Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Aaron Blabey.
My husband has always said that left handed people are geniuses. His proof...he is left handed. I, on the other hand, needed more convincing.
When our first born turned out to be a cacky-hander too, I started to come around. Then came my discovery while researching this month’s featured guest. He too is a Southpaw!
Here’s what I found - Research shows that left-handed people are more artistically inclined. There is evidence that lefties are better at divergent thinking, and a survey of over 2,000 left-handed people showed that the majority of lefties were drawn to careers in art and music.
Now I agree with my husband, because Aaron Blabey is unquestionably a GENIUS!
But for now, I’ll let my husband think I believe that left-handers are geniuses due to his persuasion.
A lover of hot chips smothered in mayonnaise, Aaron was born in 1974 in Bendigo, Victoria. An only child, Aaron’s family frequently moved around during his youth.
A self-confessed loner during his school days, Aaron believes he was custom built to be a picture book maker.
Before we look at Aaron the author/illustrator, let’s look back at his early years in another creative arena; acting. He’s also dabbled in a number of other professions such as a grape-picker, model, video store guy, advertising copywriter, comic-strip creator, a designer, a screenwriter and a college lecturer. Apart from grape-picker, model and video store guy, I think you can see a trend towards where he has settled today. Aaron worked alongside actors Hugh Jackman, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Bryan Brown, Ben Mendelson and Joel Edgerton in numerous TV shows, movies and plays throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
During his 15 year acting career, in 1994 Aaron received an ACCTA Award (AFI) for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Television Drama; The Damnation of Harvey McHugh. In 2000 he was nominated for his guest-starring role in the Australian police drama, Stingers.
But Aaron didn’t feel as if he fit in and began pondering life’s big question - ‘What is my purpose? Who am I?’
In the early 2000s, Blabey started painting. His works were displayed around Australia in six solo exhibitions between 2004 and 2006.
By 2005/6 he left acting and embraced his new creative direction.
The first book Aaron ever wrote, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley was written on toilet paper and today hangs proudly in his home. He began writing the story on his plane boarding pass. During the day the story developed. Unfortunately, the people he was staying with were fast asleep and Aaron had run out of boarding pass to write on. Unable to find anything to use Aaron popped into the guest bathroom and made use of an abundant supply of paper – toilet paper.
Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley were born and printed just as Aaron had written them. It just goes to show you can write a story on anything.
Discovering he could make something out of nothing, fit Aaron perfectly. Everything else he’d ever tried to do in his life immediately became ridiculous.
After the success of the 2007 release of Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley (Penguin Books Australia), Aaron created his second picture book, Sunday Chutney (Penguin Books Australia) in 2008 followed by Stanley Paste (Penguin Books Australia) in 2009.
The Ghost of Miss Annabel Spoon (Penguin Books Australia) was released in 2011 followed by The Dreadful Fluff (Penguin Books Australia) in 2012, Noah Dreary (Penguin Books Australia) in 2013 and The Brothers Quibble (Penguin Books Australia) in 2014.
2014 saw the release of Pig The Pug followed by more in the Pig series, Pig the Fibber in 2015, Pig the Winner 2016 and Pig the Elf just in time for Christmas this year from Scholastic Australia.
The Bad Guys series (Episode 1) was released through Scholastic in July 2015 quickly followed by Episode 2 – Mission Unpluckable in November of 2015. In May 2016 Episode 3 – The Furball Strikes Back hit shelves followed by Episode 4 – Apocalypse Meow released last month.
Aaron’s picture book for adults, Babies Don't Suck (Pan Macmillan) was released in 2014.
In addition to Pig the Fibber and two in The Bad Guys series, Aaron released three stand-alone titles also through Scholastic; Thelma the Unicorn, Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas and I Need A Hug. Don’t Call Me Bear was released in 2016.
In researching Aaron I read numerous interviews and watched countless YouTube clips. The most inspiring would be Aaron Blabey – Picture Book Maker by Story Box Library:
One comment that has stayed with me – 'making a picture book is like writing a song because you don’t have very long'. A song is about 3 minutes long and a picture book is only 32 pages. In that three-minute song, you can talk about anything you want. You can be as poetic, clever or funny as you want to be but you have to get to the point quickly. It’s the same when telling a story in a 32-page picture book.
Some of Aaron’s favourite people are song writers. The walls in his studio are covered with photos of those who inspire him - Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who wrote under the pen name Hergé (creator of Tintin), Little Richard and countless other mentors.
Aaron lives by three golden rules –
- Don’t be boring!
- Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up!
- Do it all the time!
Here is a snapshot of some of his awards, for a full list we suggest you visit his website:
The Bad Guys
- Winner, Children's Book of the Year 2016, INDIE Awards - Australian Independent Booksellers
- Winner, Best Designed Children's/Young Adult Series - Australian Book Design Awards
- Shortlisted, Children's Book Prize 2016 - Readings Booksellers
- Shortlisted, Book of the Year - Younger Readers 2016 - KOALA Awards
- Shortlisted, Book of the Year - Younger Readers 2016 - YABBA Awards
- Shortlisted, Book of the Year - Younger Readers 2016 - CROC Awards
Pig the Pug
- Winner, Picture Book of the Year 2015 - KOALA Awards
- Winner, Picture Book of the Year 2015 - YABBA Awards
- Selected, 51 Best Children's Books of All Time - Dymocks Booksellers
- Shortlisted, Book of the Year - Early Childhood – 2015 Children's Book Council of Australia
- Shortlisted, Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award 2015 - Australian Booksellers Association (ABA)
- Shortlisted, Children's Book of the Year 2015 - INDIE Awards - Australian Independent Booksellers
- Shortlisted, Best Designed Children's Book 2015 - Australian Book Design Awards
The Brothers Quibble
- Selected, NATIONAL SIMULTANEOUS STORYTIME BOOK for 2015 ALIA
- Shortlisted, 2014 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Award
- Notable Book, Picture Book of the Year - Children's Book Council of Australia
Thelma the Unicorn
- Shortlisted, Book of the Year 2016 - Nielsen BookData Booksellers Choice Award
- Shortlisted, Picture Book of the Year 2016 - KOALA Awards
- Shortlisted, Picture Book of the Year 2016 - YABBA Awards
- Shortlisted, Picture Book of the Year - CROC Awards
In 2012 he became the National Literacy Ambassador and also the Ambassador for The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
The Bad Guys and Pig the Pug have been translated into numerous languages and are published in over 25 countries including the USA, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, India, Turkey, China, Japan, South Korea and Brazil.
Aaron Blabey is a song writer of picture books. He is married to actress, Kirstie Hutton and together they live with their two sons in the Blue Mountains, NSW.
To learn more about Aaron Blabey visit his Website: www.aaronblabeybooks.com
Here are some of Aaron Blabey's books