Leigh Hobbs is an artist and author best known for his children’s book characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Mr Chicken and Mr Badger. In 2002, Horrible Harriet was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Awards, as was his book Old Tom’s Holiday in 2003. He was shortlisted again in 2010 for his picture book Mr Chicken Goes to Paris. A highly successful animated TV series, based on Leigh’s Old Tom series of books has been screened in Australia and Europe.
As well as being an author and illustrator Leigh works as an artist in a wide range of mediums. He has designed the colour scheme for the entrance to Melbourne’s Luna Park and the creature that sits atop a ride inside the park called the ‘spider.’ A Flinders Street Station tea-pot he made is in the National Gallery of Victoria, and two caricature sculptures he created for Sydney’s Luna Park in the early 1970s are at The Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
Who, or what, was the biggest inspiration for you to become a writer and illustrator?
‘The English cartoonist Ronald Searle.’
What was your favourite book as a child?
Did you enjoy school and what was your favourite subject?
‘Yes, I did enjoy school. Art and history were my favourite subjects.’
What is your favourite colour?
‘Green. It reminds me of England.’
What is your proudest moment?
‘When Horrible Harriet was shortlisted in 2002 for the CBC Picture Book Category.’
Do you have a particular ritual or routine when you draw or write?
‘I get up very early every day. I walk the dogs, have breakfast and am in my studio by 8am.’
If you weren’t a writer/illustrator, what would you be?
‘I can’t imagine not being an artist.’