Our family moved around a lot when I was young because of my father’s work. As a child I lived in Brunei, Singapore, England, Perth, Adelaide and Hong Kong. I finished my secondary studies in Melbourne then moved to Shanghai to stay with my father who was living there.
Art and English had been my favourite subjects at school so my father signed me up to do a Chinese Painting class at the Shanghai Institute of Fine Art. I loved it so much that I ended up staying for three years, moving to the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art for the last two.
Much of this experience as a young Art student in China made its way into my Young Adult novel, Chenxi and the Foreigner. However, you can see the influence of my Chinese painting studies in much of my illustration work, too. For example, Millie, written by John Marsden, is illustrated entirely in brush and ink, with the odd scribble in red pencil to highlight Millie’s antics. Even in books where this influence might be less obvious, like in The Rainbirds, written by David Metzenthen, I have been heavily influenced by Chinese aesthetic and composition.
I love writing and illustrating - I have been doing it for as long as I can remember, making books even as a child - and I can’t think of any job that could make me happier. Nowadays, my job also gives me the opportunity to travel to schools in Australia and around the world, running workshops or performing in festivals, which is a wonderful bonus I had never counted on.