Dr Bruce Whatley

Children’s picture book illustrator and author

2023 NSW Senior Australian of the Year Nominee

Dr Bruce Whatley overcame a traumatic birth injury to become one of Australia’s most prolific and best-known children’s picture book illustrators and authors.

The tendons in Bruce’s right arm were severed at birth, presenting a life-long challenge. But he went on to a career as an illustrator and art director, and later as an artist, storyteller and writer.

Bruce has written and/or illustrated more than 90 children’s picture books since 1992, winning national and international awards and being published globally. His award-winning titles include The Ugliest Dog in the World and Diary of a Wombat.

He also works to inspire creativity in children, regularly visiting schools and remote communities over the past 30 years to nurture creative writing and art. In the process, he’s helped build self-esteem and stimulated innovative thinking.

Bruce has completed a ground-breaking PhD, ‘Left Hand Right Hand: implications of ambidextrous image making’, exploring ties between art and neuroscience.