Cartoon lab

Castlemaine's Trace Balla.
Castlemaine's Trace Balla.

Castlemaine State Festival goers will have the opportunity to take a sneak peek at Trace Balla’s next graphic novella set in Jaara country, as part of a unique ‘Cartoon Lab’ on March 29.
Trace’s previous book Rockhoppin won the Children’s Book Council ‘Children’s Book of the Year’ in 2017.
Workshop participants will be able to ask Trace to create a cartoon on the spot, create their own concertina cartoon strip to take home and learn all about her latest project which celebrates the local region’s flora and fauna and features their traditional Dja Dja Wurrung names.
Trace said her latest offering, her fifth book to be published by Allen Unwin, was disguised as a children’s book but it would appeal to all ages.
The author and illustrator has been working with a local ecologist and Jaara elder Uncle Rick Nelson to bring project, which explores the Dja Dja Wurrung seasons, together.
Trace said she felt it was important for people to have access to stories about their local area and she was excited to give workshop participants a peek at the unique story, scheduled to be released in 2020.
The research and structure of the latest story is now complete and Trace is now focusing on the fun bit – colouring in the pages.
“I used to colour all my work by hand but now my publishers are asking me to use the iPad as the work can then be easily altered to allow for translation into other languages and for promotion etc.”
Trace will give workshop participants an insight into colouring in the work on the iPad and what this involves so people can try it at home.
The workshop is for cartoon enthusiasts of all ages and abilities, materials supplied. The workshop will be held at the Old Castlemaine Gaol on Friday March 29 from 3.30pm. Tickets are available at
Trace will also be working with local school students as part of the festival’s schools program.