Photograph: NLA Publishing
Children’s book illustrator Robert Ingpen has brought to life classic children’s novels such as Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island and Peter Pan.
His life’s work has now been commemorated in a new book, Wonderlands.
“You are born with two brains,” says Robert Ingpen. “The main brain is the one that your parents insist upon you using for the rest of your life so you can get a life; the other one is the one you use yourself when you want to go off into the forest and do your dreaming.”
In 1986, Ingpen became the only Australian to win the Hans Christian Andersen award for illustration,
After illustrating more than 100 books, he has developed a slightly unconventional collaborative style.
“When it comes to finding a way to illustrate great writers like Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Carroll and people like that who have been long dead, you have to engage your reserve brain,” he says. “All this time I’ve been entertaining, and having great deceased writers [over] to stay in my imagination. To have Charles Dickens to stay was a chore, because he was so curious about everything; you couldn’t have a phone call without him wanting to know who it was and what was going on.”