The Illustration Room

Category: Herds of Birds

Matt Canning illustrations for Rush Oh!

August 28, 2015 In his first commission for a novel Matt Canning’s rustic, hand-drawn illustrations feature on the cover and inside page of the beautifully designed novel Rush Oh!, the debut novel by award winning Australian screen writer Shirley Barrett.

See his characters here on the cover sitting on old original whaling images from back in the 1900’s. “This was a fascinating and rewarding project. Shirley provided lots of archive material of Eden and the Davidson family, so I had a wealth of photography and imagery to work with. This was important because the whaling scenes, the clothing and the geography all had to be accurate. The brief required me to ‘step into’ the shoes of a 19 year-old female amateur artist, which was a challenge, as the finished drawings had to be aesthetically pleasing, whilst having a crude naivety to them. I achieved this by working quicker and holding back on the finer details that I would perhaps usually add to my work.”

Set in 1908 near the township of Eden on the South Coast of New South Wales Rush Oh! is a story about family, fish and animals; and about trying to come to terms with life’s disappointments. It is also a celebration of an extraordinary episode in Australian history, when a pod of Killer whales and a family of whalers formed a fond, unique allegiance. Published by Picador Australia.

Listen to author Shirley Barrett discuss the story behind Rush Oh! and see the beautiful beach side scenery of Eden here at this link….

Shirley is best known for her work as a screen‐writer and director. Her first film, “Love Serenade” won the Camera D’Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996.



Matt Canning for Habitus Magazine

October 1, 2014 Art of the Monograph – not an easy article to illustrate but as always Matt Canning conceptualized a terrific illustration for Habitus Magazine. “I was thinking along the lines of visual perspectives, so I chose a spiral staircase that doubles up as an eyeball. For the secondary illustration, I wanted to show the same ‘staircase’, but from side on, so you just see the heads of the guys over the lip of wall surrounding it, as they’re walking down the steps.”

Matt Canning illustrates clocks of London

April 28, 2014 Matt Canning was commissioned to illustrate “A guide to the Famous Clocks of London”. Some featured here.