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Ben Wood

Illustrator

Ben Wood is a children’s book illustrator. He has illustrated over 25 books, including Blast Off! by Shelly Unwin, the Squishy Taylor series by Ailsa Wild, and the hilarious new series Real Pigeons by Andrew McDonald. He has also had several titles on the CBCA Notable list in 2016 and 2017. Ben offers interactive sessions that are a lot of fun.

Where were you born?

I was born in Melbourne, but grew up in rainy South Gippsland surrounded by bush and farmland. Lots of cows and potato farms! I’ve moved around a bit over the years, but am back in Victoria now.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Every book I get to work on is a highlight. I’m working with Andrew McDonald on Real Pigeons at the moment and am finding it “super coo!” It is about a team of pigeons would become friends while solving crimes in the city. The text is mixed together with illustrations in a fluid and fun way. A great format to get timid readers keen!

What are you passionate about?

Teaching students about visual narrative is something I’m very passionate about. Showing something through an image is just as much a challenge as writing. In my sessions I’m able to teach students how to problem solve though drawing. We have a lot of fun!

Haven’t I seen you before?

I have also worked as a bookseller in bookstores. I loved selling books to parents and families. I can go on and on about children’s literature once I get started! (Watch out!)

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I love eating! And when I’m not eating, I like to talk about eating- and food! Some of my favourite foods are tacos, sushi, burritos, green spaghetti and raspberries. Yum!

Photo credit: Kathy Luu Photography

Testimonials

Ben Wood was an excellent engaging speaker. He was punctual well prepared and the kids were very involved. They all had a great time and left with smiles on their faces clutching their artwork from the session. Everything was very professional and more importantly fun for the 60 students who attended.

—Phil Costello, Team Leader Prahran Library, Stonnington Library and Information Service

The students really loved Ben Wood’s visit. They really enjoyed the workshop approach and all the tips and hints on how to draw characters and how to use shapes and background to complete the illustration. The students were really engaged and wanted to continue their work once they arrived back at their classrooms.

—Teacher, Killara PS, August 2017

Ben was fantastic with the students and lovely to communicate with. He was punctual and organised. His workshops were wonderful and left the students inspired. He spoke appropriately and had the students interacting throughout the workshop which was great. They were talking about it for the rest of the day. We would highly recommend him to other schools.

—M.Lingard, Panton Hill Primary School, August 2017

Year 5 teachers said the children were enthralled and mesmerised. They continued drawing long after he had left. Absolutely loved it.

Ben was on time, actually early, he was friendly, professional and kept the kids engrossed. Would highly recommend him.

—C. Roberts, St. Bernadette's PS, August 2017

Just wanted to say how awesome it was to have Ben Wood visit our school yesterday. Our students were left inspired by his work and stories. The students are still talking about him today!

—-P. Bettiol, Library Technician, Strathmore Primary School 2016

Students had a great experience visiting with Ben Wood as part of our Book Week celebrations.  Ben told everyone about his early life and how he became self- taught illustrator. He demonstrated that drawing characters is as easy as starting with a shape.  He then showed how to add feelings with eyebrows and mouths and also how to draw clothes as well as a background to the picture. Students were then given an opportunity to create their own character. Some amazing pieces of work were created and from the enthusiasm demonstrated, students had a wonderful time!

—P. Reibelt, Teacher Librarian, Albany Street State School

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