The extremely talented designer and illustrator, Phoebe Morris chatted with us online about her latest publications, her career and what she's been up to during lockdown (just casually writing, illustrating and self-publishing a children's book).
What’s your day job?
In the ‘before times’, I worked full-time as a freelance illustrator and designer. This included everything from picture books to product labels, and generally running my own bidness. Right now, I’m fortunate to have a design contract that has lasted through the lockdown.
What's your connection to Vic Books?
When I graduated I worked there for a few months. My legacy was leaving pictures of David Brent from ‘The Office’ hidden all around the bookshop counter. I hid some extra ones well before I left, and suspect they may not be discovered for some time yet (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧.
Tell us a little about your latest publication.
Taking the Lead, a picture book about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, written by herbal tea enthusiast David Hill, and published with Penguin Random House NZ in March. Everyone asks if I have met Jacinda, and the answer is 'not yet m8s'.
Apparently I don’t know how to relax, so I’ve also written and self-published a children’s book whilst in lockdown. Super Felix is a free to download storybook to help kids make sense of COVID-19. It has already been translated into Arabic and Portuguese, and I've now got a fleet of volunteer translators lined up to get it to as many young readers as possible.
Tell us a little about your favourite project so far.
I can’t name a favourite project, but one of the most interesting and challenging books to work on was Cleo & Rob by Helen Brown.
Helen’s writing was beautiful. I was able to mix up my illustration style, and feel like the book we created was a meaningful one. A friend read it to her three-year-old the other day. When she asked him ‘what do you think?’ he said simply - ‘that was lovely’.
Hardest thing to draw?
People and buildings, thanks.
What are you reading at the moment?
Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich and Love that Bunch by cartoonist Aline Kominsky-Crumb.
Are you enjoying it? Why?
Voices from Chernobyl is both harrowing and well suited to making our present circumstances seem like a walk in the park. I’m finding Aline Kominsky-Crumb’s work far more interesting than that of her very fortunate and inexplicably more famous husband, cartoonist Robert Crumb.
Which literary character do you most identify with and why?
None really. But if I had to pick, I'd say Little My from Tove Jansson's Moomintroll series. We have a similarly devious facial expression from time to time.
Hardback or Paperback?
Best thing about working from home?
I don’t have to get up as early! I hate mornings. Also Mondays.
Favourite lockdown treat?
Yaeji’s new album, the latest season of 'Terrace House' and heckling people who make sourdough.
Black or white coffee?
Plunger coffee with cold milk and a little sugar. I went the month of January without a drop, but back on it now baybee!