Five minutes with Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes –Odgers is a Western Australian artist and author known for his innovative illustrative style and public art.  Dazzling original illustrations from his new book On a Small Island are on display now at the State Library of Western Australia.

We spent some time hearing from Kyle about the inspiration and ideas behind his work. Here’s what he had to say…

Kyle Hughes-Odgers: Photo by Chad Peacock

Kyle Hughes-Odgers in his studio: Photo by Chad Peacock

1. Describe your book making process. Which comes first for you, the narrative, illustration, or the idea?

I had the initial idea for On a Small Island and I could visualise the flow of the artwork and some ideas I wanted to explore. I sketched all the artwork as a story board, then wrote the narrative to work with the images. After this the painting process started. For my next book the narrative has been very clear from the start so I have focused on developing this before starting any artwork. So I don’t seem to have a consistent process when approaching books.

2. You are known for your picture book illustrations and public art. How do you switch between extremes of scale and medium?

I love working across many different scales. I like the challenge of painting buildings and getting to spend time outside but I also love when I have time to be in the studio and work on paintings, drawings and children’s books. The variety keeps me slightly sane and it’s great to change my head space!

3. Your illustrations for On a Small Island include a lot of repetition, geometric shapes, and a variety of textures. How did this style evolve?

Very naturally – I think because I am constantly driven to make new work, the time spent exploring ideas and techniques has helped develop and progress my work to what it is today. I’m sure in another 5 -10 years it will have evolved again.


On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia

4. You grew up in and currently reside in Perth. Is there anything unique or iconic about the Western Australian environment that influences your work? 

There are many unique and iconic aspects to the Western Australian environment, but I’m not sure it has had a direct influence on my artwork. I’m inspired by many different parts of life

5. Would you describe On a Small Island as more universal or more autobiographical?

I wrote it with a universal reach in mind, but I do connect with it personally. I think the idea of being positive and productive to change your situation is something that most people can connect with.

6. In 2012 you collaborated with author Meg McKinlay to produce the book Ten Tiny Things. What was it like to be both author and illustrator with On a Small Island? How was it different or similar to working on Ten Tiny Things?

The artwork process was fairly similar in terms of planning and creating, the writing process was challenging compared to making artwork for Ten Tiny Things. I’m a very visual person and have never thought of myself as a writer so it was something I was really excited about but also cautious because it is very new ground for me.

7. Where do you find your creativity? Which artists and authors inspire you?

I’m really inspired by nature, creativity, human behavior and life! I draw/paint every single day and I really love it. My favourite illustrator of all time (at the moment) is Charley Harper.

A number of original illustrations from On a Small Island have been included in the State Library of Western Australia’s Children’s Literature Collection. The exhibition is on display in The Place on the Mezzanine floor, State Library of Western Australia and is open until 28 February. For more information visit our website.

On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia

Get-It! upgrade complete

Get-It!  (online interlibrary requesting) is another way to find and access books, DVDs and other resources from State Library stock and requests can be lodged online through the State Library’s website at Get-It! (

The system used to provide the Get-It service was successfully upgraded. We apologise for any inconvenience caused will the service was unavailable earlier this week during the upgrade (Monday 12 to Thursday 16 October).

edited 16 October by Nick after upgrade successful

Teddy Bear Sleepover for The Reading Hour

The Reading Hour was a special nation-wide event on Saturday 25 August 2012 for the National Year of Reading 2012.

The aim for the Reading Hour was to encourage families to share a book with their child for 10 minutes a day, one hour a week.

We encouraged parents to host their own Teddy Bear Sleepover at home and to enjoy sharing a book with their child (and their teddies!) for ten minutes between 6 and 7pm.

We hosted our own Teddy Bear Sleepover at the library on the day. Teddies and soft toys explored the library and took part in a special story time.

Here is their journey:

Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia!
Arriving at the State Library of Western Australia for the Teddy Bear Sleepover!

Meeting some new friends
Meeting some new friends at the library. It was so fun to meet a tiny robot and a baby manatee, but the dalek scared us a little!

Hanging out the State Library Shop
Hanging out in the State Library Shop.

Checking out Better Beginning's
Checking out Better Beginning‘s “Baby Ways” board book.

Om Nom in the mirror!
Who is this here in the mirror!?

The staff at the State Library are so helpful!
The staff at the State Library are so helpful!

Riding up and down in the lift is lots of fun!
Riding up the lift to explore the library. Wheeee!

The State Library of Western Australia's
Meeting the State Library’s “Books Moove Me Cow!“. She was painted by Western Australian children’s book illustrators!

Meeting some more funny State Library staff
Meeting another State Library staff member. What a funny man.

Accessing e-books via the State Library catalogue
Accessing e-books from the State Library for free!

Checking out the view from the 2nd floor
Checking out the view from the 2nd floor of the State Library.
Look, there’s the BankWest Tower! Can you spot any other Perth landmarks?

Time for a yummy afternoon tea in The PlaceEnjoying afternoon tea in The Place. What’s your favourite afternoon treat?

Story time!
Having fun at a very special Reading Hour story time!

Goodnight everybody!
All tucked in after our bed-time story. Goodnight everybody!

This was a National Year of Reading event.

There are lots of fun and creative ways to share books with your children. If you can manage 10 minutes most nights, your child will have the best chance of becoming a good reader, with all the social and educational benefits that brings.

New access and delivery service

The State Library is pleased to announce the launch of Get-It!

Get-It is a free online service that enables State Library members to access stock held by any public library throughout Western Australia via an online search and request system.

Regional and Remote Library users are able to access a similar service through their local libraries using the current inter library loan service.

Items requested via Get-It! will be available for collection at the Welcome Desk on the ground floor of the State Library. In addition to the free State Library collection option, there is a delivery option available to have items mailed out via express post at a cost of $10 per item.

Get-It! is another way to find and access books, DVDs and other resources from State Library stock and requests can be lodged online through the State Library’s website at Get-It! (

Should a required title not be available in Western Australian state or public library stock, the Get-It! system will search the Libraries Australia catalogue enabling items to be borrowed from the National and State Libraries of Australia as well as other public and institutional libraries. Some of these are fee based loans but members are advised of this and given the choice to reject or continue with the loan request.

The State Library of Western Australia is located in the heart of the Perth Cultural Centre. It preserves and provides access to Western Australia’s published heritage and original historical records. The State Library also provides numerous on-line and e-resources, many of which are accessible from your home PC using your public library membership. To see what else the State Library has to offer you please check out the State Library’s web pages at


Help Promote Reading @ Love2Read Cafe

46% of Australia can’t read newspapers, follow a recipe, make sense of timetables, or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

On Saturday January 21st the Love2Read Cafe opens at the State Library of WA. For five weeks there will be an outdoor reading room with  free events and activities including giant scrabble, music gigs, yoga classes, chalk art, word games, baby rhymetime, family storytime, school holiday activities, author talks, book signings and more.

To help promote literacy and be part of this fun event volunteer at the Love2Read Cafe.

For more information, leave a response here or contact

e-Books at the State Library – Safari Tech Books Online

Did you know our collection includes e-books? One of our e-book collections is Safari Tech Books Online – “A library of books on information technology, desktop applications and business, digitized and made available by Safari Books Online in conjunction with the original publishers. Safari books online is the e-reference library of Computer Science titles for programmers and IT professionals.”

You can browse the whole collection by clicking the link above, or searching for Safari Tech Books in the catalogue.  You’ll also find links from individual titles in the catalogue e.g. Beginning iPhone games development – BUT you can only access these books if you have State Library of WA membership or are accessing from within our building…

Conservation Advice at Santa Maria College Attadale

Douglas Firth, proprietor of BIBLIO FOLIO, will provide conservation advice on paper based objects including books, pamphlets, artworks on paper, and board games etc. at the Santa Maria College in Attadale on Friday July 29 from 1.30 to 3.30pm.

Douglas Firth has a wealth of experience in book and paper conservation, gained while working in the public and private sector.

He has been involved with the conservation of many items in the Archives Office of New South Wales, Westpac Archives New South Wales, State Library of Western Australia, and State Archives of Western Australia. He was involved in the rescue of fire damaged materials after the Hal Missingham Studio fire of 1986, and has the privilege to have bound books  for Her Majesty the Queen, the Duyfken Replica logbook, and preservation boxes for many rare books.

Along with archival conservation he has also conserved many works of art on paper by Australian artists and has developed a special interest in Western Australian artists. BIBLIO FOLIO also offers a frame restoration service for customers wishing to maintain historical accuracy for their work of art.

For more information about this session please telephone  9457 7960. RSVP: by close of  business Wednesday July 26. Cost for the session is $25.

Please bring along any objects you would like assessed for conservation to the session.

Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA) Book Fair on Saturday May 7 2011

There are only two days to go until the Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA) book fair on Saturday 7th May!

The fair will be at 20 View St North Perth, from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

There are almost 4000 books as well as magazines, DVDs, CDs, videos, cassette tapes and jigsaws available.

Entry is by gold coin donation and all books and other materials are free. All donations go towards the ECCWA Literacy and Reading Program.

I’d like to thank everyone who has donated books and other materials to this event. This support proves that people are concerned about those less fortunate than ourselves and are willing to do somthing about it.

I’m looking forward to seeing you on Saturday. Please contact me on 9227 5322 if you have any queries.


Ananda Barton (Mr)

Coordinator – Literacy and Reading Program

Ethnic Communities Council of Western Australia (ECCWA) Book Fair Saturday May 7 2011

The Ethnic Communities Council of WA will be holding a book fair on Saturday 7th May 2011. All books and other materials will be free, although people will be asked to make a gold coin donation at entry.

The response to my request for donations of books was far above what I expected. Proof, if anyone needs it, that people are generous and willing to go the extra step to help people in need.

I look forward to seeing you at the book fair, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, 20 View Street North Perth.

I am organizing a ‘busy bee’ on Saturday 16th April, starting 10.00 am, 20 View Street North Perth, to sort the books. If you can assist for a few hours your help will be most welcome. Please let me know a week in advance so that I can organize lunch.

Please contact me if you have any queries.


Ananda Barton (Mr.)

Coordinator – Literacy and Reading Project

Donations needed for the Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA) Book Fair

Do you have any unwanted books, CDs or DVDs that you could donate to a free book fair being organised by the Ethnic Communities Council of WA (ECCWA)?

ECCWA is Western Australia’s peak ethnic body. It advocates on behalf of migrants, refugees, members of ethnic minority groups and indigenous people. One of our priorities is encouraging our clients to learn English, read and use libraries. To this end we plan to hold a free book fair on a Saturday during the April school holidays (Wednesday 20 April – Wednesday 4 May). This will be based on a similar successful event we held last year. All books and other materials will be free, although people will be asked to make a gold coin donation on entry to support our work.

This event aims to assist migrants and refugees to integrate by providing them with books and electronic resources on Australian society and culture and encourage ‘mainstream’ Australians to understand minority groups by providing books and other resources on different cultures. We hope to encourage cross-cultural interaction by holding an event at which Western Australians from different cultures will have the opportunity to socialise while selecting books and enjoying light refreshments.

Any unwanted materials you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Particularly useful will be books on Australian history and society and other cultures and nations (fiction and non-fiction). Children’s materials would be particularly useful.

All donations will be acknowledged at the event and in ECCWA’s annual report. If you have any posters or pamphlets advertising your services please forward them with your donation and they will be displayed at the book fair. I will be able to arrange the collection of donations within the metropolitan area.

Please contact me on 9227 5322 if you have any queries.

Regards, Ananda Barton (Mr.)

Coordinator – Literacy and Reading Project