Friday, May 16, 2008

Author Spotlight: Graeme Base

Graeme Base is an illustrator, author and musician, who knew even at the tender age of twelve that he wanted to be an artist. Born in England on April 6, 1958, Mr. Base moved with his family to Australia in 1966. He lives there, still, with his wife, Robyn, and their three children.

He grew up in Melbourne, and studied graphic design at Swinburne Institute of Technology for three years. From there, he went into advertising, but found it unfulfilling. During this time, he also did freelance work for book publishers on projects such as book covers. After two years, Mr. Base struck out on his own to do freelancing full time, showing his portfolio to various publishers. This ultimately led to the many children's books he has written, beloved by people of all ages, tall to small.

Though his books are viewed as children's books, he never intended to write for children. He has said that he writes and draws first for his own creative needs, then makes it fit the project at hand. He uses a variety of mediums to create his illustrations: airbrush, gouache, watercolors, transparent inks, watercolor pencils, lead pencils - in short, whatever will produce the effect he wants to achieve.

Graeme Base's first book, My Grandma Lives in Gooligulch, was published in 1983. It is written in verse, and has six illustrations. 

It was not until his second book, Animalia, was published (1986), that he received international acclaim. Animalia is an alliterative alphabet book whose illustrations set it apart from all the others through their incredible depth, with 1500 images hidden and embedded in each one. This second book took three years to complete, and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. 

The Eleventh Hour, published in 1989, is perhaps equally as well known. It is a mystery in pictures. The author wrote and illustrated it with the intent that it can be enjoyed and solved by all ages, through many means. This book took two years to complete, and Mr. Base shares that he had the title idea first, and wrote the rest of the book to match that title.

Building on the phenomenal success of these early books, Graeme Base has written and illustrated many more books, each with the beautiful, intricate illustrations and creative verse his fans have come to love. 

Sources:
Graeme Base Teacher Resource File* Link no longer works as of April 2013
An Interview With Graeme Base* Link no longer works as of April 2013
(The above link was not used during the writing of the original post. I just found it, and am adding it here since two of the four links I originally used are no longer working. I hope this new link provides some further information you may find useful.)

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