Sarah Davis – Illustrator Extraordinaire

Sarah Davis’ session was held in the auditorium at the Ipswich Library.  As the children waited for Sarah to arrive they were told that the Sounds Spooky Exhibition will be ready for viewing this weekend, cheers erupted from the crowd.   They were all super excited and promised the librarian that they will be in on the weekend to view the 3D artworks that became the illustrations for Sounds Spooky.

Sarah informed the children that she was here to talk about her job as an illustrator, the best job in the whole galaxy.  Upon reflection, she realised it may be the second best job in the galaxy, no doubt there is an alien out there with a better job.

Sarah spoke about her childhood as an avid drawer and sketcher, which often got her into trouble at school.  A lot of the children nodded their heads and sighed with empathy.  Sarah showed a school assignment with a picture of a seagull, check it out below.


As Sarah shared a slide show of her artwork there were ‘ooooohs’ and ‘ahhhhhhhs’ coming from all over the room.  She really is a gifted illustrator with an attention to detail that is rarely seen.  I strongly encourage you all to get your hands on her books.


Sarah explained the process of illustrating stories, which begins with making a cup of tea, finding a comfy chair and sitting down to read a story.  Though not in a way that people normally read, she must really get into the story, and imagine how it might look, like playing a movie in her head.

Sarah talked about her new book “Toucan Can”, and she explained that the Toucan drove her a bit loopy.  There was so many friends of Toucan doing so many things that Sarah was worried about how she would fit all the characters into one little picture book.  This book seems like a treat for children of all ages, I’m certainly going to make sure I get a copy when it is released in October.


As Sarah walked the children through her creative process, the children watched and listened in awe.  She had the children help paint a picture of Fearless by ‘throwing’ paint at the picture on the projection wall, they loved this!


Sounds Spooky was next on the agenda.  Sarah had the children provide the sound effects as she read segments of the book and explained the illustration process.  She showed a slide show of the characters and places from the book which showed the extent to which Sarah takes her character development, simply amazing.  I remind you again that the Sounds Spooky Exhibition will be on display at the Ipswich Library from this Wednesday.


Fearless seemed to be a class favourite in this session.  Sarah taught the kids how she drew Fearless using basic sketching techniques.  Sarah talked about how the face and body can show emotions.  The kids were invited to describe what happens to a character when they feel different emotions.  Sarah gave a demonstration of how you might add emotion to a stick figure.

Did you know? – Sarah gave us a top secret confession, we were sworn to secrecy, so please don’t tell her I’m telling you this.  She told us that all her pictures start looking absolutely awful.  Personally I find this hard to believe.

Sarah is a gifted presenter, engaging children at every turn, and keeping them on the edge of their seats.  She is highly entertaining, I found myself cracking up with laughter in the safety of the sound booth on a number of occasions.  In my mind, this session was an example of why Children’s Literature Festivals are so important.

To find out more about Sarah and her exquisite illustrations, visit her website HERE


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