About Cheryl Orsini

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Cheryl Orsini and I show off the first copy of The Tales of Mrs Mancini (ABC Books, 2016).

At the time of writing (February 2017) Cheryl Orsini and I have written and illustrated 11 books together. Cheryl is such an important and long-standing part of my creative life that I thought it was appropriate she should have a page all to herself on this site.

The first time we met was in a coffee shop in Sydney when our mutual agent, Margaret Connolly, organised a meeting for us with a publisher who was specifically looking for a picture book about mermaids. The idea for our first book together, Minnie Pearl and the Undersea Bazaar, arrived right there over tea and cake—the artistic connection between us was that instantaneous. 

In the years since, Cheryl and I have enjoyed the most extraordinary artistic collaboration. It’s the rarest of things: the sense that, whatever I write, Cheryl will perfectly interpret it. Margaret, our agent, has remarked that seeing us work together is like watching musicians playing jazz. We really do play to each other’s strengths, and have the same determination to keep our work child-centred and joyful. Our work is truly collaborative, and we bat ideas back and forward between each other all the time, usually by phone or email as I am based in Brisbane, and Cheryl in Sydney. (Of course, we always love to catch up with each other when we can!) Cheryl says that, after so long, I am almost like one of the family, which I consider a great compliment.

Cheryl works from her home studio in eastern Sydney. Her illustration style is distinguished by its clear colours, retro sensibility, and incredible attention to detail. She works mostly with watercolour and gouache, and uses acrylic paint sparingly for her linework. She says: “I love turning words into pictures—the hidden details, the way colours resonate with each other and the fun of visualising each story I am fortunate enough to illustrate.” 

You can find out more about Cheryl’s work here at her blog. Meanwhile, here is a gallery of some of her work from our long artistic partnership.



© Natalie Jane Prior 2017