Video transcript
2017 NSW PRC author interview - Illustrator Battle!

Back to video Back to NSW Premier's Reading Challenge (PRC) 2017 author interviews

[music playing]

- [audio out] --to the next instalment of today's PRC Book Fest. My name is Megan Townes. I'm a teacher ambassador for Microsoft. And I'm here to welcome you all, both in the Microsoft store in Sydney and to everyone out there in New South Wales, to today's illustrator challenge. We have the fabulous illustrators here in the room ready to go. We also have some amazing students from Kings Grove Public School and some other fabulous guests in the room as well, as all of you out there.

So thank you very much for coming along today to celebrate both creativity and storytelling through an amazing illustrator challenge. So I would like to welcome Joe Cohen from the Department of Education along to kick us off.

- Fantastic. Thank you so much, Megan. And thank you very much to the Microsoft people for giving us their premises, today. Welcome everyone to the 2017 Premiere's Reading Challenge Book Fest illustrator challenge. We do have the students here from Kings Grove High School. Give us a wave and give us a shout out, guys. Go for it! Woo! Kings Grove Public School, primary school-- what did I say-- the wrong thing! It's lovely to have you, here. And I know we have got schools from around the state-- [? bow reynold, ?] [? deniliquent, ?] [? hemworth, ?] everywhere. A huge hello out to you, out there. We are so excited to be here for the Premiere's Reading Challenge Book Fest illustrator challenge. Okey dokey.

Now before we introduce our illustrators, I did want to show everyone this is what they are going to be fighting it out for. What do you think, guys? Awesome, absolutely! So let's get-- indeed, indeed. Woo! Keep those hands clapping and shout out, that's for sure. Let's introduce our illustrators. OK, our first illustrator that we're going to have up onto our battle challenge today is Jules Faber! Give him a round of applause.


Welcome, Jules. How are you?

- Very well. Very fired up [inaudible].

- That is fantastic. Now, Jules has done some amazing work. So Jules, you're the fabulous Illustrator behind [inaudible] series, aren't you?

- [inaudible]

- --which is pretty amazing. And you've got a new series just on the boil.

- I do, the [? sticky ?] Street stories with Alex [inaudible].

- Wowzers, that sounds so exciting. That is something to look out for, everyone. Absolutely. As well as being an Illustrator, you are actually the President of the Australian Cartoonists' Association, aren't you?

- [inaudible]

- Can you give these guys some advice-- some people who might be budding cartoonists-- some advice?

- Aside from keeping practicing, it's a really good idea to join a network where you can meet with other cartoonists and learn the professional aspects of being a cartoonist for when you become a grown up, obviously. But there are kids who are professional cartoonists, too. So that's cool.

- That's something you can do, today. Absolutely, fantastic. Okey dokey, Jules. We have got a challenge for all our illustrators, today. We want you to do a self-portrait. Can you get started while we introduce our second illustrator who is the amazing Cheryl Orsini! Let's give her a round of applause.


Hello, Cheryl.

- Hi Joe, nice to be here, today.

- It is so fabulous to have you. We are so lucky to have you here, that's for sure. Now, Cheryl's amazing work-- Cheryl, your amazing work, one of the newest ones you put out there is called Lucy's Book. Is that right?

- That's right. And it's about a girl who loves her book so much and wants to share it with all her friends and family.

- What a lovely story. I totally have to read that one, that is for sure.

- [inaudible] Natalie.

- Fantastic, fantastic. And you also may know Cheryl for your amazing one, Caravan.

- Fran

- Caravan Fran, fantastic. I think I've read one of those.

- I wrote and illustrated, so yeah. But I've illustrated plenty of other books, so yeah.

- Wow. My goodness me, so many talents. That is for sure. Now talking about where your books have taken you, like a caravan, can you tell us and our audiences here, where's the most amazing place you've taken your viewers with your illustrations?

- OK, because my illustrations go everywhere but I never go anywhere. I stay at home in my studio and work at home. But mostly, my most favourite place recently is to go to Rome. That's where we've gone with a few of my maps that I drew and some book covers and things. Right.

- So excited. Are you ready to do your self-portrait?

- Yeah, sure. OK.

- Go for it. All right, absolutely you're on there. And Jules, I think your time is up. But let's have a look, what have you got here?

- I have a good looking fella. I've left the moustache off, much as I wanted to put one in. I'm only new to wearing glasses, so I'm still adding that into my usual drawing. But there it is, that's me.

- I like it. And i like the big smile. That's awesome, give him a round of applause. What do you think guys, pretty cool?


Yes, absolutely. Well done, thank you Jules. And our next amazing illustrator that we're going to bring out onto the floor today it's going to be Matt Stanton. Here we go, Matt Stanton.

- Hello, everyone.

- Hello. Absolutely fantastic. Now Matt, you've done some absolutely amazing work. You've got an amazing shirt on there, which is kind of a bit of an idea towards your most recent work, isn't it?

- Yeah. So my middle grade series, Funny Kid, is about to come out, which I'm really excited about. So I've written and illustrated that. And yeah, it's a lot of fun. I can't wait to share it with everyone.

- That is fantastic. Okey dokey, guys. Now, I actually saw that the heading of the first one is Funny Kid for President. Is that right?

- For President is the first book, yes. And then, we're going to do them every six months. So we're just going to keep pumping them out for you guys.

- That is fantastic. Okey dokey. And I just want you to tell me and tell the people out there-- because I can see your work is just totally inspirational-- where do you get your inspiration from?

- Look, I've created a whole bunch of picture books, and now middle grade series. And my inspiration comes from getting out in schools a lot and meeting a lot of kids. And I get to meet lots of you guys. And you tell me your funny stories and the funny things that happen to you at school. And I just wanted to create books for you guys because I love reading and I love laughing. And if we can put those three things together, that makes me pretty happy.

- I think we're going to [inaudible] a belly laugh at your self-portrait, so I can't wait to see it. I hope so. I think it's going to be awesome. All right, I'll let you get to it as we take a look at what Cheryl on the other side over there. Cheryl, come and share your self-portrait with us. Here it is.

CHERYL: Here. Yeah, this is me looking a little bit younger, a little bit thinner, and very Roman I think, kind of with my stripey top.

- And I love the makeup. I love the lips and I love the cheeks. Coming out, well.

- Thank you, very much.

JOE COHEN: Thank you very much, full of life. And we have got one more illustrator to come on down, haven't we guys? You ready to give him a round of applause? Here he is, it's Matt Cosgrove.


Matt, welcome.

- Hey Joe, how's it going?

- Very good, very good. Now, you know what? I've actually taken a look at one of your books. They are so amazing, guys. You have to make sure you check one of them out. So the Epic Fail Tales-- and I just love that idea because you can learn so much from failure, that is for sure. And the latest one, it's called?

- Attack of the Giant Robot Zombie Mermaids.

- Oh, my god. Oh my god, and with what we've got in store today guys, I think you've got a head start and a really big advantage there. That's for sure. So it's very exciting. All right, all right. Now you know, we've got a question for you, as we always do before we set you down to getting your self-portrait done. And I know I'd actually told you what your question was going to be, but you know what? I've forgotten what it was. Do you remember what my question was going to be?

- How do I manage to be so awesome?


There's lots of practise.

- Right, exactly right.

- [inaudible] I think [inaudible] I'm just so nervous. No, let's get you down. Don't worry, don't be nervous. You're going to be awesome. Let's get you going down on here. Let's see Matt's self-portrait. Shall we check in on the other Matt, see how he's going? Oh, look at this. I like it. Absolutely. Everyone from Kings Grove, you're laughing. This is a good sign. What have we got, Matt?

- Well, you wanted me to draw how I see myself, right? Well yeah, I have lots of beautiful, shiny black hair, enormous muscles, and most of the time, I wear a Superman costume.


- Fantastic. I think we can see the likeness, can't we guys? Absolutely. Thank you very much, Matt. OK, we're got our other Matt. Oh my goodness, he's been put under time pressure. Now guys in the audience, our Kings grove people and people out there, our Kings Grove students are going to give these guys some challenges in just a minute when we start with round one. Now in round one, we're going to give our illustrators three objects that they're going to have to combine together, aren't we? OK? And we're going to have a theme. That's going to be our choice. We're going to have a theme.

And our theme for the first one is going to be birthdays. Birthdays is going to be our theme. OK, so let's cross to Matt though. Here we go, Matt. I'm sorry, we caught you short. You didn't get as much time. But I really like it. How awesome, tell us about it.

MATT COSGROVE: OK, my strategy today was to wear a T-shirt with a giant hamburger on it so all the other illustrators are thinking about food instead of drawing. And I have my lucky undies on because I'm unbeatable with my lucky undies on.


- That it's fantastic. I love it. Thank you so much, Matt. Well done, everyone. OK so if for round one, our two illustrators that we're going to get to come down are Jules and Matt Stanton. OK, here we go. Stanton versus Faber. Take your positions. Clear your screens. We're going to give you three objects in just a minute. Our students from Kings Grove have been thinking. Making sure out there in the Twitter sphere, you're making sure you share your thoughts on these amazing illustrations as you see them. Oh, that's a good idea. Use the eraser on these awesome Microsoft Surface studios. They're just using their eraser on the back of their pen.

And our first object to do with birthdays is going to be--

- [inaudible]

- What do you think? Cake. Second object, presents. Third object, birthday person! OK, we have three objects-- cake, presents, birthday person. You have one and a half minutes, go. Here we go. Counting down, everyone. Now guys, keep an idea. You're keeping a look out what we're seeing coming up here. Can anyone tell me what you can think you can see, anything awesome coming out? What can you see?

AUDIENCE: I can see a really good cake coming.

JOE COHEN: A really good cake, lots of candles. Anything else, what are you seeing up there?

AUDIENCE: I see a kid that's screaming.

JOE COHEN: Someone's screaming, it's not a good birthday for this person. It's not a good birthday. OK now, we're going to get them to add something in in about 20 seconds. What are we going to get them to add in? it doesn't have to be related to birthdays. I want you to think about it. I want you to come and whisper it to me, someone in a minute, or whisper it into the microphone so they can't hear it. Who's got an idea? Have you got one? No? Got an idea, what are we going to get them to add in? OK. All right. And who do you think is winning at the moment?

AUDIENCE: Probably that one.

JOE COHEN: Oh, you think Matt's winning at the moment, looks pretty good. What are we going to get them to add in? Anyone got an idea? 20 seconds is up. Yes, what are we adding in?

- [inaudible].

- A book, a book, a book, a book. You've got to add a book in-- 20 seconds, 20 seconds to go. You've got to add a book in. Come on, guys. I'm excited. What are we seeing here? A bit of colour's coming on one of them. It might be that we've got the colours got a bit of a win, here. So our win coming through for Jules with some colour. There goes the book in. Maybe it's going to be one of his books, a bit of self-promotion. What do you think? I think that might be a good idea in a illustrator [? battle off. ?] Who is going to win round one? That is the question. Here we go, 10, 9 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- hands down. Illustrator [? battle off. ?]


OK. Tell us Jules, what have we got here?

- Here, we have a very sad and lonely fellow. He's got presents. He's got a cake, and a book that says, 'how to celebrate on your own.'

- Oh. Oh, I'm feeling sad, already. Deary, me. OK Matt, tell us about yours.

- Well, the boy here was in the present for some reason. Because he got stuck inside the present. So he's burst out of the present. As he's burst out of the present, the flames from the candle have caught fire on his hair, which is then also caught fire on the book over here. So everything's burning down. It's a tragedy.

- Oh my God, I don't think we want either of these birthdays, do we? OK. All right, guys. Kings Grove, it is in your hands who wins the Illustrator Battle round one. Hands up for Matt. Here we go. Matt on this side, here we go. One, two, three, four, five, six. And hands up for Jules. One, two, three, four, five. Oh, so close. Hands up, here we go. The winner fir round one-- well done, Matt. Congratulations.

OK, battle round number two-- here it comes, are you ready? Cheryl Orsini versus Matt Cosgrove. Are we ready? Okey dokes. Now this time, what we're going to pose for them guys are different types of transportation. What are we can add? A motorbike. What else are we going to add? A jet. And we're going to add a unicycle. A unicycle, a motorbike, and a jet. Off you go. Here we are, unicycle, motorcycle, jet.

OK, now thinking Kings Grove-- we're going to give them even less time this time. So we're going to give them about a minute from now before we're going to ask them to take something and change it. We're going to get them to change something. OK, so take a look at their drawings. We can make it different for each of them. OK, what kind of story are these illustrations going to tell? OK. We're seeing something going on. Can anyone see a story already? Can you see a story?

AUDIENCE: The airplane's going to crash into something.

JOE COHEN: Oh, maybe. Hey, it's going to crash into something. What's that on the front of it? It looks quite strange, doesn't it? Like a ballerina or something. Can anyone see what's going on over here? Oh, what's going on over in the other painting over there by Cheryl?

AUDIENCE: The unicycle person is holding a toy jet.

JOE COHEN: Oh, wow. I think it's amazing. Now Cheryl, what's your favourite food whilst you're drawing, by the way?

- Cake.

- Cake, lots of sugar. How about you, over here? Matt, what's your favourite thing to eat?

- Chocolate.

- Chocolate and cake. I think we need to combine the two, don't we? OK, what are we going to get them to subtract? OK, hands up if you can think of something they might want to subtract from their drawings. What is it?

AUDIENCE: That thing on the jet.

JOE COHEN: OK. Al right Matt, you've got to subtract the thing on your jet. I think it's this here. We don't know what the thing is. All right. Now, what are we going to subtract from Cheryl's? Hands up. Over here, what are we subtracting?

AUDIENCE: Maybe the stripes on the shirt.

- OK, you've got to subtract the stripey shirt. Cheryl, the stripey shirt is going. And you have 10, 9. 8, 7, 6, 5, and we're going to give them 30 seconds more. 30 seconds more. Look what happened. We lost half of it, oh my gosh. There we go. Come back. Come back, come back. I think you can twist your wheel. The amazing thing, we can twist our wheel to get back what we lost. It's like turning back time. I feel like I'm about to sing a song, everyone. Turn back time if you remember from the 90s, I think.

All righty. OK, how are we going guys? Can you pick a winner?

- [inaudible]

JOE COHEN: I think we're seeing-- I think you might be in the lead at the moment, Matt. I think it might be happening. Cheryl, I think you need to start cutting your losses. Go way out there. Oh no, it's all gone, it's all gone. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down. Here we go. All righty. OK Cheryl, what happened?

- Well, I'm not going to blame my tools but I'm going to blame my tools. I erased the whole thing accidentally.

JOE COHEN: It was looking so awesome, too. Oh no, we won't do it to you, again. OK, stay there and practise. We might keep you up for the next round, I think, Cheryl. OK Matt, tell us about it.

MATT COSGROVE: Well, mine was going well until the unicycle driver of the jet suddenly disappeared, which caused a crash with this chick here is a little stunt Riding Hood from my new book, Epic Fail Tales three coming soon. He was stunt driving and there's just being a big, big, big, big crash there. So it's all happening here, today.

- Amazing. Amazing. That is one awesome animation, isn't it guys? A really fantastic picture we can see up there. I am excited. OK, winner time. OK, hands up if you think that Cheryl's was the best in a really awesome recovery. Hands up. Oh, Cheryl. It's not looking too good, one vote. OK and for Matt's amazing piece of work, hands up. We have 10!


Well done, Matt. OK there we go Cheryl. You need to stake in your position up here. It's going to be Orsini versus Faber. Oh my gosh, you need to hone your skills, hone your skills, hone your skills. You know what, guys? I think we need to give Cheryl a bit of encouragement. Don't we, a little bit of encouragement. So let's do it. Can we give her a cheer? Go Cheryl, come on! You can do it!


OK, she's going to be amazing in this round. OK. All right. Now, this round is going to have a focus. We were talking before, were'nt we everyone, that we might give them a little bit of an advantage to Cheryl by making this one all about fairies. So what are we going to add into our fairy animation this time? OK, yes?

AUDIENCE: A fairy.

- A fairy! Yes?

- A fairy house.

- A fairy house. And the final thing we need is a--


JOE COHEN: A dock. What's a dock?

- Where the ships land.

- Oh, where the ships land-- the fairy ships land. OK, I love it. OK so a dock, a fairy, and a fairy house. OK. So that's all we've got to add in. Now, we're going to give you two minutes this time. We're having a low stress. We need to hum the tune from Moana please Kings Grove. Hum away. Can you begin for me? We are starting, go. Hum away, hum away.



I don't know how it goes.


I don't think it's working. OK so nevertheless, whilst they're actually doing this, we want to find out from our illustrators where they go to do their illustrations. Where do they do it? So Jules, were do you do your illustrations?

JULES: In the toilet, a lot of the time.

- Oh, wow. DO you find they get a bit wet sometimes?

- No. I work at home in my studio. And I don't have to sit in traffic in the morning, which I very much like.

- That is fantastic. That's the life. I like it. Cheryl, it sounds like you might be a studio person, too.

CHERYL: Yes. I work at home in my second bedroom, which we call a studio. And sometimes, I work in my pyjamas, so you are lucky that I'm wearing a dress-- well, some clothes-- today.

- I'll let you get back to it. But this sounds like a really good lifestyle, doesn't it? Being able to stay at home, being able to go to work in your pyjamas, sounds pretty good to me, doesn't it? OK. All right. OK now, you know we're going to do you guys? I'm going to get you to start to put your hands up when you think we should give them their 10 second countdown. OK? So you going to put your hand up whenever you like, when we should start to give them their 10 second countdown. Are you ready Kings Grove? OK, you ready out there? Watch for the hands to come up from our Kings Grove students. You can put your hand up whenever you like. And when everyone's hand is up, then we will give them their 10 second count down.

What are we seeing on the screen, here? I'm really liking what I see. Both people look like they're copying. One's copying. Who's copying who?

AUDIENCE: [inaudible].

- I think it might be Jules. He's copying Cheryl. Cheryl, I think you need to copyright your images. This is not good-- two mushroom houses. What is going on? And they're both in red. Deary, me. I'm excited to hear the story about these. Fairy ferry, oh! That's a play on words, isn't it? OK. All right. There we go, two different bits of spelling. Wow, what story will these illustrators tell? What do you think? OK, hands up. Are all our hands up yet? Still, some people think they need more than 10 seconds? Are you sure? One more hand to go. They're all up. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down-- 0, you got it.

OK, this is looking awesome. Cheryl, are you proud of what you've done here?

- This is Jules' so that's mine over there.

- Oh, it is. It's looking pretty amazing. OK.

CHERYL: It's not my best work. It is a fairy on her way home from-- she couldn't quite get into the dock because the boat was too big for the dock. So she is raining down terror on that terrible looking fairy house, there.

- I see. I like that story. There's a story to come with this one, isn't there guys? Lots of creativity. They're coming. She's the flightless fairy, yes, the featherless fairy. Okey dokey, Jules tell us about yours.

- Well, we've got our fairy here. This is her first day at work. She lives in a house. And she's started a dock business where she expects leaf boats to come along. But unfortunately, all the leaf boats have left so she's not actually making any money, today.

- Oh deary, me. And I mean, that story is a pretty amazing one. But are you going to stand for the accusation by Kings Grove students that you copied off Cheryl?

- Oh, most certainly I did.


- There we go. Sometimes, the best form of flattery is-- what do they say-- the best form of flattery is imitation. That's what it is. So there we go. I like it. All right, but we need to choose a winner, don't we? OK so, your hands at the ready. If you think Cheryl is the winner, put your hands up. One, two, three, four, five, six. And if you thought that Jules was the winner, hands up. One, two, three, four. Cheryl, the winner of round three! Okey dokey, all right, fantastic. Well done, everyone.

OK, take your places back. And I think we are getting close to Stanton versus Cosgrove. Have we done Stanton versus Cosgrove? I think we need the two Matt's up on stage. Here we go. Here we go. All right. And I think we're getting closer to time, guys. This might be our last battle around before we hit the semifinals. Semifinals are coming up next.

OK. Our next topic, we're going to move far away from [inaudible] fairies and we're going for Star Wars. What's going to be included in our Star Wars illustration? Yes? Darth Vader. Stormtroopers. And R2D2. There you go, Darth Vader, stormtroopers, and R2D2. How are you feeling, Matt?

- There's a lot of detail required in there, so I'm glad we have 15 minutes to do this drawing.

- That's right, 15 minutes. Oh! We've got someone with an advantage. Are you excited, Matt?

- I don't know what you just said. I'm [inaudible].

- Going forward, going forward.

- Can we have a repeat? Darth Vader.

- R2D2 and stormtroopers. OK. All right, here we go. They're off. They're off. Last round before we start our semifinals where we're going to have students involved, as well. What are we going to see pop up on this screen this time, guys? Oh, we're seeing two R2D2's, aren't we? Straight out of the box, who's better at R2D2? Oh, there we go.


That's what it is. It's their own interpretation. I'm liking the look of these robots, that's for sure. They're starting to look pretty awesome. Now, we might get them to add in something extra, out of the ordinary, nothing to do with Star Wars. What's it going to be? You going whisper it to me? [inaudible], a boat, pineapples, a flower. All right, guys. Here we go. Do you think we go for the pineapple? Yes? OK everyone. Guys, you've got one minute left and you need to also incorporate a pineapple. Go for it!


A pineapple is going on. I don't think I've ever seen a pineapple in Star Wars before. Have you?


Oh, I like it! Oh, there we go. OK, he's not quite so bad after all is he, if he's drinking a pineapple mocktail by the looks of things going out through there, which looks very, very cool. That is for sure. Okey dokey. Now, we just want to find out just one thing. Do you ever draw your family, Matt, in your characters?

- I put secret messages in my books for my family, but I haven't drawn them, yet.

- Would that get you into a bit of trouble?

- I think it would.

- And Matt number two, tell me did you draw any of your family members in any of your drawings?

- Yes, this is my wife.


She has a Darth Vader costume.

- Oh, I see. Telling of her inner character, maybe. We won't say anymore. But remember, this is going out live on YouTube. Oh my gosh, there we go. Indeed, OK. Are we going to give them the 10 second countdown? 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down. OK.


Awesome work, what a battle. OK. And here we go. Matt Stanton, tell us about your drawing.

- OK. Well, R2D2 is trying to attack Darth Vader with pineapples.


It was going to be a laser, but then you made me use pineapples. And so Darth Vader is using the stormtrooper as a human shield. And so the stormtrooper's been hit with one pineapple and there's another one in-coming.

- Oh!

- Using the force with the pineapple.

JOE COHEN: I like the sound of it. So this is the start of the next Star Wars movie. What's it going to be called?

- Yes. The pineapple awakens.


- I love it. That sounds awesome. And Matt Cosgrove, tell us about yours. I'm intrigued.

- Well, blowing up the Death Star-- you know, it's a big job. And you know, Darth Vader-- after it happened, he was a bit depressed. So the guys thought they'd take him for a little holiday. So they've gone for a little boat cruise. And they're having some pineapple drinks. And R2D2's singing some songs. And the stormtrooper's paddling along. You know, just trying to cheer him up because he's really depressed you know? Darth Vader, I feel sorry for him, you know?

- Yes he is a bit of a [? depression. ?]

- He's misunderstood.

- I like it. This one sounds pretty good. So it's Star Wars on a tropical island. There we go. I love it. All right, guys. We're going to vote. Here we go. So if we're going to go for Matt Stanton's new version of Star Wars and the attack of the pineapples, hands up. One, two, three, four. Four votes. And now, we're going for Matt Cosgrove and his amazing Star Wars on a tropical island. Wow. One, two, three, four, five, six-- you are the winner!


Matt Cosgrove, well done. High five time. Awesome work. Okey dokes guys, take a seat. We are up to our semifinal rounds. There are only three Battle-Offs to go. Now, we're going to add in an extra complication. We are going to get some of the students from Kings Grove to help out our illustrators because they do need some help.


So we will need to give them some help. Now, our first round is going to be Faber versus Cosgrove. So Faber and Cosgrove, come and take your stalls please. Clear your screens. We are going to recruit your amazing student offsider. And I'm going to ask you guys to-- let's see if we can get them to-- who can the first person that can stand up and rub their hand and pat their tummy, go.

First person, stand up, rub their-- oh, it's Olivia. We already know it's Olivia. OK, Olivia jump up. Go [inaudible] fantastic. So you're get to partner with Matt Cosgrove. so I come over here. Fantastic. And do we have another second representative? OK.

- [inaudible]

JOE COHEN: Hannie, there we go. And you're going to partner Jules Faber just over here. Here we go. Do these look like awesome combinations?


- I am so excited. So it's going to work like this. Illustrators, you get one minute. Students, you get another minute. Illustrators, you get a minute. Understand? OK. The Battle-Off is about to commence. And the theme for this one is school. What are we going to get them to draw? Yes? A classroom. And children. And homework. Children, classroom, homework. Can you do it? Three, two, one, go.

OK. All right, guys. Now you know what Kings Grove? I want to get your thoughts whilst you're sitting there. What do you think would be the best thing about being an illustrator? What do you think? Yeah?

AUDIENCE: Drawing.

JOE COHEN: Drawing. All the time, drawing. How exciting would that be? What do you think?

- Maybe drawing all your ideas.

- Having the awesome ideas and be able to put them to life. That would be absolutely fantastic, indeed. Indeed. All right, now we've got about 20 seconds before our students take over. Are you scared up here?

AUDIENCE: A little bit.

JOE COHEN: A little bit scared. You shouldn't be, you're going to be amazing. Are you a bit frightened?

- I don't know.

- No, you're going to be awesome, aren't you? Absolutely, fantastic. All right. Hannie and Olivia, get ready to take your pens. Haddie. Sorry, Haddie. Haddie and Olivia. OK Haddie and Olivia, take over the pens. Here we go. All righty, here we go. Oh, you might have to use the eraser. It's the one on the other end. OK, the eraser as you erase their work. No, I'm only kidding. Now Matt, are you worried about what they're going to do to your drawing?

MATT COSGROVE: I think they can only improve it.

JOE COHEN: No, it's looking amazing. I'm excited. Are you worried, Jules?

JULES: I am always worried when there's another shark in the tank, Joe.


But Haddie's doing a great job down here. He's going to actually make my work look good.

JOE COHEN: He is. I'm liking. It looks like a teacher on the end, there. A very scary teacher. Here we go. All right, they have got about 30 seconds left before we get our illustrators take over for the very last component of this semifinal. Do you realise Kings Grove, we have to choose a winner to go through the grand final now to win Book Fest 2017's Illustrator Battle-Off? What story are they telling with their illustrations? OK, that's what we have to think about. Out there, are you thinking about what story these illustrators are telling? What story would you tell if this was your illustration? OK, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- change over. And here we go, our very, very, last session for these two illustrators. And wow, I'm excited. Haddie, congratulations. What did you add on there?

- A teacher-- an evil teacher-- the evil homework teacher.

- The evil homework teacher, I like it. Absolutely. And tell me, what did you out on there Olivia?

- Some homework and a white board.

- Oh, I see. Inclusions of every-- is that your whiteboard over there? Wowzers, that is so amazing. I think your future is laid out for you. I think you might need to take on a cadet there, Matt. Absolutely. This is looking awesome. I think we have got about 15 seconds to go. Are you ready to do our countdown? Yes? We're ready? OK, here we go. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down. OK, give them a round of applause.


OK. All right, OK. Tell your story, guys. What was your story all about?

- Our story is, we're in the classroom here. And these guys-- his dog has eaten his homework so he's brought the dog in as evidence for the teacher. And this poor little girl over here, her penguin has eaten her homework so she's brought it in as well because their teacher is horrible. And they'll be in detention for a month if they didn't have their homework. So that's what we created here. It's a masterpiece, modern day masterpiece.

JOE COHEN: I like it. I like it. I like it. Did you want to add anything to that, Olivia?

- No.

- No? I think it's pretty well done. And I don't think Ms. [? totts, ?] you wouldn't be that nasty would you? You wouldn't make someone bring in their penguin to prove their homework hasn't been eaten?

- It depends on ow rotten they are.

JOE COHEN: It does. It depends how rotten they are. Now, tell me. Over here, what have we got going on?

- Well, we've got our kids here. They've been given the homework, but they're given no time to actually take it home and do it. And you've got our evil teacher here with his twirly moustache, which is the traditional villain in cartooning. Well done Haddie, for that. So these kids, all the homework's blank, so they're all going to get detention.

- Oh my gosh. Haddie, do you have anything to add? You actually drew these, didn't you? [? what inspired ?] this?

- I drew an evil teacher.

- Yes, you did indeed. You inspired the rest of his drawing. Fantastic work.

- I have reached my first life goal.

- Fantastic. Well done, well done. Round of applause, again. OK, hands up for Olivia and Matt. Who thinks Olivia and Matt, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. And how about for Haddie and Jules? Here we go, one, two. I want to give it a big vote, too. Two. OK, Matt and Olivia, well done. Matt you are the first one through to the finals. Well done.

Commiserations, Jules. Can you believe you are now our of the running in the Illustrator Battle-Off? Here we go. He's leaving the store, everyone. We won't get him back. Oh my gosh, no good. All right. OK, round two, semifinal number two. And it's Orsini versus Stanton. Here they come, taking their places. And our theme for this round is going to be animals-- animals, indeed. So what three animals are we going to get them to draw? And we're going to get them to draw

AUDIENCE: Dung beetle.

JOE COHEN: A dung beetle.

AUDIENCE: Unicorn.

JOE COHEN: A unicorn.

AUDIENCE: Kiwi bird.

- Kiwi bird. Kiwi bird, dung beetle, and unicorn. Kiwi bird, dung beetle, and unicorn. But we need two student representatives. Ms. Totts, who is coming up? Desiree, Benjamin, up you come. OK, Benjamin do you want to partner with the amazing Matt? Desiree, you're partnering with Cheryl. Here we go. All right, guys.

- Unicorn, dung beetle, and a kiwi?

JOE COHEN: Bird. Kiwi bird--

MATT STANTON: Give me that, again.

CHERYL: Unicorn, dung beetle, and a kiwi bird.

- Unicorn, dung beetle, kiwi bird. What would you draw out there? Five, four, three-- we're going to wait for a technical-- yes, two, one-- go for it. One minute, one minute, one minute. Are we ready, guys? We've only got one more round after this, the grand final, haven't we? What would you create with those three animals? Have a think out there. Think about it, Kings Grove. What would you create? [? mcskrill. ?]


There we go, [? dave ?] is giving us a [? mcskrill. ?] Where's the barbecue?

AUDIENCE: I'd go with the animals having a picnic.

- The animals having a picnic, I like it.

AUDIENCE: The animals having a party.

JOE COHEN: The animals having a party. What do you think?

AUDIENCE: It's someone's birthday.

JOE COHEN: It's someone's birthday. That's a good idea, the zoo has come to town. That is fantastic. What are we seeing? First thing, we've got two unicorns. They're a bit different, aren't they? One looks a bit lifelike. The other one looks a little bit hilarious. There we go.


Does this look like a dung beetle? You guys know what a dung beetle is.


Oh dear, it's all about interpretation, everyone. That is for sure. Okey dokey. All right, do you like that dung beetle?

- Yes.

- It's a bit funny, isn't it? Absolutely. This is what we think about a dung beetle. And we've got a kiwi bird. Who has seen a kiwi bird in the wild before? No, or at the zoo? You have?

AUDIENCE: I've seen one in person.

JOE COHEN: Wow, where?

AUDIENCE: In New Zealand.

- Amazing. OK, so a kiwi bird over in New Zealand, hence the name Kiwi. Yes?

AUDIENCE: I'm seeing it right over here.

- Aha, you're seeing it there. It looks like Angry Birds, doesn't it? Angry Birds. OK, it's time for change over, now. Go for it, students. Here we go. The amazing Desiree and Benji-- yes? Benjamin. Sorry, Benjamin. I have lost my mind. Desiree and Benjamin, here we go. Cheryl, how's it going?

CHERYL: Look. She's doing a great job, fantastic job.

JOE COHEN: She's going to add to your [? floral ?] colours there, hasn't she, keeping theme?

CHERYL: Look, I think she can do whatever she likes. She's the boss.

JOE COHEN: I like it. And you're just going to make it work. I like it. I like it. And Benjamin's going well, there. How're you feeling, Matt?

MATT STANTON: Benjamin's doing an amazing job. We are creating the greatest fight scene of all time, I think, is what's happening. So we've got kiwi birds throwing dung beetles at fat unicorns. And I don't know--

JOE COHEN: I'm so excited. Look at these words that are coming out, here. Oh my goodness, me. Benjamin, I think you are on an unfound talent. This is awesome. He is found, as of now. And student illustrators, you have 20 seconds left. Make your mark on these paintings. Let's see it go. I am loving it. All right, we're going to give the illustrators 30 seconds, aren't we guys? 30 seconds to finish their masterpiece. What story will they tell? Five, four, three, two, one. Change! Go for it, Illustrators.

Here we go. All right, what do you think? What story are we finding they're telling? What's going on here, do you think?

- I have no idea.

- There's a lot of shadows, aren't there? Kiwi bird, unicorn. Oh, there's the dung beetle. Can you spy the dung beetle down at the bottom? Look at that. There we go. It's going for the dung, as well. Okey dokey, very good. What do we've got going on over here? Is it a mismatch?

AUDIENCE: Yeah, it's a fight scene.

JOE COHEN: I like it. I love all these words. Angry Bird kiwi monster. I think we might have a new character, here. What do you think? I'm thinking so. Are we going to count down from 10? 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down! Give them a round of applause!


OK, step up here, Benjamin. OK Benjamin and Matt, tell us about your drawing.

- Right. So it evolved. It started as just a straight fight scene. And then, Benjamin added all of this dialogue. We've got, ha! And, what's this for? And, I'm outta here, says the unicorn. And then, we decided that actually, this should all be happening on the moon. So it's in space. So the kiwi bird is in a space suit. And there's stars. And that's why the unicorn is floating, because we didn't have a good reason why the unicorn was floating.

JOE COHEN: This is the awesome new book series. We're looking out for it. Royalties will need to go Benjamin's way, of course. Here we go. Well done, guys. OK Cheryl and Desiree, tell us about it, guys.

- Well, we are in a bathroom, of course. And it's private. The dung beetle is taking advantage of what's happening in the toilet. The kiwi can't go to the toilet. The kiwi wasn't able to manage to go. But the kiwi is absolutely spot on because you are a kiwi.

- Oh, wow. What a beautiful drawing and what a beautiful story this particular illustration told.

CHERYL: Heartwarming.

- Absolutely heartwarming. OK guys, this is going to be the heartwarming one or the start of a new series that Matt Stanton is going to rip off Ben's idea for. We'll find out. So hands up for Matt Stanton-- here we go-- and Benjamin. One, two, three, four. It's going to be tight. And hands up for Cheryl00 and Desiree. One, two, three, four, five. Cheryl and Desiree, by one point-- okey dokey, congratulations Cheryl. You are through. Congratulations Desiree. Well done, Benjamin. And Matt, we're devastated for you. How are you feeling?

MATT STANTON: My [? heart's ?] a little sad. But you know, no this is how it goes.

- This is pretty devastating. Your year is not going to recover.

- No. No, I'm going to go and just sit in a hole for a while.

- All righty. But it's time to welcome my grand finalists, so I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to clear the floor. Okey dokey. Remember everyone, what are they playing for? They're playing for this. Now, can I get you young man-- what's your name?

- Ibrahim.

- Ibrahim's going to hold on to the trophy for us. OK, our two final battlers-- Cheryl Orsini, take to the stage. Matt Cosgrove, take to the stage in the final round of the illustrator's Battle-Off.


OK. All right, so we're going to have to give them a very unique theme, aren't we, for their last one? So, we are all here for the Premiere's Reading Challenge. Illustrator Battle-Off is part of Book Fest, aren't we? So our focus is going to be on reading. So what are we going to add to our illustrators to get them thinking about reading? What are our objects going to be? Hands up. OK, we're going to have a book. We're going to have words. And we're going to have an illustrator. OK, so we've got an illustrator. We've got a book. And we've got words. So, we've got three different things. OK.

And our challenge theme is reading, so what are we going to get out from that, I wonder, illustrators. OK? Now, we're going to give you two minutes-- two and a half minutes for this one-- because it is the final round. No pressure. That trophy is on the line, illustrators. How are you feeling, Cheryl?

- Not good.

- Not good? How are you feeling, Matt?

- This grudge match between me and Cheryl has been going for 23 years.

- What?

- It ends today.

- Guys, we're a part of history. Let's get them moving. OK, we're going to count them down from three to get them started. Three, two, one, go! Here we go, they're off. They're off. Two and a half minutes is all they've got left. Oh my goodness, here we go. All right, what are they going to draw? We've got our focus on reading. I mean, have we not seen some absolutely amazing storytelling today through pictures? Who thinks we've seen good storytelling? Absolutely, yeah. Indeed, indeed. Lots of nods here, I'm sure we've got lots of nods out there with you, too.

Thinking about after this what you might draw, what story you might tell. Maybe you could tell a story about today. That might be what you could do. Draw a drawing caricature about today. That might be something. Yeah?

AUDIENCE: I was thinking about since I'm already writing my first book, I might as well write a second book about this journey.

- What a good idea. That's what books are, isn't it? They're stories of journeys. Absolutely. Indeed, indeed. So it's very exciting. We're very lucky. You've got about a minute to go. Wow. OK. Now, I am liking the look of what's going on over here. What have we got Matt putting up on the screen?

AUDIENCE: A pencil spaceship.

JOE COHEN: A pencil spaceship. It is the coolest pencil I think I have ever seen. Indeed, indeed. And what have we got up on Cheryl's?

AUDIENCE: She's having a bath and reading.

JOE COHEN: She's having a bath and reading. Oh, who likes to read while having a bath? We've got hands up. Oh, me too. Where is your favourite place to read , Cheryl?

CHERYL: My favourite place to read is in the bath.

- I like it-- in the bath. This is a very, very true true image, here. And how about you, Matt? Where's your favourite place to read?

MATT COSGROVE: Just anywhere where it's comfy and cosy, like a beanbag. Beanbags are awesome for reading.

- Have you guys got bean bags at your libraries?


Oh my gosh. No, but wouldn't it be nice too-- that would be lovely-- to sit back and relax and read your book in your bedroom? I feel like doing it now, don't you? Getting that good book out, one of the books that these guys have amazingly created? Fantastic. And I was just thinking about this. I was thinking, you know, [? free ?] thought-- oh, it's gone red. A red pencil with a black tip, I'm liking it. Are we ready to give them their count down? I think we are. Have we given them enough time? I think we have. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1-- pens down! The round is done. That drawing has been complicated, everyone. Let's hear from our illustrators.

- Well, this is one of Matt Cosgrove's books. And it is not going well for the reader. We're at a very controversial part of the book and the reader is not happy.

- Oh deary, me. I can see the exclamation.

- There is one word, so.

JOE COHEN: There it is. That is fantastic. I love it. This is a really awesome illustration we've got here. It tells a good story. OK, Matt.

- In the future, all the illustrators will draw via pencil spaceships, which we will fly through the universe, which fire laser beams at books. There's like, explosions of words and images. Get rid of all this old school pencil, paint stuff. It's all about lasers, technology. And it's all going to happen in space.

- Oh my gosh, it sounds like the Surface Studio has inspired you. I think we are seeing a cross of Star Wars and an illustration. This is awesome. OK guys, it is in your hands Kings Grove-- Kings Grove primary school, Kings Grove Public School-- I might get it wrong. OK, here we go. I'm bad. All right, you get to choose the winner [? on ?] [? our ?] trophy, which you're going to hold up for us Ibrahim. Hold up the trophy. There it is. Okey dokey. For Cheryl Orsini and her awesome creation, hands up. One, two, three, four, five. It's going to be very close. OK, and for Matt Cosgrove and the future of illustration, hands up. One, two, three, four, five, six! Matt, We have our winner.


Oh my gosh. Yes, we do. Well done. Commiserations. Ibrahim, are you ready to stand up? Here we go. Matt, this is a momentous occasion. Cheryl is making her way away. All righty, here we go. And we would like to congratulate you with your amazing-- oh actually, I think we might have somebody else who might be coming up to help us out with this, as well. So we've got a [? jewel ?] person who's coming up to help present. And that is the amazing Megan Townes from Microsoft. Did you want to say a few words, Megan?

- I do. You know what I realised halfway through the amazing illustrator battle? Matt Cosgrove and I went to school, together. So at Hobartville Public School and Richmond High School, he was the year above me. So anyone from Hobartville or Richmond out there, we say, hi. So well done, Matt. Congratulations. Do you want to say a few words?

- No.


- You get to pass over the trophy, then.

- Fantastic.

- Thanks Joe.

- Thank you, Megan. Thank you, Ibrahim. There we go. Well done, Matt. And it's up to you. You get the final word today because you are the first winner. And you'll notice, there's lots of blank trophies on here. Next year. We are anticipating another illustrator's Battle-Off. You're the first ever winner, though. How do you feel?

- I am blown away. I cannot believe it. I'm predicting I'm going to wake up very soon.

- You are the star of today. I know I was talking to Matt this morning. He was the first here. He was getting prepared early. It shows everyone that doing some practise, doing your homework, prepares you well for [? the ?] illustrator Battle-Off. Any final words for our viewers?

- Just keep on reading, keep on writing, keep on drawing. If you love books, just embrace it. Do it. Practise. Draw. Write. Read. And I just love books and I hope you do, too.

- Fantastic. Now illustrators, we need you back out here. OK? Kings Grove, are you ready to give them a huge round of applause? Because everyone out there on YouTube and on video conference is going to give these awesome illustrators a round of applause. We have Cheryl Orsini.


OK. We have Matt Stanton.


We had Jules Faber.


And we had the winner, Matt Cosgrove.


And illustrators, do we want to give a huge round of applause to our students from Kings Grove High School and their awesome teacher, Rebecca Totts.


Who is just around the back there. Absolutely fabulous job. Thank you all very much for coming. Thank you out there for tuning in. Thank you to Microsoft for loaning us their awesome store and for the Practise on those awesome Surface Studios. Might be converting a few of our illustrators over to technology, which is exciting. We hope we've inspired you. Get creating. Get illustrating. Get storytelling. And get reading. That's it! From the New South Wales Premiere's Reading Challenge Illustrators Battle-Off for Book Fest 2017.


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