Bruce Whatley is an incredibly prolific Australian author and illustrator. His creations are most notable for their diversity both in tone and style.
The Little Refugee (Anh and Suzanne Do), has attracted multiple awards in 2012 and was the most popular review on our website during October 2012. This year, incredibly, marks the 20th anniversary of The Ugliest Dog in the World. To say we are delighted to be given the chance to interview such a talented, and busy, creator is an understatement!
Enjoy Bruce's answers ....
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
Been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil in my hand. Main inspiration is my wife Rosie and our kids Ben and Ellyn.
What makes you happy?
Family and making a child smile.
Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to … yet?
Florence. Because of its beauty, art and architecture. It seems such a historically romantic place.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate/write?
This is changing as I am about to be a bit of a nomad for a couple of years.
But a constant is indirect sunlight mainly from the left, a comfortable seat and good paper and materials. Then the place I illustrate becomes on the page. And I can lose myself there no matter where I am.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
It’s hard to go past all the obvious – hunger, poverty, war etc….
That chocolate was a diet food!
What’s the best thing about being a published author/illustrator?
Creating different worlds in each book to tell my stories and making kids laugh.
What’s the strangest question you've ever been asked?
Did you really paint your dog green and red?
No, but one day when she fell asleep on the back lawn I put a pair of sunglasses on her and when she woke up she thought it was night time!
Who or what inspires you?
I'm constantly inspired by other illustrators both here in Australia and overseas. Also animated films are a big influence for their timing and humour.
What is your worst habit?
Sitting at my drawing board too long – and eating chocolate!
Your favourite word(s) and why?
Snuggle. It’s warm – a complete positive word. Perfect.
You have illustrated an awesome variety of books – were there any that were particularly challenging for any reason?
Some have been challenging because of time constraints and tight deadlines.
There were a few that were bad ideas, which I only realized halfway through, they are difficult because you are still obligated to finish them.
Some of the more serious titles for other authors were challenging because I wanted to make sure I did a good job.
Ruben is a book I’m working on now. My own title and is definitely the most challenging so far. It will have the longest text to date and the illustrations will be of a world that I am creating from scratch using virtual 3D imagemaking processes and photographic references.
Did we forget anything?
I recently discovered that many of us can draw better with the ‘other hand’.
I have illustrated 3 books now using my left hand. One of which was Flood that was a CBC honour book this year.
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Depends on the time of day.
Paper books or e-books? Getting into both though you can’t beat paper.
Vegemite or Marmite? Marmite YUKKK! Has to be Vegemite
Write or type? Write the original. Typing becomes my editing process.
Poetry or prose? A confession…. I don’t read much, don’t find it easy to read. I can hear poetry but… so prose.
Beach or bush? Beach
Hot or cold? Hot(tish)
Visit Bruce Whatley's website.
Leave your comments below.