Welcome to Creative Kids Tales Leigh Hobbs.
Many of this country’s talented authors and illustrators originate from Melbourne and Leigh Hobbs is one of them. Leigh was born in Williamstown, Melbourne in 1953 and grew up in Bairnsdale, a small country town of Victoria.
The school years introduced Leigh to history and writing classes, which he enjoyed. Sport, maths and science he happily left to the other students.
In 1973 at the age of 20 Leigh graduated from Monash University art school. His first job as an artist was at Sydney’s Luna Park. He was contracted to supervise the restoration and colour design of a 1900’s Carousel. It was during this time Leigh created two large three dimensional characters Larry and Lizzy Luna, who now hold permanent residence at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
After his work at Luna Park, Leigh, primarily supported himself working as an art school teacher at secondary schools from 1978 – 2002.
In between his ‘day job’ Leigh worked on and developed the various aspects of his artistic vision. In 1980 he had a one man show of caricature sculptures at the Rex Irwin Gallery in Sydney. In 1984 a collection of his glazed ceramic tea pots designed in the shape of Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station were displayed and purchased by numerous collectors including The National Gallery of Victoria.
From 1985 – 2010 Leigh freelanced as a cartoonist for The Age, Melbourne. Leigh is best known though for the children’s book characters he has created in and for the children’s books he writes and illustrates. Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Mr Chicken, Fiona the Pig and Mr Badger have won many fans here in Australia and overseas.
Since 1994 his original Old Tom has been reprinted nineteen times. Leigh’s illustrations often border on the grotesque, but there is no denying Leigh’s work has been embraced by all who view his work. This legendary artist has been nominated for countless awards. In 2010 Leigh’s Mr Chicken Goes to Paris was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Awards and in 2012 NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) adapted it for the stage.
In 2002 Old Tom first appeared on ABC TV in a television series and in 1999 Leigh designed the colour scheme for the entrance to Melbourne’s Luna Park.
Leigh is a highly regarded artist and author who, from an early age knew that what he wanted to do when he grew up, was to be an artist. Although he has celebrated many birthdays, Leigh is still very much young at heart and this is reflected in all facets of his work. Not only is Leigh an adventurous storyteller, he is a talented painter and sculptor, creating many memorable pieces as well as animated films. His artwork can be found in public art galleries, the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Libraries of Victoria and Western Australia. Leigh’s works can also be found in private collections around the country.
Not only does Leigh love his craft, he is also passionate about architecture, classical music and English history. In fact, Leigh’s home away from home is London.
Aussies aren’t the only ones who love Leigh’s work. Leigh’s English publisher is Bloomsbury and it is their edition of his book ‘Mr Chicken Goes To Paris’ which is a very popular title in The Louvre Museum bookshop in Paris.
In 2001, ‘Horrible Harriet’ burst onto the scene with the introduction of Horrible Harriet which was subsequently shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award. In 2005 Leigh released Hooray for Horrible Harriet and in 2012 ‘ Horrible Harriet’s Inheritance’ was released.
Leigh Hobbs, illustrator/author and sculptor is just as colourful as the characters he creates and clearly there is a lot more to come from this national treasure. Leigh’s next book is ‘Mr Chicken Lands on London’ due for release in July 2014.
It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome Leigh Hobbs as our featured author this month on Creative Kids Tales.
You can read more about Leigh Hobbs here: www.leighhobbs.com.au