Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find many samples of my finished art, conceptual work, unpublished material, and other miscellaneous jobs. You can find a complete list of my published books at this link.

I currently have signed copies of THE GREAT MONTEFIACO, WHACKO THE CHOOK, THE PUMPKIN EATER FROM PONDICHERRY, and THE SHIKKER COLA COWS available for purchase. For more info, please contact me at whackothechook@internode.on.net

Monday, May 31, 2010


Back in 2003 Mark Svendsen asked me to illustrate a couple of poems he'd written. Many noted authors and illustrators from around the world had been asked to donate poems and short-stories, which were then compiled into an anthology titled 'Lines In The Sand'. The theme of the book was 'war and peace', and all the royalties and profits went to UNICEF. The book coincided with and was a response to the Iraq war.

Mark had only found out about this at the last minute, so he needed artwork from me within a day. He sent me two poems...

... within a few hours this is what I came up with:
 I no longer have the originals for these, as artists were asked to donate their work for auction. Disappointingly, the reproduction of my pictures in the finished book were dreadful. Firstly they were reduced considerably, so the pointing hand with all it's detail became solid black, and the spider was a blotchy mess...
I suspect that with both of these they didn't scan the originals which I had posted to them, rather they used the very low res jpeg preview I emailed them. It's always embarrassing to put your name on something that you're not happy with, but displaying them here on my blog is a good opportunity to show how they were intended to look.

At the time Mark was rightly quick to point out that the book was for a good cause nevertheless. There are children in the world who endure unspeakable suffering that I've never known, so there's an irony and selfishness on my part to be moaning about such a triviality.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The next book featuring interstellar cadet 'Jack', written by Damien Broderick.
 I really liked this story, it's a clever retelling of Jack & The Beanstalk. I had fun reading it, though Damien's texts can be a little bit intimidating for an illustrator. He gets quite technical in his descriptions of things, so sometimes it's often hard to interpret exactly what he's got in mind. And he does have specific ideas in his head, that's clear in his writing.
I'm first to admit I'm not very good at drawing mechanical objects, or man made things. I struggle with it, and I often need a lot of reference material. Organic looking things are my specialty. Here's a combination of the two, Cyber Organic Worker, otherwise known as a C.O.W:
Initially my design of the COW was far more alien looking. I thought the name itself, and an udder, was sufficient in making the 'cow' reference work, but the author and publisher thought it should more resemble a real cow. I met them half way by adding some horns and a snout.
I used a bolder, solid black line for these drawings, as opposed to biro in the first book. I used a combination of nib and ink (black and white), cheapo black pens, and even letratone when I felt lazy...
I prefer using a coated paper for this type of line work. Back then I used a cheap cardboard which was coated on one side. These days I use an illustration board, or bristol paper.
I love designing alien creatures. These are the 'Bargleplods', respresenting the giant/s from Jack & The Beanstalk. Often I conjure an image in my head from the name alone — there's things in a name which suggest to me certain physical characteristics. 'Plod' suggests something slow and fat, and 'Bargle' sounds ugly and menacing. I think the only descriptions given in the text was that they had hair growing from their ears, and barnacles on their firsts...
The publisher thought the Bargleplods were too scary, but I attested that youngs boys would not be easily frightened by something like this. I grew up loving monsters and all things ugly, way uglier and scarier than this.

I did the jacket art with oils. This is the original...
I wasn't really happy with how this looked, it was a bit dull, so I scanned it and tweaked it in photoshop...
... I made the background darker to bring the foreground out more, enhanced the reds, and brightened the sun. And if you look at the final cover design (up top) you'll see a lense flare! Yes, a damn lense flare! Those of you artists who know me know how much I have an aversion to photoshop artists who continually add lense flares to everything! So I'm a proven hypocrite here! But I can confidently say this is the only lense flare I've ever used, and I will never do it again, I promise...

This is usually where I draw the line with photoshop. I'm a traditionalist when it comes to illustration. I have a preference to hands on art, I enjoy it far more and find the end product way more satisfying. I've rarely, if ever done anything from scratch on the computer. I've only ever used it to tweak existing art, and create rough layouts. I looooathe drawing with a wacom tablet, I hate it! My hat goes off to those who have mastered it.
Contact me (whackothechook@internode.on.net) if you want a copy of this book. I have a very limited number left...

Monday, May 24, 2010


Starting from the latest, here are all my published titles to date. Click on the titles for more info...


Tortoise v Hare: The Rematch

It's Them Monkey Pirates Again!

The Monkey Pirates 

This book is out of print — I have stocked up on remaining copies, so please feel free to contact me (whackothechook@internode.on.net) to reserve a copy, signed of course!

 Cheeky Charlie

Octavius O'Malley And The Mystery Of The Criminal Cats


Copies of Whacko are available for purchase through me (whackothechook@internode.on.net), signed of course. Contact me if you would like a copy!


Pet Palace is out of print. I forgot to stock up when I had the chance, so, you'll need to look hard for it.

Circus Carnivore
Circus Carnivore is out of print in Australia, and currently gasping for breath in the US. Foolishly, I didn't stock up on the Australian edition, which gnaws at me to this day, but when it will inevitably breathe it's last in the US, I'll be stocking up big time...

The Great Montefiasco is out of print here (and presumably in the US...?), but I have a limited number available for purchase through me (whackothechook@internode.on.net). Again, scribbled on by moi.

Both Jack and the Aliens and Jack and the Skyhook are out of print, but there's a very limited supply for purchase through me (whackothechook@internode.on.net).

I have crap loads of this book (whackothechook@internode.on.net)...