Congratulations Warren Crossett

TweetHow exciting to hear this week that Warren Crossett, illustrator of my rhyming picture book, ‘This is the Mud!’ (Lothian Hachette 2009) won the 2015 Doug Moran National Portrait Prize – the world’s richest portraiture competition. That’s pretty awesome-impressive! 

Sound of the Sea

But I’m not surprised. When Warren was first suggested as an illustrator for ‘This is the Mud!’, I hunted out ‘The Sound of the Sea’, written by Jacqueline Harvey and illustrated by Warren. I opened to a random page in the book, and his illustration was so realistic, so heart-wrenching, (perfectly capturing the emotions that I would later read in the story) that it brought tears to my eyes. I can still see that image in my mind.

His style for ‘This is the Mud!‘ was very different, and a lot of fun – yet there was still so much of my landscape that he managed to glean from photos I sent, (of utes and cows and other farm things) and capture as the backdrop to this story. I wanted a rural Australian landscape, with a beefy cow… but I didn’t expect to feel so at home in the pages of the book.

And then there was my Amber, my bottle-reared baby, the cow who inspired Warren’s illustrations. Who knew, that of all the beef cow breeds and pics I sent, he would choose my pet! She’s as sleepy-calm in real life as she is in the book.

This is the cow
who was chewing her cud
as she went for a drink
and got stuck in the mud.

(Thankfully, my Amber has never been stuck in the mud!)


Art imitates life.

CoverGirl Amber

One of these pics is a lot like the other one…


The point when Amber realised Warren had real talent.


Reading with Amber – showing her best, beefy side.


(Click to read the SMH article.)

These photos aren’t new. Our book was first published in 2009 – though you can still catch it read on ABC PlaySchool. But I was just a little bit excited yesterday when I received word of Warren’s win. And I know Amber will be chuffed to hear the news. (She’ll be 19 soon. Which is an achievement in itself, might I add. Especially for a beef cow.) So we had to celebrate, and reflect a little.

I personally love this quote by Warren;

“I think my wife is going to lose the plot when she finds out.”

Yep. That would do it!


I’ve snuck in a little early, but you’ll soon be able to catch the full Poetry Friday round-up for the week at Check it out. Thanks, Jone!


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