As a small child, Berry artist Cheryl Westenberg would sit beside her father in the evenings as he drew and sketched to unwind from his working day.
Even at that tender age, she told herself she would one day grow up to be an artist.
"I loved everything about it," she said. "I can even remember the smell of the paper."
That same child was also captivated by an enchanting Pixie O'Harris mural hanging on the wall of the Gosford Hospital.
"I would just get lost in it. I would stare at the picture, dreaming about how it was done and wondering how I could do that."
Cheryl did become an artist. As a young woman, she designed cards and wrapping paper for galleries and later for John Sands.
Her first big break came when her work was noticed by people in the book industry and she was commissioned to illustrate a book featuring four Banjo Patterson's stories, Banjo's Animal Tales.
Her inspiration for creating uniquely Australian bush characters continued to grow while reading to her own children.
"Through reading you rediscover your own youth," she said. "I love drawing animal characters - you can have so much fun with them!"
Decades later, with an impressive catalogue of illustrated books, exhibitions and commissions behind her, her love of art is undiminished.
This month, Cheryl's talent will be shared with local children in a special illustration workshop to be held as part of the Shoalhaven Readers and Writers Festival on Saturday, July 27.
Designed for children aged from 8 - 12, Cheryl will be helping young artists to tell stories through art and create characters of their own.
The cost of the workshop is $20, but places are limited. Water colours, pencils, crayons and paper will be supplied, but if children have their favourite pencils or art supplies, they are encouraged to bring them along.
The Shoalhaven Readers and Writers Festival, now in its second year, has a strong commitment to nurturing children's literacy in the Shoalhaven area.
Special guests of this year's festival are celebrated children's writers Jack Heath and Jacqueline Harvey who will give free author talks at the Nowra library.
The festival is also hosting a school's program with the visiting authors, which will reach 1600 Shoalhaven children.
Local author and director of the children's program Allison Tait will also be conducting a writing workshop for young writers.
Visit shoalhavenreadersandwritersfestival.com.au for details and bookings.