I am an author and illustrator of children’s book from Western Australia (WA).
I grew up in a country town near a river in the South West of WA. I wanted to be a train driver for the conductor’s hat, a circus master for the top hat or a children’s book illustrator for the beret.
I chose the career with a beret and, aged fourteen, became the cartoonist for a small newspaper and, aged seventeen, signed my first book contract with an indie publisher.
I’ve since worked with some of Australia’s most loved publishers including Penguin Australia, Hardie Grant, Walker Books Australia, Scholastic Australia, Simon & Schuster USA, Affirm Press and Berbay Publishing. I’ve teamed up with acclaimed Australian and USA authors and received two notable Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year nominations.
In 2018 I wrote and illustrated Ollie and Augustus, it was on my two favourite subjects – dogs and friendship. It was released in Australia in 2019 with Walker Books Australia, internationally in 2020 with Candlewick Press in North America, translated into Danish and Russian, and released in paperback in February 2021.
My latest book is A Human for Kingsley. It follows the journey of a dog trying to find a human to adopt. The story was originally conceived in 2019 while sitting in a café and commissioned before I even worked out an ending! It is released in May 2021.
I recently collaborated with two authors for books released in 2021. Blue Flower is written by award winning author, Sonya Hartnett and Little One is by acclaimed picture book author, Jane Godwin.
My illustrations are made with a mixture of watercolour, gouache, pencil and ink on paper. I develop my ideas with the aid of a sketchbook and tea. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and while most don’t make it further than a thought, some make it to a fully conceived storyboard. But, only a few make it to a final book.
I run workshops and talks in schools and libraries around Australia and have visited numerous locations – from the busy streets of Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (VIC), to remote communities in the Australian Kimberley and Pilbara regions.
I spend the rest of my time working from a small, messy studio near a river where I drink tea, grow trees and continue searching for the perfect artist beret.
SIX THINGS ABOUT ME
1) I love growing oak trees – I’ve planted over fifteen varieties on my hill.
2) I have a crazy Border Collie dog. She chases birds in trees. Did I mention she’s crazy?
3) My studio gets messy when I’m making books. I use acrobatic methods – including jumping, skipping and swinging – to reach my desk.
4) I once built a boat from an old kitchen sink. Its maiden voyage lasted five glorious minutes before the plug was dislodged. Like a good captain I went down with my ship.
5) I have a large collection of woolly beanies, but most of them are lost. I suspect they were eaten by a fiercely-hungry-beanie-eating monster.
6) My favourite breed of chicken is a frizzle. Their feathers look like my hair in the morning.