For many years I had been writing a story about a parrot, they are such lovely and funny creatures. There was a particular afternoon, I was staring at the storyboard. . .but my thoughts were elsewhere. I was thinking about 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!’ The story leans into the experience of loneliness and transition, but above all it is celebrates the love between parent and child.
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!
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. The two night scenes are among my favourite spreads.
The techniques used in creating the illustrations for this story bring together, pencil, collage, paint and monoprinting. I used monoprinting to create the textures for the backgrounds. Above are the clouds that were used behind the trees in the opening pages of the story.