October 9, 2010

It’s A Miracle, I Can See Again (ooh yuck, I DO look that bad)

Wow, getting reading glasses makes all the difference in the world!! Okay, yes it makes me feel like the little octogeriatic folks that go to K&S at 4 in the afternoon for supper, but I can read again. No, not just on the computer (thank goodness for 400% zoom settings), but I mean read stuff that clever people write!

And I can work my crosswords again, too!! Amazing little experiment though: I still can’t figure out 95% of the clues even if I can see them!! So much for brain exercises, I think I’ll stick with Scooby-Doo and trying to figure out who dunnit!!


So moving on it’s time to introduce this week’s überclever interviewee. She comes from a Land Down Under, so please welcome

Telling Stories and Making Things Up, Too
An Interview with Illustrator Lesley Frances Vamos

Lesley is relative new-comer on the pro tour but has talent coming out of the top of her hilariously striped socks! With a skill set that ranges across the spectrum of graphic arts and illustration as well with a style that’ll catch your eye at first glance, the future is so bright she... well, she better put on some sun block and get under something shady ASAP!

I’m sure you’ll find her work as exciting as the Nixon family has over the past weeks, including little Julia (days, mere hours away from age 7) who has just fallen head over heels with Lesley’s style. And along these lines, we bring you a special treat in the article as well!! Enjoy and good on ya!!


Moving on to this week’s ‘Shout Out’s’:


Our first ‘Shout Out’ is the rarest of the rare in that we are pleased to give a double shout-out to the very creative Christoph Niemann.

First, as many of you know, love and share with absolute strangers you come across, Christoph continues to put together one of the most clever and original blog collections as featured in the New York Times. Check out one of his latest offerings under the title of ‘
Red Eye’, a visual diary documenting a flight from New York to Berlin (with a layover in London).

Amazing indeed if you consider that most of us spend our flights either arguing for another Bloody Mary or whispering curses against the fellow passengers hoping they are sucked out of a window and never heard from again. Needless to say, Christoph’s work is much nicer than that!!

In addition, our 2nd Shout-Out also goes to Christoph, who deserves a big round of clap-clap because he has been chosen a 2010 inductee to the ADC Hall of Fame, administered by the Art Directors Club, New York. Christoph is being honoured along with several other top-flight illustrators, educators, photographers and business leaders in the field. Awesome stuff for sure!!

To read more about Christoph and his terrific work, please take a look at our interview which you can find

Our third shout-out may or may not qualify (let's call it an echo-out) but we feel like shouting out about it. We recently signed up as Facebook fans for one of our favourite purveyors of tales of the totally cool, namely Dark Horse Comics (a great palette of terrific titles, including Hellboy, ‘nuff said).

Well, lo and behold we were scrounging through their picture albums when we came across a collection of none other than
Jesse Reklaw’s works! Now granted it’s not the newest collection (last updated it seems in March of last year), but to find 27 fully readable sets in his ‘Cartoon Tour Diary’ made all our mining expedition very worth while. Check it out!

To read more about Jess and his unique approach to comics and art of all kinds, please take a look at our recent interview which you can find here.



For those of you that have been following the ‘Little Ziggy’ phenomena (at least via Facebook as we haven’t updated the blog in a few days... and yes, that was a shameless plug if there ever was one), you know that
(a) October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and that
(b) this means a lot to the Ziggy Nixon staff since we know quite a number of women that have breasts, including an amazing pair of heroes that have survived this terrible disease.

So we’re very excited to see the participation of the Comics World, too, in this arena. Please check out
which will 'take place' on October 10th in many of your favourite strips (we said strips Charles, not strip clubs).

Interestingly enough it is also
Climate Change Awareness Day on the 10th, so just think of it as doing what you can to keep Mother Nature as healthy as we possibly can (I mean, she’s a mom and ergo no doubt possessing of said boobage, no?)!!

See you next time true believers!! Aloha!!


Oh and to all of you newspaper folks that
pulled the fantastic ‘Non Sequitur’ for MENTIONING Mohammed – not drawing mind you, just mentioning it – shame on you!!

Let’s ignore for a moment that ‘
Non Sequitur’ is one of my must-stop, uh, stops every single day of the year. Let’s ignore the fact that the joke wasn’t even that good on the overall NS scale of hilarity. But this goes against everything that any SANE person should be fighting for, namely tolerance, understanding and respect ON ALL SIDES of the equation!!

If people can’t take it the way they dish it out, well, phooey!! Get with the plan you dopes!!

P.S. Mohammed, Mohammed, Mohammed!! Pull that!!

Telling Stories and Making Things Up, Too

An Interview with Illustrator Lesley Frances Vamos

Part 1 of 2 (Link to
Part 2)
Click on any picture to embiggerize

In the city of Sydney
A girl was born at five to three (am)

Skin so white she looked quite dead
and hair as black as Elvis's

She grew to live a happy life
with two sisters from different wives

Always older than her age
She had at four her future paved

She'd be an artist and maybe sing
but drawing really was her thing

It changed a little here and there
Illustrator, animator... Olympic figure skater?

And through her life she's come to find
No matter where your passion lies

You must be open,
try everything
and make time for all the little things...

As you might have gathered from the ‘
biographical poem’ above, its not often you meet a 4 year-old with their life planned out and a solid idea of what they want to be when they're older already set in their mind.

Now before you get overly concerned, I am not talking about introducing a new trend of interviewing infants here (though I might be able to better hold my own in these situations ... hm, no, probably not). But this is exactly how this week’s guest,
Lesley Vamos, introduces herself when you visit her web pages. And oh what a clever yet tiring handful she must have been! She goes on to correctly point out that its even rarer for these same toddlers to wind up wanting to do the same thing 20 years later (well, I wanted to be a mad scientist, so I got half of it right). But Lesley insists that she is indeed that kid!

I first came across Lesley’s work via one of her ‘fan art’ pieces: an amazingly accurate and well-thought out illustration she did of the Simpsons, projected if you will into real life (she notes that Homer of all people was the trickiest to get the ‘essence’ out of... go figure). My explorations into her budding work would then take me not only through what is an impressive and grin-inspiring portfolio, even at this relatively early stage in her promising career, as well as some absolutely side-splitting tales of fun that she has put together! Sure, it’s been said (or sung?) that every picture tells a story, but it’s rare to find these two aspects combined in such a way that you find yourself going through the whole ‘which came first, the chicken or egg’ logic of their creation!

I hope therefore you enjoy not only viewing Lesley’s illustrations and our interview together, but also several linked-in collections of whimsy, memories and rhyme!


Welcome to the show Lesley! Tell us a little about yourself please!
Just a little, ok… well, I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia in a place out West called Baukham Hills. I’m short, freckled, have an unusually high voice, and a silent laugh that makes me look like I’m crying.
I am not ticklish on my feet. I love telling stories, making things up and eating eggplant. I don’t really cry but laugh all the time and have been told that I give rather a good shoulder massage.

Now if my geography is any good, you attended High School in New South Wales which is not a million miles from Sydney correct?
NSW is one of our many states (joke… we only have 6 states in Australia … and one shouldn’t even really be included because you’d never find the town that’s in it without detailed directions… which ironically is our capital city). But Sydney is indeed in NSW.

I attended Willoughby Girls High school which is coincidentally located on Willoughby Road in Willoughby. You can see they were incredibly creative when coming up with names.

What is the overall art-slash-design scene like in that area? Were you surrounded by such a focus or even atmosphere from an early age?
I think in order to answer this one you have to have a better general idea about the art scene in Australia itself.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and think we have a lot going for us; but when it comes to the arts, we resemble a high school that only cares about the sports teams while everyone in the creative faculties are ignored. Imagine having a school assembly where you get to watch the sports kids get awards for various accolades on stage. On the other hand, the awards for creative people get passed out unceremoniously in homeroom.

However, I joined the high school after finding out that the year 12 art students were given their own room to work on their major works in what looked like a cool underground hide-away. Well, maybe it wasn’t that cool, but it was at least a space of our own under the school building.

Having said all that though, I do have creative parents who always encouraged me to pursue artistic aspirations – even though they both ended up as lawyers. Plus, after discovering I was easily amused with a pencil and paper, they made sure I was always well supplied. Once I knew I loved drawing – I was about 4 years old – I decided to set my own course and made sure I had things around me to learn from and be inspired by.

In looking at your various on-line offerings, I have found myself trying to peg your influences, which appear to be quite varied. For example, I would venture that you have at least a strong affinity for the ‘Disney / Pixar’ style. Was this one of your strong influences or were there others perhaps even totally unrelated ‘inspirations’ that have driven you in this direction?
Over the years I’ve had countless influences so its hard to peg one style in particular.

As a kid, I wasn’t allowed to watch television, so I started out in ‘illustration’ by looking at children’s books. I would go to the library everyday after school with my friend and we’d slowly devour one illustrated book at a time, taking turns to read each paragraph. My favourites were
Alison Lester, Elizabeth Honey, Craig Smith and a few other Australian authors/illustrators. That’s when I decided I was going to be one myself.

Later, once I was allowed to watch TV on the weekends, I was only aware of Saturday Disney so I started to be influenced by that. It wasn’t long before I wanted to be an animator.

When I got to high school, we started to learn art, you know, ‘classically’. This meant I was shown a lot of various Masters’ works. I fell in love with Da Vinci and would spend hours and hours making my own manuscripts. I would also use the grid method to draw Michelangelo’s frescos.

In addition, I got into architecture and famously decided my first foray into building – using clay – would be to make a re-creation combining the Mosta Dome in Malta and the Notre Dame de Paris, complete with little flying buttresses… Well, by now, you may be thinking I was a strange kid and, well, you’d be right.

Still, looking at influences, once I got to University and discovered the Internet (yes it took me that long), I haven’t looked back. I find about 20 new artists a week that I can learn from and am inspired by. I think my favourites are usually French artists as they have a roundness and an appeal to their designs that I find myself consistently trying to replicate.

With this in mind, what is it do you think that makes your style uniquely YOUR style?
Its really hard to say. In fact, I wasn’t even aware I had my own style until I was told so.

Its funny, because I would ask many of my artist friends and mentors how to develop a style. I was always told that as long as I kept looking at inspiration and drawing everyday, that I would eventually fall into one. This left me extremely sceptical. But I continued to draw what I liked and to copy my idols until – sure enough – I turned around and someone was saying I was doing something unique.

I’m basically a ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ of a hundred different artists I admire. Having said all that though, I find that my style is slightly whimsical, a little old-fashioned and favours nice round shapes that I think give it that Disney/Pixar look.

I mean no offence, but looking through your list of accomplishments, training and previous job experiences, I have the feeling your ‘upbringing’ in the industry so far has been very similar to a sushi menu: a lot of delicious projects but served in many small portions. How have you approached finding work and/or getting commissions to date?
No offence taken at all. Finding work has been tricky, I’ve been fortunate enough to be recommended on a couple of projects. The rest has come from me then just hounding studios in the area to take me on for work experience (similar to an intern).

As for freelance projects, they’ve come in the last year and the majority of these were from friends or friendly recommendations. I’m actually doing my first commission at the moment for someone who contacted me on-line, so that’s really exciting! (ZN: for the poem that accompanies this thoughtful piece, please see

You list one of your main experiences as Logo Designer. Are you still pursuing this avenue of graphic design or is it something that just comes as may?
I kind of fell into Logo design. I was lucky to attain a pretty diverse range of skills from my studies at
COFA, logo design being one of them. Still, getting ‘jobs’ such as this usually starts with someone I know that has no idea I design or illustrate telling me they need help... and then me offering my services (usually much to their surprise)!

I still remember the time my MUM was explaining that they needed a designer at her company to help with re-branding. I looked at her, eye’s wide, and said in a voice as calm as I could muster, “Why don’t you ask me?” She looked at me surprised and said, “Oh… do you do that?” “No mum… I only studied design for four years!”

And I simply must comment on one of your main experiences, namely as a ‘Jack (or should that be Jill?) of all trades’ for the so-called
Cartoon Kingdom. I am curious if this was indeed a lot of fun or did it eventually turn into a kind of living hell? Sorry, but with two young monsters (= children) running around the house my opinion may be jaded in terms of working with hundreds of kids (but the massages do sound dreamy)!!
Hm, where do I start with Cartoon Kingdom?

Firstly, it is and was a great opportunity, let me say that. I think I should start from the beginning as it helps you get a better idea of what working for them is like. I saw a flier in my first year at COFA advertising a local cartooning company who needed someone who could draw, had a car and wanted money. Well, thinking I’d never been so suited for a job in all my life, I called them and was scheduled for an interview the next week.

I met with Danny Cohen the boss and without looking at any of my artwork he sent me on my first gig, which wound up consisting of face-painting at a couple of caravan parks in Gosford (a 2 and a half hour road trip from my house). I packed my stuff – I had leftovers from a face-painting business I started when I was 10 – along with my sister, and headed out. I had no clue what to expect and hadn’t received any instructions on what to do when I got there.

The day was interesting to say the least! But when no complaints came in from the park owners, Danny was happy and signed me on full-time. Since then I’ve done everything from caricaturing at fancy parties on boats in Sydney harbour to running and teaching cartooning to over 300 kids in the cartooning camps we run on the holidays. I’ve been all over Australia to some wonderful parts… and also to some not so nice parts. I’ve had some great – and not so great – times. I’ve met some fantastic people and some not so … well, you get the idea.

The jobs usually begin with a call that goes something like this:
Danny: Lesley… do you make balloon animals?
Me: Umm, no… But I can learn!
Danny: Great, you have a gig this weekend, wear something clownish.

All kidding aside, at the end of the day it helps a lot that I love kids. Plus, I love to draw and can usually think on my feet as the situation requires. I’ll never forget the time I showed up to a gig with a broken leg and one small box of Lego, being expected to entertain 40 kids for 2 hours! As you can imagine, the lady running the holiday car was a little sceptical ... a fact she made clear when she came to me after and congratulated me on a job well done!!

Oh, and on a little side note: when it comes to the 300 kids at cartooning camps, believe me: they are NOTHING compared to the parents!

In terms of your educational experience, it appears that a good deal of both your University training as well as other special course-work and of course the software you are skilled at has focused on Digital Media. Why is that, compared to for example focusing on and getting an education in the so-called fine arts?
It was just the nature of my course work, which definitely had some holes in it. However, I came away with a nice broad range of skills they rightly assumed to be dominant in the field at that time.

I did have the option to do a Fine Arts course-work at the same University; but thinking then that animation was my main aspiration, I ended up applying to some courses in Perth (you are only offered one course [degree] per state in Australia). After getting into something similar to what I had tried out for in Sydney, I moved to Perth for a year, a quick decision that greatly surprised my dad – especially since I informed him once I had already left.

Then, after University, I still had animation on my mind and as the course-work in Perth had only offered so much, I sought to fill the gaps in my knowledge with extra workshops and training sessions. Having now decided that illustration is what I would really love to be doing, I do find myself wishing I’d had gone for a more traditional/classic instruction at school. But lucky for me, finding willing teachers outside the school system is actually quite easy and a lot of fun.

To this, I am curious how an artist balances the digital – which can be sleek, fast and very flexible – with hand sketchings and even something as maddening (sorry personal experience creeping in) as watercolours?
First, I have to admit that I’m a complete and utter control freak with a heightened case of perfectionism. So I know exactly what you mean about watercolours, which is probably why I stay well away from them.

Having said that I prefer traditional methods as I feel I have more control over the line, not to mention having a need for the feel of paper under my palm (that sounded less strange in my head). In a perfect world, I would only deal in pencils (both lead and colour) but as I needed to find ways of replicating my work and getting it on-line this vision quickly dissolved. And after much trial and error – with emphasis on LOTS of error – I finally found a nice compromise that works for me.

Continued in
Part 2

Telling Stories and Making Things Up, Too

An Interview with Illustrator Lesley Frances Vamos

Part 2 of 2 (Link to Part 1)
Click on any picture to enlargentize

Lesley, could you take us through the steps it takes you to create a piece? Which steps in the process do you find the most difficult to master and why?
Coming up with a piece really varies. What I call ‘fan art’ is heavily influenced by the world I’ve chosen to live in, whereas my original art can come from anywhere and at anytime. I try my best to use my own life as inspiration (‘
a nose knows’). And it’s not so much that I have to think a piece is brilliant but that I can say with confidence that it’s unique.

In terms of the process itself, I generally start by drawing my line work in my sketchbooks; then once I’m happy with the look, I scan it into Photoshop for colouring. The process is still a work in progress as each day I learn new things about the program and ways to make the drawings retain that traditional aesthetic. Not to mention that I am still looking at ways to make colouring faster and more enjoyable, a part of the process that takes 90% of my time.

There are many times when I start with a sketch and get an idea half way through before I start making ‘changes’ to my original plans. For example, when drawing ‘
Cloud Chaser’ above (ZN: again follow this link for the accompanying ‘story’ as well), I really wanted to have a go at drawing a plane. When I had finished I realised no one was flying it. Not wanting to rub it out or mess up the design, I had to figure out another way to get a person into the piece. So, I put the girl on the roof and it all flowed from there.

Really for me, the most difficult part is staring at a blank page before coming up with or getting an idea. This can be fairly daunting as I’m sure many will tell you. To combat this, I try and make sure I have an idea before I even take my sketchbook out. Either that or I start with fan art or just plain ‘copy’ things until I feel ready to tackle something more original.

Plus, I don’t really enjoy colouring as many will tell you (ZN: hm, we wonder if maybe it’s related to
her issues with tanning? ^_^). I don’t know why, considering that as a kid its pretty much all I did (it was something I could easily control). To make the process more enjoyable I always make sure I have music or a movie playing to get me through. Plus when I was in California, I found talking to my boyfriend on skype helped quite a bit too… one of the only advantages of being so far away from him!

I’ve seen as well that you have run different blogs over the years, ranging from your
adventures in California to your latest more art-focused postings. Do you find blogging to be the most efficient method of getting your ‘message’ out there or does something else such as your DeviantArt account (or Facebook, etc.) work better for that? Do you intend to expand your on-line approaches?
I don’t know that my blogs are to get my message out there as I doubt very many people could stand to read the amount of content I put up (my family included).

My travel blogs are more personal and started because as a kid my mum always made my sister and I keep travel journals on our large trips away. The
blog documenting my final year at the University started out of a course requirement and just kept going. I’m nothing if not prolific.

art blog on the other hand is very new. The initial idea started, as with most social network forums, because of peer pressure. Basically, I followed a few blogs and was convinced to start an art blog by those not interested in looking at my page on DeviantArt. Before I started though I wanted to make sure the blog would be a worthy investment of my time and others.

So I spent some time thinking of a concept that would be a bit different and would challenge me. My final idea was to write and illustrate a small story once a week. I do relax the rule every now and then for time reasons, but its so far been a great way to get a new crowd to offer feedback on both my art and writing style.

You write amazingly voluminously (or perhaps more politically correct-ly put, quite fast and in thorough detail?). Have you missed your calling and instead want to secretly write?
Its actually quite funny how much I write these days (ZN: for the poem that accompanies this picture, see
here). When I began to write stories in primary school, I was absolutely shocking. Being contained within the bounds of my then (and still) poor spelling skills and not having a clue what to write about, I would usually stick to the same story each time. My stories would be again and again about something along the lines of a trip to my dad’s house or to my mum’s hospital (noting that my mum wasn’t a doctor or nurse and has never owned a hospital).

The story was in fact copied from my friend who suggested I write about what I did on the weekend. After she showed me what she had written, I decided to write the same thing… all year. I would never end the stories, figuring that concluding with “it was all a dream”, “to be continued” or my classic “what do you think happens next” would suffice.

Then one day, I had an almost otherworldly epiphany and wrote a story that was 10 pages long. I was so proud and my teacher likewise that she told me to take it to all my previous teachers and read it to them and their classes (still one of the best encouragement’s I’ve ever received ^_^). Since then I’ve found it much easier to write. It helps that I have a tendency to talk too much – which I channel as well as into a good memory for the many mundane facts of my life and other things.

But to answer your question, my wish is to be able to do both. I like presenting my work in this way. It started as a challenge or self-dare, and is slowly becoming something that I just simply really enjoy. Its nice not only to be able to practice writing and drawing things that relate to the text and encapsulate a paragraph in one still, but that allow me as well to reminisce on my childhood.. one that I was very lucky to have!

Recently you have received a good deal of attention on the e-waves as mentioned for your ‘re-imagined’ Simpsons portrait of the family as ‘real’ humans. This is of course not your only redux of a known story – where I’m still torn between HHGTTG, Scooby-Doo or the Wizard of Oz as to which is my favourite (ZN: for more examples, see at the end of Part 2 of this interview). Why do you think these exercises in (re-)tackling known characters are useful for you?
Hm, I do this for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s a way to get my name ‘out there’. If you really want to get some feedback or people to look at your work, the best way to start is with a pre-existing fan base.

Another reason, as I mentioned, is that I usually find doing fan art useful when I’m struggling with original ideas. And finally, it’s a great challenge to take something that’s really well-known and established and give it your flavour so that it’s both recognisable yet new.

I would think that one of the most obvious potential outlets for your style would be children’s book illustrations – admittedly a very difficult and competitive market to break into – or at least perhaps even the general cartoon market for the younger aged audience. Is that a specific aim for you or do you feel that is too limiting for you to commit to at this stage?
I definitely find I seem to gravitate towards a younger age group. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I love kids and want to give them something meaningful and memorable to hold onto. Plus, being a big kid myself – not to mention that I still look about 13 years old – helps it all nicely fit together.

I also really enjoy working with round, appealing shapes and find they come more naturally. So I’d love to work in children’s book publishing, doing both writing and illustrating. Having said that though, if anything pops up that is completely different that I think will give me a neat challenge and is a great opportunity, I’ll take it!

Along these same lines, I notice from at least your on-line portfolio that most of your works have a true sense of innocence to them. Is that intentional? In addition, you once mentioned that you’re not comfortable being scary. Why is that?
The innocence is not intentional at all. It’s just who I am.

I’ve always been a slightly naïve person and have always been told I had an innocent-looking face (I have no idea what that means). Again, looking much younger than my age plays a big part in all that I’m sure. People won’t even swear in front of me. Not because I don’t like it or don’t do it myself (I do!) but because people just find it really uncomfortable. Something profane is always followed by a furtive glance in my direction and a quick apology – which I honestly do not get!

It’s even funnier when I swear and people scold me: “Lesley, you swore! You shouldn’t swear!” I suppose to them its similar to seeing their grandmother or a baby letting one fly. So yeah, the innocence is something I can’t seem to escape, not that I mind; but I would like to be able to draw things that generate an emotion besides: ‘aaaawwwwwwwww’. Still, scary for me though usually comes out fat and cute.

recently asked another artist about their experiences working both as a lead character designer, which involved 360° views, coloration under different lighting and more in comparison to their assignments as a lead conceptual artist. As you’ve experienced both as well, do you (or would you) have a preference for one approach or the other in that regard?
Not really. I love character design, I think I likened it once to having children. You get to create a life and personality, although unlike making children, all you need is a pencil and paper. But I also love coming up with scenes and illustrations that are more conceptual or storybook related.

Bottom line: I love to draw! Beyond that I’m honestly not that picky.
Lesley, you have 'collected' an amazing array of talents and skills through your educational focal areas of Digital Media, Film, photography, animation, design as well as your own listed interests – which include in addition to art and illustration reading, singing, playing instruments, being active, cooking (OK mostly eating). With that loaded description now in mind, what area have you not worked in at all or would like to work more in?
Oh that’s a great (and tough) question. I’m known in my family for being a serial ‘try-er’.

I would always try a different activity each year and once I had an accolade OR was not getting better quickly enough, I would stop and try something different. I would best sum this up in a conversation I once had with my mum:

Mum: Lesley, are you sure you need to get your own skates? You’ve only been figure-skating for 6 months… I still don’t know what to do with the tae-kwon-do uniform and ballet outfit you HAD to have?
Me: ~sigh~ mum, if I’m going to be an Olympic figure-skater, I’m going to need my own skates!

Of course, this would eventually turn into something along the lines of me wanting to be an Olympic swimmer, or hockey player, prima ballerina, gymnast, acrobat (noting I almost joined a circus and still know how to juggle), karate master, Sai swirling ninja... the list goes on. So you can understand there isn’t a lot I haven’t tried. (ZN: for the side-splitting story that goes along with this illustration of Lesley trying out ‘Sumo wrestling’, please see

I would love to do musical theatre, and get involved in stage production – set design and costume design, etc.. I used to write plays in high school for drama that I thought was lots of fun. Oh and I’d also love to continue to indulge my passion for teaching and start some art classes for all ages and skill levels. I’ll stop myself there before this becomes an essay!

So what’s next for Lesley Frances Vamos?
As much as I can manage!

In a few years I would love to be writing and illustrating my own children’s books. I think it’s about time Australia had some more original literature characters to look to and represent us! So I have some ideas for how to approach that.

I’d additionally like to be doing things such as freelance for animation studios doing character design, writing young adult fiction, as well as continuing to create poems and maybe even songs. I want to start taking singing more seriously and maybe dabble in musical theatre. I also want to run Art classes for children and adults as well as continue to teach at parties and other events.

Finally, my biggest and perhaps most challenging goal is to improve the art community and culture in Australia, something I can see turning into an on-going project but one that really NEEDS to happen.

To close out Lesley, what is something about you that would make the rest of us – kids or even just those of us who are kids at heart – chuckle?
Unfortunately, people find ways to chuckle at me on a daily basis, because I’m both a complete klutz and also because I tend to just blurt out all the fairly random things that pass through my head. So, its hard to pick just one.

One thing that does come to mind now is my ability to attract strange people. My mum is convinced she passed it onto me as she too seems to draw in the crazies. Honestly though, just spend a day with me and you will almost certainly have a conversation with a homeless person, be invited somewhere by a creep and be witness to some of the weirdest situations you’ve even seen in your life, including people getting into the boots of their car before they drive away at the shopping centre. It does make for some great stories though!! ^_^


Lesley Vamos is a talented illustrator and designer who beyond any shadow of a doubt has an extremely promising career ahead of her. Her
updated blog site (or perhaps better said, newest blog site) is a great place to not only enjoy her latest sketches but also her daily travels, be they in current times or those that head down memory lane.

If you want to look back, she has one of those fabulous
Experience’ sections in her CV that reads, well, that reads a lot like my own from way back when. She’s done character and concept design work, flash animation, logos, signs and more! She’s been hired as a professional photographer under the most stressful of conditions (read: wedding photos, gasp!) as well as several other free-lance tasks. She’s just returned to the great Land Down Under after spending a year at UC Irvine in sunny Burbank, Cali-For-Nigh-Yay, where she looked to gain experience in the animation industry as well as meet her idols! She’s now busily working on getting her next challenges lined up, including working on a new web-site plus setting up a shop for prints and clothes.

Oh and do NOT forget her recent production of these awesome, self-decorated shoes, even though we’re not sure if this is going to be a commission-based activity or not! (ZN does point out that you are responsible for procuring your own cool socks, noting Lesley is known for wearing ‘stripey’ knee-high socks, proudly possessing an eclectic collection of 14 different pairs and counting!)

And in breaking news, some of Lesley’s work has been recently published, where she is proud to have placed 5 illustrations in a very sophisticated
business tome (additional: that the author is her father had in fact no bearing on the assignment which was put up for bids by the publisher! So extra kudos for that!!). In addition, she’s recently taken the plunge into the dog-eat-dog (but in a nice way) world of children’s book writing and illustration by becoming a card-carrying member of the scbwi. In the meantime, if you’re now totally enamoured with her work, drop her an email any time for print or commission queries!

And now a few extra treats because you’ve been such a good audience:

Scooby-Doo and The Gang (I always had the hugest crush on Velma):

The Wizard of Oz


Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

And finally, Lady Gaga (just a few months before she got famous):


All pictures, videos and other media are used with written permission of Lesley Vamos or are available in the public domain (noting copyright and other restrictions, accordingly). No further reproduction or duplication is permitted without contacting the artist directly.

Some pictures have been modified slightly or combined only for the purpose of space limitations.