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About me

I am an artist and illustrator based in the seaside village of Thirroul, south of Sydney.

My free-ranging experiences as a child growing up in the bushy outskirts of Sydney gave me a love of the patterns and textures to be found there and in the wider landscape. Tangles of sticks and foliage, rusted corrugated iron sheds, the cluttered shapes of houses scattered along the Illawarra coastline, or the debris that washes up on its shores - all provide an endless source of inspiration. Many of my drawings suggest that there might be a story lurking somewhere in them, even when they are not illustrating a specific text, as much of my working life has been as an illustrator of magazines and books on travel, gardening or accounting.

In 2006 my first children's picture book, The Nightfish, was published. A milestone for me as children's literature has been an abiding interest ever since I first discovered some old volumes of fairy tales in a bookcase at my grandmother's house.

I am currently working on a couple of other children's book manuscripts as well as a series of pastel drawings inspired by sea and shore and have taken up woodwork in order to perfect the craftsmanship of my assemblages.

All in my new studio with its wonderful natural light!!!

Selected Biography

Training and Education

2003 / Writing for Children, Continuing Education Course with Libby Gleeson

2000 - 2002 / Charlie Sheard School of Historical Oil Painting Techniques
1968-1971 / Diploma in Art Education from National Art School, Sydney

Teaching and Employment

1980 - present / Exhibiting Artist

1975 - present / Freelance Illustrator

1984 - 2009 / Drawing Teacher, Leisure Learning, West Ryde, Sydney 

1972 - 1975 / Secondary School Art Teacher, Forest High School, Sydney

Children’s Books

2006 / The Nightfish, published by The Five Mile Press

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2006 / The Nightfish, A-Space on Cleveland, Surry Hills, Sydney 

2003 / Portals and Pathways, A-Space on Cleveland, Surry Hills, Sydney 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

2013 /From Life, 107 Projects, Redfern NSW

2003-12 / The Annual Dog Shows, A-Space on Cleveland, 2010 Prize Winner, Surry Hills

2009 / From Here to the Next, Berrima District Art Society, Bowral 

2007 / Playing the Landscape, Frog Rock Cellar Door, Mudgee

2006 / Tangents, Wilson Street Gallery, Newtown 

2003 / John Copes Prize for Representational Art, Berrima District Art Society, Winner, Berrima

2003 / Sydney Works on Paper Fair, Fox Studios, Sydney


My work has been published in many magazines including Australian House and Garden, Belle, Charter Magazine, The Australian Weekend Magazine and The Australian Review of Travel. Please have a look through my Illustration portfolio for further details.

Illustration - Selected Publications

2010 / Cover Art, Crab, Tim Clarkson Trio, Jazzgroove Records

2010 / Pylon floral illustrations for FIFA Fan Fest, Sydney 

2007 / By George! Laneway storybook, City of Sydney Council, Angel Place 

2007 / Australian Animal Christmas Projection Designs, The Electric Canvas, Sydney Town Hall 

1994 - 2002 / Travel Review, The Australian Weekend Magazine, News Limited

1989 - 2000 / Australian House and Garden, ACP (now Bauer Media)

1998 - 2000 / Charter Magazine, Institute of Chartered Accountants

1984 - 1990 / Belle Magazine, ACP 

1980 - 1990 / Readers Digest

1975 - 1985 / Cosmopolitan Magazine and Dolly Magazine, ACP 

Illustration - Selected Books

2001 / The Gardener's Companion, Mary Moody, New Holland

2000 / Letters to Gardeners, Edna Walling, New Holland 

1998 / Coasting, Susan Kurosawa, Hodder Headline

1995 / The Joy of Travel, Susan Kurosawa, Harper Collins

1993 / The Compost Book, David and Yvonne Taylor, Reed Books

1990 / Our World of Gardening, Sandra & Graham Ross, Simon & Schuster

1986 / Herbs & Spices, Brenda Little, Reed Books

1985 / The Complete Guide to Australian Gardening, Alan Seale, Reed Books

Prizes and Accolades
2018 / Pirtek Still Life Prize, Highly Commended, Bowral Art Gallery, Bowral 

2005 / Cheltenham GHS Art Show, Winner, Painting Section also Highly Commended, Drawing Section, Cheltenham 

2004 / Denistone East Public School, Winner, Denistone

2004  /  The John Copes Prize for Representational Art, Commended, Berrima District Art Society, Berrima

2004  /  Tyree-Tycan Works on Paper Prize, Highly Commended, Berrima District Art Society, Berrima

2003 / The John Copes Prize for Representational Art, Winner, Berrima District Art Society, Berrima

Bangkok series - flotsam and jetsam_edited_edited.png

Childrens' Books

My first published children's book.

Publication: The Nightfish 

Author + Illustrator: Helen McCosker

Published by: The Five Mile Press

Year: 2006

Original Artworks: Oil on Canvas


Ant loves fishing with his father. One night, he catches a fish that glows like a star in the sea. Ant calls it his nightfish and takes it home where its luminous glow lights his bedroom. Out of the sea, the nightfish gradually fades and Ant searches for food to restore it to its former brilliance. Meanwhile, the other creatures of the sea are upset about the loss of their ‘lightfish’. In retribution, they steal the harbour lights, street lights and even the lighthouse! Ant realises that the only way to correct the chaos is to return the nightfish to the sea.


"...McCosker’s stunning paintings use colour to wonderful effect - deep blues and purple for the night scenes, amber and gold for the radiant bedroom, sharp aqua and yellow for blindingly bright daylight hours. Children will also love the challenge of searching for the pelican in every scene.." (QLD Premier's Reading Challenge, 2009)

Some other books in progress

Working Title: The Hole in the Sky

Author + Illustrator: Helen McCosker

Status: Work in progress

Original Artworks: Pencil + Pastel on paper

Brief storyline:

Working Title: Arabella and the Neon Clucks

Author + Illustrator: Helen McCosker

Status: Work in progress

Original Artworks: Pencil + Pastel on paper

Brief storyline:

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