I am the oldest but the shortest of three sisters, and grew up in North Queensland, Australia. Because I was never good at sports and was quite shy, I spent most of my time at school either drawing, reading in the library, or sitting under a favorite tree telling myself stories. I called these stories “Wishes” and I can remember one that involved having a rare disease that meant I was only allowed to eat junk food. None of my wishes ever came true, except the wish to write and illustrate children’s picture books when I grew up. It wasn’t until both of my children were almost grown up, however, that I finally wrote and illustrated a children’s book.
Mr. Qwerty is my very first book, so it’s hard to say whether I usually think of the words first, or the pictures. With this book it was a bit of both, and sometimes the words and pictures arrived together, neatly packaged. Although I loved seeing the finished artwork, my favorite part of the book-making process was the storyboarding, as I feel it’s the most creative stage. Everything about writing and illustrating is fun though, except the part when you haven’t finished and it’s due in tomorrow.
Some Things I Learned From My First Picture Book:
1. It is possible to do crosshatching and talk on the phone at the same time, but not to talk while drawing tricky bits.
2. It is necessary to stop drawing and go outside for a walk occasionally; otherwise you get vitamin D deficiency and fall over.
3. Always buy two boxes of pencils in case somebody in the art shop dropped your first box, broke all the pencil leads and then put it back on the shelf without telling anyone.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I love collecting things, like letter Ks and joker cards, dictionaries and dolls’ eyes, special hats and spotty things.
2. I own a life-size, fiberglass bull-calf called Ferdinand, who likes to try on my different hats.
3. I can recite the alphabet backward.