So the musician-turned-author set about writing a story with the animals as the central characters.
The book how WEIRD is that, which contains Michelle’s drawings, has now been short-listed for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Chrichton Award for the ‘Best New Illustrator’.
It is the first book that Michelle has produced illustrations for, and the second book that Gyan has written.
Michelle, who has been a professional artist for 15 years, has a particular fascination with ‘the highly improbable, most likely extinctable’ animals.
The hybrid creatures that make up the book originated from her readings about the thylacine and the early settlers descriptions of them as ‘zebra-headed possums’, ‘greyhound tigers’ and ‘marsupial wolves’.
“I definitely have a thing for animals,” Michelle.
“And I like to mix up their bits.”
Michelle said she was thrilled and excited to have her illustrations short-listed for such a prestigious award.
She said sales of the book had ‘gone through the roof’ since the shortlist was announced.
Gyan said she and Michelle had been friends for 20 years and both respected and supported each other’s work enormously.
“It’s so exciting that as best friends we have now been able to create something so beautiful together,” she said.
“It would be great if another book evolved from this one.”
Michelle’s hybrid animal illustrations will be exhibited later this year at the Tweed River Regional Art Gallery.
how WEIRD is that is available now in local and city book stores and limited edition prints are available from Cape Gallery in Byron Bay.
Michelle and Gyan will be signing copies of the book at Book City in Byron Bay on Saturday, April 18, from 2pm-4pm.
The book was produced and designed by musician Simon Greaves and has been published by Musagency.
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