National recognition for Duncraig illustrator

Duncraig illustrator Brian Simmonds.
Duncraig illustrator Brian Simmonds.

The Duncraig illustrator and Albany author Dianne Wolfer have produced two children’s books, winning accolades for their work.

Their latest, Light Horse Boy, has been shortlisted for the Australian Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards in the young reader category.

The pair will find out in August if they have been successful.

‘This is an absolute thrill and a big dose of approval,’ Brian (75), a former lithographer who became a full-time artist in 1990, said.

In 2010, he was nominated for the council’s Crichton Award for best new illustrator for companion book Lighthouse Girl.

He has also produced two coffee table books, The River and Rottnest Island.

Brian happened on the children’s book project by chance when Fremantle Press children’s publisher Cate Sutherland took his art class.

‘When I took Brian’s life drawing class, I had no idea I was about to discover such a talented illustrator,’ Cate said.

‘I’m not sure my drawing improved but I certainly got a very creative collaborator out of it.’

Brian said he took to illustrating Wolfer’s words ‘like a duck to water’, forming a great team with the author and surrounding himself with photos, cuttings and other material as a reference point for his work.

His exquisite illustrations were recently on show at the Australian Publishers Association exhibit at the Bologna Book Fair in Italy.

Always busy in his home studio, the award-winning artist also enjoys painting in oils and pastels, exhibits regularly and teaches art for recreation at the Tresillian Centre in Nedlands.