David Hardy: The Incredible First Nations Walt Disney Animator and Children’s Book Illustrator and Author

David Hardy Illustrator

David Hardy. Courtesy of Penguin Books Australia, 2022.

David Hardy is an Indigenous artist with more than eight years of feature film animation experience with the Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is a proud Barkindji man and descendant of the people from Brewarrina in north west New South Wales. Hardy has been passionate about drawing ever since he was very young. He grew up taking a pad and pen wherever he went and avidly watched cartoons. The freelance illustrator specialises in caricatures, portraits and character design (Magabala Books, 2022)

Successful Walt Disney animator

In 2000, Hardy joined the Walt Disney Animation Studios, working in one of their highly sought after illustrator roles. During his time at Disney, he had the opportunity to work on 12 feature films! These films included The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata, Tarzan II and Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch and Return to Neverland. Come 2005, Hardy scored the amazing role of Clean-up Animation Director in Manila, Philippines, where he was able to work on the Disney sequel classics The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning and The Fox and the Hound 2 (Magabala Books, 2022).

Passionate Children’s Book Author and Illustrator

On The Way To Nana'sOn The Way To Nana’s illustrated by David Hardy. Courtesy of Magabala Books, 2022.

After his outstanding animation career with Disney, the talented animator decided to head home to Australia to pursue illustrating for children’s picture books. That he did! Hardy has illustrated and written multiple children's book series, and has illustrated for other book titles including On the Way to Nanas, Beatbox Brothers, The Proud Foots and Shaka Shaka Hawaii (Penguin Books, 2022)

David Hardy’s first children's book Alfie’s Search For Destiny was published in 2013, and he has since then released the sequel Alfie's Big Wish. The books were published by Australia’s leading Indigenous publishing house Magabala Books. Alfie’s Search For Destiny is a charming story that follows main character Alfie on his adventure far away from home. At the end of the tale, Alfie realises that he belongs back at home with his family (ABC Radio National, 2013). 

Alfie's Search For Destiny Alfie’s Search For Destiny, by David Hardy. Courtesy of ABC Radio National, 2022.

A lot of careful consideration, time and love went into developing this book over the span of two years. The character profile of Alfie is loosely based around one of Hardy’s cousins and is inspired by his son. In an interview with the ABC Radio National show AWAYE!, Hardy (2013) talked about the inspiration of his son in the book:

“The inspiration behind the book was my son and just seeing the look on his face when my first copy just arrived...He’s been lapping up all of the media as well he was squealing last night when he saw himself on the NITV News.”

Hardy went on to talk about why he has been so passionate about becoming an author and illustrating children's books:

“Books, especially for children’s books education these days is by far the most important thing for kids growing up, and reading skills you need no matter what, so rather than just being glued to a TV I think holding a book and turning the pages is so beneficial for kids.”

At Yarn, we are passionate about supporting and spreading awareness to the wider Australian community about talented Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors, writers and illustrators like David Hardy that are committed to revitalising and sustaining Indigenous language, culture, art and community.