Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Preliminary sketch for the painting 'Never give your keys to a stranger', pastel on paper

I've recently added a written commentary on my book Rules of Summer to my website, you can find it here, also as a PDF. Of course, such comments may not make much sense without seeing the book or app first (for readers in the US, a nice edition is coming out in May), but for those already familiar with it, or having a special interest in illustration, I've tried to explain the inspiration behind each painting... if not necessarily the paintings themselves! I hope you find it interesting.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Retrospective Exhibition in Sweden, April 1 - June 1, 2014

This is an exhibition of original book illustrations from the past 20 years, at Bror Hjorths Hus in Uppsala, Sweden. It includes works from The Arrival, The Lost Thing book and film, Tales from Outer Suburbia and others, including a few larger paintings from Rules of Summer, previously unexhibited. It will be opened by Gerald Thomson, the Australian Ambassador to Sweden on April 5, and looks set to later travel to a couple of other museums in Sweden (other expressions of interest are welcome too). Many thanks to Maria Malmberg-Wallin at Bror Hjorths Hus for curating this one.


April 5 also sees the opening of Moving Stories: Children's Books from Page to Screen, which runs until April 27 at Seven Stories in Newcastle, UK (always a great place to visit). Included among the large variety of book/film adaptations on display is a profile of a scene in The Lost Thing, including original production sketches and paintings. For more info, visit Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books

... and NEWCASTLE, Australia

Coincidentally, in the other Newcastle – the city in NSW, Australia – there is an exhibition of The Lost Thing: Book to Film, on at the same time as part of the Newcastle Writers festival, April 2 - June 3. This is a small but fairly comprehensive exhibition of original book illustrations, the final film, and lots of developmental drawing for both projects executed over a 12 year period. It's on display at the Lovett Gallery; find out more about the festival here.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Oopsatoreum Exhibition, Sydney, from December 7

One of many Mintox inventions, both imaginary and real

This exhibition is my second collaboration with Sydney's Powerhouse Museumfollowing the successful weirdness of 2009's Odditoreum, with which I was invited to write fake histories for various strange objects found in the vast museum basement. This project takes a different tack, being a more cohesive survey of the work of one Henry Archibald Mintox – an inventor so ahead of his time he could only be fictional and, by his own account, grossly unrecognised.
The exhibition will feature actual mechanical inventions from the Powerhouse archive, re-imagined as creations by Henry A. Mintox, and with accompanying text from the previously published book, The Oopsatoreum: inventions of Henry A Mintox.

Aside from being fun, a deeper concept behind the project involves the importance of play in creativity and technical advancement, raising the important question: is success necessarily a measure of true originality? 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Tales from Outer Suburbia in Mandurah

After a whirlwind premiere season at Fremantle's Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Tales From Outer Suburbia will be heading to the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre for an encore season in November (see earlier post for more about this stage production). Performances will run on Tuesday 5 November at 6pm and Wednesday 6 November at 10am & 1pm; suitable for all ages and perfect for ages 5 - 12. To book tickets visit the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

RULES OF SUMMER App goes live (Australia)

 The Rules of Summer app, developed concurrently with the publication of the picture book of the same title, is launched today and will be available for Australian readers, with other territories to follow as the book is subsequently published overseas. What kind of app is this, and how is it different from the book? Both are adaptations of a series of large, unscripted paintings that form a visual narrative about two boys, but each form represents quite different reading experience. While I think there will never be a substitute for the charm and appeal of a physical picture book (especially a large format one like Rules of Summer), the app offers an extra depth of detail as users are able to zoom in and out of a canvas, courtesy of high-resolution photography and clever image compression and design by the Melbourne-based studio behind the app, Wheelbarrow. I also worked closely with an experimental sound artist and composer from New York, Sxip Shirey, whose surrealist soundtrack perfectly suits the intimate browsing of these mysterious pictures. The executive producer on the project, Sophie Byrne, was also the producer behind The Lost Thing; Tim Kentley of XYZ Studios (of which Wheelbarrow is a part) is the artistic director.

The app also includes a  sketch mode where you can see some of my concept and developmental drawings, which may be of particular interest to anyone with an interest in illustration (I'm a big fan of these kinds of features myself).

For more info, reviews and appstore link, go here.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

RULES OF SUMMER out and about in Australia

Never be late for a parade.

My latest picture book Rules of Summer is now in bookstores. To find out more about it, visit my wesbite or www.rulesofsummer.com.au

Pictura - colouring in for everyone!

The March of Industry, a detail from Metropolis

UK publisher Templar is launching a series of colouring-in books for all ages this October under the collective title Pictura. Each book, created by a different illustrator, folds out as a single long black & white panorama that can be collected as they are or coloured in at whim. My own contribution is 'Metropolis', about the rise and fall of city over eight connected episodes. Find out more about Pictura here, and watch the launch on Vimeo