Illustrator of ‘Bad Luck Zebra’
Invercargill is one of the closest cities in the world to the South Pole. That is where I was born. Invergiggle.
My mum and dad were going to call me Joanne, but my uncle called his dog Joanne, so I was called Sharon instead. Eighteen months later I got a sister called Trevor. After taking a look they decided to call her Wendy.
We moved a lot when I was a kid. First we moved to Christchurch and lived in four different houses. Then we moved back to Invercargill, and four houses later we moved to an old hostel on the edge of a deep, dark, still fiord while my dad built a bridge. Later we moved to a house made of railway carriages.
When I was 11 & ½, I drew a picture of a peacock and it won second place in a competition in a Sunday newspaper. The prize was a Larousse Encyclopedia of Animals and thirty-six felt pens. It is still the most exciting thing I have ever won. The pens leaked from Auckland to Invercargill, but the book was the biggest and best book I had ever seen. It was not a book you could read in bed. There were so many animals it had to be read on a table.
But, back to moving … next we moved to a farm, and I lived in a little hut behind a water tank covered in pink clematis. I had just read The Hobbit, so I painted ‘Rivendell’ above the door, and inside I painted the walls blue. One night in summer I left the light on, and when I came back every surface was covered in thousands of tiny black moth eggs.
Just before I turned seventeen, I moved by myself to Wellington to study design. After quite a few more moves, I moved to South Africa and worked with Volunteer Service Abroad. And then I moved home to Wellington.
This year I won the second best thing I’ve ever won – Cartoonist of the Year in the Canon Media Awards. This prize was for the cartoons I draw of politicians for newspapers. As well as politicians, I draw cartoons about an orange cat named Munro. And now I’ve drawn a cartoon strip about a very Bad Luck Zebra. But as you know, sometimes bad luck turns out to be good luck. Sometimes you have to leave to find out where you belong.
I haven’t moved in a long time now. For years I’ve lived on a mountain with my husband Geoff and my daughter Stevie (who we named after the English poet Stevie Smith) and our cats Munro and La Luna. Well, it’s called a mountain, but don’t believe EVERYTHING you read.