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.
In my teens I pursued my illustration dream by drawing cartoons for a newspaper aged fourteen and picking up my first book contract with an indie publisher aged seventeen.
I’ve since worked for Walker Books Australia, Penguin Random House, Scholastic Australia, Simon & Schuster USA, Hardie Grant Egmont, Berbay and Affirm. I’ve teamed up with acclaimed Australian and USA authors and have two notable Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year nominations and been shortlisted twice for the Speech Pathology Book of the Year award.
In 2018 I wrote and illustrated my first picture book, Ollie and Augustus. It explores my two favourite subjects – dogs and friendship. It was released in Australia in 2019 with Walker Books and released in the USA in May 2020 with Candlewick.
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, pencil and ink on paper. I develop my ideas with the aid of a sketchbook, pencil and tea. Ideas come in all shapes and sizes. Most ideas don’t make it further than a thought. Some make it to a storyboards. But only a special few make it to the 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.
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.