• Description
  • About Illustrator
Ava wears a different coloured dress for each type of day - a red dress for hot days, a purple dress for rainy days and a blue dress for cold days.

One whistling, whirly, windy morning, Ava and her puppy want to go out and play. But Ava’s favourite coloured dress was missing. Will Ava’s mother find something for her to wear on her yellow dress day?

This book will delight all young girls and appeal to any parent of a child with special needs!
Sophia Norsa

Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Australia and am happy to still live here, by the beach.

Where did you go to school?
I went to school on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, which was a beautiful place to be inspired (and sometimes distracted) by while at school.

Did you have a nickname?
I always wanted to have a cool nickname, but it’s kind of hard to shorten 'Sophie' to anything beyond 'Soph'—so I guess I was just stuck with being myself!

What were you like in school?
I was always the goody-two-shoes and was sometimes guilty of being a teacher’s pet. However, I did have the tendency to draw on absolutely anything that was available to me—by the end of the year the back half of all my exercise books were flooded with drawings in biro pen. I also had a habit of drawing on the table, but in pencil, so I could rub it out and make sure my teacher didn’t see.

What is the naughtiest thing you did?

I had to be encouraged by my cheekier friends to be naughty, but one thing I do fondly remember doing was on the last day of school in Year 3. My friends and I were doing the responsible, helpful thing for our teacher by taking the papers out to the big recycling bin at the back of the school. But once we’d piled the papers in there, we jumped in after them and played in it like a jumping castle and missed the rest of the clean-up. I didn’t even get any paper cuts!

What was your favourite book growing up?

I pretty much inhaled anything by Roald Dahl. His stories always appealed to my kooky side and I remember turning each page in anticipation of the next illustration by Quentin Blake, whose work I loved. But if I had to pick any one of his books, I’d probably pick Danny, the Champion of the World. Or The BFG. Or Matilda. Actually, I can’t pick, I loved them all.

Who is your favourite children’s author?
Of course, Roald Dahl hands down! I also loved Alison Lester’s picture books.

What is your favourite food/colour/movie?
Apples, green and the old Matilda movie. For me, the perfect evening would be eating green apples while watching Matilda!

Who inspired you to illustrate?
Alison Lester, the Australian author and illustrator. I’ve been drawing since I was less than 18 months old (I have footage to prove it!) and had always loved to pore over her books. I never knew how to apply my drawing, but as I got older I realised that if I worked hard enough I could be like her.

How did you get started?
When I was in high school we had to take a week of work experience at a place of our choosing. I knew that my art teacher’s mum worked at a children’s book publishing company so I rang her and asked if she could take me on. During my time there, I got acquainted with the publishers and showed them my work. Two years later, during my HSC year, I was given my first project, Yellow Dress Day, which was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Sometimes I think I could have just gotten lucky, but my high school art teacher’s mum always reminds me that it was just determination, and that, 'You were the one who picked up the phone and called us!'

How old were you at that stage?
I was 17.

Why did you want to be a illustrator?
I can never stop drawing so I thought that I might as well create something that everyone can enjoy! Drawing makes me happy and I love how stories and pictures and imagination can have the capacity to make others happy.

How do you think up ideas?
With my brain! Usually, when I’m out walking.

Do you have a special place where you illustrate?
My house has an attic where I have a desk and easel set up. I work there for peace from the rest of my house. When I’m working, though, my cat tends to follow me up (she can climb up and down the ladder all by herself!) and sit on the floor or with me on my chair. Occasionally she tries to sit on my work, and complains when I try and budge her off.

What is the best thing about being a illustrator?

Being able to work in my pyjamas!

Have you had any funny or embarrassing moments as a illustrator?
When I first started out I was 17 and could not drive. I had to somehow get my illustrations on the deadline day to my publishers, so I ended up having to catch two buses and to walk for half an hour to deliver them. Not too bad, except for the fact that this was all done while carrying the enormous load of pictures in an oversized folder.

What do you do when you are not illustrating?

I’m a university student so when I’m not drawing I’m usually studying. Most of the time, though I end up drawing while studying anyway.

What would you have chosen to be if you were not a illustrator?
This is a hard question to answer, because I guess careers and work are hard to choose and more often than not are chosen for us by opportunity and circumstance. I am just happy to know I am doing what I’m doing and not think too much about other possibilities.

Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
A conversation with Leonardo da Vinci would make my day! Too bad I can’t speak Italian...

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