Notes from Anna Walker, author and illustrator of Hello Jimmy!

Notes from Anna Walker, author and illustrator of Hello Jimmy!

About a boy

For many years I had been writing a story about a parrot. There was a particular afternoon, I was staring at the storyboard. . .but my thoughts were elsewhere. I was thinking about my brother who was going through a separation.

I pondered the experience of heartbreaking isolation, the love of a dad for his children and the transition to a new life. I wondered if these ideas could be explored in a story about a parrot. . . that afternoon, I wrote ‘Hello Jimmy!

Hello Jimmy! is dedicated to my brother. The story leans into the experience of loneliness and transition, but above all, it is celebrates the love between parent and child.

 

Jimmy

When thinking about the personality of Jimmy I remembered my Aunt’s Cockatoo. He made me laugh by squawking at the dog, ‘Tammy, get off the garden!’. He would talk and dance and was very curious. I wanted Jimmy to be confident and cheeky, just like that Cocky!

 

Artwork

My favourite medium is watercolour, but for Hello Jimmy! I was inspired to use colour pencils after seeing some beautiful original artwork at the Bologna Bookfair in 2019.

The artwork in Jimmy uses a range of traditional mediums including pencil, gouache and mono-printing. I used mono-printing for the background textures such as the clouds.

 

Setting

Jack’s bedroom is based on the bedroom of a friend’s house. Creating the world in a picture book is like making a quilt and stitching together lots of tiny pieces of experience. I use parts of my own life as well as observations of people I know and the world around me.

I enjoy basing parts of the characters on friends and family. My brother is good at making Tacos and had a lizard just like Jack’s Dad. My nephew ‘does not like surprises’ just like Jack.

 

A Dream

In 2013, one night my daughter was very unwell, I slept in her room to be near her. That night I dreamt a flock of birds lined the walls watching over us. It sounds strange, but the vision was comforting. I scribbled the dream in my visual diary.

When telling the story of Hello Jimmy! I remembered this scene and thought it would make a lovely gateway to Jimmy escaping. This is one of my favourite spreads.

Reviews

Lost and found: Read our review of Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker

Review | Our Review

22 September 2020

Lost and found: Read our review of Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker

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Publisher details

Hello Jimmy!
Author
Anna Walker
Publisher
Puffin Books
Genre
Children’s Picture Book
Released
29 September, 2020

Synopsis

A tender, touching story of a young boy and his father;of what comes between them and what brings them togetherOne day, a parrot appears on the doorstep. His name is Jimmy.Dad thinks Jimmy is amazing. He’s loud, he’s funny and he’s full of surprises!But Jack doesn’t like surprises.Not at all…
Anna Walker
About the author

Anna Walker

Anna Walker writes and illustrates children's books and is based in Melbourne. Her charming studio is shared with a printmaker, Rosy the lamp, a few friendly plants, and knitted, woolly creatures. Working with pencil, ink and collage, Anna develops her characters and enjoys spending time with them before they venture out into the world. Her illustrations are inspired by the everyday details of life and the amusing antics of her menagerie. Anna's latest book with Penguin is Mr Huff, an exploration of how kids deal with the worrying feelings that can accompany a bad day. Together with Jane Godwin, Anna has also created a beautiful picture book for Christmas, called What Do You Wish For?

Books by Anna Walker

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