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Sue deGennaro

Author, Illustrator

Sue deGennaro is an author and an illustrator. She has illustrated 16 picture books, and is the author and illustrator of The Pros and Cons of Being A Frog (shortlist for the CBCA 2013 Early Childhood Prize) Her second picture book Eddie Frogbert will be released Feburary 2017. Her most recent illustrated book is Clarries Pig Day Out by Jen Storer (HarperCollins 2016). Sue’s illustrations are quirky and infectiously funny. Sue has worked in many careers (including confectionery, circuses and home renovations!), and now (between making books) she often teachers writing & illustration.

What other jobs have you had?

I spent 10 years in the circus as an aerialist. I worked in an all women’s flying trapeze troupe and lived in the back of my car for a year. I have worked in a zillion cafes, been an artist model, a rigger, a removalist, a street performer and a lolly girl in a lolly shop. I have helped renovate a house, I have washed windows and my first job was filling peoples cars with petrol. The dullest job I ever had was demonstrating and trying to sell an ‘automatic needle threader’, as you can probably tell it wasn’t a great success. But right now I am teaching workshops at Artplay for children and teaching book illustration at NMIT in the evenings for adults.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Getting the chance to work with Jackie French. Now that I have her email address I ask her dumb gardening questions all the time. Oh and a flash morning tea with Harper Collins where they had the most magnificent scones I have ever seen, huge with jam and cream, but I was so nervous before my presentation that I couldn’t eat one, clearly I still regret it.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about ethics, about talking the truth and demystifying the constructs that suck us into our culture. I’m passionate about women and their power, their education and autonomy.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

The only award I have received to date was in grade 5. I got a trophy for ‘best and fairest’ for netball.

Testimonials

Sue was very well spoken and friendly. I love how she captivated all the children with all her life experiences of being an Author/Illustrator. The students loved all the drawing skills she taught them and were amazed they could draw pictures from her books by the end of the session. I would definitely recommend Sue to others as she played a big part of Book Week and will definitely be remembered by the students and staff of our school.

—M. Caruana, Teacher, St Thomas the Apostle 2016

Sue’s workshops were excellent. The sessions were well balanced and appropriate to all year levels catering for different age, ability and attention span. Sue’s calm demeanor, clear explanations and gentle approach helped the students to connect and create with confidence. A rewarding learning experience for all.

—K. Hand, Wesley College, August 2015

I just wanted to say that we have just had the most fantastic two days with Sue deGennaro.  She developed an immediate rapport with the students at all levels and they worked with rapt attention drawing their own versions of wombats, reindeer and maids.  She was funny and engaging as she showed the students how to develop their own repertoire of objects that they could draw quickly and easily.  All of the students left the library having been successful in drawing something.  The teachers were also taken with her presentation and really enjoyed the sessions.  Sue was generous with her time and easily fitted into our timetable.

—S.O'Malley, St Paul's Anglican Grammar School, October 2014

Students were very engaged and interested in everything Sue shared with them. The way in which Sue spoke to the kids and pitched activities was very age appropriate. Students loved exploring how Sue’s illustrations change from when she first begins to work on a picture storybook to the final product.

Through the session with Sue, Students were able to build on their understanding of the creative process. The session highlighted to students the importance of persistence in the creative process, and that creativity begins with an idea that may evolve into something quite different. Students loved the hands on element of the session.

—C. Brennan, Boroondara Park Primary School, August 2013

The girls loved Sue! She is an amazing presenter to children and a fantastic asset for Booked Out. Her manner with the girls was professional but also relaxed and all of the girls were engaged. A great way to round off our Book Week celebrations.

—C. Williams, Sacre Coeur, August 2013

The Prep to Three students at my school simply loved Sues visit. She engaged the students immediately and every student left feeling like a real ‘illustrator’ just like Sue. She had a wonderful manner with the students and was able to explain step by step how to create one of her characters. The teachers were raving about the session and they are all displaying the students works of art in the classrooms. One of our special needs students really struggled with the idea of following the illustrator that visited last year – this year he completed a picture that resembled Sues work and he was so proud of himself. The children at my school are already asking me to order Sue’s new book!

—F. Witts, St Patrick’s Primary School, September 2012

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