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?
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
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.