I liked being a kid. I didn't want to be a grown-up when I grew up!
Anyhow, I did grow up!
When I did, it reinforced how much I dislike social uniformity. I hadn't had a great experience at school. I'd suffered hearing loss from age 8-9 and my world was a silent and introverted one. I had a few good teachers who helped me cope: Br Gillian (his modern approach), Miss Grey my Yr 7 teacher (the first teacher to value my writing) and Br Mac (one of my art teachers).
You can read about Mac's amazing life here . . . I was one of his kids . . .
Eventually, I received a hearing aid at age 13. But by this time I was a shadow of my former childish self.
When I left school, I soon realised, I needed to find the kid in me again. I wrote and drew all the time. Writing, drawing had become a trusted and non-judgemental form of communication. I hadn't talked to any one much while I was deaf. Picture and written words had become my voice.
I knew deep within myself there was nothing else for me to be.
I loved art.
I loved books.
If I couldn't become a book illustrator/author, I'd go and become a hermit / hippie, sit in the sunshine and make daisy chains all day.
Luckily, someone was watching over me. I think it might have been my good old Nana. She wasn't going to let me slip into hippydom.
I now live on the east coast of Australia, on an island, in a mud brick house. I share this with my wife and two children and a menagerie of animals.
I am amazed that I've ended up where I always wanted to be . . .
I work from home and have a massive studio where I can create to my hearts desire. My family all share my paints, paper and anything else they can pilfer.
I love book illustrating. I can be passionate, joyous, stressed and flummoxed during the process of creating a book. From conception to publication, the process can take a year or two. I'm usually juggling different projects and various publishers. I drive myself crazy just as much as the people around me. It's a mad process . . . keeping an idea in your head for months on end . . . continually flipping it and twisting it into new places.
But I have an amazing wife who puts up with my eccentricities, and often (especially when there is a full moon) we dance a jig of childish happiness together.