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Jackie Morris

Published books illustrated
by Jackie Morris

See more of Jackie Morris' Award Winning Illustrations, cards and brooches at her site.

Journeys Through Dreamtime (1998)
Author: Anita Ganeri

Grandmothers Song
Author: Barbara Soros (1998)

The Time Of Lion (1998)
Author: Caroline Pitcher

The Lord Of The Dance (1998)
Author: Sydney Carter

The Greatest Gift (1997)
Author: Susan Summers

The Snow Whale (1996)
Author: Caroline Pitcher
Shortlisted for the Children's Book Award

The Barefoot Book Of Stories From The Stars (1996)
Author: Juliet Sharman-Burke

Cities In The Sea (1996)
Author: Sian Lewis
Winner 1997 Tir Na N-og

Going Fishing (1995)
Author: Juliet Partridge

Bears Bears And More Bears (1995)
Author: Jackie Morris

Out Of The Ark (1994)
Author: Anita Ganeri

Jo's Storm (1994)
Author: Caroline Pitcher

When I was six I decided that I wanted to be an artist. Later this ambition was refined into a desire to be an illustrator after watching a TV programme of Nicola Bailey painting for "The Tyger Voyage."

I endured school, though cannot say that I was happy and certainly received little encouragement, but constantly was told that you cannot make a living as an artist. It was always suggested to me that it was a thing that "other people did".

However I was single minded and determined so I enrolled in Hereford College of Art and Bath Academy where I spent 4 years learning to draw after a fashion. By the end of the course I could just about put an illustation together.

From here I spent the next few months wandering around London with my portfolio, learning far more than I ever had in the comfortable environment of college.

Jobs began to arrive, mostly for magazines and I became known for doing quite heavy work for political magazines. Through a series of card designs I produced for Paperlink My work was seen by an author, Caroline Pitcher. She liked the work and wrote a story (Jo's Storm), not exactly inspired by the work but she felt that I would be the right person to illustrate it.

By this time I had moved to St Davids in Wales. So in Nov 1992 I had a phone call from Bodley Head asking me if I would like to consider the job. My answer seemed to surprise the editor. " Yes," I said, but then added, "I'm having a baby next week. I'll start it the week after."

She was a bit surprised by this, but thought she'd better let me have a go and now I am on my fifth text by Caroline, a book about tigers. The fourth will be out in April 2000, "Mariana and the Merchild."

I now have two children, two cats, two guinea pigs, two fish, three chickens , a cockerel and one long suffering husband. We all live in an increasingly cluttered house by the sea and I have begun writing my own stories.

My ambition at the moment is to write something for someone else to illustrate. As many artists do I fight constantly with self doubt and disappointment, but the love of painting and the hope that the next painting will be better keeps me going. And sometimes when things arrive back from the publishers with text added, usually reduced in size and somehow different I find that I quite like them.

I have always loved stories, and have a great passion for children's books. Amoungst my favorite authors are Philip Pullman, Peter Dickinson, Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Cooper, Berlie Doherty and Ursula Le Guin.

Favorite illustrators and painters are Brian Wildsmith, Marc Chagall, Peter Sis, Picasso, Quentin Blake, Janet Ahlberg, William Blake, Eric Gill, Evelyn Williams, James Mayhew and many more.

Another favorite writer, though I know him mostly for his children's writing is Ted Hughes. Some months ago James Mayhew sent me a copy of How the Whale Became by Ted Hughes. He suggested that it might be a project that I would like to work on and had been a favorite book of his when he was a child. So I read the book to my children and we all loved the richness of its imagery and language. I sent a letter to Ted with a copy of Time of the Lion, cv etc, asking if he would consider doing a reissue of the book as an illustrated gift book. He wrote back saying that he liked my work and the idea and would talk to his editor at Faber and Faber and then I heard nothing more for a couple of months until I was painting one day and heard on the radio that he had died. However he had taken the idea in to Suzie Jenvy at Faber and they had begun working on the project.

So now the book is going ahead, with some sadness as it would have been wonderful to work on it with him, to know if what I am painting fitted with the image in his mind's eye. I have tapes of his voice reading the stories which I listen to when I can get them away from my children. The book is due to be published in April 2000

Recently I have begun doing workshops in schools, producing large paintings with children, loosely based on books I am working on. I am constantly amazed by the talent children have, by their enthusiasm and ability.Together we produce great work and I usually finish the day exhausted and covered in PVA glue, though I am refining my technique to avoid the glue if not the exhaustion.

Most children can be encouraged to take part and enjoy the act of moving colour around on paper. Some worry that they are doing things wrong and it takes a while to show them that we all have our own way of seeing, our own language, and in the same way that we all use different words to describe something we all use different ways of drawing to do the same visually. There is no right or wrong way, and each expression is valid and as worthwhile as the next.

I think despite the exhaustion at the end of the day I get more from these sessions than the children do. They certainly give good ideas for stories. And my respect for teachers has increased tremendously. How they can do it day after day.

Occassionaly I think of the advise I was given as a would be artist and am glad that I chose to ignore it. I have a belief that if you want something enough and are willing to work hard to make it happen then you can do whatever you want to and all things can be achieved. See more of Jackie Morris' Award Winning Illustrations.