Rove returns to his 'first love' in latest venture

"My first love was drawing," Rove says.
"My first love was drawing," Rove says. 

When he was just seven-years-old, Aussie comedian Rove McManus began writing and illustrating his own books. 

"As most people probably know me from my 'other' job where I do talking on television, they may be surprised to learn that my first love actually was drawing," McManus told Essential Kids. But while life initially took the father-of-one in a different direction, this month, McManus released two children's books - and he couldn't be prouder.

"It was a truly fulfilling creative experience that I never thought would be anything other than something I did for fun, so it feels very cool that all these years later I can introduce people to not just one but two official books of my very own," he said.

The titles, Disgusting McGrossface and Rocky Lobstar, published by Scholastic Australia, are full of McManus' trademark cheeky humour - and he's pretty sure his seven-year-old self would approve.

"I think it'd be a safe bet to assume he'd be into Rocky Lobstar, especially with the style having a slightly comic book feel to it," McManus said. "But let's be honest, the toilet jokes in Disgusting McGrossface would be right up his alley too, no matter what age."

The 45-year-old says that he's aiming for laughs first and foremost. " My default setting is comedy and I think it's a wonderful tool to engage with readers of any age," McManus adds. "Plus it is just as important to utilise it with your artwork as well as your text."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rove McManus (@rovemcmanus) on

McManus, who has a five-year-old girl, Ruby, with wife Tasma Walton, credits his daughter for inspiring the original concept of Disgusting McGrossface . "It came about from a conversation Ruby and I had after suggesting who would have dropped litter right next to the bin at our local park," he says.

For McManus and Walton, who married in 2009, reading to Ruby has been a key part of family life from an early age.

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 "Admittedly, it used to be a good excuse for me to go into performance mode doing the voices for the characters in each story, which she enjoyed," McManus said. "Now she's able to read by herself makes it a bit trickier to join in but it's still a something we do as a family every night."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Rove McManus (@rovemcmanus) on

The three-time Gold Logie winner believes reading to your kids is "supremely important".

"It's a fantastic way of kick-starting their imagination, not just through the telling of the story but also by finding out what the child thought, what their favourite part or character was and if there's any part that they relate to," he says. "For us, the discussion around the story can be just as important as the book itself."

McManus also has advice for budding cartoonists and authors.

 "Stick with it, no matter what. "I'm living proof that it may be something you can come back to later in life even if you head off in another direction first."

Disgusting McGross face ($17.99)and Rocky Lobstar: Rocky to the Rescue ($14.99) are out now via Scholastic Australia