Amber Moffat and I met through SCBWI a couple of years ago. Amber has a genuine warmth and I was instantly drawn to her personality. Last year, Amber’s beautiful and poignant debut picture book, ‘I would Dangle the Moon’ was released by Midnight Sun Publishing. I loved it and bought a copy for a Christmas present for my niece and she loved it, too. I hope you enjoy this interview with author-illustrator, Amber Moffat.

NLK: Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming an author-illustrator?

AM: I grew up in New Zealand and feel like my childhood and education forms the basis for my creative practice. I studied both English and Visual Arts, and became interested in making picture books after the birth of my second child. Finding the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) once I moved to Australia was a major turning point. Through SCBWI I heard about the Australian Society of Authors Emerging Authors and Illustrators Mentorships, and was lucky enough to receive one and work with the amazing Briony Stewart. Briony supported me to get I Would Dangle the Moon ready for submission, and her knowledge and feedback was invaluable. I completed the final artwork for I Would Dangle the Moon during a Fellowship at Fremantle’s Paper Bird Books and Arts, which was an inspirational place to work and where I finally felt like a real author-illustrator!

NLK: Where does your inspiration come from? Where is your most inspiring place?

AM: I think people are what inspire me ultimately. I’m really interested in the different experiences and perspectives we all have. I find places where people must share space, such as public transport or parks inspiring. I love overhearing snippets of conversations between children – that is a great source for ideas.

NLK: Do you have a day job? Does it inform your creative work?

AM: I currently work in arts funding and administrative work so very separate to my creative practice. It helps me to feel connected to what is happening in the WA arts sector, and it is wonderful to see the work of fellow artists develop. Before coming to Australia, I was a high school Art and English teacher, and I am still passionate about arts education. Working with young people has definitely shaped who I am as an artist, and I would love to do more of it in in the future.

NLK: Can you tell us about your book ‘I Would Dangle the Moon’? What impressions do you hope readers glean from your book? What was the inspiration behind the book?

AM: I Would Dangle the Moon is essentially about the power of the human imagination and how we can find wonder in the simplest of things. I hope both adults and children who read the book feel inspired to be playful in the world and come up with their own new ideas.

NLK: What are your tips for emerging author-illustrators?

AM: Connecting to your creative community is the best thing you can do. It helps you to stay focussed when the going gets tough and is also a great way to get feedback on your work. I would encourage people to be brave about sharing their work and taking on criticism as it really is an essential part of the process.

NLK: What comes first for you pictures or stories? Can you tell us more about your process?

AM: For me the words come first and I like to get the text fully resolved before I start on the images. I spend a long time drafting and redrafting the manuscript, then consider it in terms of page breaks and illustration. For I Would Dangle the Moon, the illustration began with acrylic painting and collage, then I scanned the images so I could digitally play with the scale and arrangement.

NLK: Can you tell us what’s next in your creative journey?

AM: I have a few picture book manuscripts on the go but I am focussing on my writing more than illustrating at the moment. I have a YA novel that I am trying to complete and I have been writing poetry, too. I have some children’s poems coming out in an anthology, and hope to be able to announce that soon. I am also undertaking my Honours in Creative Writing at Edith Cowan University and I’m working on short stories for adults for that, so it’s quite a mixed bag these days!

More About Amber Moffat

Amber Moffat is Perth-based author and illustrator. She believes that being able to share stories is the most magnificent thing about being human.

Her picture book, I Would Dangle the Moon, was released in June 2019 and has received praise for the way it encourages creative thinking. Reading Time has said of the book:

Moffat has captured a lyrical and poetic moment and accompanies it with paintings that fill the large square pages. The repetition in the text sets the scene for further creative innovation, as children could be challenged to imagine who or what they could be as they play with the moon.”

Amber is an experienced teacher and a fierce advocate for arts education. She loves working with children and adults to explore their creativity.

You can find out more about Amber on her website.

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