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Anne Spudvilas


Anne Spudvilas  is a multi award-winning illustrator of children’s books. Her work has been awarded the NSW and Queensland Premiers Awards, CBCA Picture Book of the Year, ABIA Award for Younger Readers, the Crichton Award for Illustration and more.

Her passion is bringing to life the characters in her books and this carries over into commissioned portraits and courtroom sketching.  Her portrait of much-loved children’s book creator Leigh Hobbs was an Archibald Prize finalist. Anne is in demand for drawing workshops here and overseas and gives presentations about the process of illustrating books for primary and secondary level.

Anne’s visits include a video presentation and chat with students about the process of putting a picture book together. She brings her childhood sketchbooks, current workbooks and the concertina dummy books that are part of the design process.   Students love the drawing demonstrations and group workshops creating big drawings with charcoal. An instant exhibition!  These workshops are great for primary and secondary level – Anne easily adjusts her presentations to all age groups.

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve always loved drawing ever since I could hold a pencil.  That led to graphic design, working on newspapers, designing Target catalogues and attending their fashion shoots. I worked in the TV newsroom for the ABC in Darwin while traveling have had exhibitions of my painting, printmaking and illustration work.  Courtroom sketching for the Melbourne media was a great experience.

What themes are recurring in your work?

People – it’s the character in the story I’m interested in.  I want to create real characters that bring the story to life

What have been the highlights of your career?

  • Visiting China for three weeks to research The Peasant Prince (the picture book version of Mao’s Last Dancer) with author Li Cunxin. I met Li’s family and teacher and saw where he lived. A morning at the Beijing Ballet Academy was a big part of an exciting trip.
  • My first publishing job creating the cover for Isobelle Carmody’s book The Gathering.
  • Travelling to the Kimberley and flying to remote indigenous communities in a tiny plane to hold workshops with the kids – wonderful!!

What are you passionate about?

Photography – I always have my camera with me, bird photography is a particular obsession.  Swimming – a huge part of my life, summer or winter at sunrise in the bay near my home. Printmaking in my studio. Op shops!!

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