To say hello, or make an enquiry please email jessesmess(@), fill out the form below, or say hello via Facebook. I also have a Q+A below.

I’m also on Instagram – with a LOT of bird paintings.


Q + A

How do you get published?

If you are just learning about children’s book and would like to get published, I have lots of tips to get on the journey. First of all – courses! They don’t have to be a uni degree, but I recommend looking at short courses online and in person (for example CAE) to develop your skills and meet others on the journey too. There are also intense conferences for the children’s book industry that are very useful, like Kid Lit Vic and CBCA. There are also great newsletters like Pass it On or Buzz Words that help share industry news. Secondly – community! You can find a great gang of children’s book writers and illustrators through SCBWI – in Australia check out their website. You could set up a writers or illustrators group with others at the same stage. Get to know your local bookshop, library and staff there. Lastly – send your stuff out! If you do the above two steps you’ll get a feel for different publishers in Australia and abroad that might fit your style. I recommend making a “dream list” of publishers and getting to know their submission windows. Each year send better and better stories or portfolios out and eventually with lots of work and patience (for me it took about ten years of portfolio development ayeeee) you will get a job.

I am an author and have a book that just needs some drawings. Can you illustrate it?

At the moment sadly I am booked up with projects, both my own and working directly with publishers. Sometimes it can be tricky for professional artists to work on self published projects due to the time it takes – usually 2-6 months full time work. You could try reaching out to students looking for more work for their portfolio. Illustrators Australia and The Style File have some wonderful artists. A guide to rates can be found here. If you are planning to get published by a publishing company (not self-publishing) – good news! The publisher will find the illustrator.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by nature, even though I live in the city! Still, we have a small farm (ok, three small chooks, a cat and a dog and a veggie patch), and I love long walks along Merri Creek. I also have two young kids who are the best inspiration and we read a lot of beautiful books together.

Are you a writer?

I started off as an illustrator and I still see that as my main job. However lately I’ve been very lucky to have some stories of my own published which is pretty exciting! Like I mentioned above, I know I have much to learn so have been doing writing courses and connecting with other authors to develop my skills. I’m back to square one and it’s pretty fun.

I have a different question!

No worries! just email me via the portal above and I will try and reply soon.

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