Wonky Donkey Book

“My hope is that Wonky's strong spirit will inspire people of all ages to believe in themselves, no matter what life brings”

- Katz Cowley

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Welcome to internet sensation The Wonky Donkey Birthing Place

The Wonky Donkey illustrator Katz Cowley on Wonky's renewed success, thanks to The Scottish Granny’s Viral video.

 
 

Wonky’s Humble Beginnings, 'born' in New Zealand in 2009 ...

The Wonky Donkey was my first published book, and he began his visual life in a most modest way, having been 'born' in the humble surrounds of the small converted stable where I was living by the sea, in Christchurch, New Zealand, 2009.

 Katz Cowley, Wonky’s Mum giving birth to Wonky

Katz Cowley, Wonky’s Mum giving birth to Wonky

Having begun life as a song, written by Craig Smith, that was the form in which he came to me; a song and a sense ... of 'Wonky'.

Having been an unknown Illustrator in the publishing world, as I was, prior to this book, it was a risk for the publisher, Scholastic, to take me on with an also unknown author (Craig), so I lovingly produced and completed a large chunk of the character roughs AND the book roughs BEFORE I even knew I had the contract and was going to be the official illustrator!

So I was over the moon when I got the green light from Scholastic, confirming that they were going ahead with me!

 
 
 “The Wonky Donkey” book cover by Katz Cowley.

“The Wonky Donkey” book cover by Katz Cowley.

“It was a pleasure to bring Wonky into the world; he has a spirit of his own that reminds us of our own strength, and to stand true in ourselves, no matter what life brings or throws at us, he reminds us that we are often stronger than we know”.

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 Katz Cowley is the Best Selling, Award-winning Illustrator of The Wonky Donkey and a passionate Creative Catalyst, facilitating workshops to reconnect people to their innate, authentic self-expression through drawing and related creatively juicy practices.

Katz Cowley is the Best Selling, Award-winning Illustrator of The Wonky Donkey and a passionate Creative Catalyst, facilitating workshops to reconnect people to their innate, authentic self-expression through drawing and related creatively juicy practices.

 

Wonky’s Background

 

Wonky, being my first published book was both nerve-wracking and exciting to illustrate. 

The signature 'glow' around Wonky was completely unexpected until I started creating the final illustrations, and was something I'd never done before! It did seem to portend something of his glowing presence in the world.

As the illustrator there is a whole world that I am bringing into form and additional features such as the bird character who compliments Wonky and accompanies him along his journey were brought in to create a bit of a relationship and to strengthen the sense of what's happening in Wonky's world as we go through the pages of the book ...

 
 
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Birthing Wonky

 Best selling and, award-winning Illustrator Katz Cowley.

Best selling and, award-winning Illustrator Katz Cowley.

 

When I create characters, I literally sing them to life at the drawing board, and the process is something of a magical one.

The journey of bringing Wonky (and all his friends and successors) into form, was truly a magical 'birthing' process, and I do rather feel like a 'midwife' safely ferrying these characters and creatures into their visual form, translated from the words, through the creative inner workings of me, and onto the page.

A sense of the character comes, from reading the words. It starts off as a feeling. The process then involves 'tuning in' to that feeling of the character and drawing until what comes out on the page matches the 'feeling', and becomes the character on the page.

 Best selling and, award-winning Illustrator Katz Cowley.

Best selling and, award-winning Illustrator Katz Cowley.

In the process, I researched a lot and looked at the anatomy and character of donkeys; I certainly learned a lot about what amazing creatures they are!

Once I felt happy with Wonky's visual presence, I went into the next phase of capturing his different physical attributes, character traits, and moods, according to the cumulative text ...

A lot of this part of the process involves a mirror and the willingness to make something of an idiot of myself, in catching the right, (sometimes rather unflattering), expression in looking at my reflection!

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Luckily, my facial repertoire comfortably stretched to the Wonky expressions I had in mind to capture, though I do not consider it a great claim to fame that my naturally flexible, rubbery face modelled for a stinky Donkeys'!

I guess there will always be something of the artist in any portrait or picture, not least when the artist has modelled for the illustrations and expressions using her own flexible visage! 

(I suppose as Wonky's 'Mum' it is likely there would be some family resemblance!)

 
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Katz Cowley is the Best Selling, Award-winning Illustrator of The Wonky Donkey and a passionate Creative Catalyst, facilitating workshops to reconnect people to their innate, authentic self-expression through drawing and related creatively juicy practices.

For information on all my other books, projects, creations, and workshops, please visit www.katzcowley.com

 

Flabbergasting Facts: Wonky In The World

After being born in a converted stable, Wonky was officially unleashed to bookstores in New Zealand and Australia in October 2009, and despite being without one leg and one eye, Wonky seemed unstoppable, ensuring that by Christmas that year he had gone for seven reprints and become the number one best selling book of all genres in New Zealand for 2009, and was popular in Australia too.

Despite only having three legs, one eye and a bit of a flatulence issue, Wonky went on to win Hearts, initially in New Zealand and Australia, but more recently, worldwide after a lovable, giggling Scottish Granny rippled laughter around the world and set Wonky (kicked Wonky's 'ass'??!!) to new levels of fame and recognition, all very suddenly and unexpectedly.

Wonky was born into being with the help of a dear friend Clark who is a retired teacher with 40 years' experience. He not only kept me fuelled up with pies as I created, but with his wonderful understanding of children's literature he also had the brilliant suggestion that Wonky have a silent companion throughout the book who, despite never being mentioned in the text, would create a relationship that would enhance the illustrations ... and so the bird was born! Also, after much thinking and mulling over what 'naughty' thing Wonky might do on the 'Hanky Panky page' that would not encourage children to do naughty things, it was Clark's brilliant idea that Wonky would be eating underpants from a washing line! Of COURSE!!

Wonky went on to win the prestigious New Zealand Post Children's Choice book award, among others and remained in the number one best selling New Zealand children's spot for 51 weeks, only to be knocked off by his successor, 'Willbee The Bumblebee', my second Illustrated book with Craig Smith.

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Contact Katz Cowley

For Press interviews; Inspirational workshops, talks, appearances & author tours; or Publisher enquiries, please fill in the form, and I will get back to you.

Hee Haw!

 
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Katz Cowley is the Best Selling, Award-winning Illustrator of The Wonky Donkey and a passionate Creative Catalyst, facilitating workshops to reconnect people to their innate, authentic self-expression through drawing and related creatively juicy practices.

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