'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 17 March 2016

Meet the Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft

Describe your illustration style in ten words or less.
 Simplistic, delicate (sometimes), emotive, scrappy, joyful, whimsical.

What items are an essential part of your creative space?
Pencil, watercolours, good watercolour paper (makes a huge difference!), beloved paintbrushes, computer, podcasts!

Do you have a favourite artistic medium?
I have always loved watercolour but I love experimenting and have a new favourite medium every month! I'm loving combining it all digitally, and learning more about digital work every month - it's an endless medium and so exciting.

Name three artists whose work inspires you.
Anna Walker, Quentin Blake, Michael Leunig

Which artistic period would you most like to visit and why?
I am pretty happy in this one actually - the Internet is a magic place for art and inspiration. If I had to get zapped somewhere maybe the studios of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake in their heydays, I would have a cup of tea with them and learn how they both managed to create their incredible words and pictures whilst eating shortbread biscuits in their garden.

Who or what inspired you to become an illustrator?
It's been a dream since I was a kid, I'm sure my creative parents had a big influence. It took a long time and other studies / career to come back to it and I'm completely excited to be making that long term dream reality now. I was very lucky as a teenage to spend some time working in Leon Pericles studio, and I loved how the family was all involved, with a big family lunch every day. What bliss!

Can you share a photo of your creative work space or part of the area where you work most often?

What is your favourite part of the illustration process?
The verrrrry start - piecing together roughs in a free and excited way - and the verrrrrrry end - opening your mailbox to find a book you drew! (Now I have only had that feeling a handful of times, but it feels GOOD!).

What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
Never stop aspiring (I still am!) - learn, reach out to people, draw and draw and draw and connect with other artists whenever you can. There's a big world of amazing people who incredibly are also often very helpful, so don't be afraid to say hello to them.

Jess Racklyeft is a Melbourne-based illustrator. Jess's work includes drawings, watercolours and custom illustrations. She has recently illustrated the picture book Smile Cry, written by Tania McCartney and published by EK Books. Another picture book, The Midnight Possum written by Sally Morgan, will be published by Omnibus in April 2016. Visit Jess's website and Facebook page for more information about her books, illustrations and other artistic projects.