About Me

Here are some links that will tell you a little more about me.


I have a richly varied career as a writer, illustrator, wearable arts designer and costume props maker for the film and television industry. Presenting arts and crafts on the children’s television programme What Now, and on TV1’s Good Morning Show for a total of 13 years gave me great skills in art demonstration as well as public speaking. I love speaking to a wide variety of audiences!
My training was in Visual Communications Design majoring in illustration, and I’ve illustrated more than 50 picture books for trade and education. In 2004 I graduated from Victoria University with an MA in Creative Writing and I expanded my skills to become a published junior fiction novelist and award-winning nonfiction author.  In 2019 I was Otago University College of Education Children’s Writer in Residence.
26 years of creating garments for the prestigious World of WearableArt™ Awards show, facilitating workshops in creative process and inspirational visits to schools complete my life as a working artist. 

Higher Education

MA Crew (IIML Victoria University 2003) achieved with Merit in Scriptwriting
Art History Levels 1 & 2 (Victoria University 1999-2000)
Diploma Vis Com (Wellington Polytechnic 1980)

Costume & Props

  • WORLD OF WEARABLEART 1995- present Winner of the 2017 Weta Workshop Award
  • 26 entries, all in show, some award winning, many have been bought by the Trust
  • Costume Designer- 'Flip' a short film 2018
  • Costume & Props- 'Tragicomic'- web series by The Candlemakers
  • The Production Shed puppet maker for 'HuHu' Maori Television
  • Weta Workshop WotWot puppet maker 2011
  • 3ft 7 Costume Illustrator for 'The Hobbit' 2010
  • Weta Workshop workshop costumier 'The Lion the Witch & The Wardrobe' 2004
  • Capital E head designer and painter managing a team for 'A Victorian Christmas' street in house installation 2007
  • Waitakere Trash To Fashion award winner 2005
  • Capital E designer and workshop host of various installations and workshops including Circus, Cuba St Carnival and Medieval Madness

Writing & Publishing
  • Michael King Writer in Residence 2020 (Easter Residency)
  • Otago University of Education, Creative New Zealand Children's Book Writer in Residence 2019
  • Author of 3 published junior fiction novels and illustrator of over 30 picture book titles.
  • Author of 5 published non fiction titles
  • Writer in Schools NZ Book Council/ Read NZ
  • Weta Workshop: 2003 trainee scriptwriter for Jane & the Dragon, with Martin Baynton (creator of Jane & the Dragon and The Wot Wots)
  • Next Magazine (ACP) Columnist 1995- 2003 with a regular witty verse and illustration column and the occasional article.
  • About Kids Magazine (ACP) regular columnist and illustrator
  • What Now Magazine 1984- 86 art director and illustrator

Workshops, Teaching and Presenting

  • Teacher & facilitator for Draw Like an Artist and Write Like an Author holiday camps for kids. https://www.drawlikeanartist.com
  • ReadNZ- Writers in Schools presenter https://www.read-nz.org/writer/colston-fifi/
  • Duffy Role Model: Duffy Books in Homes https://www.booksinhomes.org.nz/Home
  • Storylines Festival Tour author/illustrator (includes Bus Tour around Auckland Schools, Family Festival days in Wellington, New Plymouth and Auckland and running writing and illustration workshops)
  • Workshop Creator & Presenter Te Papa, Wellington Museums Trust (Museum of City & Sea, Capital E)
  • Costume Workshop tutor for Wearable Arts, Artsplash & Smokefree Schools WOW Quest (since 2004). Working with teachers wanting to extend their knowledge for curriculum, adults wishing to enter the awards and students creating wearable art at school.
  • Art tutor: Bristol City Council Artists in Schools Programme (UK) 2002
  • T.V Presenter  2006- 2011, weekly on the Good Morning Show (TV1), children’s arts and crafts and art presenter on ‘What Now’ 1986- 1993.
  • Tutoring at Christchurch and Wellington Design Schools in Graphic Techniques, Book Illustration, 2d Design Fundamentals, Drawing, Illustration and Text, Commercial Illustration and Business Practice (for final year Design and Craft Design students), on and off until 2005.
  • Life Drawing Tutor Wellington High School Community Education classes 2009

Teamwork, exhibitions and residencies

  • Michael King Writer in Residence 2020 (Easter Residency)
  • 2019 Otago University of Education, Creative New Zealand Children's Book Writer in Residence
  • Co-convenor of Spinning Gold ’09, New Zealand’s first national conference for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators held in Wellington September 2009.
  • NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Judge  2008
  • Past Convener of the WCBA (Wellington Children’s Book Association 2006-2009).
  • Storylines Festival Committee member 2003-2012
  • Past President of the New Zealand Illustrator’s Guild (NZIG).
  • Past President of the Christchurch’s Artist, Designers& Illustrators (ADI).
  •  Velvet Resurrection Exhibition, Deluxe CafĂ© and  Nelson WOW Museum Gallery 2008
  •  Bountiful Burlesque Life Drawing Exhibition, Deluxe Cafe, Wellington 2012
  • Artist in Residence New Pacific Studio, Mt Bruce, April- May 2007. WOW costume creation and choreographed a performance piece for the local ANZAC day memorial service on the recently renovated Memorial Bridge.
  • Artist in residence Island Bay School. One month working with selected students to create a piece of Wearable Art that reflected their environment and involved art from each child in the school.

Book Awards

  •  Janie Olive - A Recipe for Disaster:  Fifi Colston  Storylines Notable Book Junior Fiction for 2006.
  • Itiiti’s Gift : Melanie Drewery & Fifi Colston Storylines Notable Book- picture book 2007
  • Glory: Fifi Colston Storylines Notable Book Junior Fiction 2010 
  • Glory: Fifi Colston  Finalist LIANZA Esther Glen Award 
  • The Red Poppy - David Hill & Fifi Colston 2013 Storylines Notable Picture Book for 2013
  • Wearable Wonders- Fifi Colston  Non Fiction Finalist New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2014
  • Wearable Wonders- Fifi Colston  Non Fiction Winner Elsie Locke Award Non Fiction  LIANZA 2014
  • Wearable Wonders- Fifi Colston  Storylines Notable Book- Non Fiction 2014
  • Ghoulish get Ups- Fifi Colston Finalist Non Fiction New Zealand Children & Young Adult Book Awards 2015
  • Ghoulish get Ups- Fifi Colston Storylines Notable Book Award Non Fiction 2015
  • Wild Cards- Fifi Colston Tessa Duder Award Fiction Finalist 2016
  • Torty and the Soldier- Jennifer Beck & Fifi Colston Storylines Notable Book Award 2018
  • Torty and the Soldier- Jennifer Beck &  Fifi Colston Finalist New Zealand Children & Young Adult Book Awards 2018

Published Titles

  • The Old Man and The Cat- Anthony Holcroft (Whitcoulls) 1984
  • Mr Magee Comes Home for his Tea- Janet Slater-Redhead (Scholastic)1984
  • Rain- Barbara Hill (Scholastic)1984
  • The Oldest Garden in China- Anthony Holcroft (Whitcoulls) 1985
  • Not Without Randolph- Ruth Corrin (Scholastic)1993
  • Fifi's Crafty Arts (book one)-- Fifi Colston (Scholastic)1995
  • Fifi's Crafty Arts (book two) Fifi Colston (Scholastic)1995
  • Fifi's Festive Fun- Fifi Colston (Scholastic)1995
  • Midnight Feast- Elizabeth Pulford (Scholastic)1996
  • Get Real Paddy Manson- Ruth Corrin (Harper Collins)1996
  • This Tail- Brosie Browne (Lands End)1996
  • It's My Bread- Diana Noonan (Learning Media)1997
  • Dear Tom- Diana Noonan (Lands End)1997
  • Mystery Valley- John Parsons (Nelson ITP)2000
  • The Great Egg Problem- Quentin Flynn (Nelson ITP)2000
  • Going Places- Margaret Cahill (Learning Media) 2000
  • Brother Trouble- Anna Kenna (Learning Media )2001
  • The Great New Zealand Activity Book (NZ Illustrators’ Guild) 2000
  • Toroa (The Albatross) Hannah Rainforth (Huia) 2001
  • Kei te Papa Kainga- Te Waari Carekeek (Huia)2003
  • Nga Taonga O Te Kaitiora- Wiremu Grace (Huia) 2002
  • Te Takaro Tirama – Robina Broughton (Huia)2003
  • Te Ao Ahuahanga - Chelsea Wharepapa (Hui) 2003
  • My Brother-  Sally Sutton (Learning Media) 2003
  • Tylers Tower-  Vivienne Joseph  (Learning Media) 2004
  • My Name is Laloifi- Dan Taulapa McMullin (Learning Media) 2005
  • Waka Wairua- Yvonne Morrison (Reed) 2005
  • Finding Tibs-  Sian Burling-Claridge (Learning Media) 2006
  • Papa’s Island- Melanie Drewery (Reed) 2006
  • Itiiti’s Gift - Melanie Drewery (Reed) 2006
  • Various-  School Journal Illustrations and covers for The Australian School MagazineScholastic, Lift Education, Learning Media, Shortlands, McMillan, Longman Paul, TVNZ Enterprises
  • Fifi Verses The World- Steel Roberts 2000
  • Verity’s Truth  Junior Fiction (Scholastic) 2003
  • Glory Junior Fiction (Scholastic) 2004 
  • Janie Olive - A Recipe for Disaster   Junior Fiction (Scholastic) 200
  • I Mind One Time- Hugh McDowell (Stevens Publishing)2010
  • A Place to Sleep- Andrea Foot (Learning Media)  2012
  • The Red Poppy- David Hill (Scholastic) 2012
  • Far Far From Home - Elizabeth Pulford (Scholastic) 2012
  • Wearable Wonders - Fifi Colston (Scholastic) 2013
  • Ghoulish Get Ups- Fifi Colston  (Scholastic) 2014
  • Torty and the Soldier - Jennifer Beck (Scholastic) 2017
  • Toughen Up Andrew- Anne Manchester (Makaro Press) 2017
  • Grandad's Guitar - Janine McVeagh (Makaro Press) 2017
  • Andrew Down Under- Anne Manchester, Makaro Press 2018 
  • 6 x portraits for: Go Girl by Barbara Else- Penguin 2018  (finalist NZCYA finalist 2019
  • The Best Stick- Fifi Colston , Pukeko Pictures 2019
  •  The Last Crayon- Fifi Colston , Pukeko Pictures 2019
  • Lockdown Sketchmind- Fifi Colston, Cuba Press 2020
  •  The Little Yellow Digger Saves Christmas- Peter Gilderdale, Scholastic 2020
  •  Marvellous Marvin- Nadia Lim, Scholastic 2020

Exhibited WOW garments and awards:

1995- ‘Treasured Thicket’ (with Sylvia Campbell, Robyn Martin) Bizarre Bra Finalist
1997- ‘The Secret Garden’ Man Unleashed Finalist (purchased by Trust)
1998- ‘The Bee Cup’- Bizarre Bra Finalist (purchased by Trust)
1999- ‘The Topsy Turvy Dolly Chick’ Children's  Highly Commended
2000- ‘Flash Yer Tits’ Bizarre Bra Commended (purchased by Trust)
2000- ‘The Ideal Woman’ Bizarre Bra Highly Commended (purchased by Trust)
2001- ‘Come out of Your Shell’ Children's Section Finalist (purchased by Trust)
2002- ‘Collecting Gargoyles’ Bizarre Bra Finalist (purchased by Trust)
2003- ‘Bodice Ripper’ Bizarre Bra Finalist
2004- ‘Love is a Temporary Madness Bizarre Bra Finalist
2005- ‘Sophia’s Story’ Air New Zealand South Pacific Finalist
2006- ‘Virtual Realittity’  (with Chris Chitty) Bizarre Bra Finalist  
2006 -‘Body Type’ Illumination Illusion Finalist
2007- ‘ Persephone in Cuba St’ Illumination Illusion Finalist  (purchased by Trust)
2008- ‘The Birth of Venus’ Air New Zealand South Pacific Highly Commended (purchased by Trust)
2009- ‘Kunugi Kodama' Children's Section Finalist
2010- ‘Lady Curiosity'  Avant Garde Commended (purchased by Trust)
2011- ‘Vena Immaculata' Geni Excellence Section Honourable Mention
2012- Exhibition garment:  ‘Come out of Your Shell’ Children's Section
2013 'Angel's Trippy Trumpet' Man Unleashed  Honourable Mention
2014- 'Mighty Acorns' Bizarre Bra Finalist 
2014- 'Talofa Lava' Air New Zealand Pacific Section Finalist
2015- 'Morphology' with Josiene Van Maarseveen  Weta Workshop: Other Worlds Finalist
2016- 'Poutini's Mother Lode' Aotearoa Section Finalist
2017- 'The Organ Farmer' Weta Workshop Other Worlds Section finalist and WINNER 
2018- 'Jellytits' Bizarre Bra Finalist 
2018- 'Bower' Bizarre Bra Finalist 

Garments purchased by The WOW Trust have been exhibited at various times in the WOW Museum in Nelson and in mini shows in both New Zealand and overseas..  

Persephone in Cuba Street and Lady Curiosity featured in the 2 year nationwide touring 'Off The Wall Exhibition'   

Lady Curiosity toured for 5 years in the International travelling Exhibition 'WOW World of

WearableArt’ and has been included, with my biographical story in the publication ‘World of

WearableArt: 30 Designers tell their stories’ Potton& Burton 2015