Vaughan Duck - Interview (October 2020)
Why do you want to be a published author/illustrator?
My family joke that I 'colour-in' for a living (how hard can that be). What they fail to mention is that I first have to draw the thing I colour-in.
I draw pictures, it’s the thing I’m good at. I can’t fix a broken car or cook a soufflé, but I can draw a pretty amazing tortoise.
My love for drawing provides my income. I create cartoons and illustrations for educational publishers. My work appears in over 300 school textbooks and early readers.
So if I'm a published illustrator, why am I still emerging?
Because 30 years working as a professional illustrator does not guarantee a picture-book contract. Writing and illustrating the perfect narrative for a children's picture book is hard. That's why so few rightly achieve it.
Over the years my motivation for drawing has changed. This quote from author John Green explains my current attitude.
"Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts."
I am making picture book gifts for children. Having them published is a way for those gifts to reach them.
How long have you been drawing?
My first children's picture book was published in 1990.
I was a struggling illustration student at RMIT when a lecturer encouraged me to enter a picture book competition. I choose to illustrate an Australian classic - The Ant Explorer by C. J. Dennis. My entry was shortlisted, and I received a publishing contract from Lothian Books.
For the last 30 years, kids have seen my pictures in books they use to learn reading, science, geography, and maths. Until recently, the second picture books eluded me.
How will you celebrate your first publication?
My second picture book will be published later this year.
Big Beach BBQ by Carly Taylor will be published by Larrikin House.
COVID-19 restrictions will ensure a soft release, which suits my personality. People around me will celebrate, but I'll just keep drawing because that is when I am happiest.
Here's the trailer:
How would you describe your illustrating style?
Quirky, colourful, and fun. A little bit retro.
I like drawing pictures that make kids giggle.
I like drawing pictures that engage kids.
How has Creative Kids Tales assisted you on your journey to publication?
I have so many ideas for picture books that won't see the light of day because I can't craft suitable text. Writing good prose for a picture book is really hard.
I love illustrating stories for other writers but my goal is to write my own stories. CKT offers so many helpful resources designed to develop my writing skills. Honest critiques and professional editing are helping to keep me on track.
Represented by: lemonadeillustration.com