Kirrili Lonergan

Kirrili is a picture book illustrator and art therapist residing in Newcastle NSW. She has developed a passion for using her artistic skills to help promote emotional wellbeing in children after many years working as a paediatric nurse. She provides regular sessions in group art therapy and illustration and anxiety management 'Lessons of a LAC' sessions with co-creator Lynn Jenkins at various schools, child care centres and conferences. Her favourite day is spent drawing, listening to music and the smell of a candle burning!

Most Recent Book
Perfect Petunias book



What do you hope young readers experience from your work?

I hope that young readers are able to identify with my characters and illustrations and that it helps them to be more aware of their own selves and that it shapes them to happier and healthier little people.

What advice do you have for parents and others who are trying to raise readers?

Encourage reading anywhere, anytime. Dive deeper into the book and talk about how the words and pictures tell the story. Encourage them to stop and predict the ending or maybe make up their own!

Do you have any upcoming books you can tell us about?

Grey Glasses-itis is my next book to be released. It's all about seeing the world through coloured glasses and not grey!

Tell us about your process for creating a children's book from start to finish?

The initial phase of illustrating a picture book for me starts with the visuals on reading the manuscript. I tend to draw straight away my first visuals and then start building on the characters and the style. I start to think about what needs to be included in the illustrations, what themes are in the story and how I can incorporate them in.I then create a storyboard and pencil in all my ideas. From there I create a larger sized mock-up version of the book and sketch it in more detail. After that I stretch my paper on to boards and then commence painting the book in the actual size.

What does a typical work day look like for you?

A typical work day for me is to settle all the children into school and straight back home to my desk. I light a candle, turn the music on, try to ignore phone calls and I draw away! I stop periodically and answer emails and try not to get distracted. Drawing is my happy place, my creative space!

Is there any illustrators that you draw inspiration from in the children's book realm?

Two of my favourite illustrators come straight to mind. They are SMK and Freya Blackwood. Both are an inspiration to me in both personality and in style. Not only do I adore their work but I love that they are both humble and obviously do what they do because they love it, I relate to that! I also see Liz Anelli and Gwynne Jones, two local illustrators not only as friends but also as role models and inspiration. Creating books can be a solitary existence at times and it is always reassuring to have the support of each other and share the ups and downs.

How did you go about developing your personal style?

Persistence! I believe my style is still developing and I also have a wide range of flexibility in my work. I have found that the more I believe in myself and relax into the process the more my personal style has developed. Getting to know the children's book industry better and other book creators also helps to develop confidence and encourages creativity.

picture Books

emotions · being yourself · coping with failure
Perfect Petunias
starting school · bravery · anxiety
mindfulness · treasure · surprises
Ollie's Treasure
flowers · dads · love · family


Lynn Jenkins
Katrina McKelvey
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