Ask a Children’s Author/ Illustrator Yvonne Mes

As an early childhood professional with a Bachelor of Children’s Services with many years’ experience, our next talented author, Yvonne Mes loves sharing books, stories and art with children in places big and small, of diverse cultures and abilities and of all ages.

Her books are published in Australia, China and New Zealand.

Author and illustrator Yvonne Mes

Thanks for inviting me to your blog!

   Yvonne, what makes a story shine for you? Where does your inspiration come from?

There isn’t one thing that makes a story shine. There are many reasons why I love a story, beautiful lyrical use of words, an emotional ‘oof’, a fantastic concept and I am always immediately attracted to beautifully illustrated books. 

I get inspiration from anywhere; from the books I read – fiction and nonfiction – the podcasts I listen to, the children I meet, my family, travels. I am curious and love learning new things, and I think this helps in plucking ideas from here or there and combining them into a story. 

   What have you learnt about yourself as a writer/ illustrator for children?

I have learnt that I am passionate about being a creative working for and with children. I feel all the windy roads and back-tracking paths I have taken have let me to where I am today; creating stories for children, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

3    Your career background, how has this shaped your creative journey?

My previous professional background is in early childhood, I have worked with children of many ages, abilities and backgrounds from settings such as domestic violence shelters in Amsterdam to early childhood centres in outback Queensland. As a TAFE teacher, I travelled  North-West Queensland to teach education and care. Then when I moved to Brisbane, I completed studies in Visual Arts and many other courses and workshops in writing and/or illustrating for children. I am now studying a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature. These career paths as well as life experience have shaped where I am now.

4. Can you describe the story of Little Bilby’s Aussie Bush Christmas, a picture story. What style of illustration features in this book?

Little Bilby’s Aussie Bush Christmas follows a group of little bilbies are hunting for decorations to turn their Australian bush home into a magical Christmas wonderland. On the way the bilbies meet some friendly Australian animals. 
The amazing Jody Pratt illustrated the bilby books, her style is playful and warm and just gorgeous. 

Picture book

5    Where do you find the most relaxing place to write? Why?

Being driven in a car, under the shower or when walking is where I get most of my inspiration. I write at home and in cafes on my PC, laptop or in notebook. I always carry my notebook with me, and I often leave voice messages to myself with sentences or ideas that strike when I am driving.

6    As a presenter in schools, can you describe some amusing situations involving book characters or themes.

Hmm, while teaching a session on cautionary tales, I learned the other day that one of kids’ parents puts his boogers in his coffee and then drinks it. I could have done without that knowledge, but happy to share it with you!

7.  When buying a book for yourself, what do you seek out? Why?

If it is a picture book, I am first drawn in by the illustrations. I love a good cover, but I also will go with the blurb or recommendations from friends and booksellers. I love buying books on the art and craft of writing and illustrating and geek out on non-fiction books on whatever topic I am researching on or writing at the moment. 

8.  Have there been challenges for you in illustrating for children?

I find it difficult to pin down one style that says, ‘Yes, that must have been done by Yvonne’ I love experimenting with different media from printing to digital art to collage and more. Instead of trying to pin down one style, I have recently decided to just embrace it.

9   As a Brisbane illustrator for kids, how would you define art today? What’s your preferred art medium?

As I mentioned above, I tend to flit from medium to medium. At the moment I love playing with paper, creating pop-ups and more, but I am also experimenting with oil and cold wax as well as encaustic paints. And I really like working in Procreate on my Ipad. It is fast, and I love that ‘undo’ button. 

10   What is Trouble in the Hen House about?

When hot and bothered chickens, Ellie May, Audrey and Daisy can no longer stand the hot summer days that are cooking their eggs before they’re even laid, Farmer John has to come up with an inventive solution… A fun rhyming story about farm life in the Australian summer and some very determined chickens. Recommended for readers 3 to 7 years old.

This story was illustrated using a mixture of Procreate, Photoshop and scanned in textures I created using paint and alcohol inks. 

Keep an eye out for my next books:

Little Lambs’ xxx Christmas coming out  in New Zealand this year, and my narrative non-fiction coming out with CSIRO some time next year. 

Thanks so much Yvonne for sharing your story, passion for kid’s books and journey as an illustrator. At literary events and festivals, you shine in spirit, hair colour and enthusiasm. Congratulations on your fine publications and keep inspiring younger readers.

Like this Poem?

Leave a Comment


Alison Stegert
July 4, 2022 at 1:09 am

Fantastic article Marg and Yvonne! I’m a big fan of Yvonne’s. I love her work, her passion and compassion, and her energy!

Michel Deverall
July 4, 2022 at 2:11 am

So interesting to read the thought process of other fellow authors and to find out what makes them tick. Lovely interview, Yvonne. Thanks for posting, Marg.

    Cassie McDonald
    July 12, 2022 at 11:47 pm

    Love these articles! So interesting reading about everyone’s different processes. Thanks for sharing Yvonne and Marg!

      User Avatar
      M.J. Gibbs
      July 13, 2022 at 6:00 am

      Glad you enjoy reading and taking on tips and thoughts.

Karen Hendriks
July 4, 2022 at 6:29 am

A fun and interesting read about sparkly Yvonne. Both insightful and delightful. Thank you both Marg and Yvonne.

    User Avatar
    M.J. Gibbs
    July 13, 2022 at 6:00 am

    Thanks for your support Karen.

Kim Roberts
July 15, 2022 at 4:48 am

Experimenting with different styles of illustration, I like that. “Just embrace it” – something that I am trying to do with this whole creative endeavour.

M.J. Gibbs
Contact Marg

I care about your experience. Please fill in your details and I will contact you shortly.