Liz Anelli's career is soaring, with two new books released

On the drawing board: Liz Anelli with rough sketches that will be used in First Day, a 32-page children's picture book with story by Penny Matthews. Picture: Jim Kellar
On the drawing board: Liz Anelli with rough sketches that will be used in First Day, a 32-page children's picture book with story by Penny Matthews. Picture: Jim Kellar

Newcastle illustrator Liz Anelli does not have time to rest on her laurels. Fresh from having two children’s picture books which she illustrated (Desert Lake and One Photo) short-listed in the Children's Book Council of Australia awards this year, she has two more picture books due for publication this spring.

Ten Pound Pom, written by Carole Wilkinson, is a true story of Wilkinson’s immigration with her family as a young girl from Derby in England, to Adelaide in Australia. Anelli, who illustrated the picture book, moved to Australia from England five years ago and has a firm grasp of the subject matter. The artwork moves from dark and rainy England, by ship across the Mediterranean Sea and through Suez Canal to the Red Sea, then Indian Ocean and finally, bright and sunny Australia.

The water – it manages to glitter on every tiny wave. Almost like a million flashbulbs going off. Water doesn’t do that anywhere else.

Liz Anelli

“I think the mood is certainly something I brought to it,” Anelli says. “Even though it is set in 1963, I am thinking very much of my own experience coming here in 2012.”

Among her most keen observations of her new home: the light is different.

“You could be sitting on the Stockton side of harbour eating a picnic, and the water –  it manages to glitter on every tiny wave. Almost like a million flashbulbs going off. Water doesn’t do that anywhere else. I don’t know if Australians realise how scintillating the light is in this country.”

Grace & Katie, written by Susanne Merritt, is a picture book story about twin sisters who live in an apartment building in a city, and both love to draw. Grace loves everything to be organised and neat, while Katie loves everything to be bright, bold and messy. And so the sisters have their differences, as Liz Anelli’s illustrations show so starkly.

At present, Anelli is in the final stages of completing drawings in her Newcastle studio for First Day, a picture book with words by Penny Matthews, about the first day of school for kindergarteners. She spent the first day of school at a classroom with kindergarteners at Newcastle East public school this year and at a kindy classroom in England only recently to do sketches for the project.

She is also teaming up again with Desert Lake writer Pamela Freeman on a new picture book about Kakadu, with a working title of Dry to Dry. She will make her first exploratory trip there in October and begin sketching.