Talented book illustrator Ann James is not only passionate about her work but also loves to promote picture book illustration in Australia. Ann James and Ann Haddon are both Ambassadors for Australia’s picture book industry. They initially set up a Melbourne gallery in 1988 to sell and promote picture books and over the past 7 years they attend annually the Bologna Book Fair, the biggest book fair in the world where they show case Australian picture book authors and illustrators , this is then followed by ongoing promotion in Korea as well. Two very dedicated women who work tirelessly for the industry.
The process of illustrating………..
Ann James talked of the process that she undertakes to arrive at a completed picture book. From receiving the manuscript she works through her character development and really “dives into the story” , she did say the more you polish the character often the more they “lose their life”. The cover is often required early on in the process. She loves to experiment with media and in “I’m a dirty Dinosaur” she used actual mud on the drawings this was followed by “I’m a hungry Dinosaur” on which she used cake mix, flour and sprinkles to create texture and authenticity. Her images are done by hand with very little digital adjustment with minimal use of photoshop to tweak or heighten colour or to adjust the image slightly. A picture book will take anything from 1-2 years to complete. She commented on how important it is to have a narrative that is obvious in any illustration. Ann has been a prolific illustrator and has worked on over 70 novels, novelettes and picture books.
A few pearls Ann said
“narrative is a dance between the author and Illustrator”
“It’s O K to invent in the the story”
“text is a character in itself”