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Lance Balchin

Author, Illustrator

Lance Balchin is a children’s illustrator and author who has internationally published two books in the ‘Mechanica’ series with the Five Mile Press, Simon & Schuster, Little Bee Books and Bonnier Publishing. There are a further seven picture books to follow as well as a set of four novels. The books carry a strong environmental message and are written for children aged from 8 to 14. The illustrations in the books have all been made by Lance using the same parts and techniques that feature on the OS Mechanica website.

Lance is also an educator in the creative industries, with over 15 years hands on experience teaching Photoshop. Lance’s relationship with PhotoshopTM started in 1991 with Version 2.5 (pre layers!) and he has built a substantial understanding of the software over 25 years. Lance currently lives in Brisbane, Australia and was admitted to practice law two years ago.

Where were you born?

I grew up in the Melbourne suburb of Collingwood and spent most of my adult life in that city’s inner suburbs. I’ve always been a city person; I love the noise and motion of it all. I now live in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington where the sun warms my bones in the winter.

What other jobs have you had?

I’ve always tried to experience as much as possible that this life has to offer. That has led me to have many different careers over my 47 years.

After art school I started cooking in Melbourne restaurants and worked my way up to running my own kitchen. At the same time I was making skateboard videos, which led me to starting a media company with friends. After I moved to Queensland I started to work (and still do) in fashion and portraiture photography. I’ve also spent much of my life teaching adults in the creative industries. And to further confuse HR departments I was admitted to practice law in 2015.

What themes are recurring in your work?

I am a futurist and a great believer in the good in people. I think we are at the dawn of a wonderful period in human existence where science will allow us to enter a truly post-scarcity society. But to get to that hopeful future we must look after the environment; the life support system this planet has given us. I am also fascinated by is the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics. When we can make something that can think like us, understand humour, fall in love and have its heart broken does it cease to be ‘something’ and become ‘someone’?

What have been the highlights of your career?

Seeing my first book on the self of a bookshop was an important moment for me. It represented the culmination of all the different things I’ve done in my life. It was where my love of writing and passion for making beautiful images came together to make something I could hold and was proud of.

Where have your works been published?

Australia, Europe and America. There is also a proposed translation into Traditional Chinese and Polish!

What are you passionate about?

Social Justice, the Environment and Science. I think in a way they are all connected and vital for our future.

Haven’t I seen you before?

Most of my life I was behind the camera, making images and films. As a writer I am doing the same thing; staying behind the lens and allowing my work to perform for me on the stage. I think that in a way I am a frustrated actor.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am a passionate educator. When I’m talking to an audience I come alive with an authentic excitement for the subjects I am discussing.


The students and teachers were highly engaged with Lance’s thought-provoking questions and explanation of how he created his robotic characters. Lance is an excellent presenter who pitched his presentation perfectly to Year 5 and 6 students.

—L. Hanlon, Department of Education Reading Centre, November 2018

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