Constable Wombat - a wonderful illustration by David Murphy
Constable Wombat – a wonderful illustration by David Murphy
Snowy's Christmas cover
Snowy’s Christmas cover

Today is a very special day for me. I have NEVER had an illustrator visit my blog…until NOW!

Talented and modest Dave Murphy is here to talk about being an illustrator, working on “Snowy’s Christmas” with author, Sally Murphy, and some of the personal stuff that’s always interesting to know.

David, seeing as “Snowy’s Christmas” is such a beautiful and unique story, I thought I’d start with some Christmasy questions.

What is your favourite part of Christmas?

Sharing it with my family.

What was your favourite Christmas story when you were a child?

As a child, and even now, my favourite Christmas story is The Night Before Christmas. I read it to my boys every Christmas Eve.

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

Lying awake on hot summer evenings the night before Christmas; listening for the bells of Santa’s sleigh through the noise of the cidadas and crickets.

Dave at work
Dave at work

What was the best present you ever got for Christmas?

Books. My favourite presents were always books. My father once gave me a collection of Henry Lawson stories, which is still pretty special.

I just happen to be a fan of Henry Lawson too (even wrote a book about him), so I can understand exactly how you feel. I have to confess at this point that I’m totally in awe of illustrators, so I’d really like to know how you do it

David, can you tell me what your favourite part about being an illustrator is?

(Aside from being a dad) my favourite thing in the world is when my pencil moves across the page bringing a story to life.

What was your favourite part about illustrating “Snowy’s Christmas”?

Watching the characters spring to life and interact with each other – then watching others interpret my illustrations.

What is the thing you like most about Snowy, the character?

Snowy popped out of my brain and onto the page almost fully formed. Even so, he grew and developed as I led him around Sally’s story. As his character emerged, I saw the sense of joy he had discovered in his own uniqueness and strength.

What is your favourite part about turning a writer’s words into pictures?

Everyone imagines stories differently, no matter how descriptive the text. It is a privilege to be asked for your own particular vision. It is even more gratifying to be able to add to the world created by a brilliant writer like Sally.

Do you have a special tip for aspiring illustrators?

Another great Dave Murphy illustration - Kids from school
Another great Dave Murphy illustration – Kids from school

Bruce Whatley once challenged me to try using my left hand. The results were so amazing it completely changed the way I illustrate. I now do all my sketching exclusively with my left hand, and all my technical work with my right.

Thanks for some wonderful insights David into you and your work.

To find out more about David, visit http://www.davidmurphy.id..au

You can also catch David, and author of Snowy’s Christmas, Sally Murphy at these other great locations on their blog tour.

Week One – October 4 – https://deescribewriting.wordpress.com

(That’s here!)

Week Two – October 11 – http://livejournal.com/users/orangedale

Week Three – October 18 – www.soupblog.wordpress.com

Week Four – October 25 – www.letshavewords.blogspot.com

Week Five – November 1 – http://sallymurphy.blogspot.com

Week Six – November 8 – http://aussiereviews.blogspot.com

Week Seven – November 15 – http://samantha-hughes.blogspot.com

Week Eight – http://www.robynopie.blogspot.com

Week Nine – http://sandyfussell.blogspot.com

Week Ten – http://aussiechristmas.wordpress.com

Week Eleven – http://belka37.blogspot.com

SALLY MURPHY SHARES CHRISTMAS SECRETS – And talks about her beautiful new book, Snowy’s Christmas

Sally MurphyTalented and prolific author, Sally Murphy is here today to talk about her ‘just released’ picture book, “Snowy’s Christmas”.

I am so pleased to welcome Sally back to my blog, and hear all about her wonderful new creation. Just for fun, I thought we’d focus today’s interview on “Favourite things”

Sally, what is your favourite part about Christmas?

Everything! I LOVE Christmas. I love seeing my kids emptying their sacks on Christmas morning, and spending quality time together. And singing Christmas carols, and reading Christmas books, and eating yummy Christmas food and the lights and the tree and….

What was your favourite Christmas story when you were a child?

Funnily, I don’t remember any specific Christmas stories, apart from versions of the biblical story – which I’m glad I was taught. I do remember receiving a Little Golden Book which was a Christmas story – I think a version of the Little Drummer boy. What I remember most significantly is that there were TWO copies of the same book in my stocking – one was apparently meant for my big sister. But I think perhaps there weren’t many picture book type offerings just about Christmas, certainly not on the scale they are now. And I have dozens of them now – a great collection which is packed away each year until December.

What is your favourite Christmas memory?

As a child we had a lounge room door which closed and locked. The key was always in the door – except on Christmas morning. We all gathered at the door until Mum and Dad were up and everyone was there. Then the door would be unlocked and we would rush in and see what Father Christmas had left. It always seemed so magical!

What was your favourite Christmas present?

Ooh – not a physical present, but the joy of seeing my kids on Christmas morning.

What was your favourite part about writing this book?

Creating a very Australian offering. At the time I wrote the first draft (five or six years ago)  all the Christmas  books available featured snow and ice and were imported. I wanted to do something Australian. Of course, in the meantime, there have been several other Australian Christmas books published, which I think is wonderful.

What is your favourite part about working with an illustrator?

The surprise of seeing what they make of my words. I am not a visual person, so I don’t have preconceived ideas about how the tsory will appear. It is always fun to see the story brought to life.

What is  your favourite character trait in Snowy?

Snowy's Christmas cover

Snowy's Christmas cover

His vulnerability. He is different from the other roos, and feels this strongly He discovers that difference is good, with the help of his understanding mother and the wonderful Ash.

What is your favourite writing tip?

Read what you want to write. It’s amazing how many people want to write children’s books, for example, but don’t read children’s books. You need to love the genre you want to write in, and  read read read.

What is your favourite part about being a writer?

Acceptances – and, of course, eventually seeing my name on the cover. There’s nothing like it.

Thank you so much for visiting us, Sally. It has been wonderful talking with you about Snowy – and I’m sure he will become a Christmas favourite with lots of Aussie and overseas kids.

Later on today, (in about an hour’s time), Snowy’s Illustrator, David Murphy is visiting this blog and he’s going to talk about his favourite Christmassy things, and illustrating Sally’s picture book.

It’s a particularly exciting event for me because I have never had a real, live illustrator come to visit.

Hope you’ll drop back later to meet David.

A DEESCRIBE REVIEW – SNOWY’S CHRISTMAS – written by Sally Murphy & illustrated by David Murphy

Snowy's Christmas cover

Snowy's Christmas cover

Reading Snowy’s Christmas made me realise that Christmas is not all that far away. And how refreshing it was to be welcomed into the world of an Australian Christmas….where there is no snow, only snowy white kangaroos.

In Snowy’s Christmas; Snowy, a white kangaroo struggles to fit in with the rugged red members of his species. Then on Christmas day, a visit from a mysterious stranger turns his world around.

Snowy’s Christmas is not just about Christmas, but about finding your place in the world.

It’s a truly Australian Christmas story with Aussie animals and landscapes. The tale is beautifully told by Sally Murphy, and David Murphy’s bright, funny illustrations give the book extra bounce.

Snowy’s Christmas is definitely one for the Christmas stocking.

Snowy’s Christmas

Written by Sally Murphy

Illustrated by David Murphy

Published by Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781741664409

RRP:  $19.95