The Sound of Picture Books – Introduction

Below are two videos which provide a brief overview of The Sound of Picture Books initiative. The first is taken from one of the performances of “Tree” undertaken in 2014 with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO), the Literature Centre and Yamaha, whilst the second is a snippet from the “Parachute” DVD.

The Inspiration

For me creativity is creativity. I’ve never made much of a distinction between painting and writing music, and from my earliest memories I have always created music in my imagination. It seemed natural that I would eventually be a composer as well as an author and artist.

A few years ago I composed music to accompany my book Requiem for a Beast, which was the beginning of something special for me.  I was surprised to find that people assumed that I wrote the music after writing and illustrating the book, but in fact it was the other way around. The pictures and layout for the book all came directly out of the musical score. For me, music and images are integral aspects of the same thing.

Often my drawings and paintings begin from musical compositions in my head and I turn these into artworks, other times a drawing inspires notes and arrangements for a specific piece of music. I’ve been told that this is rather unusual, but it is something I have been doing all my life.

The Process

In 2013 I began by composing music for some of my children’s books, in the first instance Tree by Danny Parker.  With the help of some fantastic musicians from Hale School in Perth I produced a DVD which combines images from the book along with the text narrated by Danny to the music. The final product has two tracks, one with Danny’s narration, and one with only the music and images, enabling the listener to perform their own narration. I have since created scores and produced DVDs for more of my books. The process has been very rewarding and now the DVD’s are available for purchase from the shop on my website or through The Literature Centre in Fremantle, WA. I’m currently planning scores for more of my books.

The current DVD’s I have produced, and that are available through my website are to accompany the following books: Teacup, Tree, Home & Away and Parachute. I have also produced and performed music for The Incredible Freedom Machines by author Kirli Saunders (currently not available on DVD).

The Workshops/Performances

To help people further understand the creative process, and give them an insight into the way words, images, and music can be combined to create a far greater and richer sensory experience, I devised The Sound of Picture Books Workshops/Performances.

The Sound of Picture Books is a collaboration between me as an illustrator/composer, WASO (the West Australian Symphony Orchestra), The Literature Centre and Yamaha. It is a series of unique multi-modal workshops that bring story books to life through a journey of sound and imagery.

The Sound of Picture Books workshops provide students of all ages, and adults, with an innovative learning experience that leaves them excited about the boundless possibilities of music, art and literature.

Performance Schedule (upcoming & previous)