Matt Ottley IBBY Award

IBBY Australia Honour Book

I am honored to have been awarded the IBBY Australia Honour book for my illustration work in Teacup, an exquisitely written text by Rebecca Young and published by Scholastic Press.

The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) is a non-profit organization which helps to build bridges to international understanding through children’s books. IBBY is committed to the principles of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by the United Nations in 1990.

Every two years an Advisory Panel of three children’s literature experts makes the selection from all books published in the period. These outstanding books become Australia’s representative books in a traveling exhibition of about 150 international titles. The exhibition will be shown at the IBBY Congress in Athens in 2018, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and in many other countries.

Teacup is the story of a boy ‘who had to leave home’ and his long and arduous journey by sea, bringing with him only a book, a bottle, a blanket and a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up.


teacup performance help support us

Crowd Funding – Teacup Performances

We would love your support

Music Book and all of the artists involved in the performances of Teacup at the State Library of WA in January 2017 (provided free to the public), would greatly appreciate your support.

The score for Teacup has taken intensive months to write, there are many hours of practice going into the performance of the work by the musicians, not to mention all of the background organisation to get a project like this off the ground.

How you can help

Thanks so much.

Teacup Perth Fringe Festival performance

Teacup – Fringe Festival Free Performance

I am so honoured to have been asked by Music Book to produce a 40 minute multi-model piece for the 2017 Perth Fringe Festival.

Working with some incredibly talented musicians, I have combined an original musical score, recorded sounds, projected images, narration and song to create a 40 minute adaptation of the award winning children’s book Teacup by Rebecca Young.  The original oil paintings that I completed for Teacup are now part of the State Library of WA‘s Peter Williams Collection and will be exhibited to the public from 20th January through to 24th March.

This will be the world premiere production of Teacup – One Boy’s Story, supported by the City of Perth, and it is something I hope will be enjoyed by all ages.  It is free for everyone to attend.

Crusts Book Launch

Book Launch: Crusts


On August 6th we had the great pleasure of launching Crusts – the latest picture book from award winning Author Danny Parker and illustrated by me.  Heidi’s Place Books in northern NSW were the proud host, turning their store front into an intergalactic landscape – complete with aliens and a crumbling planet.  A huge thank you to Danny Parker for flying all the way from Perth to be at the launch.. and for having such a fantastic imagination to create a book about a boy who wouldn’t eat his crusts!

Jo Spiller gave the official launch, providing many wonderful facts about crusts that we weren’t aware of before.  A children’s workshop was hosted prior to the launch for people to learn about the processes behind its creation.

Click here to purchase a signed copy of Crusts.


'Crusts' Book Launch. Author Danny Parker, Illustrator Matt Ottley

Book Launch: ‘Crusts’

Crusts, written by Danny Parker and illustrated by me, published by Little Hare/Hardie Grant, will be launched by the fabulous Jo Spiller at Heidi’s Place Books in Murwillumbah on 6th August, 2016.

I will conduct two workshops, for both children and adults, in writing and illustrating a picture book. All being well, the author Danny Parker from Western Australia, will be joining us at the launch and co-conducting the workshops.

To book a place contact Renae or Heidi on (02) 6672 6881 or email

Matt Ottley painting an artwork for "Teacup" by Rebecca Young

NSW Premier’s Literary Awards: ‘Teacup’

I am delighted to announce that Teacup, a picture book written by Rebecca Young and published by Scholastic,  released mid last year, and illustrated by me, has just won the $30,000 Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature as part of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

The response by the public continues to overwhelm me. Teacup has now been printed in Catalonia and Canada, and is soon to be released in America!

The original artworks, large scale oil paintings, have been on display at The Literature Centre in Fremantle, with prints available for purchase from my website. Click here to see which prints are currently available.

A huge thank you to Rebecca Young for her soulful text, and to Ana Vivas and the fantastic team at Scholastic for agreeing to publish such a poetic work.

'Faith' by Eve Jeffery, soundtrack by Matt Ottley

‘Faith’ Soundtrack

I had the pleasure of working with Eve Jeffery and David Lowe in the short, gripping documentary ‘Faith’, recently showcased at the St Kilda Short Film Festival.  ‘Faith’ was one of six short films chosen for the Olympus Film-maker Challenge.

It was an incredible experience to write seven pieces of music in just a few days. I also worked with the wonderful cellist Claire Yerbury on the music.

The film is currently doing the national and international circuit and will be available in the next twelve months online.

The King's ship digital print by Matt Ottley

CBCA Book of the Year Awards: ‘Suri’s Wall’ & ‘Teacup’

I am pleased to announce that my most recent book, Suri’s Wall, written by Lucy Estela and published by Penguin/Viking has been shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards.

Teacup was also listed as a notable.  The winner of the CBCA awards will be announced on August 19th.

Congratulations to Lucy Estela for being shortlisted on her very first picture book. It’s a truly beautiful text. My heartfelt thanks to Heather Curdie and all the team at Penguin Random House.

The artworks from Suri’s Wall will be on exhibition at The Literature Centre in WA in the fourth term.

Matt Ottley mask for Isobelle Carmody's Unmasking the Wild Exhibition

Unmasking the Wild

I have recently participated in the Unmasking the Wild Exhibition created by Author Isobelle Carmody in celebration of the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

The Exhibition features painted masks created by well known Children’s book Illustrators. The masks are currently being auctioned off to help raise funds for the Children in Crisis Fund and Animals Asia.

You can view or bid on my mask here, or bid on other artist’s fantastic creations.

Congratulations to Isobelle for the incredible work she has put into this very worthwhile project.

The Sound of Picture Books

The Sound of Picture Books: Perth

I feel very privileged to once again be participating in the “Sound of Picture Books”. This continual collaboration with The Literature Centre, WASO and Yamaha is very exciting for me as it allows me to compose music and create an additional sensorial element to my Children’s Books.

This year  the book Tree, sensitively written by Danny Parker and illustrated by me will be performed by WASO in Perth in June, 2016.

If you or your children are interested in seeing this performance limited tickets are still available through The Literature Centre, or you can purchase the DVD from my website.

View additional details here.

Details of the 'Sound of Picture Books'

Children's Book writing workshop with Matt Ottley

Writing & Illustration Masterclasses

In February and March 2016 I will be hosting two Children’s Book masterclasses, one for writing and one for illustration.  These masterclasses will be held over a weekend and will cover all aspects of the creative and publishing process for Children’s Books.

The workshops are limited to 5 places each, enabling a strong personal approach to be given. Each workshop also includes a one-on-one hour long session with me to discuss your very own work.

Further details are available from Heidi’s Place Bookstore.

  • Click here to learn more about the Writing Masterclass – Feb 27-28th, 2016
  • Click here to learn more about the Illustration Masterclass – Mar 5-6th, 2016

To make a booking click here.

Illustration from Suri's Wall by Lucy Estela and Matt Ottley

Book Launch – Suri’s Wall

Book Launch – Suri’s Wall

My new book, Suri’s Wall, a collaboration with writer Lucy Estela, published by Penguin, was released in August, and officially launched at Heidi’s Place in October by the wonderful Jo Spiller. Lucy’s text for Suri’s Wall is very powerful and the book makes a beautiful sister work to my collaborations with John Marsden and Rebecca Young (Home and Away and Teacup).

In their own way each book is about displacement, compassion, empathy and the innate wisdom and strength of the human spirit. Lucy has created a fantastic website featuring Suri’s Wall, which you can see by clicking here.

Limited Edition Prints

Limited edition signed prints are currently available from my website in the “Shop”, at Heidi’s Place Bookstore in Murwillumbah NSW and The Literature Centre in Fremantle, WA.

Sound of Picture Books tour to Geraldton

Sound of Picture Books – Geraldton

Sound of Picture Books – Geraldton

‘WOW!  What an incredible tour to Geraldton we all experienced!  A huge thank you to everyone who donated and assisted with funding the tour.’ Lesley Reece, Director of The Literature Centre  

The Sound of Picture Books, a collaboration between WASO, The Literature Centre and Yamaha, is a unique multi-modal workshop that brings story books to life through a journey of sound and imagery. The Sound of Picture Books workshops were presented to students in Geraldton on 22nd-24th September, 2015.  

The tour gave families in regional WA an innovative learning experience that we hope left them excited about the boundless possibilities of music, art and literature. We featured Tree, my collaboration with Danny Parker, published by Little Hare Books. Tree is a poignant story that explores the cycles of life, the turn of seasons, familial love and the delicacy of the natural world.

The children heard Danny narrate his text accompanied by my illustrations projected on a large screen, with my music performed by a WASO string quintet and Yamaha pianist Alf Demasi. Following a short introduction to their instruments by each of the musicians, Danny then interacted with the audience in a sometimes hilarious, sometimes moving explanation of the creative processes involved in the making of Danny’s text, my paintings and musical score. We were all thrilled by the wonderful reception we received in Geraldton.

If you would like to purchase a copy of the Tree DVD click here.



Home and Away by John Marsden and Matt Ottley

Home and Away DVD showcased in Sydney

Home and Away DVD showcased in Sydney

In July I was honoured to have the Home and Away DVD shown in Sydney in an event organised by RACS at Canterbury Girls High School. Maja Hallett spoke very movingly about her experiences of being a refugee and two of the young actors from the TV series Home and Away spoke beautifully about the need for compassion and empathy.

To purchase a copy of the DVD or book click here.

Teacup, a children's book by Rebecca Young and Matt Ottley

Book Launch – Teacup

Book Launch – Teacup

The official launch of my new picture book in collaboration with Rebecca YoungTeacup, took place in Murwillumbah at Heidi’s Place Bookstore in July. We are delighted that it has received such positive reviews (see below for some examples) and particularly excited that it was nominated for the Queensland Literary Awards in the Griffith University Children’s Book Award.

Rebecca’s text for Teacup is one of the most glorious picture book texts I’ve ever read and both Rebecca and Ana Vivas were brilliant editors to work with. I’m very grateful to Nicole and the design team at Scholastic who worked so sensitively with Rebecca’s text and my paintings, and to my partner, Tina for her superb photographs of the paintings.

The original oil paintings are all from 1 to 2 metres wide and are currently on display at The Literature Centre in Fremantle, WA. They are also for sale. Limited edition signed prints are available from my store, Heidi’s Place and The Literature Centre.


Thank you to everyone for the heartfelt reviews of Teacup. We are so proud to be able to share this work with you.