Jason Fischer answered my questions on his blog, and then asked me these:

1) If you could do the illustrating part of a graphic novel, which writer (living or dead) would you collaborate with?
Hmm. I’d really like to do pictures which complement and also change the meaning of a poem by Yeats or Frost or Chesterton. But to collaborate with… Kelly Link, because her stories put such vivid images in my mind. I’ve been drawing Fox the librarian and dogskin handbags on the margins of things for a while now, and I love the way her mind – or at least the bits of it that are put down on paper – seems to work. I actually feel really disloyal not saying Diana Wynne Jones, but although I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity her books work differently for me, and I think the process would be a much more direct representation of what’s going on in the tale, whereas Links’ stories wander off on different paths.

2) What are your favourite kid’s cartoons?
I haven’t been exposed to many kid’s cartoons as we didn’t have a television when I was growing up. I’ve seen more animated movies than cartoon shows. I remember Dot and the Kangaroo because it was the first video my sister and I ever owned (although we had to watch it at other peoples’ houses). I still break into snatches of “the best way to ride and I tell you its true is to ride in the pouch of a red kangaroo”, and it’s the only reason I can remember “Ornithorhynchus paradoxus”. The first movie we bought after we acquired a vcr and television set was Disney’s Little Mermaid. We watched it for the whole summer, I knew it by heart for a long time (“now look at me, banished and exiled and practically starving while he and his flimsy fish folk celebrate!”) and my dad finally banned us from watching it while he was in the house. In fact, my strongest memory associated with the movie is that after my parents took us to see it when it came out at the movies (I remember the expedition, but not seeing the movie) my father made us sit through The Hunt for the Red October as payback and that is actually the first movie I remember seeing (well, a scene of it: Sean Connery climbing up a ladder with a red light flashing in the background). But back to the question: As far as kids cartoons that I have seen, my favourite is Inspector Gadget because we tried so hard to see it at other people’s houses, and it was fun and silly and holds up well and has bizarre little public spirited messages at the end, and gadget legs and it’s Maxwell Smart! What’s not to love?

3) What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever drawn/sketched? How long did it take you?
My greatest difficulty is life drawing. I leave those sessions feeling like my brain has been wrung out, and the longer the pose the harder it is. I’ve spent far longer on other pictures than 20 minutes, but usually I just zone out and go with it. Life drawing is a mental workout, because it is people, unadorned, and the simplicity (and familiarity) of that makes it really hard to draw convincingly. Usually a difficult shape or image can be drawn by just changing the way I look at things (like a reverse Magic Eye picture) but I find that difficult with life drawing because of the familiarity and because of the lack of easy detail on, for example, a naked back, and because of the time constraints and the pressure of having to do the picture here and now and not get up and walk away and come back to it. I love the effect it has on my skills, but its hard.

4) Writing AND drawing! Well, I never. Do you have any other artistic talents to add to the mix, and do you consider yourself to be a renaissance woman?
My mother does :) I used to write bush poetry (actually won a prize at the Henry Lawson festival for one) and still know a number of Patterson poems off by heart. I like experimenting with different art techniques but haven’t done much painting yet. I’ve learned the piano, guitar, tin whistle and bagpipes, none of which I am practising at the moment (conscious decision + living in a wooden sharehouse). I can sew (but prefer sewing by hand), embroider (most varieties, from cross-stitch to tambour-work) and like to make my own designs. I’ve learned German and still translate, and French and Spanish and lost both and I love linguistics. But I don’t consider myself a renaissance women – why, in Regency England I would barely be accomplished! I like to be doing things, producing something, and don’t like feeling that I’ve just lost three hourse of my life sitting in front of the tv (this is why I go to the movies so much: I can’t relax at home in front of a dvd!). I blame it on a book I read when I was little, the recurring theme of which was “you won’t find time if you don’t make time”, and on my father who taught me not to be bored – at all costs! I was complaining of it when I was little, so he took me out to the shed, we loaded shovels into the ute and set off to the back paddock (this sounds a lot more sinister in retrospect). When we got there, we started digging a hole. We dug for a while and at last I said, “Daddy, why are we digging a hole?” He said, “Well, you said you were bored so I thought we’d come out and do something.” We dug for a bit longer and at last I said, “Daddy, I don’t think I’m bored anymore.” He said, “Okay,” so we put the shovels back in the ute and drove home again. On the way home he said, “Now, if you’re ever bored, just let me know and we’ll come out and keep digging”. And I haven’t been bored since. Very lazy sometimes (although I prefer “energy efficient”) but never bored.

5) What are your top 3 reads from 2008/2009?
Interesting. I’ve already picked my top three books, but if I just pick top three fiction reads it is:
Bellwether – Connie Willis (a reread, and aloud, but it’s just as much fun each time)
Little Brother – Cory Doctorow (I should see how it holds up being read at a more sane pace)
The Ladies of Grace Adieu – Susannah Clarke (a gentle and remarkable little anthology)


  1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me!”
  2. I will (probably, in my sole discretion, and reserving the right not to – can you tell I’m a lawyer?) respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
  3. You will post the answers to the questions (and the questions themselves) on your blog or journal.
  4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
  5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. And thus the endless cycle of the meme goes on and on and on and on…