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Ann James on illustrating emotion

Speaker(s): Ann James

  • Date recorded: 25 Oct 2010

  • Duration: 3:25

'It’s my responsibility to draw out the emotion behind the words on the page.'

- Ann James

About this video

A smudge of colour, the placement of an eye, the scale of a figure – there are many ways to convey to a young reader the emotion behind words on a page.

Watch as children’s book illustrator Ann James brings Margaret Wild’s character Lucy Goosey to life, helping the reader to share Lucy’s feelings as she experiences a range of emotions.

Ann reveals the close teamwork between the author and illustrator of a picture book, an interaction she likens to musicians in an orchestra.

She also shows us the magic of working with pastels, blending colours and adding details in a process that is more like painting than drawing.

This interview is one of a series of videos commissioned for our Look! exhibition, featuring original artwork, sketches and drawings by more than 40 Australian illustrators. To view pictures from this exhibition, visit our online gallery.


Anne James was an art teacher and moved into designing and illustrating education publications while establishing herself as a children’s book illustrator. Ann continues to illustrate and write in her studio upstairs at Books Illustrated.