If you've participated in the PRC in a previous year, but your record isn't showing, please speak to your PRC coordinator, as your record from a different school might need to be merged.

Your school's PRC coordinator might also help you with logging and ask you to record your reading on a paper log. So, make sure that you check with your teacher or your PRC coordinator about how they want you to record your reading.

Chapter 3. Interview with Sami Bayly. Now, Sami, you and I had an amazing time at Newcastle High School on the 26th of February to celebrate the launch of the PRC this year.

It was a pretty special day for students and staff at Newcastle High School because it was their first time that they're going to run the PRC, both as a part of their reading program and as an opt-in challenge that any Year 7-10 student can undertake. There was drawing. There was laughs. There were a lot of poo stories. How did you find it?

SAMI BAYLY: I loved it. I love telling poo stories if you couldn't tell. Now, we had a great time. We were teaching the kids how to draw a certain part of the poster that you see behind us. But we're going to be doing something different today.

But I was able to share my experience of making this poster, share all of the behind-the-scenes pictures and things like that, and it was a great experience.

JADE ARNOLD: It was phenomenal. I know I was in stitches most of the time, so I can't wait to see what's in store for today. So, Sami, if you had the chance when you were at school, do you think you would have participated in the PRC, and if so, why?

SAMI BAYLY: Oh, definitely, definitely. I would have loved to. I had a stack of books as a kid from maybe early primary school till late high school. I had a stack of books that I would go to my local library, and I would borrow, and they were all very different styles of book.

Some were non-fiction. Some were fiction. Some were fantasy. Some were kind of silly, little fiction books that were ridiculous and had lots of poo stories, apparently, and so I would have a stack of books by my bedside table, and I would read a chapter of each book before going to bed, and so I feel like that is maybe one of the ways that you could do this is certainly by reading different books at a time. Or maybe you would want to separate them entirely. But that's what I did. So, I think I would have been perfect for this.

JADE ARNOLD: Yeah, very much a mood reader vibe that I'm picking up there, which is very much how I read. Or as a lot of my friends like to say, I'm a chaos reader.

SAMI BAYLY: Oh, cool. I love that. I didn't know there was such a thing.

JADE ARNOLD: Yeah. But for all the non-chaos readers out there, it doesn't matter if you read one book at a time or 10 as long as you're having a good time. Now, the unofficial tagline of the PRC is 'Stories that stay with you'. So, Sami, can I ask you, is there a story from when you were in school or when you were a kid that stayed with you now as an adult?

SAMI BAYLY: I mean, there are so many, especially when you're reading so many different types of books. I have a few. But I think one of the styles of book or an author that I really loved reading their stories was Roald Dahl, and I can vividly remember reading 'The Twits' and 'The Glass Elevator', and having the most vivid dreams after those books as well, and it was just those stories have stuck with me, and I've read them again as an adult, and they are absolutely hilarious, and they're classic. So, I highly recommend.

JADE ARNOLD: It's a lot of fun.

SAMI BAYLY: Yeah. If you're wanting a fun, silly story before bed and some weird dreams, go for Roald Dahl.

JADE ARNOLD: Good recommendation. Now, as you would know, the PRC is all about encouraging students to read for leisure, and I'm going to guess, given that you're an author as well as an illustrator, that reading is probably something that you do a lot of. So, can you tell us what you usually find yourself reading and if you enjoy it, as well as if you think it's important?

SAMI BAYLY: Yeah. Yes, to all. I love reading. It is tricky when you are an author, because sometimes, you are reading your own work quite often, and you kind of get sick of it. You're like, 'OK, I don't want to read my stuff anymore. I want to read other stuff,' and so it's really special to be able to get an experience is to see how other people write. You totally look at it in a different way. But I have a few bookshelves full of books. There are some weird books in there, and I think one of my favourite books that I have read recently and that I keep going back to, I can't remember the name exactly. We'll have to try and find it. But it is about different animals and the relationships they have. Now, I have a book on peculiar pets.


SAMI BAYLY: But I think I was inspired by this book, and it goes into detail of a lot of strange relationships, and one of my favourites is about a sea cucumber that has a pinhead pearlfish living inside of its bottom, and it swims in there and hides inside, and it comes out at night time to be nice and safe and look for food, and then goes back inside during the daytime, and there's the most vivid scientific detail about that story and so many other strange ones, and for some reason, they're the ones that usually are on the side of my bedside table.

JADE ARNOLD: I'm really seeing the inspiration those stories give in to your own work, which it's such a lovely connection to see and very much tracks with all the poo stories that we tend to get from you.

SAMI BAYLY: I know, and I feel like I didn't put any poo in this poster, so maybe I'll have to add some in, and no one will see.

JADE ARNOLD: Well, you've got the guided illustration for that.

SAMI BAYLY: That's true. That's the perfect opportunity, actually.

JADE ARNOLD: So, Sami, you have 5 books out at the moment, and you've got a sixth one on the way. You've got 3 books in the 'Illustrated Encyclopaedia' series. They focus on 'Ugly Animals', on 'Peculiar Pairs in Nature', and 'Dangerous Animals', and you've also got the new 'How We Came To Be' series, and in that, you've got the 'Surprising Sea Creatures' and 'Creatures of Camouflage and Mimicry'. A bit of a mouthful but amazing books. Now, for someone who has never read your books, sitting out there in the audience today, how would you describe them, and who do you think would enjoy them?

SAMI BAYLY: It is tough because they do have a bit of a varying kind of style between them. So, I would say for my 'Illustrated Encyclopaedia' series, it's for kids who love facts, who love learning about weird things, weird animals, and who enjoy reading.

Now, the books are kind of set out in a non-fiction platform, and they have a page with the big artwork, which I paint with watercolours, and you'll see some of that process today of how I'm painting.

JADE ARNOLD: And they're gorgeous.

SAMI BAYLY: Yeah, with the pencils and how I get there. But the other side and the other page has all of the information about this creature. But I've decided, rather than a wall of text, to break it up into different categories.

So, if you're someone who might be like me, when I was younger, and even now sometimes, I struggle to read a bit, and sometimes, I get my words mixed up, and so that way, by having them in different sections, you can refer to any page at any point and go, 'OK, description. This is why it looks this way. Habitat, this is where it lives. Fun facts, conservation status, diet, all of these important parts,' and so I'll have 60 animals in each of those 'Illustrated Encyclopaedia' books. But with 'Peculiar Pairs', I have 60 pairs.

So, if you love learning about weird things and weird topics, and especially with maybe topics that we might see often, like dangerous animals, I really try to incorporate some different kind of things in there, maybe your not-so-expected dangerous creatures.

But when it comes to my 'How We Came to Be' series, I wanted to change it up a little, and I wanted to make it maybe more sort of angled and structured to younger students. So, this is an entry into animal adaptations and learning about why these animals have come to be the way they are, and when you're diving into the deep ocean, and you're seeing such strange creatures, it's kind of hard to believe that they are real, and I wanted to explain from the animal's perspective how they are that way and what's happened over the years for them to look the ways they do.

So, there's a bit of fiction there because the animals speak to me, and I speak back. Now, I wish that could happen because that would make my research job really easy. But that was kind of my wish, and so it's a different style, and I think there's a bit of everything for everyone.

JADE ARNOLD: So, you've got your narrative non-fiction style books with your second series, which is very good for people who like a bit more of a narrative. But then if you're someone who likes to read things out of order, you can kind of dive into your 'Encyclopaedia' series, and for anyone sitting out there today, most of Sami's books are on the 5-6 booklist, which means that anyone from Kindergarten to Year 10 can add them to their reading log, and one of your books is on the 3-4 booklist. So, there's a lot of choices out there for everyone to read your books.

SAMI BAYLY: Great. Enjoy.

JADE ARNOLD: So, Sami, in a nutshell, can you tell us what inspired you to become an author-illustrator who focuses on these weird and peculiar but wonderful plants and animals and how did that career path start out for you? Because it's a bit of a unique one.

SAMI BAYLY: It is, and it's actually funny. I don't know if many people believe me when I tell this story, but I promise it's real. The reason that I have become an author and an illustrator, and that I'm here today, doing what I'm doing right now, is because of-- which side is he on? This side over here. The ibis. You can see him pointing over here, over here, somewhere here. There we go. The ibis. So, the bin chicken I owe my career to, which is so weird to think of.

So, it actually happened, so I was at uni, doing natural history illustration, and it's basically where you learn how to draw and paint animals and plants in a scientifically correct way, and you're really learning from the structure. So, internally, you're learning about how they are made and the skeletal system or the muscular system, and you're kind of going out, and you're really learning inside out, and so I did this course for 3 years, and at the end of the third year, we had to choose a certain subject to be able to make our body of work on, and I was really loving wetlands at the time and still do, and so I was thinking, 'Hm, what are some cool animals at the wetland?' and I kept coming back to bin chickens and ibis, and this is a few years ago now, maybe about 7 years ago, and during that time, it was really, really extra popular to love bin chickens but to hate them too, and it was almost a joke to think that they are silly and stupid and useless and ugly, and all they want to do is poo and eat out of bins, and they're so annoying, and I thought, 'How can I change people's perspective of the bin chicken?' and so I did a lot of research, and I learned that their habitats were actually being cleared and turned into car parks or buildings, and so they were being forced to really go extinct or go to urbanised environments.

JADE ARNOLD: And adapt.

SAMI BAYLY: And to adapt and to find a new purpose for their lives, and so I think it's a great testament to their survival.


SAMI BAYLY: So, what they did, they had this long beak that it was usually used to go into wetland little holes and find little crabs, and so what they started to do was use that long beak to go into bins in cities and find the food, and so I wanted to teach that story to people to give them a different perspective of why animals do certain things, especially when we consider them as pests or as an annoying thing.

So, what I did is I painted this portrait of a bin chicken in a beautiful way. I really wanted to highlight the mucky feathers, the scratches on the beak, the wrinkles, and the vibrant, glowing red on the head and sometimes the underarms, and so I painted that for this exhibition, and it just so happened that I had entered this artwork into the Australian Museum scholarship at the time, which was running to celebrate the Scott sisters, and if you haven't heard of them, I highly recommend looking them up.

So, I entered it into this competition thinking nothing would really happen from it and, little did I know, I then became the co-winner. So, it was myself and another lady had won this competition.

So, they put this artwork into the newspaper in 'The Sydney Morning Herald', talking about the bin chicken, talking about how I loved painting ugly animals, and it just so happened that the head of children's publishing at Hachette, so this is the publishers that I work with now, they were reading the newspaper.

They saw my illustration of this bin chicken, saw my story and my write-up about why we should appreciate ugly animals, and she contacted me and said, 'Sami, we really love your artworks, and we would love for you to make a book on ugly animals.'

JADE ARNOLD: That's amazing.

SAMI BAYLY: That's how it all began, and so I spent my honours year doing that process of learning how to make a kid's book and the correlation between ugly animals and their conservation status, and I learned so much. So, I owe my career and my life to the bin chicken.

JADE ARNOLD: Well, a very worthy career has come out of that, and we definitely have to appreciate the ibis, don't we?

SAMI BAYLY: I agree. I agree.

JADE ARNOLD: So, one of the most recent illustrations that you've done is this beautiful poster behind us for this year's PRC poster, and you told us all about the inspiration behind that and showed us some of your progress shots when we were up in Newcastle. So, why don't we revisit that?

SAMI BAYLY: So, when I first got a special email asking me if I'd be interested in creating the poster art for this special initiative, I was very excited. I was very nervous because I've seen the years prior, and they were brilliant. So, I thought, 'Oh, goodness, how am I going to do it? Oh, mine's going to look terrible. How am I going to compete?' and we had a wonderful conversation about maybe what we wanted to see.

We really wanted to focus this year on making sure the art was really directed at kids of a wide age range because this, obviously, is involving kids from Kindy to Year 10, and so we wanted to make the art suitable for all years. We wanted to make it something interesting to kids but also for young adults like yourselves, and so what we were looking at was my scientific illustration style. That was something that was important.

Obviously, I draw animals and plants. I draw the occasional human, but it's maybe not the most fun part of my job. I kind of get stressed. I like the animal side of things more, and so we wanted to really kind of nod at the beautiful authors and illustrators that have come before me, before my time, and the ones that will come afterwards as well.

So, there are so many beautiful books that have been created over the years, and I wanted to look at the different animals, maybe the different characters, different things from those books to see if I could add a little Easter egg in and see-- and I'll ask you later. But have a look while I'm chatting.

The different animals and how maybe they might reference different books. Some of them might be obvious-- possum. Who can think of a children's book that has a possum? 'Magic Possum'. 'Possum Magic'. Exactly right. Well done, and so some of them are a bit more obvious. It depends. Some of you might have a memory of a specific book with a koala in it. Some of you might have a specific book you remember. 'Fox' and 'Magpie'. 'Magpie' and 'Fox'.

Some of them might be a bit trickier, and I wanted to make them different levels. I wanted to make some really difficult, and I'll be really impressed if someone can get this one. Because I had no idea that this very popular book series that is still being continued-- yes?

STUDENT: Is it 'Grug'?

SAMI BAYLY: It is 'Grug'. Oh, my goodness. Well done. Well done. I had no idea that Grug initially started his life as a cycad. I think that's the official term of this plant, and he just popped off the top, and that is Grug. He's one of these things. So, next time you see these things, you can think of Grug. Well done. Oh, my goodness.

So, keep having a look. You might find some things in your brain that you recognise. Maybe they're ones that I didn't necessarily think of, but that doesn't mean that they aren't being referenced. So, it's kind of up to the interpreter. But basically, we wanted to look at different animals.

I provided a list of different animals that I was first really drawn to, and then I provided this beautiful sketch, this one here, on some scrap paper with pen, and I'm spelling things wrong, and I'm scribbling on it, and I actually sent that via email to a very official lady over there, and I said, 'Do you like this?' and she said, 'Yeah, I do, this is cool, I love it,' and I was like, 'Woo! OK.' So, I took that, and we obviously had some, 'Maybe we can incorporate this, this, this,' and then I gave them this more detailed sketch.

So, this is A3 size, and I wanted to draw it pretty much the same size. I wanted to sketch it the same size as I would eventually paint it because that was going to help me in the long run, and so I added pretty much these things. But it did seem bare. But because I'd been looking at it for so long, I was like, 'Oh, I guess this is done.' So, I sent it away to get approval, to get comments, and I was going, 'Oh, there's something missing,' and actually, this bird up here didn't even have anything in its beak. It was just the bird, and I kind of factored in maybe this is where we'll put the text, and she said, 'Oh, I love it, but I would love more animals,' and I said, 'More animals. OK. OK,' and so if you see, and you look at this one here, you can see the more things that I was able to add in.

So, imagine that that's when we added the book in. But I added another bird up here. You can have a look, kind of refer, and then I've changed-- we obviously modified this, so you'll see in a second. Different.

I added an owl. We also added the echidna, tassie, bilby, kangaroo, ibis, and some other bits and pieces, some other details, and I thought that really made a big difference.

So, that's why it's so important to take criticism and to be able to accept it and go, 'You know what? That's definitely for the best, and I'm extremely glad that we made those changes.'

JADE ARNOLD: Can I just say how amazing it was seeing your progress photos but also seeing the direction that you took the poster in? Some of our high school students watching might know your little Easter eggs by its technical term, which is called intertextuality, and that's where an author or an artist deliberately makes connections to other texts in their own work, and they do this to create shape or meaning within the text they're creating. So, knowing that, can you tell us a little bit about the type of meaning that you were trying or hoping to communicate with everyone who sees this poster by referencing all those different Australian children's books?

SAMI BAYLY: Yeah. I mean, from the get-go, I knew how important it was to honour the different authors and illustrators that have come before me and that are here now and that will continue after me, and I really wanted to celebrate that in a fun and indirect way so it wasn't in your face.

Some of the ideas I had first was maybe I could draw all of the covers of the book somewhere, and then I thought, 'Oh, maybe not. Maybe that's a bit too obvious,' and so I really wanted to think of it in a fun and playful way, and almost all of the books that I read as a kid had some kind of animal or plant in them.

That's probably me. Who knows? But I loved that, and so I thought, 'How about I honour those sort of books in a fun way by finding those key characters and putting them in an artwork,' and obviously, not all of these creatures will interact in the wild in real life together. They're in different habitats and ecosystems. But in this poster, I wanted to make it work. I wanted to make them cohesive and have them all blend together.

So, it's a happy, little story in a wetland environment, in a waterhole environment, and that was even based on Graeme Base's 'Wetland'-- sorry, 'Water Hole' book, and I really wanted to celebrate that in a fun and not so obvious way.

JADE ARNOLD: That's amazing. I love how you fit so many references in there. Also, if you'd like to see the full list of all the books that Sami has referenced in this amazing poster, you'll be able to find this on the PRC website on the Tips and Teaching Notes page.

Now, this might be a bit of a difficult question to answer, but I have to ask it. What was your favourite book that you referenced in this artwork?

SAMI BAYLY: Oh. Oh, OK. This is tough. This is really tough. How can I choose? OK. One of my favourites would have to be 'Grug'. Because it's kind of so not obvious.

I mean, I was like, 'Oh, I love Grug, but how on earth can I put Grug in?' Because 'Grug' is based on Grug. It's this fictional character. What on earth? Nothing looks like Grug. Until I did my research, and I realised that Grug is based on a plant, on a burrawang tree, I believe it is, and so you can see Grug here, and he looks a little different these days. But I think that's one of my favourites because learning the story of how and what that was based on was just really cool.

But another one of my favourites was 'Fox' by Margaret Wild, I believe, and 'Fox', you would think I would have a fox in here. 'Magpie'. So, it's a beautiful story. If you've read it, you'll know, and it's a tearjerker. But if you haven't, I really recommend. It is such a beautiful book. Such beautiful artworks as well.

JADE ARNOLD: Absolutely.

SAMI BAYLY: And I really thought that that would blend well, and you've got some of the red dirt as well that's in that book, you see. It's a lot of red and oranges. But I think they are 2 of my favourites.

JADE ARNOLD: Lovely. Well, that brings me to the big question for today. What element of the artwork are you going to guide us in illustrating?

SAMI BAYLY: OK, so I wanted to make it a nice mixture of difficult and maybe more difficult. So, it's going to be lots of fun. Don't worry. This is going to be great. You'll be learning with me. But we're going to be focusing on the tree element here, and we're going to be--

JADE ARNOLD: Exciting.

SAMI BAYLY: Yeah, we're going to be looking at some of the creatures that are incorporated in this tree, and we'll see how we go. Maybe we'll have a little bonus thing at the end. But I'll keep it a secret for now.

JADE ARNOLD: Love that. Well, I can't wait. Let's get started.


JADE ARNOLD: Chapter 4. Guided illustration with Sami Bayly.

SAMI BAYLY: Hi. It's Sami Bayly again. Now, I'm super excited because, as you can see, I'm set up. I'm ready to go. We're going to be doing some drawing together. I am an author and an illustrator, and I created this exciting poster you see behind me, and we're going to be recreating a different element from this particular poster. So, I'm going to be guiding you through the process. We're going to be doing this together. So, grab a piece of paper. A4 is fine. I'm working on A3 paper so it's just a bit bigger so you can see it.

I want you to grab a pencil as well, maybe an eraser, maybe a sharpener. But I'm going to be drawing with a pen, so I can't undo my mistakes. But I want you to grab a pencil and a piece of paper and an eraser.

Now, what we're going to do once, you've got all of those materials and all of those tools, I want you to first turn your paper, so it is portrait. So, portrait is upright, and if we were to do landscape, that would be sideways. So, make sure it is in portrait.

Now, as you can see around me as well, I have a few different reference materials. So, when you are creating an artwork, there is no set of rules or regulations. You can do whatever you'd like.

But for me, I really like to rely on reference materials, and I really like to have a look at what I'm drawing before I draw it and, especially as a scientific illustrator, it's very important for me to look at the detailed piece in front of me so that I'm making sure that it's going to look as realistic as possible.

So, you can see here, this here actually is the real artwork that I created. So, this is the actual one, the watercolour painting, that is used in the elements behind me for the poster, and so this is the actual size that I painted everything out.

But what I decided was that I would-- and we incorporated the coloured sky. That was with a separate watercolour illustration, and then I layered them in Photoshop. But what I decided to do is actually leave this here, so I have it as a bit of a backup if I need to get nice and close.

But I've taken different parts of this artwork, and I'm going to zoom in because we're going to be focusing more so on just the tree and adding some different things in. So, this is what I'll be referring to when you see me looking and knowing what to draw.

I want you guys, though, to be looking at how I'm doing it rather than looking at the reference material and trying to speed through because it can be a bit tricky. But if you're feeling really confident, you can see behind me. You're more than welcome to go ahead and to go at your own pace.

So, grab your pencils. Grab your paper. and let's go. Now, the first things first is I'm going to draw the tree trunks. This is a beautiful eucalyptus tree, and we're going to be starting at the trunk here towards this base part, and so what we're going to be doing, going along and across. We're going to be going up. Don't worry if it's got some wobbles. Trees are usually a bit wobbly. But I'm going to stop about halfway.

Now, the reason that I'm going to stop halfway is because I'm going to add something here soon. Now, because I can't erase my pen, I'm going to leave a gap. Pick it back up, maybe around here, and then I'm going to follow along.

If you have a pencil, you're more than welcome to continue straight up because you can erase that later. Now, the next thing I'm going to do is the same on the other side. I'm going to go across, down.

But I'm going to stop similar kind of distance because I'm going to draw something else on this side. Leave a bit of a gap, and then continue back down, and then go off the page. Beautiful. Looks kind of like a road, like a street.

This will change quite a bit, so don't feel any sense of worry or concern that yours is looking a bit strange because it's going to look strange for a while. So, the next thing is I'm going to start to draw the fork of the tree. So, I'm going to go about halfway in the middle here, going to go up, follow it along, and then continue that direction.

I'm going to go back down here now, actually, because I'm going to be drawing this part in the tree down the base, and this is where the echidna will appear. So, I'm going to go down here. Going to go up. Turn around.

Wobble. Wobble. I want the wobbles to be in there, and then back down. It's like a big triangle. Beautiful. So, give yourself a rest for a minute. Take a few seconds.

If you're feeling a bit nervous, shake out your hands. Get rid of all of those drawing nerves. It can be really stressful at the start, but you'll build your confidence, I promise.

Next step, we're going to go and add some details around this little hollow. Going to go up. You can have some gaps in there at the top, maybe some more gaps. Follow it back down.

We want it to look nice and loose and natural. Cross here too because these are the roots, essentially, of this tree. Maybe another one here. I'm going to leave that for now because I will revisit it later.

What I tend to do is I like to go and do different parts of an artwork at a time, whatever I feel is most comfortable for me to draw at and the different angles, and maybe sometimes what excites me or interests me most about the elements. So, that might be a bit strange for you to be changing where you're drawing, so see if you enjoy it. Maybe you don't.

The other thing as well, make sure that you are rotating your paper rather than feeling like you really need to rotate your arms and get in funny, awkward, uncomfortable positions to draw. Because that's not going to feel very natural, and you might make a mistake. So, it's really good for you to move the paper with you.

Sometimes, I even turn the paper upside down when I'm drawing and painting. Now, next, we're going to be drawing this really cute koala. So, I'll get him in frame here. So, we're going to be drawing this little fellow, and he's going to be clinging onto the side of the tree here. So, what I'm going to be starting first is I'm going to actually start with the nose. I'm going to start with the nose. I'm going to build out.

So, I'm going to keep in mind his head's probably going to be about this big. So, I'm going to draw his nose. He's got a really cute little nose around here, and it's a strange shape. It's kind of like a little door. A little window for a cottage or something like that.

Now, because I have a really cool pen, I have double-sided pens. So, I'm going to use, for all the smaller details, I'm going to use my thin pen because I'm using quite a thick texture for the rest of it. But you are more than welcome to just use the same pencil.

I'm going to put 2-- they almost look like little commas on an angle in the nose. Now, underneath, it's like an upside-down flying bird. Two little curves. This is a really happy little koala.

Have a think while we're drawing this koala. What books do you know that have a koala character in them? I've added some little scratchy details over the top because we don't want this koala to be really smooth and perfect. We want it to have some texture because it's really fluffy.

I'm going to add a curve underneath for his mouth, and then I'm going to go and add an eye. So, I'm going to start with the left eye first, and I want it to be kind of in line with the top of the nose.

I don't want it to be much higher. I don't want it to be any lower. Somewhere around here. So, I want you to start with a little circle, and you can draw one on the other side too. Two little circles.

Now, koala irises, so the eyes and their little pupils, the little black part, it's more of a line, actually, rather than a circle. So, I want you to draw a little straight line. It looks a bit funny at the moment, and that's OK.

Breaking up the lines to go around it because we want to show that it's kind of got some details. Some little dashes to show some bits of fur. It's looking very funny.

Now, I'm going to change back to my thicker pen because I'm going to start to work on the face around it and the head. So, I'm going to start with the cheek, and I'm going to sort of scratch around with my pen, finding the best kind of guidelines rather than committing to a proper circle.

I'm able to slowly sketch in so I can change my mind if I decide I don't like the way that shape's going. I'll continue back up. Go in. The other side, and the top. So, we have a face starting to come together.

Some little more fluffy details. I'm then going to work on the ear. Now, the koala ear is a bit round, curvy. They're also really fluffy, so make sure you're trying to get a nice, big, curvy shape. Got one that side.

I've got some fluff for the inside as well. I'm going to try and do the same on the other side. But it's OK if they don't look perfectly similar, perfectly precise on each side, because they're going to be a little different, aren't they? It's a different angle as well. There we go.

They look nice and fluffy. I'm going to be working-- actually, now, I'm up here, and I see, oh, I've got plenty of room now. So, I'm going to draw my line up and match where the tree left.

It might be a bit trickier. I might have realised, oh, no, I actually have not much room here to fit this koala's body in. So, I might go over this line. We'll see.

But what I'm going to do first, I'm going to start with the hand because that will help me figure out just how big that body needs to be. So, we're going to go under the chin, and I'm going to sketch this curved arm.

It's going up this way, and then suddenly, we have one little finger, 2, 3, 4. Then I'm going to sketch back. We're going to see an elbow, so it's going to change direction. Go like this.

Going to change my pen because I need to add some sharp claws. It's going to help this koala stay connected to the tree.

Add some little scratchy lines like we were doing. I'm going to go back. Going to go down the neck here, and now, I'm going to start to draw their body. I'm going to sketch as I go to see just how big I think it should be, and I'm going to go past this line, and that's OK. I've decided that that's what I want to do. But if you have a pencil, you can erase this part here. I'm going to go through.

I'm going to now go, and we're going to do the bottom leg. I'm going to go up. Found the knee. We're going to turn back. It's almost like doing lots of little dots. We're going to piece them together later.

Maybe I can make it work. We'll see. Now, we've got the little feet. You're just going to see 2. They have more than 2 toes, but we're just going to see the 2 here. Some sharp nails. Claws.

Beautiful. I'm going to go back and add some textures in. But I'm going to-- see, this tree, I need to add him back in because you'll see him now. So, I'm going to try and piece together the tree in those gaps. So, you see now, koala clinging to the tree.

Going to add some texture. Koalas are a little bit wrinkly. They're covered in fur. We see lots of folds of the skin. All of these little lines really do make a difference at the end.

You might be going, oh, so many drawings, so many tiny, little dots and scribbles. But I promise you, they really do make a big difference. There we go. So, now, we have a koala.

Very happy. Now, if you were to colour this in, we're not going to be doing colouring today. But you can see here, when I coloured this koala in-- see how much smaller I did him initially. Very small.

His nose is almost the darkest thing on him. So, I would maybe get my pencil and shade in the nose. That might really help him stand out.

So, next, we are going to-- I might go down, and I might visit this echidna part. I think he looks really fun. So, we're going to go down here.

Now, I'm going to work from this side, the left side of the echidna, and I'm going to go down, whereas some people might go the other way. But I'm going to go down this way because I want to make sure that he has plenty of space here.

Now, echidnas are very different textured to koalas, so we're going to be making this really sharp and spiky. So, as we're drawing this, I want you to make them really sharp, spiky lines.

All the way across, and we're angling down. We'll add to them later. But suddenly, I'm going to get to about here, and then I'm going to stop because this is where its face is going to be, around here.

Going to curve it down a little bit. Going to draw the little nose. Mouth part. There it is. Go back. Incorporate the little leg. Lots of spikes, and then we'll add some spikes going back here.

So, it looks a bit funny at the moment, as they all do. So, what I'm going to do is add a teeny, tiny, little dot-- that's the teeniest tiny dot I've ever seen-- on the very tip there because that's a little nostril.

A curve because we want to show that the beak is separate to the face. Maybe a little line if you'd like. Now, this is one of my favourite parts is drawing the tongue.

So, you can have this as long as you'd like. Echidnas can have really long tongues. It's going to be poking out, going boo. Going all the way back. and we're going to draw some teeny, tiny ants. So, you can draw ants however you'd like, but maybe they're 2 little blobs connected. 1, 2, 3, 4. Maybe try and add as many legs as you can. Well, not too many. We want to add maybe 4 to 6 if you can squeeze them in.

Little squiggle with some sticks pointing out, and that will look something like an ant. So, what we're going to do is go back here to the claws, and I can see 1, 2, 3. So, I'm going to draw 1, 2, 3 big claws for this echidna.

Now, we're going to add the textures. Spiky textures. On their feet, the spikes are a little different. So, they're going to be sort of softer and smoother. They're not going to be as harsh, and they're going to curve with the way that the foot is moving as well.

So, we've got that. Now, I might go up, and I might add a little eye, making sure, because I'm using a texture and I'm using a pen, I don't want to be smudging my work. So, I'm making sure, when I'm working on this part, I give it a few seconds before I'm putting my palm on it. Or I'm really moving the angle of things to make that comfy.

So, I'm going to aim around here for an eye. Little circle. It's more of a squished egg shape but on the side. Smaller circle inside of that, and if you're working on some small pieces of paper, this will be quite tricky.

So, now, I'm going to get my other side of the pen, the thicker pen. I'm going to start to add some spikes around the face. Maybe some little ones around the face so they don't just abruptly end and look a bit funny.

We're working our way back. Looking at the angles that your spikes are going in. The ones down here are going to be pointing down. The ones up top are going to be facing more up. They're going to be going together, curving around. Because if they're all facing in the one direction, it's going to look a bit silly.

Lots and lots of spikes. Some of you might find this really fun process, really therapeutic process, drawing the same thing over and over again. But some of you might not. There we go. Covered in spikes.

Going to draw a hint-- hint of some claws on the other side as well, I think. There we go. Maybe the ground in the background. So, we're going to give that a few seconds.

Stretch your arms. Get comfy. Oh, I'm cracking my bones. Get comfy. OK, we're going to move on to the next thing, and I'm thinking, hm, if I'm looking at this, you know what I would really love to draw next? Cicada.

So, the cicada on my artwork, my original artwork, is all the way up here. But I'm going to draw him down here. I'm going to change some things up. So, what I'm going to do is I want to incorporate the cicada around here. I think.

Maybe around here because I'm going to eventually draw something here too. So, the cicada-- I'm going to change my pen so I can make him, because he's quite small compared to these other creatures, especially. I'm going to start here in this part of this tree. and I'm going to draw the shape of a wing. It's a bit of an odd shape to describe. So, give that a really good crack. It's a bit tricky. A little point at the end, and then I'm going to try my best to mirror that. So, flip it and do the same on the other side. But if it looks not identical, that's OK. These are the cicada's wings. So, we're going to draw some veins, so little lines.

The other side. Little, broken lines. Next time you hear or see a cicada, go have a look. See what they look like up close. Some curves going up. Two little lines on each side, and we're going to do a curve underneath there. Might do one a little lower, actually. But this is going to have a segmented body, so it's OK if you're drawing a second one there. Curved head.

Looks like a little necklace. Some other shapes as we go. Some bands as it goes down the body. Two eyes. Might make them even bigger, sitting off the face a bit more.

Two little legs. Some little antennae. It also looks a bit like a fly, and that's OK because I'm sure there are plenty of books on flies, too. Some little details, and there is our cicada.

So, I'm going to leave him for a bit because we're going to do some things around him as well. But I'll leave that for a bit. I'm going to go up the top here, actually, and see how I'm changing the angle of my paper here.

Because this is going to be more comfortable for me as I'm going up here and drawing this. So, I want you to change the angle. Because I'm going to be drawing some things drooping down. Because this is a beautiful tree. It's going to have some beautiful leaves.

So, how I will be doing that is a long, thin line, 2 lines, going from the top. Not too far down, and then I'm going to be drawing a leaf shape.

Now, here, this might be a good one for me to reference. Beautiful gum leaf. I'm going to go out, curve it back in, and on the other side too. OK, there's one leaf.

But maybe I'd like to do another leaf. Maybe on this side too. I'm going to revisit the details inside of the leaf soon. But I'm going to get the shape and the structure for all of them done, ready and ready to go.

These little gumnuts. Smaller now. Smaller little stem for them to be merging from. Big curve, one on each side. Then a curve on the end.

Going to close that curve. Just like that. A little stem, and maybe some texture as well. OK, so we have a gumnut, and I'm going to do a similar thing for the leaf. The leaf is going to have a vein running all the way through the centre. So, you can keep that as one line, but I'm going to do 2 lines, and it's going to get thinner the closer to the end I get for both of these.

You can add some more details, or you can leave them as is. Little dots. Blemishes. Beautiful, and we have some gum leaves. So, I'll leave that for now. Because now, we're going to go somewhere else entirely. We're moving around this paper like nothing else, and that's OK.

We are going to go over here. Because as I go over here, we're going to be working on the possum. So, when the possum is complete, I'm going to be able to continue this branch a bit easier because I'll know where to leave-- or where the gaps needed to be left.

Now, the possum is pretty tricky. So, we're going to see how we go. Possums have a bit of a unusual, shaped face. It comes to a point. But they're not too pointy, and they have a bit of a round, and they're still fluffy. So, this is probably the most tricky element on the paper, for me, anyway.

So, I'm going to start-- hmm. Because I want this to go down here too. So, I might start with this leg here. This is where I'm going to start, actually.

I'm going to go around here. You can go up and down because you'll have a pencil, of course. I'm going to go right about here. I'm going to draw a curve. Some little scratchy marks too.

A little foot. All I see are 2 little toes for now. Some sharp claws. He also needs some sharp claws to climb up those trees. Curve up there as well, and I'm going to actually draw the tail next. So, the tail is going to be going down this way. All the way down. Now, I'm going to go through this tree line, so don't worry.

I'm going to go past that. I'm going to go all the way down, and it's going to curve in, and suddenly, when I'm on my way back, it's going to be a lot scratchier on the way back.

Piece together some of those. Going to get my finer pen because you can see it has a little line going all the way up. Just like that.

You can add some little fluffy details is similar to the koala, similar kind of texture. OK. So, I'm going to go with the body up here. I'm going to go up, and then we'll draw the face in.

Curving it around. Trying my best to leave it the right shape, but it is tricky. So, they're going to be really close to each other, and that's OK. They might be best friends. Who knows?

I'm going to draw the ear in next. It's like a triangle. Some furry kind of wrinkles, and the details in the ear are also pretty cool too.

They have some kind of ridges. Just like that. Now, if you find that I'm rushing through this and this is going a bit too quick to what you're used to, you're more than welcome-- you can pause this as you go, catch up, and then continue as I go.

But because I've had lots of practice drawing, I've been drawing since I was a kid, so I'm a little bit quicker than maybe some others who are just beginning. I'm going to draw the top of the head, and we're going to go down.

While I'm over here, I'll draw the other ear. There we go. It's a bit of a triangle as well. But this triangle, the perspective and the angle of this ear is a little different, and I'm still going to draw a hint of those ridges inside. I'm going to go back and visit the eye now. I'm going to keep my little pen for that part. Like an almond shape with a small circle inside.

You can colour it in. Or if you colour in most of it, and you leave a tiny, little gap that's not coloured in, it'll look like a glisten in the eye, and it allows for a lot of personality to shine through in that creature. Curves around it. Details.

Let's go over the other side. We've got a hint of the other eye. You don't see the full thing. That's OK, and the little nose, it's a really cute little shape. It's almost a triangle. Kind of is. Kind of 2 little commas like we did with the koala's nose, little nostrils, and as we curve under, it's going to go up. Another one underneath. We're going to curve it back.

We're going to add some dots. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. 6. 3 on top. 3 underneath. Maybe some teeny, little whiskers. Little, straight lines poking out, and hint of some on the other side too.

But something really important that I see on this possum is some patterns that goes from the top of its little snout-- curve-- all the way up through the centre till it reaches up in there. I think that's a really important little detail that I see of that possum, and same down here for the tail. I'm not going to colour the entire tail in, but I do see that it does get darker as it goes down. So, that's important to know for when you are colouring yours in. That will really help it shine.

Now, the only thing I'm missing now for this little possum is its front paw, its front arm. I'm going to go down. Draw 1, 2, 3, 4. Continue back up. I'm just going to curve around.

Can draw a little belly in there and up the top there so you can see that they're connected. Beautiful. So, I'll give you a few seconds to catch up if you're still working on this while I add some fun, little details.

He looks cheeky, this one. So, I'm going to continue the tree down. Because now, I know where I can leave that-- where I could have left the gap, and I want the fork of this tree to be around here.

So, I'm going to change the direction a bit. It's going down here, but I'm going to draw a little fork down here. It might be a ridge in the tree, and then back up.

So, you can see now, there's a branch here, and it's going down. It's going up, and now, I can add a little hint of the other limb of this little possum. Add some tiny, sharp claws.

Going to find where the trunk is for this side. So, I'm following it here. So, I want to make sure, if I'm drawing it coming from this side, it needs to be emerging out here as well. So, following it along.

I'm not drawing through my creature. Waiting until I meet the other side. I'm going to go up, and I'm going to go this way, actually, because they're kind of interwoven, these branches, and then this one up here is going to be broken into even smaller ones.

You'll see there, they're starting to come together. But this one's poking out, so I need to make sure that I continue it. So, I'm going to draw imaginary line till-- oop-- come out the other side. So, they're kind of all crossing paths.

One of my favourite bits is coming up, and that is adding the details to the tree as well. So, I might start adding some details to the tree. Give us a bit of a break from the stressful part of the animals.

Because sometimes, that can be a bit scary, drawing the details of the animals. We'll give ourselves a break, and then we'll add some details to the tree.

Now, these trees have lots of creases and folds, especially where they meet. They kind of meet as a bit of a fork. So, make sure you're drawing some little wrinkles there, and next time you see a tree, have a good look at it. See that they also have little folds and wrinkles.

So, I've added some here, some here, some there. A circle up here. Now, this is like a bit of a knot in the tree. So, there's a half circle inside. Some little scribbly details around the outside.

I'm then going to add these strange shapes. So, some of you might have looked at this tree and gone, what are these weird, little squiggles? So, when you're looking here, you can see that there are these strange, little directional-- there's some lines, and they go this way, and then they change, and they go that way and that way. You might be thinking, what is that? They are cool, cool things, in my opinion, one of the coolest things.

So, usually, a scribbly gum will have this, and they are tiny, little patterns made by moths and by the grub stage, and so you'll see these little, strange directions.

So, next time you're looking at trees, have a good look, and if you see squiggles and scribbles, it could be a little scribbly gum. So, I'm going to do that. I'm going to go down here. It's a good spot for them, and I'm just going to go, 'Oh, add some here.' Don't overthink them. I want them to be nice and natural. Maybe one here. Oh, oh, oh. Come up here.

You might see some little scratchy marks from the animals climbing up to get to where they are. Usually, if you see big scratch marks up a tree, it's usually from possums and from koalas have made their path up and down, up and down. Some other lines on the tree.

They are covered in different lines and shapes, and it's very beautiful. As we get to this part down here, you might find you want it to go sideways, these curves.

This would be a great part in here to shade because we want to see that this is the hollow of this tree. So, it's going to be darker in there. So, if you want, if you would like, you can kind of shade that in, especially darker on this side, and it would get lighter as you get to this side.

Maybe some little squiggles up here. Seeming a bit empty. Dashes. Lots of imperfections, which is great.

Now, I'm going to draw a sneaky, little friend that's poking out. Now, I'll show you where he is over here. There's a tiny, little owl, a really, really cute, little owl that's sitting up here, and I'm going to draw him. So, I'm going to turn my paper round, pretty much landscape now. Because I want to draw this little creature poking out from the side here. He's going to be really poking out. It's going to be really cute.

So, what I'm going to do, I'm going to curve up. Draw a little spike. Curve across and a little spike and go down. It kind of looks like a pillow. I want you to draw a pillow poking out from the side of the tree.

But this pillow has 2 big eyes. Doesn't sound like a pillow anymore. There's one. Bit of a gap and another. Looks a bit silly at the moment. Two smaller circles inside, and if you can, when you colour these smaller circles, the inside circles, when you shade them in, I want you to see if you can leave a bit not shaded in. Remember that glisten in the eye we were talking about? See if you can do that.

Has a little wrinkly undereye. So, the underparts kind of curving down, and over the top, it's got the opposite. Going down. Going down.

It's looking a bit strange. So, what we need is a beak. It's like a little curve. You're not going to see the entire beak because it is kind of cut off. Two little nostrils, and some little feathers.

Here, we have our beautiful owl. Boobook. Or morepork. There are different books, children's books based on both of these owls, so it can be either.

Now, we're not that far away from finishing. So, if you're feeling like, oh, this is a lot of drawing, we're nearly at the end. But if you're really loving this process, keep going. If you feel like you need a break, press pause. Have a drink. Get some food.

But what we're going to do is probably one of my favourite parts, and this is going to have a fun, little additional thing that we're going to include. Now, around here on our paper, I've got plenty of room around here. I also have room up here and maybe kind of in here.

So, perhaps you would like to draw yours further up, maybe further down. It's wherever you feel is going to be good. But we're going to draw a bird. So, I will bring across this bird here. So, it's the same one-- a yellow-tailed black cockatoo, and you can see that it's carrying a book. Now, this book is going to be important soon, so we'll revisit that soon. But I'm going to go back here. Now, I might not see the entire bird coming onto the page.

We'll see how much space I have. So, don't worry if you feel like you're drawing and you're not going to fit this entire thing on because it's going to be flying into the page and into the artwork you see. So, I'm going to go about-- actually, I'm going to go a bit here, a bit further up.

How I'm going to start is by curving up, and then suddenly changing direction, and then drawing strange fingertips. Perhaps they're not fingertips. There's a few, plenty more than 5.

They're wings. They're feathers. Lots of curves because these feathers are getting smaller, and then when I'm going across this way, I'm going to draw a little curve for the head.

But while I'm over here, going to go across, up, and do the same thing I did for the other wing. Now, I'm going to swap to my thinner pen here and draw some lines through the centre of those feathers. It's like a central vein similar to the leaf. Really similar. Right through the centre.

I'm going to keep my smaller pen because I'm actually going to draw a beak. So, the beak for this bird. Now, this is a bit of a tricky shape to explain for the bird's beak, but see how you go.

It does a big curve down like a big hook, and then it's going to have a sharp, little tip there at the tip of its beak, and then it's going to curve back and go up. You can draw some tiny, little details in that if you have space. But this is going to be really small, especially if you're using smaller paper.

Going to draw a little circle nearby, and colour it in. Colour a smaller circle in, and then maybe a broken line around it.

Now, this beautiful bird has a cheek patch here. So, I want you to draw a little circle, broken up. Because this is going to be yellow, but you could turn this into a red-tailed cockatoo, and you would just do that by changing the colours here. Instead of where you see the yellow, you can change it to red.

I'm going to go and change my pen so it's matching. So, I'm trying to keep it cohesive, and I'm going to go and line up on the other side now. So, the head's here. Wing's here. So, the head is going to continue down to the rest of the body down here.

Now, I'm going to have the very tip of this bird's tail off the page, and I like that. I think that'll be nice. But I'm coming back onto the paper, and it's carrying across.

But now, I need to make room for the belly. Just going across all the way back up until I'm almost at the face and the beak again. But I don't want to rush this process.

So, I'm going to stop there. I'm going to leave a gap because we're going to draw a book in its mouth. A hint of some feathers and a really great way of doing that is lots of curves, almost like scales.

It's a really good shortcut instead of having to draw every single feather, every single scale. Little curves. It allows your brain to fill in the gaps. Some lines for that beautiful tail. Just like that.

Now, this book that you can see that this bird is carrying is open. So, what we're going to do, instead of having an open book where you just see the internal side of this book, and the inside pages, I want you to change this a bit in your brain.

So, we're going to draw it the same. But the way that you are looking at it will change, and I'll explain as we go. So, we've drawn a big curve going up this way. It's then going to go down.

Similar length because this is going to be roughly a square book. But if you want your book to be more rectangular, that's OK. You would just draw it longer, and then we're going to curve back. The same again. Curve out. Go up, and then curve back. Going to divide this with 1, 2 lines, and I'm going to draw some pages on the other side. So, at the very top, I've drawn a line that goes across and then down, and then across and then down. Same for the other side if you have space.

Because this will hopefully show that this is actually the front cover and the back cover of this book. The bird's just carrying it on a different way. Instead of it carrying open this side, it's turned it around, and we're going to see the front cover and the back cover.

Because I want you to draw maybe the cover of one of your favourite books, maybe a book that you loved as a kid. Maybe it'll be a book that you want to read during this beautiful program and what you're going to do. Perhaps it's one of the goals that you have.

Maybe it's a book that you want to make one day. Who knows? You can draw whatever you'd like. But I'm going to draw one of my favourites. So, before I do that, I'm going to finish off the little bird's beak. Little hint of it there.

Now, one of my favourites is 'Grug', and luckily for me, Grug is quite easy to draw. Let's see if I can remember what he looks like, though. Curve. OK. It's a big curve, like a big rock or a big mountain, and maybe he's got a little kind of jagged edge at the base. I remember he had a couple little funny hairs poking out. That sounds right.

He has an eye over here, and a nose that droops down, and a happy face. But then he had some cool patterns going across. So, add those in. He had some cool legs too.

Now, I'm running out of room for the title, but I'm going to try it really, really small to write. 'Gr-uh-g'. So, this is the cover of my book here. Did he have a little hand? I think he had a little hand down here too. It's down there, and then the back of the book, if you can't remember what the back of the book looks like, usually, they have some writing. So, you can draw some squiggles. Usually, it says what the book's about. Maybe some good recommendations, and then maybe a little bar code to scan the book in, and then maybe some writing down the spine. So, you don't have to draw all of the details of this book, especially if it's nice and small. You can draw a little hint.

Now, there's only one more thing that I want to add, and that is what Grug was based on-- a really cool tree down here. So, what we're going to do, it actually looks like this. This one here.

I have plenty of room here, and I've left enough space to go up so it can be pretty big. But if you feel like your bird is a little bit lower, you can decide that you might not want to include this, and that's OK.

I'm going to start by drawing a curve like that. Inside kind of little, almost like choc chip cookies. Just like that.

Now, you can see there's lots of palms poking out from this burrawang tree. So, I'm going to go one out here. One over here. This way. They're kind of changing direction.

There's no rhyme or reason. You can have yours going anywhere you want. Now, if you're finding, oh, it's a bit hard to go that angle, turn your paper around, maybe upside down, and go all the way.

Beautiful. So, it looks a bit wild at the moment. Looks a bit silly. What we're going to do is turn each of those lines into and pair it with another line. So, I'll show you what I mean. They're coming to a point.

Turn upside down again. Do the same thing. One more. Two more. A curly one over here.

Looks very strange. But I'm hoping that when we add all the individual little lines here, it's going to make it look more like a tree. I think it will. So, what I'm going to do is start drawing lots and lots of lines.

They're all facing upwards. So, I want you to do that too. They're like lots of whiskers. You can speed this process up. Make it nice and fast. Or you can really take your time and carefully draw every single one.

Turning the paper as you go.

Now, this artwork that I've done for the poster, so the original one you see here, this one took me a few days to do, and I think maybe after this process of watching how it comes together, you might be able to understand why it sometimes takes artists quite a quite a while to finish a piece and to draw or to paint.

You have to take your time, and especially-- this is just a drawing. You have to add colour, which can take a really, really long time, and if you're using watercolours, you have to wait for things to dry.

So, everyone has a different process. But you might really enjoy this, and you might decide that you'd like to be an illustrator one day too.

OK, I'm on to the last one. OK, perfect. OK, I'm going to turn it back around, make sure-- beautiful. He looks a little less strange now. But Grug is based on it, so it's OK if it looks a bit strange.

Now, I'm going to make sure I draw the horizon around it so we can see that it's sitting on something, and I'll make sure I line it up to the other side. Draw the horizon there.

Some little marks, little divots to show that it's grassy. Maybe you can add some little blades of grass, and then what I'd like to do, because I want to show that it's a beautiful day, I'm going to get my thin pen, and I'm going to add some little clouds or some hints of some clouds.

Really fluffy clouds. This one up here. Maybe around here. I'm going to go, making sure I'm not smudging my work. Beautiful. Fluffy clouds. I turn upside down. Make sure I don't draw my cloud upside down, and here, because there's a gap between the trees, I can show that by drawing a little hint. Maybe one down here, and I think that's enough clouds.

Now, I'm looking at this, and this is a massive artwork that we've done together. Oh, my goodness. I'm really impressed. If you've stuck along, even if you just started with the first part, and you added a few of the animals, well done.

This is very impressive. This is a tricky thing to do. So, be very proud of yourselves. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Give yourselves a clap. Smashed it.

The last thing that we have to add, and I think the most important thing, is our signature. So, I see there's lots of great spots for me to add a signature. But I see down here, there's a little part waiting for me to add my name. So, I'm going to hold on to the paper and add my signature. If you don't have a signature yet, you can write your name on an angle, nice and fast, and suddenly, you have a signature. Who knows? But we are done.

Well done for sticking around. Well done for doing this. Well done for giving it a crack. I hope you enjoyed this process. You can see mine here, and you followed me along. But I want to see your artwork. So, make sure you send them to us, and we can have a look. I can't wait. But well done, and thanks for joining me. Bye.

JADE ARNOLD: Well, Sami, thank you so much for joining us today for the digital launch of the 2024 Premier's Reading Challenge and for guiding us in illustrating that wonderful part of the artwork with the tree and all the animals in it, and thank you to all the students following along today. I hope you've had a great time creating your own artworks. On that note, we would love to see your guided illustrations.

So, teachers, we'd love for you to share your students' work with us by tagging The Arts Unit on Facebook or on Instagram. Or send us an email with the subject line, 'Our students' guided illustration artwork'.

Now, Sami, before you leave us today, is there anything else that you'd like to say to the students out there, taking part in the Premier's Reading Challenge this year?

SAMI BAYLY: Oh, honestly, have the best time. Enjoy it. Read for the sake of reading and learning something fun and different and new or escaping into a different world. I highly recommend it, and you won't regret it.

JADE ARNOLD: We hope you have a wonderful time taking part in the PRC this year. So, from the both of us--

BOTH: Happy reading.

[upbeat music playing]

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