Hi I’m Judy Watson. I’m a Melbourne based illustrator and artist, working from my home studio.
In April 2015 my latest picture book Thunderstorm Dancing written by Katrina Germein was launched. The book took nearly three years to illustrate and is rendered in ink and watercolour on litho paper with digital overlays added on the computer. You can see lots of snippets about the making of Thunderstorm Dancing on my blog. The illustrations have since won a Highly Commended Award in the 2015 Illustrators Australia Awards, and the book has been made a CBCA Notable Book for 2016.
My first picture book, Goodnight Mice! (written by Frances Watts) won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award (Children’s Fiction) in 2012. An illustration from the book was included in the Hello From Australia Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and has, I believe, been travelling the world with that exhibition ever since, thanks to the efforts of Ann James and Ann Haddon, children’s book illustration curators at Books Illustrated.
Frances and I had previously worked together on the Extraordinary Ernie & Marvellous Maud series. Extraordinary Ernie and Marvellous Maud was named a Notable Book in the Younger Readers category of the 2009 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, but more importantly still, has inspired children to dress up as sheep in capes!
April 2015 was an exciting time for me as I went to Italy for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where one of the illustrations from Thunderstorm Dancing was on show in the Hello From Australia exhibition. While I was away, my husband bought us a new house, and we moved not long after my return to Australia. This took over my world until the end of the year, and I now have a very comfortable studio space to work in.
I’m now working on illustrations for another of Frances Watts’ books Leonard Doesn’t Dance. This picture book will be all aflutter with feathers and (tripping) feet as it is about birds and dancing. You can watch Leonard come to life on my blog.
When work for Leonard is complete, I’m looking forward to working on another picture book for Allen & Unwin, this time written by Sofie Laguna, one of Australia’s writing stars. Sofie won the Australia’s top fiction prize, the $60,000 Miles Franklin Literary Award, for the novel, The Eye Of The Sheep in 2015. Our picture book will be titled When You’re Older.
After this I’ll be doing my first book for Walker Books Australia. It will be part of the fabulous Nature Storybooks series, written by Lesley Gibbes and titled The Cicada Hunters.
Somewhere in between these projects or alongside them, I’ll be working on my own writing, including a picture book called ‘Trudy and Dodds’, along with a few other ideas.
I’ve illustrated around 20 children’s books, many of them chapter books for young readers, including some Aussie Nibbles and Aussie Bites for Penguin Books. I illustrated new covers for the ten books in Emily Rodda’s Fairy Realm series – a task that I really enjoyed, because I love book covers.
I love the work of other illustrators and artists (past and present) and my house is packed with books I’ve collected. My two sons enjoy them almost as much as I do. Some of my all time favourite illustrators are William Steig, Edward Ardizzone, Sempé, Jean de Brunhoff, Quentin Blake, Tomi Ungerer, Armin Greder, Alexis Deacon and Tove Jansson.
If you’d like to read the occasional post about my current illustrating adventures, subscribe to my blog and come along for the ride.