Quay, Emma

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Quay, Emma


Surname is pronounced "Kway"; born in Cambridge, England; immigrated to Australia, 1993; daughter of Ivan (a research scientist and psychologist) and Brenda (a music teacher; maiden name, Shipp) Brown; married David Quay (a pharmacist); children: Jessica Emmanuelle. Education: Attended Cambridge College of Arts and Technology; Polytechnic of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, B.A. (graphic design; with honors).


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Random House Australia, 20 Alfred St., Milsons Point, Sydney, New South Wales 2061, Australia.


Illustrator. Graham-Cameron Illustration, illustrator of educational books. Exhibitions: Work represented in permanent collection of prints and drawings, Victoria and Albert Museum.

Awards, Honors

Annual Family Award for Children's Literature, Family Therapy Associations of Australia, 1998, and Notable Book Award, Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA), 1999, both for Champions; CBCA Book-of-the-Year Award, 2003, and BILBY Award shortlist, 2004, both for Bear and Chook; Notable Book in the Early Childhood section, CBCA Book of the Year Awards, 2005, for Reggie and Lu (and the Same to You!); CBCA Book of the Year awards, 2006, for Daddy's Having a Horse and Good Night, Me.



Reggie and Lu (and the Same to You!), Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.


Jonathan Harlen, Champions, Random House Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1998.

Colin Thompson, The Puzzle Duck, Random House Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

Justin D'Ath, Topsy and Turvy, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Meredith Hooper, Thank You for My Yukky Present, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2002.

Lisa Shanhan, Bear and Chook, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2002, pub- lished as When I'm a Big Bear, Cat's Whiskers (London, England), 2002.

Justin D'Ath, Snowman Magic, Penguin Books (Camberwell, Victoria, Australia), 2002.

John Larkin, Horse Girl, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.

Lida Shanahan, Daddy's Having a Horse, Hodder Headline Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.

Andrew Daddo, Good Night, Me, Hachette Livre Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2005.

Meredith Hooper, Emily and Alfie, Hachette Livre Australia (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2006.

Quay's books have been translated into Korean.


Bear and Chook was adapted for the stage by Tony Bones Entertainment, 2003.


Australian artist Emma Quay has illustrated children's books since 1998, when she created artwork for author Jonathan Harlen's Champions, and in 2004 she expanded her career description to include "author" with the self-illustrated Reggie and Lu (and the Same to You!). Explaining that it takes her hundreds of hours to illustrate a children's picture book, Quay seeks to leave children with a feeling of familiarity and emotional connection to the characters she creates for popular books such as Colin Thomson's The Puzzle Duck and the award-winning Bear and Chook, written by Lisa Shanahan. In Magpies, a reviewer noted of Bear and Chook that in this "delightful romp for little kids," Quay's illustrations are "bright and full of action." Discussing the bed-time picture book Good Night, Me, a Children's Publisher and Bookseller contributor wrote that Quay's artistic accompaniments to the text by Andrew Daddo are "original, beautifully coloured, and perfectly complement the dialogue."

"As a toddler, I would leave scraps of paper, covered in drawings, wherever I went," the British-born Quay once told SATA. "The picture books from my childhood are full of little embellishments (vandalism, by another name!) where I had added an angel here, a bee or flower there—all in the style of the original illustrator (or so I thought—not many used ballpoint pen).

"On graduating from college, where I specialized in illustration and printmaking, I joined up with the agency, Graham-Cameron Illustration, illustrating educational books and teachers' handbooks. I moved to Sydney in 1993, continuing to work for British educational publishers, but I longed for the involvement in the whole creative process that comes with illustrating picture book titles."

In her first illustration project, Champions, Quay found "exactly the kind of funny, gutsy, yet warm book I had hoped to see," as she told SATA. "For the line work in the illustrations I used a washout-resist technique, where white gouache paint is painted everywhere on the page that one intends to remain white. When waterproof black ink is painted over the whole page and allowed to dry, then the paper is rinsed in water and the white gouache lifts away, leaving black ink where the paper was showing through. It is a very time-consuming process (and I have not used it for a major project since!) but I like the accidental effects it produces and the ragged, loose lines. The illustrations were then colored using watercolors." Her approach to The Puzzle Duck was different; here Quay used pencil and acrylics, which allowed her to "get the watercolor wash effect I was after, with more intense color."

"I try to use expressive body language in my drawn characters," Quay explained, "showing how they feel in every little part of their bodies, down to curled up or freely spread toes (or paw pads or webbed feet). I draw from my imagination, after studying how a particular animal looks and moves, but often find myself twisting into the position of the character I am sketching, as I sit at my desk.

"The kind of art I enjoy most always has humor in it—not necessarily a big belly-laugh, but sometimes a wry smile, or a wicked grin. I hope children respond to my work in this way."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Children's Publisher and Bookseller, March, 2005, review of Daddy's Having a Horse and Good Night, Me.

Magpies, March, 2002, review of Bear and Chook and Thank You for My Yukky Present, March, 2004, Alison Gregg, review of Reggie and Lu (and the Same to You!), p. 26.

Junior Bookseller and Publisher, May, 2006, review of Emily and Alfie.

Reading Time, July, 1998, review of Champions; May, 2000, review of The Puzzle Duck; May, 2002, review of Thank You for My Yukky Present; February, 2006, review of Daddy's Having a Horse.


Emma Quay Home Page,http://www.emmaquay.com (September 10, 2006).

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