'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 14 November 2011

Interview: Author/Ilustrator Dub Leffler

KBR is delighted to present this interview with multi-talented artist and children's book author Dub Leffler, whose debut picture book Once There Was a Boy, is a favourite here at KBR. 

Who are you?
My name is Dub Leffler.

What do you do?
I'm an illustrator and children's book author.

Tell us a little bit about you. I believe you are one of 13 children?
I grew up in a great little town called Quirindi. I don't have any kids yet and now I live in the quiet suburb of Croydon Park in Sydney. It is true that I am one of 13 children, but sadly, I did not get to meet them all and now there are only 5 of us.

You have been an art teacher, muralist and animator. What are you doing now?
Apart from writing and illustrating kids’ books, I am the weekend chef at the Tony Mundine Hostel here in Sydney!

What made you decide to pen your first [solo] children’s book?
I love sharing stories, creating art and helping people use their imagination, especially children. I wrote this story so hopefully people can learn something about themselves and teach it to others, whatever that may be :-)

Which do you enjoy most – the writing or the illustrating?
I really love illustrating! But every picture has a tale to tell and I love making that tale up. I usually come up with an image in my mind first and then I write its story.

What did you love most about producing a book for children?
The fact that I can share this important story with a lot of people.

You have illustrated for other authors. Is there pressure to create visual interpretation of the work of others, or is it a freeing process?
It can be both. On one hand, you can let your imagination go wild and draw as many pictures as you can (which is great practice in itself) to help flesh out the story. On the other hand, the author has to like at least one of those pictures and has the final say on how they want their story to be visually presented. So there can be pressure, but I like the challenge.

In your stunning debut picture book, Once There Was a Boy, you share that your drive behind the book was to show that boys have feelings, too. Why were you inspired to show this?
It’s an important thing for children to be able to communicate their feelings, especially boys. When I was growing up, boys didn't talk about how they felt, especially if they were sad, and that meant their friends couldn't help them out.

What medium/s did you work in for the book?
The illustrations are a combination of watercolour, pencil, coffee stains, salt and Photoshop.

What other mediums do you enjoy working in?
Household paint and concrete can be fun, and salt and coffee on watercolour paper brings about some amazing patterns when the paper dries.

Describe a typical illustrating day for you.
Often before I get out of bed, I start to plan out the pictures I need to do in my head.(it might look like I'm sleeping, but my brain it hard at work!)

A typical day often involves: researching the topic I'm illustrating, sketching out any ideas, planning the composition of the illustration, exercising/having a break, choosing colours/mediums for the final artwork and then commencing the actual illustration.

When are you at your most creative?
When I'm listening to music.

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you be?
I'd be a naturalist studying animals in some exotic faraway land.

What books did you read as a child?
I remember reading lots of folk tales from other countries.

What else do you like to do in life?
I love playing guitar and cooking exotic food.

Which children’s book character is most like you and why?
Mr Toad from Wind in the Willows because he told tall tales and is quite comical

What’s next for Dub Leffler?
I'm illustrating a story by Nola Turner-Jensen for Magabala Books about the Native Bee, and I'm just about finished writing my second kids book (also for Magabala Books) it's about... well... you'll have to wait and see...

Learn more about Dub and his work at www.dubleffler.com