By Jaime Uranovsky
Cape Town native, Linda Kavalsky has been a creative for as long as she can remember. Her earliest memories include drawing mermaids and gnomes and turning her illustrations into books by stapling the pages along one side.
Today, Linda is a versatile artist who works with gouache, oil, and acrylic paints as well as pastels. “As long as it has colour in it, I’m happy,” she explains. While Linda studied marketing and then interior design, and previously worked at Staffwise, she took the plunge in 2014 and started an art business, creating works in various media and teaching both children and adults. She also has ink prints available via Nifty Posters and created a notebook and gratitude journal collection. Linda’s most recent project, however, has seen her write and illustrate a range of children’s picture books as well as an instructional ‘how to paint in watercolour’ book.
What is even more impressive is that Linda has executed the entire process herself, from conceptualising the ideas for each story, planning each book, illustrating (using either watercolour or digital art programmes), writing the stories, designing the layout, self-publishing, to selling via Amazon. She can be struck by ideas at any time and has often found, to her delight, that they are mostly fully-formed.
Linda’s experience as a children’s book author and illustrator began in 2020 during South Africa’s strict lockdown. For Linda, reading was a vital part of childhood. She explains, “I have such incredibly fond memories of it. My love for reading and books comes from my parents and the time that they spent with me. They were both so good at reading to us and we had wonderful books”.
It is these kinds of experiences that Linda wants her books to facilitate. She says, “I love the idea of being able to pass a love of reading to other children, and into other homes where their parents can spend time and connect with their children, and read them beautiful stories”.
Linda’s bright, beautiful and thought-provoking books are generally aimed at children between the ages of three and eight. She currently has seven children’s books available, as well as the watercolour guide and her journals and notebooks. She is also nearly finished another story. Her current books include:
The Brave Brussels Sprout —a watercolour book about Ben the Brussels sprout who goes travelling, enjoying sites like the Leaning Tower of Pear and the Great Wall of Cucumber. Linda explains that when she wrote it, “there was nowhere to go so my Brussels Sprout went travelling because I couldn’t”. This story is about the importance of stepping out of our comfort zones.
The Chameleon that Wants to be Seen concerns Cameron — a chameleon who dreams of being visible despite the chameleon motto to ‘be like the leaf’. This story was inspired by a chameleon that Linda observed outside her house, and is about learning to follow your own path and to stand out.
The Potted Plant that Struggled to Grow is about blossoming in one’s own time and way. The potted plant in this story does not grow like the others, but once placed in the sun, it thrives. Linda explains that, with love and a bit of sunshine, people find their place in the world and develop at their own pace.
The Paintbrush without Colour centres around Polly the paintbrush who feels out of place because she is born without colour and wishes to be like all the other paintbrushes. However, she eventually wakes up multicoloured and learns to value her uniqueness. This story is about embracing yourself and what makes you special.
The Dreidel that Did Not Know How to Spin follows Dan the Dreidel who falls down when he spins. Eventually, he confides in his bobba, and she sends him to spinning classes where he masters spinning in time for Channukah. This story is about learning to ask for help. Linda says, “You are going to fall down sometimes, and sometimes you’re going to need to ask people for help. But we all start somewhere and if you keep on trying, you will improve”. Linda dedicated this book to her late father, Michael Kavalsky who she knows would have appreciated this story and who gave her love of books. She recounts, “My dad used to sit and read to my sister and my brother and me on Shabbat afternoons”.
Don’t Burst My Balloon is about a grey balloon that bursts the other balloons because of his own unhappiness. Ultimately, the blue balloon avoids this fate by surrounding itself with a protective bubble. This story is about the importance of protecting your energy by stepping away from those who try to bring you down.
Hello Sunshine is a baby book for children aged one to three. It includes rhyming and bright colours.
Let’s Paint Flowers is Linda’s ‘how to paint with watercolour’ book. Each double-page contains a completed image of flowers on the one side and a step-by-step guide to mixing the colours and creating the images on the other.
Linda says that the feedback she has received has been wonderful, with adult readers expressing that the messages therein were the kind they wish they had come across as children. Linda says, “I hope that people read the books and feel positive and uplifted in some way. For younger kids, the intention is simply to brighten their day, and if they learn something at the same time that’s wonderful”. Linda’s rich illustrations bounce off the page and engage readers of all ages — and her future projects promise to do the same.
For more information, visit Amazon.com or Amazon.UK and type in ‘Linda Kavalsky’ or check out her Instagram page, @brightstarcape.
Published in the PDF edition of the May 2022 issue – Click here to read it.
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