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Jane Tanner on creating pictures

Speaker(s): Jane Tanner

  • Date recorded: 26 Oct 2010

  • Duration: 3:54

'As a child, I used to paint on the kitchen window – unicorns with zebra stripes and animals peeping out of forests on the walls.'

- Jane Tanner

About this video

Jane Tanner’s secret picture brew is made from combining pencil drawing and watercolour painting with a smudge of soft chalk.

In this short film she discusses the creative process behind the illustrations for her much-loved children’s books Playmates and Love from Grandma.

Jane highlights the fact that her pictures frequently feature careful plant studies. ‘It’s no accident,’ says Jane. In a high-tech world, she likes to remind children of the simple beauty of nature.

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.


Jane Tanner was born in Melbourne, and still lives locally.

Jane studied art at the Prahan Technical School, and painting and printmaking at the National Gallery School.

She taught art as a secondary school teacher, but then resigned to focus on her art. The first book she illustrated was Margaret Wild’s There’s a sea in my bedroom, which won critical acclaim.