Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Liverpool, England, and now I live in Auckland.
Where did you go to school?
Liverpool Institute High School.
What were you like in school?
Noisy, lazy, naughty, clever and dumb … just like everyone else!
What was your favourite book growing up?
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
How did you get started? How old were you?
I was eight years old when I found out what a commercial artist was … and decided that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had several jobs after leaving school, but eventually I had the opportunity to become self-employed, and I’ve been an artist/author/illustrator for over 42 years now.
Why did you want to be a writer/illustrator?
I’ve always liked language, and good stories … and as a child I was never happier than when drawing with pencils and paper. To combine those two loves into an occupation was a dream realised!
How do you think up ideas?
Usually it’s the ‘what if?’ factor that gets me started … or I can go to ‘greatideasfor stories.com’ :)
Do you have a special place where you write/illustrate?
Yes, a big studio attached to my house.
What is the best thing about being an author/illustrator?
To be able to invent a world/story, and then draw and paint it … is great fun.
Have you had an embarrassing moment as an author/illustrator?
Yes, of course. But it’s far too embarrassing to talk about! :)
What do you do when you are not writing/illustrating?
I paint, read and play guitar … occasionally all at the same time! :)
What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author/illustrator?
A musician, or working in conservation.
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Mr J.M.W. Turner … one of the greatest painters, ever.
Books written or illustrated:
I’ve been involved with around 200-300 books, from being a contributor to those that I’ve fully written and illustrated. Some notable ones have been Mr Mugg, the Library Cat, Kiwi of The Great Forest, Wildlife Stuff, How the Kiwi Lost its Wings and The Lost Worlds of Aotearoa.