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Our artists: Alpana Ahuja | MJ Ellis | Sally Heinrich | Craig Smith

Alpana Ahuja

Alpana's illustration (left) inspired by photo (right)

Alpana Ahuja illustrated the “Sasha in Singapore” books.

Alpana is a freelance artist. She was born and grew up in India. Alpana draws her inspiration from nature. Flowers, trees and animals are her favourite subjects and she spends many hours in parks and nature reserves in Singapore.

Comfortable in various mediums like water colours, oils, acrylics and mixed media, she likes to experiment and dabble in different styles.

The “Sasha in Singapore” books were painted in watercolours. Alpana has successfully captured the lush beauty and unique surroundings that make Singapore a unique holiday destination and exciting place to live and work.

In addition to painting, Alpana also teaches and conducts art workshops for children and adults.


MJ Ellis

The artist and author of Jungle Blues - photo taken at the launch of Jungle Blues at the Red Sea Gallery on 9 November 2005

MJ Ellis is an artist and printmaker. Whimsical and fun are the best way to describe her current range of animal pictures. But these are no ordinary animals – they play in orchestras, “man” submarines and go on kite flying expeditions!

Her range appeals to both children and adults. The appeal to children is self-evident. The colourful prints of favourite animals indulging in human activity is entertaining and amusing to young ones. But the detail and subtlety of Mariann’s work means that hers are pieces that will help children develop an appreciation for art – at each stage of their development there will be something new to experience and enjoy about Mariann’s work.

As for adults, the whimsy is priceless! The pictures of animals having fun doing the things we take seriously cannot but serve as a timely reality check and a lesson not to take ourselves and our busy, stressful lives too seriously. The human expressions of delight, curiosity and concentration on the faces of the animals are wonderfully and subtly drawn in. Every picture has an unexpected level of detail – which means a new feature catches the eye long after one believes that everything has been spotted and appreciated.

As a testament to how much we value Mariann’s art, we persuaded her to illustrate her first children’s book, Jungle Blues, which has just hit the bookshops. To us, her work combines the adult/child appeal of the best of children’s illustrators such as Quentin Blake and Ernest Shepard. We do hope you agree!

You can view Mariann's web site at http://www.artcanbefun.com.

Sally Heinrich

Sally Heinrich

Sally Heinrich is a freelance illustrator who has illustrated more than twenty books, as well as working for Advertising Agencies, Design Studios and Government Departments.

Sally has lived in Singapore, Sydney and Darwin and is now living in Adelaide. At the end of 2004 she spent three months in Malaysia on an Asialink literary residency grant, funded by Arts SA and the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

In her publishing work she attempts to provide a way of bridging cultural boundaries, and to foster closer ties and a greater understanding between people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Sally illustrated a T-Rex Ate My Homework for Sunbear Publishing and created the cover artwork for The Seeds of Time.

Craig Smith

Craig Smith

Craig Smith’s warm, quirky illustrations have amused kids for more than thirty years. He has several award-winners to his credit and his titles regularly appear on Children’s Choice Award shortlists. The humour and pathos of home and school situations, and a fondness for unusual perspectives and energetic characterisation are features of his work.

Craig grew up in South Australia and studied graphic design at the SA School of Art. While his early aim to be a political cartoonist never came to be, he worked at a variety of jobs – including undercoating the Sydney Harbour Bridge - while building a career as an illustrator. He has now produced over 350 picture books, junior novels and educational readers.

Recent books, including Three Stars, have seen a return to using watery goauche paint and a turning away from rendering on computer.

Craigs best known titles include the classics Whistle Up the Chimney (winner of the NSW Premier’s literary award), Dreadful David, Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns and Billy the Punk. Other notable titles include Duncan Ball’s Emily Eyefinger series, Paul Jennings’ The Cabbage Patch series and Rachel Flynn’s I Hate Friday’s series.

Craig lives in Melbourne with Erica. They have grown up children. And two grandchildren.

You can view Craig's web site at http://www.craigsmithillustration.com

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