Gabriel Evans is an international selling children’s book illustrator and author from Western Australia (WA).
I grew up in a country town in the South West of WA wanting 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.
Aged fourteen I started my art career as a cartoonist for a newspaper and picking up my first book contract with an indie publisher aged seventeen.
I’ve since worked with Penguin Random House, Hardie Grant Egmont, Walker Books Australia, Scholastic Australia, Simon & Schuster USA 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 about my two favourite topics – dogs and friendship. It was released in Australia in 2019 with Walker Books and internationally in 2020 with Candlewick Press in North America and translated into Danish and Russian.
I’ve written and illustrated a further two books out in 2020. The Cute Penguin (Hardie Grant Egmont) is a story that contemplates the idea of how we perceive ourselves while Norton and the Bear (Berbay) asks the question, is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?
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.