Whisper on the Wind

Today is launch day for Whisper in the Wind! This is a new book by Claire Saxby, illustrated by moi. I really really love Claire’s layered text, which builds – all set in the ocean at night (which I found super hard to do but also a wonderful challenge!).

“A stunning picture book about separation, connection and reunion from the team behind the glorious Iceberg, renowned picture book creators Claire Saxby and Jess Racklyeft.

This is the wind

that carries the whisper

from Ren’s dream.

This is the sailor,

long at sea,

who catches it.

The multi-award-winning duo behind Iceberg returns! With its lyrical, cumulative text and whimsical, richly imagined artwork, Whisper on the Wind is a celebration of the wonders of the ocean and the power of love to find us – wherever we are.”

Finishing off the year!

Well it’s that time again where school hols are about to kick off and summer hits Melbourne. It’s been a really hard year for us in lockdown after lockdown, and the lack of seeing friends, school, travel etc – it really hit me hard. But things are looking brighter with Melbourne kind of finding its groove again, the kids settling into school (well, holidays are coming so that helps too), we got our house fixed up a bit… and new books are on their way!

I thought I would share the upcoming titles. Firstly, Big World, Tiny World: Forest is coming out January 25th! It follows the shining ball (cut out through the whole book) but the perspective changes – from the universe, to earth, to land, to forest, to plants, to tree roots – its a look at the connection of life through it all. Published by Affirm Press and designed by Hannah Janzen, I am thrilled it will be out in a month!

The soon after in March ’22 “Whisper in the Wind” is out – written by Claire Saxby, published by Allen and Unwin. I found this one a lot trickier – it is set at night, in the ocean, with a dreamy and lyrical text. But with the help of super editors and publishers Davina and Nicola and with the amazing manuscript it all came together beautifully!

Along with my family and friends, I think work really helped me get through this tough year (oh and running – a new hobby!). I am looking forward to celebrating these books early next year and hopefully they bring back the good memories of 2021. xx

New Books

I’m counting down the days, as in the next two weeks two new books are out!

The first is a BIG ONE! The Book for Happy Hearts by Maggie Hutchings and published by Affirm Press is a big 120 pages, a treasury of poems, stories and activities. It was so fun to illustrate with such varied subject matter, and we had the design wonder Kristy Lund-White working with us. It’s kind of arrived at the perfect time here as we are a little flat with remote learning and lockdown, and started doing the activities today! We hope it brings lots of happy hearts out to play.

The second, arriving just a few days later is Peek and Boo. Written by Coral Vass and published by Windy Hollow Books, this one is a sweet tale about two owls and their egg. I got to experiment by combining my big painted canvases with the illustrations, and I love how to it turned out!

It’s been quite a year (again) and despite the challenges of lockdowns and remote learning and the rest, I’m so chuffed I still get to do my beloved job illustrating children’s books! I hope you like these new titles.

New things and different formats!

This month two new books are out: There’s Only One Grandpa Like You, and two books from previous years have had a reboot – TOOFLY and Welcome Baby! All of these are out with the wonderful Affirm Press and a big thanks to Tash and the team for thinking up the new ideas and formats.

New Books!

At the end of the month I am chuffed to have two new books in the “There’s Only One” series… Grandma and a board book version of Mum!

Both books are looking rather snazzy, and extra exciting to see TOOMLY in a new format of a board book. Sending love to all the mums, gma’s and brilliant/tough and wise women in the world, constant inspirations. I hope these books have lots of young readers giving their loved ones a high five for all they do and are.

You can find these books from the 30th of March at your local bookshop, more details available at Affirm Press.

Iceberg

Today we are excited to share a new book, Iceberg! Beautifully written by Claire Saxby, I worked on this book intensely during Melbourne lockdown – homeschooling at night, and travelling to Antarctica at night! It was such a pleasure to work on, and we have just begun receiving some wonderful reviews…

“Saxby’s poetic text and Racklyeft’s illustrations are matched in a dance as integral to each other as the life surrounding the iceberg bringing a new world of wonderment to young readers, one that will open eyes and minds and hearts in a way that will inspire them to know it and protect it in the same way my mum did since her childhood when she stood on the wharf at Bluff and watched the explorers’ ship sail South. “

A big thank you to Nicola Santilli for her guidance editing this book, and to Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to work on it. We also have a book launch on February 20th!

Be a soft plastics warrior

I recently received a newsletter from wonderful author and environmentalist Nicole Godwin, highlighting some of the plastics that can be recycled through the Redcycle program. It was amazing – as I was feeling so guilty adding these to our rubbish, and fantastic to hear there were options to give them a second life. With Nicole’s permission I created a downloadable poster, so we can stick this above a new bin for our plastics – hurrah! Feel free to print this for your house…

New Website

It’s a bit tricky working on a new avenue and wondering where to put it! But I’ve been having such a ball creating huge paintings, I wanted to put them all somewhere. So I am slowly building a new site: http://www.jessracklyeft.com!

If you have a moment, have a squizz, and you can also see more originals currently at Bluethumb.

Painting

As an illustrator, we are often working to a brief with a set outcome, and a bit of a known process – pencil sketches, research, more sketches, roughs, painted art, digital art etc… I know kind of what I am going to end up with.

During this long year of lockdown, I knew I needed a new outlet for my creativity and I’ve been having an absolute ball painting! With no expectations, massive canvases, and layers upon layers of colour. They are completely unplanned and it is such a peaceful process building shapes and colour as I go.

I’ve been thrilled that they have been selling – its so nice to find happy homes for these big pieces (as I’ve run out of space here!). You can see the available works here: Bluethumb

Here are some of the works mocked up into new homes neater than mine. xx