Internationally known and renowned writer and illustrator of fiction and non-fiction, Ingpen studied art and illustration under Harold Freedman at the RMIT from 1955-1958. He worked as a graphic designer at CSIRO from 1958 to 1967 before freelancing as a designer, illustrator, writer and consultant.
As well as working in the field of book illustration, Ingpen was also involved in the design of many major projects including stamps for the Captain Cook Bicentenary and the 50th anniversary of CSIRO, the Northern Territory flag and coat of arms, the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, and the Dromkeen Medal. He has painted murals and designed materials for United Nations projects and designed a tapestry commemorating the 150th anniversary of the MCG. The story of the tapestry, woven by members of the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, was told in a book The Tapestry Story : Celebrating 150 Years of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (Lothian Books, 2003). He was one of the founders of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
Ingpen was commissioned to undertake the illustrations for new editions of several classic children's works published by Walker Books including Around the World in Eighty Days (2000), Peter Pan and Wendy (2004), The Ugly Duckling (2005), Treasure Island (2005), The Jungle Book (2006), The Wind in the Willows (2007), Charles Dickens' s A Christmas Carol with 'A Christmas Tree' (2008), Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (2009), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (2010), The Secret Garden (2010) and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (2011).
Ingpen's work reflects his exploration of fantasy and the imagination and his interest in heritage and the environment. The landscapes and portraits in his illustrations are equally powerful. He co-authored with Michael Page (q.v.) the Encyclopedia of Things That Never Were (1985), republished as Out of This World: The Complete Book of Fantasy (1989).
'The Tea and Sugar train only came once a week on a Thursday. But the special Christmas train only came once a year. Today was Sunday. Four more days without sugar. Four more days until the Christmas train. Please, please be on time. Please don't be late. Join Kathleen in the outback as she eagerly awaits the Christmas Tea and Sugar train. Will she meet Father Christmas? Will she receive a Christmas gift from him? A delightful, heart-warming story from the National Library of Australia that will intrigue, captivate and introduce readers to a slice of the past.Wonderful sensitive illustrations, including a beautiful double fold-out image showing the shops inside all the carriages. For 81 years, from 1915 to 1996, the Tea and Sugar Train travelled from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie once a week. It serviced the settlements along the Nullarbor Plain, a 1050-long rail link. It was a lifeline. There were no shops or services in these settlements. The train carried everything they needed: household goods, groceries, fruit and vegetables, a butcher's van, banking facilities and at one time even a theatrette car for showing films.The biggest excitement for the children was the first Thursday of December every year, when Father Christmas travelled the line. He distributed gifts to all the children on the way, including those of railway workers, those in isolated communities, and station kids.' (Publication summary)
Ziba Came on a Boat2007single work picture book children's 'A picture book about a little (Afghan) girl whose family has lost everything and their brave journey across the sea to make a new life.' (Source: QUT Library Catalogue)
Mustara2006single work picture book children's historical fiction 'The year is 1875 and Thomas Elder of Beltana Station fits out explorer Ernest Giles' expedition to find a way across the desert. This story is told by Emmeline Elder's daughter and Taj an Afghan boy whose camel is thought too young and inexperienced to join the expedition until it saves the lives of Emmeline and Taj.' (Source: QUT Library Catalogue)