Anne Spudvilas

Andrew Daddo

Anne Spudvilas is a multi-award-winning illustrator of children’s books and an established portrait painter. Anne lives in Elwood, Victoria and works in a busy studio in Brunswick with eleven other artists. Her work concentrates on portraying character and expression in people, both in commissioned portraits or children’s books with a strong character base. Anne works predominantly in oils with some work in colored inks and pastel.

Her love of drawing as a child led to a career in graphic design working on instore poster and catalogue design for Target, fashion houses and newspaper advertising. More recently she has concentrated on her passion, painting people.

In 1996 Anne was awarded the Crichton Award for Illustration for her first picture book The Race (by Christobel Mattingley). The Race was also awarded CBCA Honour Book the same year. In 2000 she won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year award for Jenny Angel (with Margaret Wild), which was also shortlisted for the NSW Premiers Award. In 2006 Anne teamed up again with Margaret Wild to create Woolvs in the Sitee, which was a 2007 CBCA Honour Book. The Peasant Prince, a picture book adaptation of Li Cunxin’s autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, was awarded CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2008. Prior to illustrating The Peasant Prince Anne travelled to China with Li to visit his home town of Qingdao and to meet his family, gathering valuable background material for the book.

Anne’s most recent picture book was published in 2015 and is a story about a teddy bear called Bertie who becomes separated from his friend, Jessie and her family. Where’s Jessie? is a simple tale that was inspired by a real bear called Bertie. Bertie had in fact traveled into the Outback a long time ago on a train and a camel! The tale has a bit of truth and imagination of how Bertie finds his way back to Jessie.

As the illustrator of seven picture books and winner of many book awards, Anne Spudvilas has many years of experience working with authors and publishers. She brings this experience with her to present workshops and talks to students at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Anne’s portrait of friend and fellow artist Leigh Hobbs (creator of OLD TOM) was selected in the Archibald Prize in 2000. Anne’s exhibitions include solo and group shows since 1985 and she has paintings in collections in Australia, the United States, Europe and Asia. Portrait subjects include Jackie Weaver, Felicity Kennett, Melbourne Lord Mayor Lecki Ord and writer Isobelle Carmody. Her work has been selected for exhibition in the Archibald Prize in 1999 and 2000, the Doug Moran Portrait Prize in 1996 and the Portia Geach Memorial Prize in 1995, 1997 and 2002.

Anne works with a selected picture book and explains the process of creating the visuals to expand an author’s text, using storyboards, roughs, dummy books and some original illustration. She also holds drawing workshops for students from Grade 1 to 6, and for secondary level.

Using charcoal, Anne takes students step by step through the stages of drawing, from beginning with the simplest shapes to adding light and shade, tone and texture to create a realistic picture of a cat. This simple exercise is extremely popular with children and is an excellent introduction to the basics of using a tonal medium.

Elements of portraiture are also discussed with older students, with a member of the class being selected and drawn, either as a tonal portrait, or in the style of a courtroom sketch (Anne works with the Melbourne media as a court artist)