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Welcome to Week 2 and Interview with Dame Lynley Dodd

Listen to this interview by Nicola Daly with Dame Lynley Dodd, New Zealand author and illustrator of the Hairy Maclary picturebook series.
Nicola: I am just going to start by saying that it is a pleasure to be interviewing you today, Lynley.
Lynley: It is a great please to be interviewed.
Nicola: You are Dame Lynley Dodd. You have received a Damehood; what would you prefer to be called.
Lynley: Just Lynley.
Nicola: Lynley, you are most famous for your books about Hairy Maclary but you have also written and illustrated many other books and today I hope we can talk about illustration. I would like to talk about your career with a focus on illustration because in this week in the Future Learn course we are focusing on illustration.
Lynley: I began as an illustrator.
Nicola: So, I wonder if we could just start with the general kind of question about your career as illustrator. How did it start?
Lynley: Well I always wanted to illustrate, although I did not did not call it illustrating. I fancied when I was young that it would be great to be a fashion illustrator.I fancied sitting in on marvellous fashion shows and drawing all the gorgeous fashions. My mother put me right on that one and said that she did not think that it was very wise and I had better study something sensible, so I went to art school but on a studentship for teaching. That meant I was going to be leaching after I left.
But in the back of my mind, I kept wanting to do illustrating and at art school in those days illustration was not part of Elam (School of Art) anyway, which is where I studied. It was fine arts and illustration was not quite fine arts. It was only when I finished teaching and I taught art for five years, that I stopped to have a family and thought maybe I can get into illustrating now.
Nicola: Were there many illustrators out there, as you were growing up?
Lynley: It is surprising how many of the students from art school actually were able to earn a little after we left, because getting a job was not necessarily as easy as it could have been. And so some of the students actually did do work for school publications and other educational things.
Nicola: So were you at art school with names that we would know, people who have gone on to illustrate?
Lynley: Don Binney, Graham Percy, quite a few well known ones.
Nicola: That is interesting that it was already then a way of earning some money.
Lynley: Well there were not many ways that you could get illustrating work to earn a little money and school publications was one big one and the other one was educational publishers like Price Milburn. Once I had a family and was wanting to do a little work, I did get a little work for Price Milburn doing their readers and I worked for the correspondence school during fortnightly sets. I took on that job from a friend of mine who was keen to move on and do something different. I loved that work. It was just black and white; it was just pen and ink.
It was absolutely fantastic because it gave me so many different things to draw: castles, to fairies, to fire engines, to whatever you know- anything. It was huge practice. It really got me a bit further up in terms of the things I could do. It was just sheer practice really.
Nicola: And at that time, we would not have had the internet for you to just quickly look up what a fire engine might look like.
Lynley: No.
Nicola: So what were you doing to find things to draw from?
Lynley: Well I am trying to think. I did draw a fire engine. I think I probably did a sort of cobbled together one. It has been so different since then. For example, I needed a police car for my latest book so I got [images of] policemen and policewomen and police cars from all over the place, but the trouble was they were all different colours. The police tend to have moved though several different colour schemes for their police cars. I got overseas police cars that I did not want as well. But…, yes it’s very much easier [using images from the internet].
Nicola: So you started illustrating for Price Milburn and the correspondence school. What was the first trade book that you illustrated?
Lynley: My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes was the first book of all, which I did with my husband’s cousin, Eve Sutton. She and I had got together at his parent’s place in England when we were all over in England at the time on holiday. She had said to me then, “one day let’s do a children’s book” because she had been writing. I said, “yes, okay” and forgot about it and came back and had two babies after that.Then she got back to me and said, “look, this would be a good time to do one”.
So I said, “I don’t even know how long a picturebook is”, because this was just before the children actually got to picturebook stage and so I had not really been looking at them, so I did go and look at them. She said, “have you got an idea?” and I said, “well our mad cat likes climbing into cupboards and boxes and little dark corners. Can you make anything out of that?” So she did. My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes was the result.
Luckily for us someone at the head of Hamish Hamilton, or at least the children’s editor from Hamish Hamilton, was out in New Zealand at the time when my little dummy book landed on the desk of the publisher who was representing them out here and she said, “oh yes, I’ll take this”. I mean, that is not the way it usually happens when you’re submitting work. She took it back to England and said, “yes, I’ll publish it.” So that was that.
Nicola: You mention your dummy books. Could you tell us a little more about what they are and why you use them?
Lynley: I do the same thing every time for every single book I do because I want to be able to show clearly to the publisher what I plan and where the pictures will be so that they can get a very good idea of where the text fits with the pictures and everything. So I do this little mock-up book. They are very tiny. Now, I do not actually cut them up and turn them into little books. I actually do them on sheets of paper just sitting side by side.
Nicola: Just like a film.
Lynley: Yes, like a sort of storyboard. By the time I have done that little dummy, I know exactly what I am going to be doing. Even though they are just little pencil sketches, they have all the important bits in them and the lay and so on, so that at that stage, with the final manuscript, that is really a very good indication of what the final book will be.
Nicola: So it sounds like you are designing the book at the same time.
Lynley: Yes, definitely.
Nicola: Now there are often people who design separately from the author and the illustrator. Have you ever had a book of yours designed by somebody else?
Lynley: No, I do my own, including the covers and the lettering and everything else which is now a signature for my work. I am slightly unusual in that I do stick to the one page illustration one page text (format), which I like. I like keeping the text separate from the illustration because sometimes the text gets a little lost in the illustration. Except for double page spreads where I sometimes have the lettering in amongst that. So, I do stick to a set formula with most of my books.
Nicola: You have mentioned the text and the illustration and I wondered if you could talk a bit about how you see your role as an illustrator in relation to the text of a picturebook. That relationship, how does it work from your perspective? I think you have a very clear idea of it from what you have just said.
Lynley: In my case, if I am talking about my own books, by the time I get to the stage of starting the illustration, I already have the whole book in my mind in terms of what is going to be happening and what I am going to be doing on each page- probably even what colours I am going to be using. So it is already clear at an early stage. By the time I have finished the text, I have finished the picture ideas as well. It is not very often after that that I change anything.
Nicola: Right.
Lynley: When I was working all that time ago on other people’s work, it is a different thing because you have to make sure that what you are doing is definitely in the right mood for the story and is what you hope the person wants you to do because we all have different ways of looking at things and you have to make sure that it fits and never get away from the fact that it has to work with the text. You do not allow it to go off down the road and forget about the fact that it has a set of words that it has to go with.
When I am doing my own, it is not a problem because it is all there in my head anyway. But if it was somebody else’s work, then I have to be sure that I am doing what I hope that they are expecting.
Nicola: Are you able to check with them at all when you do that?
Lynley: When I was doing the work. Of course it is so long ago that I was illustrating for others. If I was working with Price Milburn, for example, I did not do dummies or anything for them. I think I probably just sent them a sample picture. I think that is what happened and they would say, “Yes, that is okay, that is what we want you to do.” They could tell from one just how the rest would be because they were all fairly simple readers. So no, I normally just got on once I had shown them. The important thing was to show clearly what you are planning, I think.
Probably, they would have asked me if I had not made it clear.
Nicola: one of the things my children’s literature students are often surprised about is that fact that when a picturebook is created by an author who is not the illustrator that the illustrator and the author usually do not meet. A lot of my students are quite surprised at that.
Lynley: They feel they are not in tune with each other, is that what you mean?
Nicola: No. Just that during the process of a picturebook being created, the author and the illustrator do not get to meet. A lot of my students are really surprised by that. I think in their heads, they imagine that there would be lots of toing and froing.
Lynley: I have to say that that is very unusual. It does happen but it is very unusual.
Lynley: Yes it is. It is usually the publisher who sets that up.
Nicola: And it is the text that comes first in that case
Lynley: yes it is.
Nicola: I am interested in your process when you are both the author and the illustrator. Which comes first?
Lynley: I often get asked that and I have to think carefully. When I have the idea in the first place, even before I have written any words, I can see a sequence. Because a picturebook is a simple thing and it does not go off down a whole lot of different roads, I find that it just tends to come naturally. Particularly, I find myself thinking about the last page fairly early on because the story has to have some kind of winding up and there has been a lot of chaos in my books.
Nicola: [laughing] I am thinking of Hairy Maclary’s Rumpus at the Vet. That is the one I am thinking of.
Lynley: That was actually based on a real situation. So many of my books are. So, I normally have the final resolution, whatever it is. Whether it is a resolution or it is total chaos, I know what the end is going to be so I have the progression in my mind as to what is going to happen before the end. If I was working with somebody else’s story, I would have to read that story as though
I had written it myself and think: what is the logical sequence here, and what would I do on each page for this story? Where does it end? Obviously, it has an ending. Presumably, if it is going to get published it must have a good ending. And so, I try to get myself into the head of the other person. But it is much easier, of course, doing you own.
Nicola: Do you think that you are thinking in images or text? Or is it hard to know which?
Lynley: It is A-B-A-B-A-B, really. I always call it that. Of course, I have lumbered myself with rhyme.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: Hairy Maclary is responsible for that because of his name [laughing], which I did not think about that when I wrote the thing to start with. So that creates a problem and sometimes it means you have to change something because you have not got a decent enough rhyme to describe whatever it was, so you have to have a different situation all together in order to get a decent rhyme that does not sound really clunky.
Nicola: Has that ever resulted in something that you are happy with, that was a good change?
Lynley: Yes. I cannot think of any specific cases at the moment, but yes it has. But it is a lot of extra work because of the rhyme.
Nicola: At the introduction of this course I shared Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy as a book that I love. I said in my introduction that one of the reasons I love it is because of the rhyme and I can recite it off by heart now at the drop of a hat because of the rhyme. The rhyme helps you remember and also because I have read it so many times [laughing].
Lynley: [laughing] Oh, I am very grateful.
Nicola: The rhyme is absolutely spot on and to say that I think you might describe yourself as,… well… I don’t know: Would you describe yourself primarily as an illustrator?
Lynley: I would have done at one stage…
Nicola: But not now?
Lynley: … But because I have been writing for so long now. It is a constant surprise for me because I never wanted to write. Originally, it was all art.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: So the fact that I am probably almost more known for the writing than the illustrating now is a surprise to me. I do feel terribly hot under the collar that rhyme has to flow properly. It has to be like childhood chants. It has to be absolutely spot on because if there is any clunky stuff in there at all, then it’s bad. There is a lot of bad rhyme out there.
Nicola: I agree. I think underlying that is the idea that children’s books are meant for reading aloud. We want the sound.
Lynley: Exactly.
Nicola: The sound has to carry the words.
Lynley: And I read mine aloud all the time when I am writing them.
Nicola: Do you?
Lynley: It was difficult at the time when I was actually doing cat meows and things as well because when I first started doing that, we had two cats and the cats got terrible frights when I was letting out the noises that went with them.
Nicola: What about the “EEEEEOWWWFFTZ” from Scarface Claw?
Lynley: Well I nearly killed a cockatiel in Australia about that. I was reading it [Hairy Mclary from Donaldson’s Dairy] on the radio. I was reading Hairy Maclary on the radio because they asked me to do so. I am very good a Scarface Claw. I will not do it now because I will break your laptop (with the noise).
So I let fly when I got to that part: a really good one it was that day. It probably startled the interviewer as well. While we were talking, somebody rang the radio station and said that his cockatiel was sitting next to the radio or sitting on the radio, I think, and when I let fly, it let fly. [Laughing] It flew around and did several circuits of the room and ended up on the floor panting.
Nicola: [Laughing] Lynley: [Laughing] So terrible. I thought there would be something in the paper about ‘author kills pet bird’.
Nicola: [Laughing] That is marvellous. That is a wonderful part of that story. I have known babies to cry at that point just because of the cat.
Lynley: Yes, I have been responsible for a great deal of that. Some children absolutely love it. Other children take some brainwashing on the parent’s part to be able to get them happy with it. I had several letters from the same person in England last year who told me that her little girl would not let her open that page at all because she was so scared. Or when she did open it, the wee girl would run away because she was scared. But finally, this woman said to me, finally with a lot of persuasion presumably the little girl was so brave that she actually loved Scarface so much she would kiss him every time she got to that page.
Nicola: [laughing] He is highly unkissable that cat.
Lynley: I know. I thought it was very brave of her actually.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: So that kind of thing is just so exciting to receive. That kind of feedback is just perfect.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: the trouble is with Scarface, unfortunately, is that some people do not say his meow adequately enough. I had Tom Conti, who I love to bits as an actor, read a couple of my books on audio
and his one sounded like a strangled animal of some kind: not a bit like a cat.
Nicola: [laughing] Lynley: David Tennant made a fairly funny one too. There has to be a proper way, like the sort you hear and get furious about.
Nicola: So, is Scarface Claw based on a real cat?
Lynley: Yes he was based on the cat that we had when I was a child, who was a big fat tabby cat and a very fighting cat because in those days people did not get their cats neutered and so Squib had constant battles. He also had his foot caught in a trap twice or three times and how he got it out again, I don’t know. He had a wooden leg in the end so he looked like a pirate.
Nicola: [laughing] Lynley: He was the soppiest cat with us but he was a real terror in the neighbourhood with the other cats. So yes, Scarface was based on him.
Nicola: Now, we have already mentioned that you are most famous for the Hairy Maclary series although you have written and illustrated lots of other books. I wonder if I could ask how long it took to develop the illustration of Hairy Maclary so that he is recognisable in every illustration.
Lynley: Well, you know that he is 37 years old now, and of course in dog-years that is a very long time. Yes, it is difficult because there are 21(books) in the series. Hairy Maclary and his friends do not appear in every one of those but they do have bit parts to play in some of them. With the 10 Hairy Maclary books, the last of those was done in 2000-and-something and the first one was in 1983. You have to keep referring all the time back to the original one and, of course, Hairy, in the first book, was a rather squat and a sort of chunky little dog. He evolved from that.
Because there is always so much action from Hairy Maclary, I wanted his hair to move about more. It was not supposed to just hang down. It was meant to be on the move and so he got slightly more elegant. For the rest of the books, he has been a slightly more elegant little dog than he was actually in the first one.
Nicola: I suppose that happens to all of us doesn’t it. [Laughing] We start out as little rough and tumble children and then we become more elegant.
Lynley: Well it is a good excuse anyway.
Nicola: [laughing] At least it is one way that some people go.
Lynley: So yes, it is quite a problem when you are writing the same series over a long time to keep the thing feeling like a series so you are not getting carried away by artistic fanciness or rushing into something different.
Nicola: I think when you look at the early drawing of Mickey Mouse, for example, he’s changed quite a bit hasn’t he.
Lynley: Oh, he is totally different. In fact, he was ugly to begin with. I thought he got better.
Nicola: Yes, I think he got better too. In this course, we talk about how illustrators use colour associated with particular emotions and I wonder if you could talk a bit about how you use colour in your illustrations and whether you ever do use colour deliberately to evoke particular emotions.
Lynley: I can only think of one book where I was really conscious of colour and that was Slinky Malinki, which is a night time thing: cats out in the moonlight. So all the colours were all dulled down to dark colours contrasting with the hot fireside warmth in the pictures inside the book, which gave you huge contrasts. That is the only time when I was really conscious of colour. The rest of the time I just spend most of my time just thinking of the action.
Nicola: So colour comes incidentally.
Lynley: It comes in but always incidentally in the other ones. Because I tend to work in a fairly realistic sort of representational kind of way, although things do change. But I am not concentrating on it. I am not as mood driven as I could be with some other kind of story.
Nicola: Just before you were showing me through a range of books that you have illustrated and another aspect of your illustrations that I love is the use of facial expression on animals.
Lynley: That is the most important thing. That is where I get all of the expression, apart from the body language. The one picture that for me has been the most satisfying, because for me I am never satisfied with anything I do, but the one that did exactly what I was looking for was the one where Hairy Maclary wins the prize at the cat show.
Nicola: Yes, I know that pose.
Lynley: Yes the pose, but the eyes.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: (He is thinking) “I am not quite sure what will happen when my friends come and see me in this compromising situation but I am really quite proud to have won a prize because I am not likely to win another one, even as an honorary cat.”
Nicola: [laughing] Lynley: I worked on that quite hard. I did a lot of sketches for that and for some amazing reason I actually got it right in the final picture. That is hard because quite often you get it exactly right in the first little rough sketch you do and you never manage to get that again, which is so disappointing. But in that one, it came right in the final picture. So expressing mood, I do that with all their expressions and their body language and everything. Cats do not have quite the same expressions in their eyes as dogs do.
Nicola: I wonder. You said that you find dogs’ expressions easier to draw than cats’.
Lynley: That is not entirely true because some cats can do it too but dogs are more expressive than cats.
Nicola: I am just thinking about the books that you showed me before where you had a picture of a cat with all of its kittens all over it and the cat is just kind of rolling its eyes.
Lynley: Yes, that is true.
Nicola: Truly, that is just such a beautiful expression. So, I think you might be quite good at cat expressions too.
Lynley: I put a bit of human expression too into some of their eyes sometimes but not too much, I hope.
Nicola: The dogs are never talking, are they?
Lynley: No.
Nicola: The animals never talk. They are not anthropomorphized are they?
Lynley: No, definitely not. They do dog and cat things. Just perhaps a little exaggerated some of the time.
Nicola: I love the way that your illustrations focus only on the dogs and you often just see legs of the humans and things. You are right down at the dog level.
Lynley: It is dog and cat level. I started out with really, and I still try to do that, although I have allowed Miss Plum to get more visible and more visible. One day she will have a whole head.
Nicola: [laughing] Lynley: [laughing]
Nicola: [laughing] She will not know what to do with it [laughing].
Lynley: I have to think about what she looks like. In order to concentrate on dog and cat level so that it is more immediate and to look from a grown-up human view point it is not the same. You have to get down with them.
Nicola: And do you think that that perspective that you are using has appeal to children because it is similar to theirs? Have you ever thought about that?
Lynley: It is partly that but it is also partly that I tend to do my pictures almost as stage-sets, not deliberately, but they are horizontal and they do not have too many vanishing points. I do not create complicated perspective. I like that in other people’s illustrations but my ones tend to stick to the sort of stage-set or backdrop kind of situations. It keeps it simple for young children I think, which is quite good.
Nicola: Is that deliberate? Thinking of the audience?
Lynley: Yes, it is deliberate. There would be times when I have perhaps done a little bit more perspective heavy sort of things like something vanishing off in the trees or whatever but mostly I keep it simple because the actors are sort of getting along in front of their stage-sets. I think that happens without thinking about it very much but that is the way I do it.
Nicola: That is the way it works.
Lynley: Yes Nicola: Why do you think the Hairy Maclary books have been so successful? What is your take on it?
Lynley: my answer to that one was, when I wrote down my answers was, “you had better ask the customers” [laughing].
Nicola: [laughing] Yes.
Lynley: (I think it is) because he gets up to mischief and that is what they like to do
Nicola: So humour?
Lynley: Yes, humour.
Nicola: Do you think there is humour there?
Lynley: Well, I always loved humour in my books when I was young. I do not think writers for children ever grow up actually. I think they are still thinking like we did as children and the things that appeal to us (as children). I was hyper-critical of illustrating when I was a child. When I think back now, it is amazing that I got so steamed up about it so early. I did not, for example in Enid Blyton Famous Five books, I did not like Eileen Soper’s illustrating. There is no justification for my feeling about it at all. She is a good illustrator.
Nicola: But you did have strong feelings.
Lynley: I did have strong feeling about it and thought, “no, I don’t like that”, and I do not know why.
Nicola: What other books did you enjoy as a child growing up?
Lynley: I loved Winnie the Pooh but I came to Winnie the Pooh a bit later. The first time a saw a Dr Seuss book I was bowled absolutely flat because I was born in the 1940s and children’s books were a bit earnest at that stage and Dr Seuss were the first time I ever came across such mad-cap humour. In fact, the whole family got hooked on Dr Seuss. I was an only child but all three of us actually loved that one. It was a Dr Seuss book that a lot of people had not heard of, it was called Scrambled Eggs Super.
Nicola: Oh, I do not know that one.
Lynley: I met Dr Seuss in the 70s, which was a very memorable evening for me to meet someone you had loved so much. I said to him, “the book I loved from my childhood is Scrambled Eggs Super.” He said, “oh, you mean Green Eggs and Ham?” I said, “no I don’t. I mean Scrambled Eggs Super.” “Oh?” he said. He obviously he did not remember it. It came out again a couple of year later in a group of stories. He had obviously gone home and dug it out as soon as he had got back.
Nicola: Was it a predecessor for Green Eggs and Ham, or not?
Lynley: I cannot remember where it fits in to his list. When I read it, I was about eight, I suppose. It would have been the late 40s when I first saw it. But it disappeared forever after that and I never saw it again. It is not as good as his other ones but we loved it because it was just so nonsensical. It is all about a little boy who is called Peter T Hooper. Even that was nice to say. He had to get this special deluxe a la Peter T Hooper recipe with a special egg to do it, so he went all over the world looking for this egg.
And so all the birds that he visited to pinch (steal) the eggs were typical Dr Seuss crazy birds. We just loved it. We kept on saying “Peter T Hooper, special deluxe a la Peter T Hooper”. Mother would say her that recipe was that she just made. It got us all hooked on Dr Seuss.
Nicola: Yes.
Lynley: It was such a good time to get it.
Nicola: I wonder if it has influenced you own rhyme because he is an amazing rhymer.
Lynley: Sometimes his rhyme gets a bit awkward, I notice, but no it is just the huge humour. He was every bit as nice as I had always imagined he would be actually, which was so nice.
Nicola: Oh that is lovely.
Lynley: He had a marvellous sense of humour.
Nicola: Is there a character amongst all the characters that you have created that you identify with more than the others?
Lynley: When I was looking at that question, I thought probably Hairy Maclary and Slinky Malinki. Slinky Malinki was based on a later cat we had who was a cat with a tremendous amount of character, a black cat, so Slinky is definitely him. Hairy just sort of came out of the blue, really. But because he is a mischievous little monkey and other people like him, I suppose that is why I am rather fond of Hairy Maclary. He certainly started things for me, that is for sure.
Nicola: He certainly did. Would you like to tell us anything else about your illustration process and style?
Lynley: Well it is probably quite old fashioned when you look at it. You have seen My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes and The Nickle Nackle Tree, well those are very different to what I would normally do but I was forced into that style by Hamish Hamilton who was the publisher then in those days in the 1970s. During that decade, it was very much the thing to have graphic sort of illustrations with flat colour and a lot of design and texture elements and so they wanted me to do my cat that way, which if found terribly difficult because it was done with overlays.
I had to stipulate with little colour charts at the side what colours I wanted in particular areas. But for The Nickle Nackle Tree, they wanted me to use something called separon which was a sticky thing which I was supposed to stick on the surface of the drawing. I had to do a black and white drawing to start with for each page but with The Nickle Nackle Tree, I had to stipulate what percentage colour I wanted so I had to say, “here, I want to have 75 percent red” or “25 percent blue down here”. I had no idea what the book was going to look like.
When it finally came out, it was just sheer good luck that it was all right. So that is not a way that is nice to illustrate at all. It was only when I went to Mallinson Rendel as a publisher that I was allowed to paint pictures the way that I wanted to.
Nicola: That was a very wonderful relationship with that publisher.
Lynley: It was 28 years.
Nicola: And you now are with Penguin, is that right?
Lynley: I am now with Penguin.
Nicola: Yes, that is right.
Lynley: Because Anne Mallinson retired and sold her company to Penguin but she is still my agent for shows and animation because we did have stage show for quite some time. So she remained my agent for those things. I continue to hold the right to those.
Nicola: Well I only have one last question for you. I would like to ask you what you might currently be working on.
Lynley: Well that one is sort of under wraps at moment.
Nicola: Okay.
Lynley: Yes, I have written one. It needs an awful lot of work yet. It is not a Hairy Maclary one but I do have a Hairy Maclary one in mind, which is perhaps down the track.
Nicola: That is good to know that there are going to be more coming out. Thank you very much for you time today.
Lynley: Thank you.
Nicola: We really appreciate that you have contributed to our course in this way. Thank you.
Lynley: It has been huge fun for me too.

Welcome to Week 2 of the Powerof Picturebooks.

Last week we remembered picturebooks we know and love. We read about the characteristics of picturebooks and a little of their history. This week, we focus on picturebook illustration, starting by meeting an illustrator, and then learning about visual analysis.

In this step, please listen to this interview with Dame Lynley Dodd, New Zealand author and illustrator of the Hairy Maclary picturebook series.

Our Lead Educator, Dr Nicola Daly, is in conversation with Dame Lynley about her work as a picturebook creator. After listening, join the discussion in the next step to share your thoughts and responses to the interview.

In this interview, Dame Lynley Dodd shares how her career as an illustrator developed, starting with illustrating My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes. She discusses the media she has used in her illustrations and the process of illustrating for other authors and illustrating her own work. We discuss the use of colour in her work, and the way her well known character, Hairy Maclary has changed over time. We also discuss the importance of sound in children’s books, and she shares a funny anecdote about the reaction of a bird to her book being read on radio in Australia. Dame Lynley shares her childhood love of the rhyme in Dr Seuss books, and her reflections on the reasons for the success of Hairy Maclary.

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