For 2015, we wanted to kick off the year not just in a BIG way but a HUGE way and who better to help us do just that, Welcome to Creative Kids Tales Graeme Base.
You will probably recognise Graeme Base as an author/illustrator of many award winning titles including, Animalia (1986) and The Eleventh Hour (1989) picture books.
Born in 1958 in Amersham, England Graeme and his family moved to Melbourne, in 1966 at the age of eight. It was also at this age Graeme wrote and illustrated, in coloured pencils, his first book, Book of Monsters. While his book about monsters didn’t make it into bookstores it helped fuel his creative desire.
After finishing High School, Graeme spent three years at college studying Graphic Design. Upon graduating, Graeme moved into the world of advertising where he spent the next couple of years unhappily working. In fact, the last agency fired him, their reason, he almost ruined their business. Graeme decided on a change of pace and chose the path of his other love, music. Unfortunately, the band only lasted a few years, and although Graeme enjoyed the late nights and atmosphere of band life, his greatest accomplishment was marrying the lead singer, Robyn.
He also dabbled in doing a bit of illustrating work for various publishers; this avenue allowed him to be far more creative. But after a while Graeme found illustrating other author’s texts frustrating and decided to both write and illustrate his own work. It was during his ‘rockstar’ phase, Graeme wrote and illustrated his first picture book, My Grandma lived in Gooligulch that was published in 1983 by Penguin books.
His multi-award winning title, Animalia was also adapted for TV took Graeme three years to create while The Eleventh Hour took two.
Inspired by his favourite childhood authors J.R.R. Tolkien, A.A. Milne and Kenneth Grahame. He calls on real life experiences to create his books and creates them to fulfill his own creative desires rather than what’s popular. The inspiration for The Eleventh Hour came from a summer reading Agatha Christie novels. While Animalia came from Graeme’s love of animals and his desire to create a book with lots of detail and things for the reader to discover. His 1992 book, The Sign of the Seahorse, was inspired by Graeme’s first experience with scuba diving.
Graeme paints on illustration board with watercolours and transparent inks. He uses brushes, pencils, technical drawing pens and a scalpel. The use of an airbrush assists with painting skies, mist and breath from horses’ mouths. Computers are also a valuable tool in both Graeme’s written, visual and musical interests.
His books have been translated into French, German, Danish, Hebrew, Taiwanese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Indonesian.
Other highly celebrated titles include, Uno’s Garden, The Sign of the Seahorse, Jungle Drums, The Legend of the Golden Snail, The Worst Band in the Universe, Truck Dogs, The Discovery of Dragons, The Waterhole and his latest, The Last Kind of Ankor Wat.
When he needs a break from illustrating, Graeme picks up his guitar and writes music.
His work is unmistakable, educational, fun and adventurous. For those who are not acquainted with his work you don’t know what you are missing. And for those who are long time admirers of Graeme’s books, stay tuned there is more to come from this gifted story teller.
Graeme works from his home studio in Melbourne, where he lives with his wife, Robyn and their three children.
If you would like to know more about Graeme Base or perhaps buy some of his artwork, visit his website www.graemebase.com. You can even find out more about his new iPad App, The Waterhole.
We are excited to have Graeme Base visit us at Creative Kids Tales this month.