Monday, January 21, 2013

Pass It On - Illustration of the Week

PASS IT ON is a weekly, interactive, networking e-zine for children's writers and illustrators and this week there is an interview in it with meeeee!! Thanks to the lovely Jackie Hosking!

Here it is.....
Please describe your chosen illustration

~What medium did you use?
~How long did it take?
~What is it for?

This is an illustration from my (as yet!) unpublished book, “The Garden of Moon”. The illustrations are created using scanned images including flowers, leaves, and grasses I collected during a year long stay in a seaside village in Northern Spain. They are re-coloured and collaged in Photoshop to create my imaginary world in the sky. This book has been a project a long time in the making but once I have the idea and picture in head it takes me about a week to create each one.

When did you know you had a talent for illustration?

~How old were you?
~How did you know? Did someone encourage you?

I remember trying to copy the Flintstone characters when I was quite young but I didn’t take up art until I was in Year 11. My art teacher was very encouraging but I don’t think I really believed her! I learnt fashion illustration and later studied graphic design and animation. It wasn’t until I won the Graphic Novels and Illustrated Picture Books Category at the CYA Conference in 2010 and I saw my illustrations on display with other illustrators that I felt like I could call myself an illustrator.

Have you ever studied your craft at an institution of any sort? Which institution?

I studied Fashion Design at Canberra Institute of Technology where I learned about colour and texture then later I studied Electronic Design and Interactivity at RMIT where I majored in Animation. A picture storybook is just like an animated film where character’s move and stories grow and change and come to life before your very eyes.

~How long was the course?
Fashion Design was three years and EDIM was two.

~How affordable was the course?
It was TAFE and I got support from Centrelink so it was very affordable.

~Would you recommend it to upcoming artists/illustrators?
I didn’t travel any logical road to becoming an illustrator but I think both courses and my life experiences have shaped me into the artist I am today.

~Do you run courses or workshops yourself?
I manage an indigenous art centre in remote Western Australia where I foster artists both young and old.  I run a children’s program where children are encouraged to be mentored by their mother’s and grandmother’s.

What computer programmes do you use?
 ~Can you recommend any?

My favourite program is Photoshop but really even better than any program is my scanner. I have friends who take to their computer like an obsessed cult fan but I try to never forget that my computer is only a tool. My scanner allows me to put the real me into my illustrations. It keeps them rough and unpolished and as a result my scanner is very scratched and dirty but we’ll be friends till it dies.

Have you illustrated any books?

I have written and illustrated two unpublished children’s book that both won prizes at the CYA Conference. I also have made several handmade books. I would love to partner with a writer and illustrate other people’s stories. Collaborating is a huge part of learning and working with other people makes you strive to be better at what you do.

Who is your favourite Australian children’s book illustrator and why?

Chris McKimmie is a writer and illustrator whose books are surprising and unexplained. His characters often faced with difficult battles (floods, separation, being different) but are brave and adventurous. He writes like a kid and his illustrations are scratchy and raw with added additions from family members. When I am reading books to my five year old he often says, “But they forgot to draw …..” So I tell him he should draw it and we can add his page into the book. When I see these little kids illustrations in Chris Mckimmie’s books I imagine he has had the same conversation with his kids or grandchildren. His books are inspiring and make me feel like anything is possible!

What’s your website or blog address (if you have one)?

Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself and/or your work?

I learnt to stilt-walk when I was fifteen even though I am afraid of heights. I learnt violin from a tiny little nun who scared me to death but taught me how important practicing your craft is and my five year old Jonah can outdraw me any day!


  1. Congratulations Claire, I am sure that his books will be released in bookstores soon, surely :)))))))

  2. sorry!!!!!!!!! i meant "your books" :)))))

  3. Great interview! Fun learning more about you & your work!!
    And the illustration above is really cool!!!

  4. Wow, I love this image, it is different.

  5. Hey Claire, I saw your illo in PIO this week and recognised your style right away, so thought I would come and say it looked great - refreshing and lovely. How is the 'Garden of Moon' coming on - have you been submitting it to publishers? I must read your other posts ... I'm way behind. Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Gay...always love running into you in internet-land. Yeah been sending it off to heaps of publishers and getting the same the illustrations but story vague and confusing. My problem is I have ideas but probably not all the writing skills. Trying to focus just on illustrating...would love to partner up with a writer.

  6. Wonderful interview and I just love this image! The color and light is beautiful. I would like to wander through a forest of sunflowers! :)

  7. Congrats Claire...Great interview..I like the use of the leaf photos..looks magical!

  8. Wonderful! Lovely warm colour and great use of mixed media.

  9. i love this illustration, congratulations for your work, and thank you for visiting me.
    In this part of Europe, the grass is green, and very tall...our garden grow easily, good luck four yours!

  10. Lovely illustration, Claire. Hope you manage to team up with a writer and get the story published.