Please describe your chosen illustration
It’s for a poem called 'As A Matter Of Fantasy', and is a collage assembled from scraps and cuttings from magazines, newspapers etc. It’s supposed to describe a topsy-turvy world in which grass is blue, clouds are yellow, and the sun is square. It was created (if I can remember) over a period of a few days.
When did you know you had a talent for illustration?
I used to draw and make art a lot when I was young, although I wasn't always satisfied with what I produced. I was designated 'the artist' of the family. This eventually led to an interest in painting, and, when I decided to write children's poems, a decision to illustrate them myself.
Have you ever studied your craft at an institution of any sort?
I studied fine art at college in Dublin (Ireland), majoring in painting. After three years I got the equivalent of a degree and did the artist-in-a-garret thing for some years after that. The time in college was very important; I would've be a different sort of artist without that experience.
Regarding workshops, I've given one so far! I have been known to give the occasional reading (usually for youngsters) at festivals etc over the last few years though, involving plenty of audience participation, art appreciation, and some odd questions.
What computer programmes do you use?
Most of my visual work would be without computer assistance, except for the odd bit of touching up. When it comes to the layout of the books I've used InDesign, and lots of help from a more technical-minded friend.
Have you illustrated any books?
I've written, illustrated and published two books of poetry for youngsters, with a third on the way. My favourite in visual terms is probably Psychosilly, which came out in 2011. It has a little more polish in it' production than the first one. I can take six months, a year, or more to complete the illustrations for a given book. As I'm self-published I don't usually have a strict deadline.
Who is your favourite Australian children’s book illustrator and why?
I'm not too familiar with the Australian children's book world to be honest, but somebody recently likened a painting of mine (posted online) to Sidney Nolan. As sources of influence you could do worse.
What’s your website or blog address (if you have one)?
www.avantcardpublications.com Psychosilly is available there.
Would you like to tell us anything else about yourself and/or your work?
My books are an attempt to do something fresh and innovative with the children's book format, and appeal to adults as well as children. I'm hoping to publish my next one in 2014; rock-themed poetry written with teenagers in mind. Watch this space.