Frané Lessac - Four Fab Festival questions

Frané Lessac is one of Australia's most creative and prolific children's illustrators. She is also the fabulously inspiring leader of Western Australia's hugely successful SCBWI West: the WA chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

Lucky for us, Frané is also a big heARTlines supporter and we're thrilled to be exhibiting her work again this year, and to have her as part of our Meet The Maker forum on Sunday 21 June.

Below Frané answers our Four Fab Festival questions...

1. What book/s will you be speaking about at this year’s HeArtlines Festival?
I’ll be sharing my two latest books: A is for Australia and also Midnight- the story of a light horse, written by my husband author Mark Greenwood.

2. Where did inspiration for these book(s) come from? 
A IS FOR AUSTRALIA is a love letter to down under. My mother ran a travel agency and encouraged my love of travelling the world. Nowadays, I look forward to coming home to the wide-open spaces and the relaxed way of life in Australia. 

My challenge was to represent all the states and to highlight Australia’s diverse and unique landscape. Some destinations were so incredibly iconic: Sydney Harbour, Uluru, and Bondi Beach, which made the decision easy. Some locations were difficult to choose because there were many amazing alternatives! Hopefully children become intrigued and encourage their parents to take them to explore some of the locations in the book 

Midnight - the story of a light horse was inspired by the folklore of the Haydon family from “Bloomfield”, in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Riding his beloved mare, Midnight, Guy Haydon, a 25-year-old stockman, enlisted with the 12th Light Horse Regiment. On 31 October, 1917, the Australian Light Horse took part in one of the last great cavalry charges in history. Among the first to leap the enemy trenches was Lieutenant Guy Haydon riding his beloved mare, Midnight. This is their story.

3. What’s your advice to aspiring writers or illustrators of children’s books?

My advice would be to build a portfolio showing a diversity of styles and subject matter. Include animals, children, and anything else you love to draw.  

Send out sample postcards and A4 sheets of images to publishers, editors and art directors. 

Update the images and resend at least once or twice a year. Most importantly, research what’s appropriate for their publishing lists. 

Join organizations like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). It’s the best way to keep your finger on the children’s book publishing pulse. 
4. What did you have for breakfast this morning?

This morning is a bit different as I’m in India! I had a pot of chai masala tea with plenty of ginger. A masala omelette, and yogurt with fresh papaya!

Thanks Frané!

You can see more of Frané's amazing creativity and passion and buy her books when you come to this year's heARTlines festival in Mundaring, where we'll be exhibiting awesome artwork from Western Australia's most fabulous children's illustrators, and featuring workshops from WA's best children's authors and illustrators, from 15 May till 28 June 2015.

The exhibition is FREE.