G’day, my name is Warren, and I’ve got something to share …Just because I’m furry doesn’t mean that I’m a bear.
Warren the koala is many things–a marsupial, cute and furry, a bit of a grump–but the one thing he’s not is a bear!
Aaron Blabey. 32-pp hardcover. Early Years/Foundation/Lower Primary.
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
Born in Bendigo, VIC. Now live in Leura, NSW.
Where did you go to school?
All over the place!
Did you have a nickname?
Moz. To do with my nervous energy, apparently.
What were you like in school?
Excellent, until year 12 when I ran off to join the circus.
What is the naughtiest thing you did?
Ran off to join the circus.
What was your favourite book growing up?
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn by Herg? (Georges Remi).
Who is your favourite children’s author and illustrator?
My favourite picture book maker is Edward Gorey. My favourite children’s author/illustrator is Herg?.
What is your favourite food/colour/movie?
Steak tartare with chips (Yep, that’s raw meat, kids) / Red / Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Who inspired you to write and illustrate?
Bob Dylan, Picasso, Steven Spielberg, Francis Bacon, Herg?, the Coen Brothers, Edward Gorey and Murray Ball.
How did you get started?
I made a book. (Seriously, that’s all I did.)
How old were you?
Why did you want to be an author and illustrator?
Because stories and pictures are the only things that totally make sense to me.
How do you think up ideas?
The trick is to never, ever stop looking for them. Be curious. About everything. And always ask yourself, 'What would I really enjoy seeing on this piece of paper right now?'
Do you have a special place where you write and illustrate?
My studio in Leura is my favourite place in the world.
What is the best thing about being an author and an illustrator?
I love everything about it.
Have you had any funny or embarrassing moment as an author and illustrator?
During one of my school visits, a deputy principal interrupted my performance to give the children a REALLY LONG lecture on how the toilet is only for ‘poos and wees’ not tennis balls. I’m not kidding, she spoke for almost 10 minutes. It’s hard to follow that.
What do you do when you are not writing or illustrating?
I write movies for grown-ups, I run, I listen to my incredibly big and awesome music collection and I hang out with my little family.
What would you have chosen to be if you were not an author or illustrator?
I’m already doing it — I’m working on films as well as books. But I’m using a secret identity…
Which famous person from the past would you like to talk to?
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?
I’ve been an actor, a painter, a grape-picker, a designer, an advertising copywriter, a video shop dude, a comic-strip creator, a college lecturer, a screenwriter and a picture-book-maker. I haven’t enjoyed all of it, but I don’t regret any of it. I’m proud of having lots of weird chapters in my scruffy old book.