Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, in a little place called Goroka. My family came to live in Australia when I was 12. I now live just outside of a little town in northern NSW called Uki. My house is on a mountain top in the middle of a rainforest.Where did you go to school?
I did my primary schooling at Mount Hagen in PNG and went to high school in Sydney.What is your favourite food/colour/movie?
My favourite food is most definitely tomatoes. I could live on them, provided I could have a mango for desert. I’m partially colour-blind, so I don’t actually see many reds, greens, browns or purples. I think my favourite colour is blue, but I also like yellow. My favourite movie is Disney’s first Fantasia
film. I love classical music, so that film is a combination of all the things that excite me.How old were you when you started as an illustrator?
I’m not absolutely sure, but I think I was 19 when I had my first drawings published — that was in a colouring in book about venomous wildlife — and I was 22 when I had my first picture book published. But then I did all sorts of other things, including travelling the world and studying music. My second picture book was published when I was 30 and I’ve more or less had something published every 18 months or so since then. Do you have a special place where you illustrate?
Yes, I have a studio, which is on the first floor of my house, and as the house is on the top of a ridge, my studio is right at the level of the treetops on either side of the ridge, so I feel like I’m up with the birds. It’s a glorious, sunny place to work.What is the best thing about being an illustrator?
I get to do one of the things I love doing — drawing pictures — and I get paid to do it. How amazing is that!Have you had any funny or embarrassing moment as an illustrator?
My very first interview ever was actually with Scholastic. I think I was 18 at the time. I was so nervous I actually forgot to bring my folio, so I spent the interview describing my artworks rather than actually showing them to the person interviewing me. Needless to say, I didn’t get any illustrating work from that interview.What do you do when you are not illustrating?
I’m either writing or playing music, or doing woodwork, or bush walking. But when I’m really late for a deadline I’m sleeping, if that makes sense, and occasionally eating (being later for a deadline means that every waking hour is spent trying to finish the job).What would you have chosen to be if you were not an illustrator?
Most definitely either a full time composer or a furniture maker or a national parks ranger, preferably in a mountainous area (for all three options).
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Ludwig Van Beethoven. Apart from the fact that his music is just so stunning and quirky and interesting, I want to know if he was really as cranky as he is said to have been, and I want to tell him just how much the world would one day appreciate his music.