Kylie Howarth is an award-winning, internationally published children’s author-illustrator from Western Australia.
Kylie has swum with whale sharks, manta rays and humpback whales in Ningaloo, piranha and pink dolphins in the Amazon, braved scuba diving with lionfish in Egypt, marine iguanas and hammerhead sharks in the Galapagos Islands and encountered great white sharks in South Africa!
Kylie not only draws inspiration from her underwater travels but also her own two fish-kids who are ocean explorers too. The textures in Kylie’s book illustrations are created during their backyard art sessions.
We’re pleased to have Kylie visit Alphabet Soup today to talk about her latest book Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo.
From the publisher:
Fish Kid’s friendship with bestie, Emely, soon hits a snag during a tricky sea turtle rescue. Secretly wishing for powers of her own, Emely’s strange behaviour leaves Fish Kid wondering if their friendship and the super-sick turtle will survive. And if things weren’t bad enough, another turtle from the sanctuary goes missing. Can this super hero-in-the-making use his fishy powers to save the day?
Have you been to all the places Fish Kid visits?
Yes! It’s tough work having to visit amazing places like the Galapagos Islands, Ningaloo Reef and the Maldives! Visiting these places allows me to meet the sea creatures that feature in my books. It was my scuba dive with 20 hammer head sharks that actually inspired the Fish Kid series.
Do you have a favourite sea creature?
I LOVE humpback whales. I was lucky enough to fulfil a dream recently, and swim with humpbacks as part of my research for Fish Kid and the Mega Manta Ray. I collect humpback whale sculptures, books, paintings and my favourite pair of earrings are humpback whales!
Each book in this series includes some featured pages with Fish Kid Facts about sea creatures. How do you go about researching for the books?
I try to meet all the creatures in my books face-to-face to learn about them. If I’m on a snorkelling tour, I’ll quiz the local instructors and underwater photographers to find out what they have observed about each sea creature. I then follow up with library and internet research, checking several different sources to ensure each fact is correct.
The Fish Kid books also include black-and-white illustrations scattered through the story. Can you tell us a bit about how you create your illustrations?
For the first book I used pencil and ink to create the illustrations. I’ve since taught myself to illustrate on an iPad using a program called Procreate. You can use pencil and ink looking ‘brushes’ drawing directly on the screen, so the second and third books in the series were done using this technique on my iPad. See if you can spot the difference!
Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?
I have just completed final illustrations for a picture book I’ve also written, which will be released next year. Although most of my books have an ocean theme, I’ve branched out a little and this one features some Australian bush animals!
Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo is out now! Ask for is at your favourite bookshop or local library.
Watch Kylie Howarth share some facts from the Fish Kid books (YouTube)
Learn how to draw a Hammerhead shark (YouTube)
Download some classroom activities
Visit Kylie Howarth’s website for more about her and her books.