SHE is Great Lakes Artist of the Year for 2016.
But now illustrator Stephanie Holm has added another achievement to her list in receiving the prestigious Children’s Literature Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria.
The award carries a grant, provides a work space and special access to the library’s collection for three months of research.
Later this month Stephanie will travel to Melbourne for her first month long block of research.
Her research project is titled ‘From Curious creatures to bushland beasts’ and she plans to develop a graphic novel exploring her response to texts viewed during her fellowship.
“I’ll be looking at illustrated books, fictional texts and pedagogical works to see how Australian native flora and fauna species have been represented and characterised in early Australian children’s literature,” Stephanie said.
“I am interested in how Europeans responded to what would have been to them, a strange and alien land, filled with unfamiliar species.”
Stephanie said in earlier texts kookaburras were cheekily recorded as “laughing jack-arses”.
Her research will be used to inform the characters and story line of her novel.
Stephanie has previously illustrated a successful colour therapy book called ‘Wildscapes’. She currently has a picture book under consideration and is working on a novel aimed at those aged between seven and 11.
Stephanie finds she gravitates towards children’s books as it allows her to have more freedom in the “crazy situations” she can put her characters into.
“Kids accept things, whereas adults might say ‘that wouldn’t happen’.”
Stephanie said children are always looking and learning about the world.
“I still remember learning about rainforests in year five.”
Stephanie said her love for nature and illustration will be a lifelong passion.
“I’ve always been interested in nature and liked going for bush walks,” she said.
“When I look at birds I see them as having their own characters – I try to capture that in my drawings.”
Stephanie will be looking at works by well-known authors including May Gibbs, but also less widely-know titles by Edward Sorensen, Amy Eleanor, Mack and her zoologist husband Launcelot Harrison.
She is inspired by illustrators Judith Rossell and Shaun Tan.
See more of Stephanie’s work on her website, www.stephanieholm.com