Welcome to Creative Kids Tales, Emma Quay.
Interviewing Emma Quay has always been on my secret wish list. I have adored her work for many years. The way she brings her characters to life on the page is magical. Her illustrations are vibrant, warm and fun.
Her work has won multiple awards and complimented the words of Mem Fox, Andrew Daddo, Lisa Shanahan, Meredith Hooper, Penny Mathews, Anna Walker and more. Her unforgettable characters for Rudie Nudie, Scarlett, Starlet, Bear and Chook, Shrieking Violet, Good Night, Me, Cheeky Monkey, Baby Bedtime and Not a Cloud in the Sky have entertained children for years.
Emma was born in rural England and grew up in a village near Cambridge. Surrounded by books as a child, Emma was fascinated by the colourful characters that danced across the pages of her picture books. Her passion for telling stories through illustrations developed from an early age. Even before Emma could write she would sit in bed and scribble her creations onto paper. Her mother would often find her picture treasures tucked away under her pillow.
Her early years were filled with works by Charles M. Schulz, Raymond Briggs, John Burningham, Janet Alberg and Spike Milligan. So obsessed with Shulz’s work, Emma lived and breathed Snoopy. Her walls were covered with the fictional characters and Emma would use her drawing talents to copy them onto the covers of her school books.
Over the years Emma continued to refine her gift and hungrily pursued her dream. She graduated with an Honours degree in Graphic Design from Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, specialising in illustration and printmaking.
After graduating, a selection of Emma’s illustrations were purchased by The Victoria and Albert Museum in London and are displayed in their permanent collection of prints and drawings.
Emma travelled extensively soaking up the culture and landscapes from Morocco, India, Bhutan and Nepal to enrich her charcoal sketches and work as a freelance illustrator. It was during her time in India where Emma met her Australian husband, David and in 1993 they moved to Australia.
It wasn’t long before Emma caught the eye of publishers and authors and was creating illustrations such as Good Night, Me for Andrew Daddo, which was selected as the National Simultaneous Storytime book in 1996. Her second collaboration with Andrew was Cheeky Monkey which was selected by Early Childhood Australia as one of the Best Picture Books of the Year for 2008.
Her work has captivated audiences both young and old. Bear and Chook, Daddy’s Having a Horse, Baby Bedtime and Bear and Chook by the Sea have all been shortlisted in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards - Bear and Chook (2003), Daddy’s Having a Horse (2006), Bear and Chook by the Sea (2010) being crowned the winner in the Early Childhood category. In 2014 Baby Bedtime was also awarded the WA Premier’s Book of the Year. Her work with the writer, Meredith Hooper received two CBCA Notables for Thank You for My Yukky Present and Emily and Alfie.
Emily and Alfie, a picture book about two Emperor Penguin chicks in Antarctica also received a Whitley Award from the Royal Zoological Society of NSW.
Emma worked with Penguin Books Australia on the popular Aussie Nibbles and Aussie Bites series.
Her series with Anna Walker, Friends for Keeps won the Best Designed Children’s Series category in 2010 at the annual APA Book Design Awards.
Her books have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Korea the US and Canada, the UK and Ireland.
Shrieking Violet, a picture book about a very strong-willed little lady and her big sister was published by HarperCollins and was shortlisted in the 2011 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and the 2011 Children’s Peace Literature Awards.
Rudie Nudie released in 2011 won the 2012 ABIA’s Book of the Year for Younger Children and was also shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.
Emma’s latest title Scarlett, Starlett about a little girl who loves to dance was released in October 2015 in hardback and again in October this year in paperback.
When she is not working in her home studio, Emma enjoys creating in the outdoors and carries a sketch book and pencil wherever she goes.
Emma lives in the Southern Suburbs of Sydney with her husband and their two teenage daughters.
To learn more about Emma Quay, visit: www.emmaquay.com
Facebook: Emma Quay Books www.facebook.com/EmmaQuayBooks
Instagram: emma_quay_books www.instagram.com/emma_quay_books
YouTube: Emma Quay www.youtube.com/user/EmmaQuay
Here are some of Emma Quay's books: