← This is one of my earliest surviving stories.
I stuck with the theory of "write what you know" – I knew that dad loved fishing, and that I hated fish. Can you feel the sense of desperation in the text?
I knew I wanted to write and illustrate kid's books, even way back when I was Tiny Tina, enjoying picture books and discovering the joys of drawing. I was an avid reader and was forever being told to go back to sleep, that it was too early to be awake reading.
↓ Tiny Tina (yes, that is Abba on my t-shirt)
I continued drawing as a personal hobby, and throughout my teens and adult years have enjoyed many courses, workshops and seminars in a variety of subjects, including drawing, painting, scientific illustration, botanic illustration, life drawing, medieval art and objects, writing for adults, writing for children, children's book illustration, and acting and dance (which may sound irrelevant, but they're not).
My tertiary studies included graphic design, advertising, and business.
One of my most valuable learning experiences was working as an animator at the Walt Disney Animation Studio, in Sydney, Australia. This involved an intensive training program on first being accepted, followed by ongoing training in animation, life-drawing, animal and human anatomy, and acting. It was a wonderful opportunity to work alongside and learn from some amazing and inspiring artists, and make an array of creative friends.
Over time, I've noticed how these different experiences, interests, study and passions seem to contribute something to my artwork in some way - it's interesting to see what variety of information, knowledge, skills, techniques can be drawn on when creating. My children's books are a result of my love for picture books, writing, stories, and animation, and my illustration technique for those is a combination of many different art endeavors and experiments.
My fascination with birds and nature, scientific and botanic illustration, traditional fine art styles and antiques, have cumulated into my other joy - my bird art.