One tall tree on the mountain once marked Grandfather’s farm. Now there is a busy city and Grandfather lives with us in our apartment.
Once he told stories but now he stays silent. Until one day, in the city market, I find something precious . . . something that brings Grandfather’s memories alive again.
I spent the earlier part of my working life in advertising as an art director and illustrator but since 1992 I have written and/or illustrated over 60 children’s picture books published both in Australia and overseas. The award winning titles include The Ugliest Dog in the World, Looking for Crabs, Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase, Diary of a Wombat and Baby Wombat’s Week which took out the Australian Book Industry Award in 2010. Flood and The Little Refugee both were CBCA Honour books in 2012 and Nog and the Land of Noses a Notable book.
My main inspiration has been my family, who feature in several of my earlier picture books. I use a variety of illustration medium including gouache, pen and ink, pencil, oils, watercolour and more recently CGI software. I aim to entertain and surprise the reader with illustration styles that vary considerably depending on the text and the age group of the audience.
I often work with my wife Rosie Smith, who has co-authored several titles including Whatley’s Quest, Detective Donut and the Wild Goose Chase, Little White Dogs Can’t Jump, My Mum's the Best and Dad's the Coolest. In 2002 I formed a successful partnership with Jackie French resulting in the Award winning Diary of a Wombat series of books.
Books released in 2010 include Hunting for Dragons, Zoobots which I illustrated with his son Ben, Monster – a collaboration with Andrew Daddo and another book with Jackie French, Queen Victoria’s Underpants.
In 2011 titles included Nog and the Land of Noses (CBCA notable book 2012), Flood (CBCA shortlisted 2012) another collaboration with Jackie French, The Little Refugee (CBCA shortlisted 2012) with Anh Do and Tin Toys another book with Ben.
I completed my PhD, in 2008 Left Hand Right Hand: implications of ambidextrous image making looking at the image making of the non-dominant hand discovering that in most people the ability to draw lies in using the ‘other’ hand.
I am continually looking for new innovative ways to make images to tell my visual narratives. It's just an excuse not to grow up really!
Christopher Cheng is an accomplished children’s author who writes fiction and non-fiction full time, conducts workshops and visits schools. He has a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature and has been a Literacy Ambassador for the Federal Government’s Literacy and Numeracy Week initiative. He is also an ambassador for the 2012 National Year of Reading.
His picture book One child, illustrated by Steven Woolman, won the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Picture Books (Australia) and the 2000 Skipping Stones Honour Book (USA). Christopher also worked with Sarah Davis on the critically acclaimed picture book Sounds Spooky, which has been nominated for an Aurealis Award in the picture book category, and is a CBCA Notable Book.