I am an illustrator and author living on Bundjalung Country in Lennox Head, New South Wales. My debut picture book, Seven Seas of Fleas (Starfish Bay Publishing) was CBCA Shortlisted for the New Illustrator Award in 2021.
When someone asks me why I create children’s books, I always think back to my grandparents who had a huge influence on me when I was young. My grandpa was an engineer and an artist who worked with leather and wood and occasionally dabbled in opal polishing, diamond faceting and taxidermy and my grandma had an amazing garden and a pet galah, fondly known as Cocky. Their home in Adelaide was filled with heirlooms and trinkets that had travelled with them when they emigrated from Munich in the late ‘50s and as a boy, I loved spending time in that wonderfully strange and eclectic world.
I remember a cuckoo clock hanging in the hall and an unfinished wooden carving of a Clydesdale rearing up on its hind legs. The backyard held myriad wonders as did the garage. I’d squeeze past the old Holden and plonk myself down at grandpa’s drafting table. The small studio invited imagination with its juxtaposition of weird objects. On the back wall, hanging above an assortment of formaldehyde insects was a red taxidermy crab with one huge claw and in a corner sat a piano accordion and an opal polishing wheel. But the biggest influence was seeing my grandpa’s drawings for his leatherwork, tucked away in the pages of his bird books.
I don’t think they realised it but this is where the seeds of my imagination were planted. Through them I gained a love of making things, exploring and above all, being curious.
I love creating characters who are curious about their world, question the status quo and long for adventure and I hope that if you read my books you become curious about your world, too.
I use a mixture of traditional and digital when creating my illustrations. I work initially with graphite pencil, ink or oil paint to create the linework and then I move to the computer to add colour and texture.