We spoke to Jenny Bloomfield, illustrator of The Worry Jar, about her creative process and what it was like to illustrate a picture book.
When did you first get into illustrating?
I’ve always loved drawing, but it wasn’t until I started drawing every day that I started to think of myself as an illustrator. I studied Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge which taught me a lot.
What was the process like for illustrating The Worry Jar?
The main things I thought about were Frida’s body language. At the beginning when she is worried, she is all balled up, with her shoulders raised and looking uncomfortable. When she lets go of her worries, she is much more open with her arms and legs spread out.
I have an (annoying) habit of pulling the face or doing the position of the character I’m drawing – it meant that I was very relieved when Frida let go of her worries as I’d sit at my desk all scrunched up and tense just like she was on the page.
I really wanted the colours to be calm too, so I enjoyed putting that colour palette together.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your daily drawing habit?
I started drawing every day in September 2014. Since then, I haven’t missed a day or cheated. Sometimes I do a quick 5-minute sketch, sometimes I spend hours in the evening drawing in front of the TV. Sometimes I don’t want to do it, but often they’ll be the best drawings. It means I have a huge library of drawings and the ones I have done of my kids were really helpful when illustrating The Worry Jar – especially swimming lessons.
What was your favourite spread to work on?
Definitely the swimming pool scenes. I had drawn my kids’ swimming lessons a lot and I loved drawing water. In the end it was super-easy as I had all these images in my head already and it came out just as I intended.
The link above will take you to an Instagram video of Jenny painting the window at The Little Bookshop, Leeds.
The Worry Jar by Lou John, illustrated by Jenny Bloomfield is published by Oxford Children’s Books and is available now.
Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Federation.