Photo by Stuart Reeves
Jeni Reeves is a painter and children’s book illustrator with a background in communication and fine arts. Her illustrated picture books include authors’ stories about world culture, history, biography, and folklore. Travel and study fuel Jeni’s work, as does an abiding interest in history and language.
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
I loved Andrew Lang’s Color Fairy Books—especially The Blue Fairy Book—and would dip into them whenever I wanted to travel outside my neighborhood, but I also had a soft spot for Ruth Krauss’ The Carrot Seed and still think it is very clever.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
A “toughie” question! I have many favorites, but this has stuck with me for years: “And as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came.”
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
The English illustrators Arthur Rackham and Erroll Le Cain, and the American illustrator Howard Pyle.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
I have written “stories” since I was eight and before and after that, drew stories. Stories are ways of explaining while discovering what we experience in the world. I always wanted to do what I do.
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Talent is a gift which needs to be worked constantly. For me, that means using your 5 senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste, and Touch and follow the 5 Ps: Patience, Process, Perseverance, and Product.