1. What is your earliest memory of writing/drawing?
Letters to my parents had drawings of clunky tall trees and a bird, a white sulfur crested cockatoo. Well that what it was supposed to be.
2. What inspired you to write/illustrate your first book?
Author Libby Hathorn’s “The Tram to Bondi Beach” was my first published book I was inspired by the period of 1930s setting in Sydney and the Trams themselves were exciting with wooden seats which gave them a cosey they were full of people jumping off and on. To be a child and working as a newspaper boy would have been a empowering roll in life for me as a child.
The Trams destination, Bondi Beach, was a ready made spread for a visual climax
and to use the wave the transparency of water with the beach in the background was a treat I understood this experience it was the world I was familiar with though the story was set in another era. In Australia and we have so many books here from the UK and US it was important to reflect my own culture.
3. Do you use your childhood as inspiration?
Drawing and painting with some reassurance of being familiar with the experiences that the character in the story is having come from my own childhood. My childhood was played out mainly out doors in the suburbs of Adelaide Melbourne and Sydney and at the beach so the natural world is what I felt excited to be experiencing.
4. What books from your childhood have most influenced your work? What about adult titles?
My sister and I had a few Australian picture books by Peg Maltby and May Gibbs We had English children’s books Peter Pan and Wendy line drawings by Shepard in Christopher Robin lots of Enid Blyton's books. Later in my early teens illustrators like Brian Wildsmith John Burningham and Quentin Blake had an influence in that they reassured me that the freedom in their loose fresh style
At the time was exciting and my drawing was wobbling along in that direction.
5. What are your hobbies and interests besides reading and books?
I like to be out in the bush as we call it here, walking or at the beach. I love to swim and snorkel following fish under water but that is a special treat and warmish water. I do Iyengar yoga and in my my drawings I use the body and shape to express how the character feels I am interested in how we move from the core of our spine our hips our shoulders ect and how it makes us feel.
6. Who are a couple of your favorite author/illustrators? What is it about their work that inspires and interests you?
Kerry Argent humour in the expressive animal poses and her colour and design.
Shaun Tan his original and powerful visual ideas his characters and his rendering of pencil on paper. Ann James her simplicity in line and wash, catching a moment with her spontaneous drawing her humour. Ron Brooks for his depth of visual expression.
7. What one or two words of advice would you give for young authors/illustrators?
No one sees or experiences life in the same way so what you can express in your drawing painting sculpture making of films about life is a discovery for you and those who see it.