Clarkson, Giselle

Clarkson, Giselle


Primary publisher
Gecko Press

In Brief

Giselle Clarkson is an award-winning illustrator whose work often focuses on the natural world. She has illustrated a range of children’s books and produces comics for The Sapling.

Clarkson, Giselle (1989) is an illustrator living in the Wairarapa region. In 2009 she graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography. Giselle has an interest in the natural environment that shines through in her freelance illustration career, which began in 2014 when she started drawing birds in response to RNZ’s Morning Report bird call, and posting them on Twitter.

In 2015 Giselle began contributing to the NZ School Journal as both a writer and an illustrator. Examples of her work include two eight-page illustrated articles. The first was published in 2017 about New Zealand’s Subantarctic Islands, and the second, Fantastic Penguins, in 2019. Also in 2017, she began publishing monthly comics for The Sapling.

Giselle’s first picture book was The Secret World of Butterflies, written by Courtney Sina Meredith and published by Allen and Unwin in 2018 in collaboration with Auckland Museum. Holly Walker reviewed the illustrations as “richly detailed, colourful, scientifically accurate, but still consistent with Clarkson’s cute trademark googly-eyed style.”

Hazel and the Snails was a junior fiction book written by Nan Blanchard in 2019 and published by Annual Ink (Massey University Press). Giselle’s pencil drawings complement the “honest and simple story” that introduces young readers to the idea of death and dying. This book went on to win the 2020 Storylines Notable Junior Fiction Award. The Gobbledegook Book: A Joy Cowley Anthology was published by Gecko Press later in the same year, with “heavenly illustrations that are poems on the page.” In 2020 The Gobbledegook Book received a White Raven Award, the Storylines Notable Picture Book Award, and was a finalist for the NZCYA Book Awards Picture Book title.  In 2021 it was also shortlisted for the UK Society of Authors Queen’s Knickers Award.

In 2020 Giselle illustrated Egg & Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook, written by Alexandra Tylee and published by Gecko Press. In an interview, Giselle describes how the colour palette for the book was inspired by Alexandra’s cafe, Pipi Cafe in Havelock North. In 2021, the book won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction at the NZCYA Book Awards.

A new edition of Joy Cowley’s The Tiny Woman’s Coat, has been illustrated by Giselle and released in 2021.


The Subantarctic Islands - illustrated article for the NZ School Journal

Fantastic Penguins – illustrated article for the NZ School Journal

Secret World of Butterflies – review by Holly Walker

Hazel and the Snails – review by Susannah Whaley

The Gobbledegook Book – review by Michele Powles

Egg and Spoon - interview between Alexandra Tylee and Giselle Clarkson

Vic Books interview with Giselle Clarkson

Updated June 2022.