Do What You Love for a Living
"Once I figured out that art was an actual job option—that you could draw for a living—then I knew that I was always going to make art in some way, shape, or form," says Jeffers.
"Rather than switch from painting to just doing picture books, I kept both going, figuring that I would do that until somebody told me to stop. Nobody ever told me to stop." —Oliver Jeffers
Redefine What a Children's Book Means to You
"I've always refused to call them children's books," says Jeffers, "because I think that alienates non-children."
"Some of the greatest books on fairly heavy themes have come out in the form of picture books. It's just a different way of storytelling. It's a different platform for simplifying something down to its rawest form."
Turn Your Favorite Fantasy World Into a Reality
"I was much more interested in how things would actually be made, what the design might be, rather than just seeing my art put on something," explains Jeffers. "So I got really heavily involved with roping in favors from friends left and right, trying to collaborate with a bunch of people who I know and have respected for a long time."
"I've always enjoyed fashion. I've always enjoyed design...and it was something that I always wanted to try experimenting with: extending the world of the books out into other realms."
Test the Limits of Your Memory
"I started making the dip paintings as a way of trying to make sense of this one theory that kept coming up, which was Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle," says Jeffers. "It kind of proves mathematically that you can't prove anything mathematically, which I've always liked."
"I finish that painting totally, but I don't photograph it at all...I gather about 15 people into a room where I unveil the painting in front of them, and they're the only people to ever see it. Then I submerge it in the paint in front of them."
Re-Imagine the World
"One of the things that I'm most suspicious and fearful of is blind patriotism and nationalism," says Jeffers. "I think that borders are arbitrary and are tricky and dangerous. If you look at Earth from outer space, you don't see any of those borders. They're just man-made concepts."
"I filled in every single border accurately, but then wrote in every single country 'doesn't matter, doesn't matter, not important, highly irrelevant.'"
Tap into Oliver Jeffers's world with these picture book-inspired collectibles!
Lightning Bolt Cap, $48.
Patterned T-Shirt: Adult, $56.
Edmund and the Rocket, $150.
"Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters" by Oliver Jeffers, $15, amazon.com.