What inspired you to create This Small Blue Dot?
Initially, I made this book for my two young daughters. I wanted to challenge some of the big forces that were shaping their future: divisiveness, environmental decline and uncertainty. I set out to do this by taking a broader view of life on our small dot and celebrating who we are, where we come from and where our dreams may take us. The book was built on the wisdom of many artists, writers, scientists and loving family members including my own parents and grandparents.
But that all sounds terribly serious, which the book is not. It is also a journey into the wild imagination of a child and I hope it captures some of the fun, colour and strangeness of being a young person on our blue dot
What materials did you use to create the artwork? Why did you choose them?
All the artwork for the book was made with pencil and crayon. One of the many joys of having young children is being able to play with simple art materials again like bright, waxy crayons. For this story, I wanted to differentiate between the young girl’s reality and the world of her colourful imagination. Pencil and crayon were perfect for this.
Which is your favourite page of This Small Blue Dot and why?
This is a very tough question. There is a bit of my heart in all of them. My very favourite page to draw though was the ‘dance silly dances’ page because drawing crazy dancing is a lot of fun.
What are the key messages or lessons that you wanted to highlight with This Small Blue Dot?
The big message of the book is that we are all living on a small blue dot spinning in space and that it is up to us to take good care of our dot and each other. There are, of course, other important lessons for young people in the book including the best desserts to try from around the world.
What was your favourite picture book as a child?
When I was a child I lived in an old house in a country town and we didn’t have a TV or any other screens. Because of that I lived inside of books and have many favourites. The most impactful children’s book I read was The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde. The most beautiful books I read belonged to a series of Monkey Magic Story Books (Journey to the West) that for some odd reason were sold at a Chinese food supermarket in Melbourne.
Who are your favourite artists?
My favourite Children’s Book artists come from the Golden Age of Children’s Illustrated Books and include Windsor Mckay, Arthur Rackham and Kay Nielsen. I also love Japanese woodblock prints and the art of Utagawa Hiroshige.
Which of your coloured crayons is your favourite to use?
Without a doubt, yellow – no colour gives a happy hug to your eyeballs like a warm yellow.