Serena spent six years with Walt Disney Animation Australia working on the sequels to The Lion King, Return to Neverland, Tarzan and The Jungle Book. She had an eight year gap working in every other industry but the one she loved, and in 2009 secured her first contract with New Frontier Publishing, illustrating seven books for them in just under two years.
Her most recent works include a fourth and final book in the Totally Twins series – Birthday Bonanza by Aleesah Darlison, a children’s picture book called Gracie and Josh by recognised author Suzanne Gervay, and a new series with Random House by award winning author Belinda Murrell called Lulu Bell. Just to add to the mayhem, Serena was one of two illustrators picked up by a US agent in June 2012 and is currently working on a small series of author/illustrator picture books for publication in 2014.
I was born in Melbourne and grew up in Brighton before moving to Sydney where I’ve spent the last twenty something years. Melbourne seems to have retained its charm over the years as I find myself packing boxes and returning to live.
Walt Disney was pretty amazing. I lasted a week dressing mannequins for a department store… that was a very strange experience. And then there are those office jobs I had to do all in fun industries like film, advertising, animation and design.
Young, fun, slightly quirky characters seem to make regular appearances in my work. I like to build them up then add in something embarrassing or humorous. It’s more fun when you can laugh at someone else.
A definite highlight is seeing the reaction from the children at my workshops. Seeing them so enthusiastic to tap into their creativity and enjoy what they have just created is a real buzz…. I think I enjoy it more than they do… if that is possible? Travelling overseas for work has been a great experience and being able to talk at schools in the UK and NZ has been very rewarding. I have also had the opportunity to meet with some very talented authors and illustrators along the way.
The UK, USA, Korea and France.
Food…..and of course, drawing!
Maybe skipping down Cleveland Street in Sydney? A few years ago we had a theme party for work. I was Dorothy on my way to our event with the Tin Man, a Cowardly Lion, a Scarecrow and the Wicked Witch of the West. We won the best dressed competition by the way.
Learning to play the guitar is harder than learning how to draw…