Continuing our series of illustrator posts, today we feature Australian Gaye Chapman. Gaye is a well-respected painter with an international reputation, but beyond her painterly skills, she’s also had what she feels is the ideal life for a children’s book illustrator. Her bush childhood remains an inspiration. Childhood dreams of a life full of travel, art and adventure have been fulfilled. “I have sailed in an Indonesian fishing boat around the Arafura Sea, jumped out of airplanes, designed posters for the National Theatre in London, hitch-hiked through the Sumatra, motor-biked across Java, lived with a hill-tribe in Morocco and been artist-in-residence in a rainforest.”
Gaye uses ”any materials at all to make a picture, including real objects like mud, feathers and grass. I then cut out my finished paintings and paste them down again in new ways.” Her work has an Asian feel. She collaborates with serious writers getting across important ideas. In her first children’s book, Heart of the Tiger (2004) with Glenda Millard, a tiger sacrifices himself to bring green back to the earth. Breakfast with Buddha (2005), with Vashti Farrer, recounts the saga of a proudly independent cat who learns humility from monks in a temple. Kaito’s Cloth (2007), again with Glenda Millard, is a delicately rendered study of loss.