There’s nothing like seeing the world through a child’s eyes.
Position your Cheerios and take a look at these adorable illustrations by UK author/illustrator Jane Massey.
You may know her from the dozens of children’s books she’s illustrated — books she’s written herself and by many others (Alexandra Penfold, Joyce Dunbar, Dawn Richards, Claire Freedman, et. al.).
I confess I first noticed her work on Pinterest and Instagram, where she regularly posts THE CUTEST drawings and sketches. I marvel at her childlike instinct. We would expect her art to speak directly to children, but I was also struck by how deeply her pictures spoke to the child in me. I discovered recently that I certainly was not alone in my reaction.
Not too long ago, I posted the above drawing, called “New Shoes,” on Facebook. People LOVED and identified with it, recalling their own childhood experiences. Comments ranged from “simple and beautiful,” to “I adore this!” to “awwwwwww. . . ” Some of these people had never commented or “liked” any of my posts before. Jane’s art had grabbed them, and for a fleeting moment, they remembered what it was like to be two or three again.
Isn’t it amazing how something so simple could elicit such a strong emotional response? And that’s what characterizes Massey’s work: a posture, an expression, a nuance of emotion — all the feelings and heart of a child are ever present.
There are many artists who can draw children well, but not all are able to capture such believable emotion in just a few masterful strokes. This is especially evident in the drawings she posts on Instagram — not necessarily part of a specific book project, yet each subscribes to the “less is more” philosophy — where character is instantly established, and a larger narrative is implied. Brilliant!
Look at the Cheerios girl at the top of this post. Don’t you already know her? Can’t you already imagine the trouble she could get into?
Jane lives and works in Hove, in the South Coast of England, (just west of Brighton). She studied graphic design at Kingston University and then worked for several design agencies in London and Hong Kong before setting her sights on illustration.
Besides children’s books, she’s created designs and characters (product packaging) for such clients as Marks and Spencer, Earth Friendly Baby, Tiny Taste Buds baby food, Huggies, Waterstone’s, and Whittards. She’s also designed an animal greeting cards range for The Art Group.
If you’d like to learn more about her process, check out this excellent post at Artists & Illustrators.
And in case you’re wondering, some of the images in this post are available as prints, for sale at Jane’s official website.
Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.