Jenni Desmond b.1984 is an artist, illustrator and award-winning picture book maker.

She is the illustrator or author/illustrator of 18 books including The Polar Bear and Albert's Tree and can be read in over 20 languages all over the world.  Her books have been featured as a best book of the year in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Brainpickings, and Washington Post amongst others.

Jenni is passionate about nature and about the environment, and many of her books reflect this.  She looks to find beauty and emotion in nature, whether it's a tiny vein in a delicate leaf or an enormous, silent landscape.  Her favourite colour is white because it is so peaceful but it must have shades and textures in it, a smooth warm rock, some scrunched up linen, a rough chalky wall. 


An eternal optimist she seeks humour, energy, warmth and compassion in everything and everyone she draws.  She doesn't think picture books should be limited to children and hopes hers will also appeal to older people with youthful minds.

Jenni mostly works on books using watercolour, ink, acrylic paint, crayons, drypoint and photoshop.  When writing her stories, she normally gets her ideas from remembering how things felt as a child and from the things that happened when she was little.  When writing her non fiction books Jenni spends many months reading and learning about the animals to become as knowledgable as possible, before checking everything she has written with an expert. 


She sometimes also enjoys making wobbly clay pots, printmaking and textile designs as well as painting artwork to hang on walls or in other places.  She likes to experiment and do new things to keep her work fresh and her practice fun.

Jenni lives in east London UK with her husband who is an architect and their two young daughters Josephine and Daphne.  When she's not in her studio, you'll find her covered in mud and plants in the garden, cycling her bike around and swapping city life for hikes down by the sea shore or up in the hills and the mountains.

 For more information here are some things - - -



(A video interview with Jane Porter about how I made Fourteen Wolves: 2021)


(A discussion about Migration, climate change and motherhood: 2019)


(A discussion about her work, inspiration, and being an illustrator versus an author: 2017)


(A discussion about her work and daily routine: 2017)


(A discussion about her work and about creating The Blue Whale: 2017)


(A blog post about the Sendak Fellowship: 2016)


(A discussion about The Blue Whale, and the publisher: 2015)


(A discussion about her work and becoming an illustrator: 2012)


(How Jenni made her very first picture book, Red Cat Blue Cat: 2012)


(A discussion with Flow Magazine)




(Snow Birds - parent and teacher activity kit)


(CBeebies: Blue Monster Wants it All read by Joanna Page)


(The Guardian: How to draw a sunset)



(Teacher Notes: Migration)


(The Zebra Who Ran Too Fast activity page)





Nominated - CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal'19 (Migration UK)

Nominated - CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal'22 (Fourteen Wolves UK)

Sendak Fellowship recipient '16 (USA)

Winner - A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book '16 (The Polar Bear USA)

Winner - Nautilus Book Awards '20 (Migration USA)

Winner  - Prix Des Incorruptibles '16 (Red Cat Blue Cat - France)

Winner - National Prize for Reading/ Premio Nati per Leggere '19 (The Blue Whale - Italy)

Winner - Vlag en Wimpel '16 (The Blue Whale - Netherlands)

Winner - Leipziger Lesekompass '17 (Albert's Tree - Germany)

Winner - Junior Design Awards - Best Emerging Talent: Illustrator '15 (The First Slodge UK)

Winner - Batchelder Award'14 (Mister Orange USA)

Winner - The Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award'13 (Red Cat Blue Cat UK) 

ShortlistedGerman Literature Prize '19 (Migration - Germany)

Shortlisted - Red Clover Award Vermont '17 (The Blue Whale USA)

Shortlisted - Sakura Medal Japan '17 (The Blue Whale Japan)

Shortlisted - English 4-11 Picture Book Awards '16 (The First Slodge UK)

Honour Award - Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award '16 (The Blue Whale USA)

Honour Award - EURIKA! '18 (The Elephant USA)

Bronze Award - Prima Baby Awards '16 (The First Slodge UK)

Longlisted - UK Literary Association Awards '16 (The First Slodge UK)

Longlisted - UK Literary Association Awards '22 (Fourteen Wolves UK)

Longlisted - North Somerset Teacher Book Award '16 (The First Slodge UK)


Walker Books (UK)


Simon & Schuster/Little Simon (USA)

Papyrus (USA)

Oxford University Press (UK)

National Portrait Gallery (UK)


Little Tiger Books (UK)

Kyle Books (UK)

Fuji Sangyo Stationary (Japan)

Enchanted Lion Books (USA)

CardMix (UK)

Camden Graphics (UK)

Candlewick Press (USA)

Bloomsbury (UK)

Blue Apple Books (USA)

Abrams (USA)




Society of Illustrators Original Art Exhibition (New York)

Krumulus bookshop/gallery - The Polar Bear solo exhibition (Berlin: Germany)

Summer Exhibition: Royal Academy of Art (London)

Affordable Art Fair (London)

The Poundshop: London Design Week/ KK Outlet/ ICA (London)

Netil House - solo exhibition (London)

Lo Sguardo Obliquo (Bari: Italy)

Buecherpiraten - artist of the year (Lubeck: Germany)

A-side B-side Gallery: Call of the Wild/ A Long Way From Home/House of Tigers (London)

Telling Tales: Avery Contemporary Art (Kent)





MA Childrens Book Illustration (Cambridge School of Art ARU), 2011

BA English and Art History (Sussex University), 2006





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