Joanne Brooker

Joanne Brooker

StanCross2020BookIllustration 2

  Winner of the 2019 Stan Cross Award for Book Illustration, Joanne Brooker is a professional illustrator and art tutor.

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 Formerly an editorial illustrator with News Ltd newspapers from1992 until 2001, Joanne left to travel and work around the world as a freelance artist.   Joanne is the writer and illustrator of Qit the Sand Cat, a book she created in Qatar to introduce children of the region to the unique fauna in the desert. Joanne’s book Bandar Finds Something Beautiful is a lushly colourful picture book based on an Indian wedding she attended in  Hyderabad and her experiences travelling all over India.  Her next book The Cartoonist is inspired by her time as a political cartoonist for News Ltd and her experiences in Arab countries and China, where political cartooning is highly censored and sometimes even dangerous.

This book is an allegory on this subject within a childrens’ picture book, which can also be read as a story about bullying.  Joanne's upcoming book The Voice Box is a picture book on growing up.  

Joanne designs and tutors a wide variety of art workshops which she has successfully taken all over Australia, Dubai and Qatar. Her workshops include Cartooning, Caricature, Political cartooning, Manga Character Creation, Picture book design, Drawing Basics, Basics of Oil Painting and Memoir book creation. Each workshop has been customised to fit Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced students. 

All Beginner workshops have been created to take students without any artistic background to a place where they can access their own abilities creating their own visual ideas.

Intermediate workshops challenge students to take their abilities to a higher level. These steps are to encourage students to consider their art in a new context, to move forward with their art and to improve their techniques.

Advanced workshops are to refine technique, to teach students to demand of themselves improved quality and to learn to SEE as an artist. These workshops include folio work and information on working as a professional.

Most recently, Joanne ran Manga Workshops at the Brisbane State Library for their Summer Festival.  

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Photos: Manga Illustration Workshop 2020  
For a description of the wide range of Art, Illustration and Cartoon Workshops the Joanne offers,  please go to the Workshops and Talks tab above.

Joanne has toured the world as a caricature entertainer working for hundreds of clients including Qatari Royalty.

Joanne also creates commissioned artwork for private and corporate clients.

Awards Received:

  •  Queensland Media Awards Best Political cartoon 2003/2006/2007
  •  NSW Journalism Awards. Best Artwork 2005.
  •  Bringing Down the House. Old Parliament House, Canberra, Australia. People’s Choice Award.
  •  The Stanley Awards. Artist of the Year. Gold Stanley, Caricaturist of the Year, Best Realist Artist.
  •  Coffs Harbour Rotary Awards. Best caricature. Five times awarded.
  •  The Clarion Award. 2011
  •  Walkley Awards. State Finalist.
  •  Stan Cross Award - Book Illustrator 2019          

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Previous Stan Cross and Rotary Awards


Each workshop has been customised to fit Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced students. Workshops have been created for ages five to seven, seven to twelve, twelve to sixteen and sixteen upwards.

Beginner workshops have been created to take students without a specific artistic background to a place where they can access their own abilities creating their own visual ideas.

Intermediate workshops take students to a more challenging level. These steps are to encourage students to consider their art in a new context, to move forward with their art and to improve their techniques.

Advanced workshops are to refine technique, to teach students to demand of themselves improved quality and to learn confidence as an artist. These workshops include folio work and information on working as a professional artist.

Each workshop comes with schedule breakdown according to time allocated. Each can be adapted from  two hours to two weeks. All workshops come with a materials list and set up information. Blue Card and references available.

Cartoon Workshop 

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                                                              Camira State School - October, 2020

Cartoons have become a huge part of our lives. How?

Look around you. Artists have been creating cartoon characters for centuries. Today it is big business and a viable employment prospect.

Joanne’s workshops explore all aspects of cartooning yesterday, today and tomorrow. Students learn cartooning techniques; create their own characters, role-play them into existence and then think about how we might use them. We explore all the outlets for the creative and original artist. We look at cartooning as a form of artistic communication. 

Cartooning is an individual art, it has no hard and fast rules and it shouldn’t. Each person can create their own art without the restriction. We will look at cartoonists who have broken the rules with great success. Think of The Simpsons,. They’re yellow!

Advertising is another common ground for cartooning. Think of all of the famous cartoons used in advertising products.The creatures that populate our movies had to be created by an artist. Aliens, Toy Story, Monsters Inc and hundreds more only come to life when an artist takes up his pencil. We will look at the movie characters and how they were created. Consider computer animation as cartooning.  

The Art of Caricature

This is one of the MOST POPULAR workshops popular with kids and adults alike! 

Joanne will take you through the steps needed to understand faces and how to become aware of your brains natural tendency to recognise faces as caricatures. This fascinating workshop will explain how we SEE faces and how to interpret this using easy techniques.Learn the anatomy of faces, how to interpret personality and how to exaggerate faces and keep likeness. Learn how to draw friends and family caricatures! 

This is a great workshops for students to understand portraiture and for advanced students in High End Caricature Portraiture.

Book Character Creation

Joanne will take students though examples of effective book illustration and how it has changed and adapted over time. Students will create a character from their imagination and add it to their own story. Learn how to write a character bio. Try a variety of materials and styles to learn how this affects the look and feel of a character. Then learn how to draw the character in a wide variety of poses and situations. Students will create a short illustrated story based on the processes learned.

Beginner Manga Drawing Workshop


Samples of Manga artwork. The variety of styles on Manga art and how it is used in comics, graphic novels and animation. Breakdown of styles, features, linework and expressions.

Drawing Excercises:

Drawing manga heads and faces

  • General Construction of faces using shapes and structure lines
  • Male and female faces.
  • How to change proportions

Animating faces

  • Changing the angle and direction. Side view, extreme angles, up and down, how to turn the face in any direction.

Drawing details:

  • Drawing eyes. Drawing a variety of manga eye styles
  • Drawing hair. Hair styles, movement, accessories.
  • Drawing expressions. Male and female expressions. Anger, fear, love, etc

Students practise drawing faces using their choice of eyes, hair, accessories and view controls learned.

Each student creates a series of male and female character heads based on the drawing excercises.

Each student chooses the characters they are most happy with.

Each student shows the class their characters. The student explains why they have chosen their characters and how they have created them.

Class critiques the characters and discusses how the collected characters can relate to each other.


The aim and objective for my Memoir illustration Workshops is to introduce a new dynamic view of narrative illustration within the context of personal memoir creation.

This course covers all the areas of thought process, using suitable materials, sketching from life, working from photographs, layout and working finished images.

The practical elements require learners to follow simple drawing exercises to develop a style they can use to illustrate their personal memoir.

Artwork is created with practical application to print and working in conjunction with words and page layout.

I have designed a program that students can easily create artwork without extensive artistic training. The focus is on the thought process more than artistic technique.

I emphasise that memoir illustration is an accessible art form open to all people regardless of their age or perceived artistic abilities. Memoir Illustration opens up an art form that is personal and enjoyable creating a sense of artistic fulfilment and confidence.

This is an intensive course that covers a wide range of areas.

All attendants will create a finished piece of artwork based on the areas covered


 Illustration Workshop

Illustration is a visualisation such as a drawing, painting, photograph or other work of art that stresses subject more than form.

The aim of an illustration is to elucidate or decorate a story, poem or piece of textual information (such as a newspaper article), traditionally by providing a visual representation of something described in the text. Illustrations can be used to display a wide range of subject matter and serve a variety of functions for example giving faces to characters in a story

Displaying a number of examples of an item described in an academic textbook.

Students will practice a variety of styles using different mediums. They will then choose the style they are most comfortable with which will be used to illustrate a short story or poem.


Beginner Oil Painting Portrait Course

  • Set up painting area and equipment.
  • Gesso canvas
  • Choose images/ reference
  • Sketch pad with basic drawing exercises. Structure lines. 
  • Colour work. Reference regards colour to convey emotion, warm, cool, forward, retreating.
  • Test colour exercises. 
  • Choose colours for each painting, limited palette, and different colour wheel.
  • Sketches drafted onto canvas. TINT on canvas
  • Underpainting
  • Tester exercises on tint values. Limited palette work. Demo on portrait styles.
  • Colour mixing.
  • Begin underpainting on canvases.
  • Paint techniques
  • Scrumbling, wet on wet, smooth mixing tec.
  • Palette knife painting demo.
  • Details: eyes, hair, clothing, Small portrait testers.
  • Demo on thin to fat painting. 
  • Recap lessons and techniques regard the paintings progress.
  • Backgrounds, flat, graduations, details, clothing, etc
  • Glazing and Varnish. Finalising paintings.
  • Review, styles. Successes, problems, over painting, 
  • Exhibitions. Archibald’s. Further goals, Areas to recap. Testers, sketching. Live work.




  • Joanne's talent and patience was hugely appreciated, as were her interesting stories about her experience as an artist and political cartoonist. Our students thoroughly enjoyed how relaxed and warm Jo was!

    St John Fisher College - August 2022

    St John Fisher College - August 2022
    Joanne Brooker
  • Just quickly checking in to say thank you SO much for taking the time and effort to connect with us on Wednesday. The students loved it!
    You have a great way of speaking to children at their level, so I hope they’ll always have the benefit of being part of your life’s work.

    Qatar Online School - May 2021

    Qatar Online School - May 2021
    Joanne Brooker
  • Our Year 3 and 4 students just loved drawing with Jo. She showed them how easy it was to create characters by building on simple steps. They were so engaged and very proud of their results.

    Islamic College of Brisbane - September 2020

    Islamic College of Brisbane - September 2020
    Joanne Brooker
  • A special thank you for supporting our cultural festival for youth, Voices on the Range this year. We were very pleased you were able to participate in a project which boosts the profile of English and literacy in the Darling Downs community.

    Voices on the Range, Toowoomba - May 2006

    Voices on the Range, Toowoomba - May 2006
    Joanne Brooker
  • Adults and children alike were amused and delighted by her work. Her enthusiasm was infectious and many of the children asked for extra sessions.
    Joanne has a flair for entertaining as well as education and is a very talented artist.

    Northern Territory Library - 2001

    Northern Territory Library - 2001
    Joanne Brooker


Speaker type

  • Author
  • Illustrator / Designer
  • Cartoonist
Joanne Brooker