Vale Kim Gamble

kimI had the great pleasure of meeting Kim a few years ago in the Blue Mountains at a workshop. He was a lovely man and a great illustrator. He had a lot of time and patience for me. I went from drawing stick figures and unidentifiable blobs to something okay in the space of a few hours. He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered. Thank you Kim.  (KJ – 3/3/16)

This is one of many articles printed about him.

Kim Gamble, Tashi creator, dies at 63



February 20, 2016


  • Jacqui Taffel
  •  The Australian children’s literature world has been shaken by the death of Sydney illustrator Kim Gamble, who died on Friday aged 63.Gamble created the lively, elfin boy with the towering curl of hair and gypsy earrings, who looked nothing like the authors initially imagined, more than 20 years ago.”He is a bit weird but still, somehow, he fits in,” Gamble said of his creation.Since the first book appeared in 1995, Tashi has become an iconic children’s character with more than a million books sold in Australia and New Zealand. The stories have been translated into more than 20 languages, adapted for television and won international fans including Angelina Jolie. Elfin … One of Gamble’s many Tashi covers. Anna Fienberg called Gamble’s imagination “a magic gift which he shared with the world”.”He developed the deliberate silences left in the text, creating the world lying beneath. He extended the themes, feelings, light in the landscape, helping me discover what I had written.Gamble was 36 when he got his first professional illustration job, The Magnificent Nose by Anna Fienberg, published in 1991. He went on to draw pictures for more than 70 books.  “His empathy for children and childhood is untouched,” she added.When asked about the success of the Tashi series, Gamble said, “It’s very popular because he’s the smallest kid in the class and in every story he’s up against the odds … and he uses his head, he doesn’t fight to get out of the problem. I think kids really just enjoy how cleverness beats brawn.” Read more: Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook
  • – with Nick Galvin
  • Gamble’s favourite book as a child was Moominsummer Madness, by Finnish writer Tove Jansson, and artists he admired included Marc Chagall and Odilon Redon.
  • Children’s literature specialist Judith Ridge called Gamble “one of the greatest children’s book illustrators this country has ever produced”.
  • “Working with Kim was like learning a new way to see. It was perhaps the magical appearance of Tashi that inspired us to go deeper into the mythical land of dragons, witches, giants, ogres … the world lying beneath.”
  • “I was so amazingly lucky to work with him for 20 years, making books together,” she said.
  • A self-taught artist, Gamble began drawing as a child, “For its own sake and to get things out of my system. As the youngest of four, whenever I was angry because I wasn’t getting my own way, I’d go into my room, take a sheet of paper and a pencil, fill the sky with jet planes and draw soldiers all over the ground. Then I’d attack them – zzzooomm BLAT! BOOM! BLAT! – with long fast lines and lots of squiggles. After 10 minutes, the ground was a mess of destruction and I’d feel much better. I also drew flowers, when I couldn’t contain my happiness.”
  • Gamble set the books in an Australian suburban backyard. Tashi’s friend Jack’s house was a blend of his own childhood home in Killara, a family home in Dungog, Anna Fienberg’s backyard and the home he built for daughters Greer and Arielle at Teralba.
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  • Iconic illustrator Kim Gamble, creator of Tashi, has died. Photo: Supplied
  • The much-loved, award-winning artist is known for illustrating the best-selling Tashi books, written by mother and daughter authors Barbara and Anna Fienberg.
  • Magical imagination … Kim Gamble at work in his Manly studio in 2006. Photo: Simon Alekna

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