I'm working on two projects with Auntie Betty and we have such fun. Her artistic style and attention to detail speak for themselves but her cooperative and upbeat nature, along with her quick work and willingness to adapt, make Auntie Betty a joy to have as a collaborative partner.

Auntie Betty Illustration

Helen Mongillo, Writer


​​​Betty is a self-taught artist, who attributes her love of art to her parents, who are both skilled in multiple art forms. Her mother is a talented pyrographer and painter; and her father has created stunning copper and pewter sculptures. Two of her grandparents were potters.

Home-schooled during her High School years, Betty was able to indulge her love of classic literature and drawing. Her mother wrote a story about South African garden creatures for her children and nieces when they were young. Betty and her sister copied the story out by hand, and illustrated it for their small cousins.

The family moved from South Africa to New Zealand and Betty rekindled her love of art in 2012, when she wrote a story for her niece.  After numerous attempts, she completed the illustrations for the story, which was hand-bound, and a copy given to her niece on her seventh birthday.

In addition to tutoring people with learning disabilities, focusing on cognitive training, she teaches drawing and painting to adults and children (using cognitive skills to dramatically improve drawing ability), writes a monthly blog about her illustration journey and reviews picture books to uncover the cognitive value within each book (for parents, teachers, writers and illustrators). 

Betty’s portfolio reveals her love of colour, nature and history. She is constantly inspired by the unique and fascinating wildlife and the beautiful countryside of New Zealand. Her favourite media are watercolour and coloured pencil (graphite, water soluble, wax and oil). Betty is a keen children's book illustrator, focusing on representative art and some quirky, whimsical characters; but also enjoys creating fine art pieces, with themes on nature and people.

Betty is a member of the Society of Childrens' Book Writers and Illustators (SCBWI) and is one of the co-ordinators of the NZSA's Children's Literature Hub in Christchurch. 

​Betty and her family are the loving owners of three brindled, ex-racing greyhounds, Gaius, Echo and Elsa. A picture of Elsa, with her hound friend, Paige, is in the portfolio. Echo is shown below.