The Heart and the Bottle

by Oliver Jeffers.

I love Oliver Jeffers. Mostly because he’s an incredible writer and illustrator, but also because he rocks a sweet mustache. And because he signs his double Fs just like I make my double Gs. Kindreds.

Once there was a girl, much like any other,

Whose head was filled with all the curiosities of the world.

He talks about his creative process in a video here. A trip into an artists’ studio is always fascinating, and he definitely does not disappoint.

The story pulses with raw and tender emotion, and deftly explores grief while allowing the reader to interpret it as he or she may. Jeffers tackles a weighty topic, perfectly conveyed through sparse words and rich illustrations. The illustrations are intricate and detailed when the little girl is freely experiencing her feelings, and bare and stark (but beautiful) when she has her heart tightly locked away. Really stunning. Jarring almost. Brace yourself, but let the words and pictures settle with you for a while.


I mean, really, it’s hard to pick just one in a piece of art like this, but so much of its beauty rests in its colors. I picked up these color squares on my field trip to the Getty recently, an impulse buy MUCH more worthy than a Peppermint Patty. Each card is a different color and has a unique cutout pattern. By layering cards, you can create endless varieties of color palettes and forms. It’s a very tactile way to experience color and notice how colors interact with one another. Soothing and addictive, too. {Not unlike the Peppermint Patty, actually.}

So I played…with The Heart and the Bottle’s illustrations as inspiration.

Head-clearing time with a picture book? Please. Horrifying iPhone pictures? Not as inspirational, but you get the point, I hope:)

One Comment

  • Posted November 17, 2011 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    This may be one of my favorites. Looks like a darling story and I love the illustrations. Now I am off to check out that link with his “creative processes.” :)

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