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Anne Spudvilas is a multi award-winning illustrator of children’s books. Her work on the picture book version of Mao’s Last Dancer, The Peasant Prince, took her to China with author Li Cunxin. The Peasant Prince won both the NSW and Qld Premiers Awards and CBCA Honor book in 2008.
Anne’s work concentrates on portraying character and expression in people in commissioned portraits, courtroom sketching and children’s books. Anne is in demand for drawing workshops here and overseas and gives presentations about the process of illustrating books for primary and secondary level.
I’ve drawn and drawn since I could hold a pencil, but I’ve worked in other areas besides art. Started on the local newspaper learning layout and design, then had a year in Darwin, working in Woolworths on the cigarette counter and the record bar, at the ABC typing the evening TV news, at Target designing catalogues and attending fashion shoots, then painting and exhibiting my work, before getting into childen’s publishing illustration.
I’m interested in people and what makes them tick, looking at them and getting a feel for what’s going on underneath. That’s what I try to bring to the characters in my illustration, how that person is feeling about the situation they’re in.
My first job in publishing, when Isobelle Carmody asked me to do the cover of her book The Gathering. Winning the Crichton Award and Book of the Year very exciting. Most recently illustrating The Peasant Prince and traveling to China for three weeks to research the story. I met Li Cunxin’s family and teacher and saw where he lived. China was a fabulous experience.