ANDREA’S TOP CREATIVE TIP: Be happy to change your book as you create it. It is important to plan a book and then be flexible as you work. Let the ideas breathe, allow the book to become what it wants to be. And then be happy to make more changes after you have ‘finished’ the book. Tiny tweaks can make a big difference.
Andrea Faith Potter studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at the University of Tasmania. After completing her degree she was selected to do a Research Associate for 12 months. Andrea then studied a Post-Graduate Diploma in painting at RMIT. She went on to have more than 50 art exhibitions nationally and her work has been featured in several magazines (including Craft Arts International). Andrea has illustrated two books by Jackie French, Werewolf Warrior and Dance of the Deadly Dinosaurs (both books were edited by Lisa Berryman and published by Harper Collins). Andrea has also created a learn to read system for children learning to read their very first words. Andrea’s website has lots of illustrations for people to see. www.andreafaithpotter.com
Why do you write and illustrate children’s books? I feel compelled to draw. I always have. I love to make up characters and explore imaginative worlds. I love to pretend the characters are real and have a life of their own. It is a funny thing to say, but I imagine the characters so vividly that I get worried about them when they get into strife and they make me laugh when they do something funny.
What’s the best aspect of your artistic life? I love improving my skills and ideas. Every day I get a little be better at what I do. I have a love of visual story telling. It is exciting to come up with new ideas and develop them. Drawing has always been important to me. I draw all the time and then I still feel like I haven’t had enough drawing time.
Do you think of yourself more as an illustrator or as an author? I love writing stories for children but I tend to think of myself as an illustrator first. This is mostly because my stories come to me visually and then I translate the ideas into text. I draw the stories before I write them. When I write longer stories I tend to write the story first but it still feels very visual.
Are there any new areas of art or writing that you want to explore? I am always coming up with new ideas for books. I love thinking about possibilities and inventing new worlds. I love drawing animals, funny or sweet characters, fantasy and domestic scenes and so much more.
I love telling children funny adventure stories where surprising things happen. It is exciting to see the looks on their faces and how they get wrapped up in the story, jumping about on the mat imagining it is all true.
Have you illustrated books for other authors? Yes. I illustrated two books by Jackie French, Werewolf Warrior and Dance of the Deadly Dinosaurs. There were about 40 characters to design for the first book, which was exciting. Then there were a lot of new awesome characters in the second book, including dinosaurs (dinosaurs are awesome to draw!).
Have you ever self-published any ebooks? If so why? Yes. I thought that learning to read could be much easier and more fun if there was a set of books which introduced words gradually and kept using the same words so children could practise the words they had already learned. I felt that the only way to make a whole system of books affordable, was to self-publish them as ebooks. With my love of visual story telling, I was able to create adventure stories that were told with very few words. I also created several books which are told with words that have four letters or less (for reading practise and to build reading confidence). Frog and Bat is one of these books.