The short version

photo of James Foley, children's author and illustrator, July 2020
[click for high-res version]

James Foley makes children’s books for children who read books. If you’re a child and you’re eating his books, you’re doing it wrong. James writes and draws; he gives talks and runs workshops. He tells dad jokes. Legends say James can grow a beard in an afternoon. He lives in Perth with his wife, 2 kids, and a labrador. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd and comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.

[Photo by Jessica Wyld Photography.
Visit the photo page for more headshots.]


The medium version

James Foley makes picture books, middle grade novels and comics for kids. His latest book Stellarphant is available around the world and is shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s 2022 Picture Book of the Year.

James is the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017), Gastronauts (2018) and Chickensaurus (2020). The series stars Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, full-time baby.

James also illustrated the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris; the cult-favourite and CBCA-shortlisted My Dead Bunny (2015); and its follow-up, There’s Something Weird About Lena (2020).

James contributed to Total Quack Up (2018) and Funny Bones (2019), both anthologies of funny stories with proceeds going to charity.

His earlier books In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, recognition in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list.

James is an ambassador for Books In Homes and Room To Read. He is a massive Marvel movie nerd. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.

The longer version

Hi, I’m James. I’m a writer, illustrator and cartoonist. I run workshops and give talks.

Most illustrators will tell you they’ve been drawing for as long as they can remember. I started my career in primary school, drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. The paper only lasted one issue, probably because my class faked a fire in the school hall using a smoke machine to get our front page story. In year 7, I won third prize in a state-wide ‘Make Your Own Storybook’ Competition. I later worked on a regular comic strip for my high school paper; editorial cartoons for a Curtin University paper; and a full-page comic for Notre Dame University’s ‘Quasimodo’ magazine.

But my professional career really began in 2003, when I drew my first covers for Western Australia’s weekly ‘Quokka‘ newspaper. By the time I finished in 2010 I’d drawn nearly 300 full-colour cartoons, usually featuring local landmarks and events.

I’ve worked as a freelancer, creating cartoons and illustrations for clients including Caritas Australia and the State Child Development Centre. I’ve consulted and volunteered with community groups and non-government organisations: working with children with special needs at Disability in the Arts Disadvantage in the Arts Australia (WA), assisting Indigenous artists through the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project, and teaching students in country towns through the Rural Development Australia (Wheatbelt) “Sharing Stories” comic project.

My favourite part of the job is presenting workshops at schools and libraries. I’m always amazed at the natural enthusiasm children bring to drawing, especially when they draw just for themselves and don’t care if it’s ‘good enough’ or not. I believe we all have this enthusiasm when we are younger, but most of us lose it – maybe someone makes a nasty comment, or maybe we think someone else is better at it, or maybe we think we have to draw things that look ‘right’ (I still struggle with this last one). I’ve worked with older audiences too, including educational organisations and corporate groups, and it’s fun to see people get back in touch with their creative child.

I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Australia West chapter. I’m also a member of the Australian Society of Authors and the Children’s Book Council of Australia.

I like working with pen and ink, pencil, charcoal and watercolour. I also use digital tools: Adobe Photoshop, a Wacom graphics tablet, an iPad Pro and the Procreate app.

Click here to view my CV.

ASA Member logo colour

47 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hello!
    Yippeee! Great work you’ve done so far, and congrats on making it on the shortlist for 2016’s Picture Book of the Year for My Dead Bunny!!! Also love its trailor on youtube. Haha. Keep up the wonderful work you do and, most importantly, thank you for encouraging our young generation to read!!!

      1. hi James Foley I think that you are the best i have seen you in real life and hope to see you again soon please reply back to me when i comment. BYE I LOVE YOUR BOOKS . Im also entering your brobot competition.



  2. hi James Foley i am one of the students you visited at South Lake Primary our librarian once your book Brobot came out she ordered lots of books when the library opened everyone wanted a copy of bye. LOVE YOUR BOOKS!

  3. Hi! I was a student who got to talk to you from a school you visited. I was super inspired by your speech and tips, that I am recreating a book plot I came up with at the start of the year. I enjoy your books a lot!

  4. Hi James, I was wondering, the competition that you entered when u were in grade 7 and u came 3rd place, I know that its closed now for this year, but I was hoping I could entire my own book for next year but I didn’t quite know which website it was.
    From Justin’s Daughter, Ain!!

  5. love all you’re books, big fan. I also saw you’re a big Marvel fan and I’m the same here, oh and im just an everyday middle school kid from Vic not anything special lol πŸ˜€πŸ˜ŽπŸ˜›πŸ€—

      1. I really like infinity war and endgame, although they were both quite sad, they were victorious at the end, and I really love the x-men series to😁

      2. hi james i’m a big fan of your books and my class and i are so excited to read your soon coming book chicken- asuras i can’t wait. πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€

  6. I really like infinity war and endgame, although they were both quite sad, they claimed victory. oh, and I also love the x-men series 😁

  7. Hi James Keep up the good work ,love your books and my class is a big fans.πŸ˜€Cant wait to read your new book

    1. Good question … at the moment it’s Chickensaurus. I feel like it’s the best book I’ve been able to make so far. I’m pretty proud of the illustrations in There’s Something About Lena, too – but both these books won’t be out in til Sept 29/Oct 1 πŸ™‚ I’m also working on a picture book that will be out in late 2021, and that will be my next favourite. So really, it’s always the books I’ve just finished, or the one I’m working on – because I feel like (hopefully) I’m doing my best ever work.

    1. Hey Sam, I don’t think the comments section lets you add your email address, for personal safety reasons – best not to post it up online anyway. If you want to ask more questions you can always contact me via the comments section on my site πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Marley! Unfortunately I can’t illustrate your book as I’ve got a lot of my own books I have to work on at the moment. But perhaps you could illustrate it yourself, or you could collaborate with a friend? All the best with your story, I hope you have fun making it!

  8. Hi James!

    Love your books! I’m currently making an info graph on you! (For school, of course, I’m not a creep) So I was using your website for research and I thought that i should let you know how cool you are!

  9. Oh my god! James Foley, I am a big fan of you I enjoy seeing you at the littlescribe Mini Writing Festival

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