David Cox, born in outback Queensland, is one of Australia’s most prolific book illustrators. My Book Corner fell in love with The Road To Goonong, and its ability to capture life in outback Australia. With the release of The Fair Dinkum War in February 2013, we are delighted that David agreed to answer our questions.
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
I am in my eightieth year. I am a freelance writer and illustrator, married to composer Betty Beath, and living in Brisbane.
What makes you happy?
Many things: lunch at the Greek Club with friends, listening to music, singing, reading.
Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to … yet?
Italy and especially Assisi. Just haven’t had the opportunity … maybe soon.
Where is your favourite place to write & illustrate?
My work room downstairs. It is a fairly big L-shaped room. Windows look out onto a tree filled garden. At one end is my computer, then drawing desks, an easel, and bookshelves. At the other end of the room is a large sideboard where I keep books and CDs etc. Around the corner, I have a workshop where I can make picture frames. Everything is untidy.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would give all children health and education.
What’s the best thing about being a published author & illustrator?
Very lucky to be a published author. One of the best things is the relationship with publishers, editors, designers etc. Another good thing is to be immersed in writing.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
It was: ‘Why do you draw noses like that?’ My answer: ‘I don’t really know.’
Who or what inspires you?
The work of other writers and artists
What is your worst habit?
Untidiness. Ask Betty.
Your favourite word(s)?
I like short words because they give rhythm to the text. I like soft, short Anglo-Saxon words like ‘love’ and ‘death’ and ‘’soft’.
What is the key thing you’d like your young readers to gain from The Fair Dinkum War?
I am hoping it will make young people interested enough to ask questions of their parents and grandparents
Did we forget anything?
Yes: ‘What do you look like?’
I am fairly short, I am losing my hair on top, I wear glasses. Otherwise, I think I look ok.
My wife, though, looks beautiful!
Just for fun
Tea or coffee? Yes please, coffee.
Paper books or e-books? Paper books are nice, friendly old things; but e-books are convenient, less expensive, don’t use up trees. We have to get used to e-books.
Vegemite or Marmite? Neither, too salty
Write or type? I like to type; but now I am using a dictation program on my computer and I like that.
Poetry or prose? I have written song lyrics and I enjoy that; but I am a prose writer.
Beach or bush? Bush is where I grew up and where I feel at home. Beach is good too.
Hot or cold? Because I live in Brisbane, I prefer the winter months. I do like a bit of snow; but I seldom get to see it.