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Where I was Meant to Be: Q&A with Gwyn Perkins

November 7, 2019

Congratulations on your new book A Trip to the Beach. You’ve been at the show and in the bush and now you’re taking a trip to the beach. What is it about the beach that you wanted to celebrate?

Thank you.
It was a special day when Iggy was able to learn how to paddle a kayak and catch a wave.

Where do your ideas for stories and illustrations come from?

I like explaining simple things, using body language to show the relationship and personalities of the characters to help with the storytelling.

Do you have a studio at home where you create your illustrations?

Yes, I do. It’s a quiet room containing a drawing desk, a computer and some comfortable chairs. It’s on the sheltered side of the house where the nearby back door is usually open, so I can keep an eye on the garden and listen to the birds.

You had a long career in advertising before becoming a picture book author and illustrator, what was it that inspired this change?

Animating hand drawn TV commercials was a very creative time and collaborating with clever writers and art directors taught me lots, but gradually I needed to see what I could do with my own ideas, so when it became obvious I would need to learn computer animation to remain in the business, I shut my small studio.

It was no easy transition, but after some years my drawings got better and my confidence improved. I discovered that writing and illustrating funny things for kids that adults laughed at was where I was meant to be.

Can you please share with us some of the children’s books that made an impact on you?

Some good ones I read to my kids:

Tomi Ungerer’s The Beast of Monsieur Racine.

Oscar and Hoo. Written by Theo, Illustrated by Michael Dudok De Wit

Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans Marciano

Read our review | Purchase a copy of A Trip to the Beach by Gwyn Perkins

Born in Melbourne in 1942, Gwyn Perkins began his artistic career when he won a newspaper drawing prize of one guinea and a box of paints (mistakenly awarded to Miss Gwyn Perkins). In 2018, Gwyn’s first picture book in his Iggy and Grandad series, A Walk in the Bush, won the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Picture Book of the Year Award.

Gwyn spent many years as a successful animator in the advertising industry before moving to an island north of Sydney to enjoy a slower pace. He spends his days drawing, sailing and doing odd jobs for his friends and family. Gwyn has two adult sons and lives with his wife and teenage daughter.




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