Jelbert 05/08/12 – simple things!


This is an example of an illustration from ‘Shoe Zoo’, my first book in the ‘Tales by Torchlight’ series. Some of the illustrations are purely watercolour and others are a mixture of pencil drawings, watercolour, collage and sometimes acrylics.

Very occasionally, I use photographic elements to show real objects that Evangelina has stuck in her sketchbooks and, in the first book, I used photos of some of the animals to show the odd lop-sided photographs the children sometimes take! In ‘Shoe Zoo’ I also painted illustrations of the animals, combing children’s drawings with watercolour painting. When I create these type of images, I think really carefully about the shapes of the drawings and of the real objects ‘behind’, and the way they interact visually. I enjoy painting these illustrations so much as the results are unpredictable – I don’t plan them, I just let them evolve. Children enjoy them as well, and seem to really appreciate seeing art with children’s work in it.

Giving talks in schools, I have been really pleased with the immediate, joyful feedback I have received from the children! Some adults, however, find this layering effect slightly unnerving, especially with the faces. In art exhibitions, I have talked to people about how I create these picture and the feed back is generally – ‘I thought that was a photograph behind’, ‘I think they’re a bit strange’ or ‘I really love them!’ There seems to be no middle ground!

The idea behind the series is our enjoyment of the simple things in life and I personally take pleasure in the simplicity of the interaction that ‘iBooks Author’ provides. In my books, there aren’t a lot of sophisticated changes but I believe that the ideas behind the illustrations are strong. In the media, I think there is far too much ‘glitz’ and unnecessary distraction  for children, and not enough real substance.

And on the theme of diminishing concentration levels, I have just come back from the Olympics with my three children. We watched two hockey matches and had a great time, all bar my youngest who was crying with boredom by the end. For the last 20 minutes I was playing naughts and crosses, tickling her feet, watching and cheering, all at the same time!

But my youngest came back to Bristol a very happy girl. She found a top quality plastic dog’s poo from Covent Garden that cheered her up no end – it’s the simple things…


About jellywalk

I am a professional artist who is happy to take commissions, be they portraits, paintings of baby ultrasound scans, houses, or pets... Please see my art website for contact details: I have prints available for sale from
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