For the love of animals

Genevieve Lim

Felicity Gardner

Illustrator Felicity Gardner, who heard stories from friends about the funny things their dogs did, used the stories to come up with a guidebook based on those stories.

Felicity Gardner

Felicity Gardner

Felicity Gardner

Felicity Gardner

Felicity Gardner lives together with her husband David West and their dog, Banjo, an excitable chap, in a cozy, green timber house. Felicity is an illustrator of children’s books and the mother of a four-week old baby. In preparation for the new addition to the family, she reads passages from her books to her unborn baby.

Felicity Gardner has always had a passion for children’s picture books and says she has loved drawing from the time she first held a pencil in her hand. As a child, she grew up watching animated movies – Disney and Pixar are her favourites – and reading picture books. At university, she studied fine arts, graphic design and illustration.

Banjo and his friends inspired her latest book, The Complete Guide to a Dog’s Best Friend. The book contains visual images of what Banjo, a wire hair fox terrier, and his friends would come up with to make their owners go crazy or burst into laughter. She first heard stories from friends and neighbors regarding how their dogs were making a mess or doing funny things and one day, on a train ride with her husband, she was inspired to come up with a guidebook based on those stories.

When she and her husband were working on the book, they came up with a series of ideas or scenarios which she then sketched out. She tried to limit the words to just a couple of sentences so that the drawings stood out and told the story. After finalising the words and the drawings, it was ready for publication.

Felicity says her passion has always been to let her drawings tell the story. Would she ever consider making a short film or an animated clip of her dog? “I love concept art and it would be fantastic to do something with animation. I could visualise Banjo as a cartoon,” she says.

The reason most of her books and projects revolves around animals is because she enjoys drawing them. “You can do a lot of things with them,” she says.

Felicity Gardner will join other illustrators in Illustrator Battle Rounds today, 11.15-12noon, Pier 2/3 Club Stage