The short version
James makes books for courageous kids. He writes and draws, gives talks and runs workshops. He comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts.
Visit the photo page for more headshots.
The medium version
James Foley is a children’s author and illustrator. His books include Brobot (2016), My Dead Bunny (2015), In The Lion (2012), The Amity Kids Adventures (2013), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014). My Dead Bunny was shortlisted for Picture Book of the Year in the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards. In The Lion was selected for the International Youth Library’s 2013 White Raven list. The Last Viking won the 2012 Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Crystal Kite Award, the 2012 WA Young Readers’ Hoffman Award, and a 2012 Children’s Book Council of Australia Junior Judges Award. It was shortlisted for a further four awards.
James is the Regional Advisor for SCBWI Australia West. He is also an ambassador for Books In Homes and Room To Read, and a judge for the Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists. His interests include comics, film, psychology, science, history (anything nerdy really), as well as yoga and social justice.
He has far too many books in his bedside reading pile.
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 the Regional Advisor for 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 such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and a Wacom graphics tablet.