ANIMALS have always been a part of graphic designer and artist Kylie Howarth�s life, from growing up in Harvey with emus and orphaned joeys, to backpacking adventures with all kinds of underwater experiences.
After deciding to be a stay-at-home mum when she and husband Dane welcomed their two sons Beau (3) and Jack (1) in to the world, Howarth�s love for her children, animals, art, music and literature took her on another journey.
She is now the newly published author and illustrator of children�s picture book, Fish Jam.
�Writing and illustrating children�s books was a natural progression for my career to take, considering I read several a day with my kids,� Howarth said.
�It didn�t seem like work and was really enjoyable.
�I always have to have a creative outlet and while at home with two kids, this absolutely filled that need.�
The book follows a jazzy little fish called Toot who is having trouble finding a friend to play with until something unexpected happens.
Howarth said she had dedicated the book to her sons who helped her create some of the textures in it.
�We have what we call �backyard art sessions� and you can see a lot of the textures in it if you have a close look,� she said.
�We�ve painted with bubble wrap, painted leaves and did some potato stamping to create bubbles in one scene.
�It�s so special to me that their input is in there as well as mine.�
Howarth said the Society of Children�s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) had been instrumental in supporting her through the process and she was already scheduled for readings through to Book Week in August.
�I hope Fish Jam is enjoyable for children and parents to read together,� she said.
�My little boys love doing the sounds in it and music can play a huge role in developing children�s literacy and language skills.�
Howarth said she had three different stories she was working on for her next book
�I was in Rottnest the other week and everywhere I go, I take my sketchbook and write down ideas,� she said.
�A lot of it is just things my boys are interested in, like fish and the ocean, because we spend a lot of time at the beach.
�They inspire me, but it�s always animals, and there�s often a whale in it.�
Fish Jam is available now.