When I was in my mid-twenties, and wondering what I would do with my life, someone suggested that I try drawing cartoons. I’d been writing poems and short stories virtually since I’d learned to hold a pen, and I’d always loved drawing and making pictures, plus I loved making people laugh. The suggestion made a lot of sense. I had also just discovered feminism and become more interested in social justice issues, so I had lots of things to say. I drew my first cartoon and at that moment I knew I wanted to be a cartoonist.
From childhood, I’d always loved cartoons and read them avidly, but it had never occurred to me until that day to become a cartoonist myself. I got a folio together and went knocking on doors trying to get cartooning work, and my ‘career’ gradually built from there. I’ve had thousands of cartoons published all over the world – in newspapers and books, for campaigns, for journals and magazines. I’ve had six collections of my cartoons published in book form, with another on the way (to be published in 2010).
My cartoons also appear on all sorts of merchandise – greeting cards, aprons, teatowels, mugs, t-shirts available in shops all over Australia, and in other parts of the world. Much of my working life seems to have been devoted to finding new places to put cartoons!
As far as my involvement in children’s books goes, I had always thought that one day I would like to make children’s books, but had never really done anything about it. The catalyst was the wonderful Mem Fox sending me an email telling me how much she loved a small etching I had done of a green sheep. She said it definitely belonged in a book. That lead to us creating Where is the Green Sheep? together. I’ve since done three other picture books that I’ve written as well as illustrated.