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Steven Woolman (1969-2004) Biography

Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

Born 1969, in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; died April 30, 2004, in Australia; Education: University of South Australia, B. A. (graphic design), 1990.


Illustrator. ERA Publications, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, production staff member, 1990-2004.


Honors Awards

Picture Book of the Year citation, 1995, for The Watertower, and Notable Book selections, 1995, for Peter and the Polar Bear, 1996, for The Lighthouse, and 1997, for Tagged, all from Australian Children's Book Council; IBBY Ena Noel Award, 1997, for body of work.



Budgie, Omnibus Books (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2001.


Janeen Brian and Gwen Pascoe, There Was a Big Fish, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1992.

Rodney Martin, Wise and Wacky Works by Anonymous, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1993.

Kath Lock and Francis Kelly, Kuan Yin, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1994.

Elizabeth Best, Peter and the Polar Bear, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1994.

Gary Crew, The Watertower, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1994.

Dyan Blacklock, The Lighthouse, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1995.

Gary Crew, Caleb, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1996.

Gary Crew, Tagged, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1997.

Gary Crew, The Cave, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 1999.

Paul Collins, Out of This World, Koala Books (Mascot, New South Wales, Australia), 1999.

Taz Razzle, Busybodies abc, ERA Publications (Adelaide, South Australia, Australia), 2000.

Christopher Cheng, One Child, Crocodile Books (New York, NY), 2000.

Isobelle Carmody, Dreamwalker, Thomas C. Lothian (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2001.

Isobelle Carmody, Wildheart, Omnibus Books (Norwood, South Australia, Australia), 2002.

Gary Crew, Beneath the Surface!, Hodder Headline (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), 2004.

Mark Svendsen, Kestrel, Lothian Books (South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 2005.


Australian illustrator Steven Woolman was an author and illustrator of several award-winning children's picture books. He worked in a wide range of media and was influenced largely by the old movies he watched as a child while growing up. Woolman died on April 30, 2004 at the age of thirty-four.

Woolman once told Something about the Author: "I've always been interested in the macabre and been attracted to tales of horror and the supernatural. My teen years were filled with images from horror and black and white B-grade science fiction movies, TV shows and comics, and this has had a lasting influence on my work and the way I visualize stories. Looking back, I think the attraction to horror was not so much the thrill of being scared, but more the visual style with which these stories were told. Films such as The Shining and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (even schlock-horror splatter movies like Evil Dead ) excited me through their use of closeups and strange angles, weird lighting, and cutaways. I find now when I begin illustrating manuscripts that my first step is to play out the action in my mind as though it were a movie, and the cinematic influence usually remains in the finished product. The Watertower was my first macabre book, and since it was aimed at an older audience I felt licensed to try a more sophisticated visual style and design. With its surreal photorealism, black borders, and wide-screen presentation, the book is very much a homage to those movies I watched in my teens. Caleb, the follow-up, also uses some of the same devices, with its unnatural viewpoints and manipulation of shadow and light.

"This is not to say all my work is horror-based and dark. I am after all a children's book illustrator and a large body of my work is humorous in nature and aimed at a younger age group. Books such as Peter and the Polar Bear and The Lighthouse are both complete diversions from my books for older readers, and I enjoyed the challenge of creating them just as much."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Horn Book, May-June, 1998, Kathleen T. Horning, review of The Watertower, p. 330.

Publishers Weekly, January 19, 1998, review of The Watertower, p. 378.

School Library Journal, August, 2000, Kathy Piehl, review of One Child, p. 146.


Steve Woolman Home Page, http://www.frontierisp.net/au/~woolman/ (July 6, 2005).



Horn Book, September-October, 2004, p. 621.


Adelaide Children's Library Web site, http://www.adelaidecitycouncil.com/childrenslibrary/ (July 6, 2005), "Steven Woolman."*

Additional topics

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