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Month: January 2017

Giselle Illustrated By Jennifer Farley

Giselle Ballet Poster

Giselle Illustrated By Jennifer Farley

Pointe Blank is an initiative created by the Birmingham Royal Ballet and I was thrilled to be one of twenty five illustrators involved in this project. The project is described as follows:

Collections of original images inspired by the plots of major narrative works in the repertory of Birmingham Royal Ballet, and created by professional designers in and around the UK.

Each time, the invited participants are not required to depict the story as a ballet, only to incorporate the Company name or logo. Visual references are made available, but in an attempt to keep the brief as non-prescriptive as possible, the designers are not required to include them.

So for this, the fourth project in the Pointe Blank series, members of Illustrators Ireland were commissioned to create an A3 sized poster based on the story of the ballet Giselle.

The story:
In a village deep in the mountains, a young woman, Giselle, and a young man, Loys, are deeply in love. However, Loys has not been completely truthful with his beloved.

While Giselle believes him to be a simple villager like herself, he is in fact a nobleman called Count Albrecht, and is already betrothed to a Lady named Bathilde.

Wishing to escape the responsibilities of his life as the son of the local Duke, he has been visiting the village under a false identity, but has now fallen so in love with Giselle he is afraid to reveal who he is, for fear of losing her.

Another young man from the village, called Hilarion, is also in love with Giselle. He discovers that Loys is not who he claims to be, and exposes his secret, in an attempt to drive away his love rival.

However the heartbreak, and the sight of Bathilde arriving to claim her fiancé, is too much for Giselle to bear, and driven mad by despair, she takes her own life.

After her funeral, Hilarion keeps a vigil by Giselle’s graveside. But the graveyard is haunted by a group of Wilis – the vengeful ghosts of jilted brides – who rise up and pursue Hilarion. They force him to dance until he collapses and dies from exhaustion.

Albrecht arrives to leave flowers, and the Wilis appear again. They attempt to make him dance to his death like Hilarion.

At this point, Giselle’s ghost also rises from the grave, and she entreats Myrtha, the merciless Queen of the Wilis, to spare her lover’s life. Myrtha refuses, but Giselle dances with Albrecht, and the power of her love for him gives him the strength to make it through until sunrise, when the spell loses its power.

I love the idea of the village in the mountains and had been watching the movie Van Helsing a few nights before I saw the brief and some of the imagery in that film influenced the sketches I did of the town nestling in the mountains. My take on it was probably a little lighter and family friendly. I pretty much locked onto the idea of Giselle dancing in the graveyard with Albrecht. Here’s an early sketch.

Giselle sketch - Jennifer Farley

Initially I was imagining them dancing a slow dance in the graveyard and then I started to think about them doing some 1970s style disco dancing. The song “Do the Hustle” was stuck in my mind and that’s the tune I pictured them dancing to stay alive to. Hence the disco glitterball moon and the fancy dance steps ; ) I thoroughly enjoyed this project and I’m happy with my two main characters – the ghostly Giselle and the disco-ing Duke Albrecht. Here’s my final piece which appeared in the show.

You can see all of the 26 pieces of wonderful artwork included in this year’s Pointe Blank show here. Thank you very much to the Birmingham Royal Ballet for the wonderful opportunity!


Queer As Folk


This is a picture I made for the Queer As Folk exhibition at the White Lady Art Gallery, Dublin.

Here’s the official blurb for the show.

Queer As Folk is a group exhibition that will explore each artist’s individual take on what modern sexuality means to them, and artwork that will offer visitors contemporary views on LGBTQ issues that will be open to discussion during the month.The gallery will host special events during the exhibition to raise money for BeLonG To . Join us on our opening night for live music sponsored by Super Happy Fun Times, free refreshments and BYOB.

So my piece was originally going to be called “Adam and Steve”. We’ve heard the religious right using this silly, anti-gay slogan, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” and that’s where I started from. I’ve decided to call it “Up Yours (Fundamentalists)” – probably equally silly but it made me laugh, and my beloved husband picked that name. The idea here is simply two guys having a bit of fun on the other side of the Garden of Eden. The background here is a painting “Rust op de vlucht naar Egypte, manner of Jan Brueghel” which is in the public domain and made available from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Irish Writer Portraits Jennifer Farley

Irish Writers

As part of an on-going project illustrating Irish writers, here are portraits of George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. These three prints were chosen for inclusion in the Halftone Exhibition in the Library Project in Temple Bar in Dublin.

Irish Writers illustrated by Jennifer Farley

George Bernard Shaw

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin 1856.

George Bernard Shaw by Jennifer Farley

Oscar Wilde

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Two of my favourite children’s stories are “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince”, by Wilde. They are both a little bit heart-breaking.

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin in 1854.

And here is Oscar resplendent in red:

Oscar Wilde illustrated by Jennifer Farley

James Joyce

Think you’re escaping and run into yourself. Longest way round is the shortest way home.”

James Joyce wrote a book of short stories called “Dubliners” and one of the characters in there was called Farley – just like me. Here is my illustrated homage to the man who wrote many classics, including one I’ve never been able to get through – Ulysses. James Joyce was born in Dublin in 1882.

James Joyce illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Viking Map Illustrated By Jennifer Farley

Viking Map


An illustrated map showing the routes taken by the Vikings leaving Norway, Sweden and Denmark on their way to Britain and Ireland. I’ve used mostly muted tones on this picture with just a touch of red on the viking ship sails, the scary sea monster and the rosy cheeks of the viking. He’s not too scary though, he might even be a bit smug. My home town, Dublin was visited by the Vikings or Ostmen around 841, where they settled. the name Dublin comes from the Norse Dyflin or “Black Pool”, referring to a dark tidal pool where the River Poddle entered the Liffey at the rear of Dublin Castle.

Viking illustration by Jennifer Farley

If you need a map illustrated for your project, book, magazine or website. Please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Animal ABC

Jennifer Farley Animal ABC CoverAnimal ABC is an alphabet book I wrote and illustrated for very young readers. It features 26 colourful animals and a glossary with some interesting facts about each one. It’s available to buy in print and download as an ebook from Amazon.

You can buy or download the Animal ABC book from Amazon USA here or Amazon UK here.

Here’s the official blurb!

Big, bright and bold! This beautifully illustrated alphabet book features 26 animals and birds, covering land, sea and air. With fun illustrations by Jennifer Farley, and bold graphic design to highlight each letter, this book is feast for the eyes. A short glossary gives interesting facts about each animal. Learn the ABC with some well-known and one or two unusual animal friends. Animal ABC teaches the alphabet by featuring an upper case and lower case letter with a corresponding bright colorful animal. A wonderful picture book for child and grown-up to share.


Jennifer-Farley-Animal-ABC-Glossary-MockupJennifer-Farley-Animal-ABC-Zebra Jennifer-Farley-Animal-ABC-Penguin   Jennifer-Farley-Animal-ABC-Giraffe   Jennifer-Farley-Animal-ABC-Bear


Farid’s Rickshaw Ride


“Farid’s Rickshaw Ride” is 48-page picture book I illustrated about a small boy in Bangladesh and the Rickshaw driver he meets one day in the city. The book was written by the very talented Rowan Oberman and created in conjunction with Trocaire. It was developed for use in schools as part of Trocaire’s “Education for a Just World” program. Here’s what the story is about: Farid is a 9-year-old boy living in Bangladesh. His cousin is visiting from Ireland! In preparation, Farid journeys around Dhaka to collect flowers, fish and blankets. On the way, the rickshaw driver shares some of his experiences which give insight into his life outside the city and prove helpful to Farid in his errands. But an accident brings home how quickly life can change – and a surprise visit shows Farid that there are other kinds of links between Ireland and Bangladesh.










Farid's Rickshaw Ride Picturebook illustrated by Jennifer Farley Farid's Rickshaw Ride Picturebook illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Farid's Rickshaw Ride Picturebook illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Farid's Rickshaw Ride Picturebook illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Farid's Rickshaw Ride Picturebook illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Facts about vikings jennifer farley

Things You May Not Have Known About Vikings


This project brief was to illustrate and design a set of facts about Viking behaviour. Some of these facts may not be so well known. The facts were presented for children on a set of pull-up panels accompanying an exhibition for adults about Viking life in Fingal.

I did know that Vikings didn’t REALLY have horns on their helmets, but I didn’t know about the food they ate, or about how they nearly all had hair combs. This was a really fun and interesting project to work on. I used a limited colour palette for each of the panels









Grace O’Malley Meets Queen Elizabeth 1

Grace O'Malley's Dad illustrated by Jennifer Farley

This is a set of spot illustrations created for Irish language publisher An Gum.

According to Irish legend, as a young girl Grace O’Malley wished to go on a trading expedition to Spain with her father. Upon being told she could not because her long hair would catch in the ship’s ropes, she cut off most of her hair to embarrass her father into taking her, thus earning her the nickname “Gráinne Mhaol” (Irish pronunciation: from maol bald or having cropped hair). The name stuck and was usually anglicised as Granuaile.

Grace And O'Malley and her father illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Grace O'Malley with her hair cut short illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille, her father and his family were based in Clew Bay, County Mayo. He was chieftain of the Ó Máille clan. The Uí Mháille (O’Malleys) were one of the few seafaring families on the west coast, and they built a row of castles facing the sea to protect their territory. Grace was married in 1546 to Dónal an Chogaidh Ó Flaithbheartaigh (Donal of the Battle) – he was much older than her and they had three children together.

Grace And Donal Get Married Grace O'Malley illustrated by Jennifer Farley

O’Malley went to England and met with Elizabeth 1 at Greenwich Palace, wearing a fine gown, she refused to bow before Elizabeth because she did not recognise her as the Queen of Ireland.

Grace O'Malley illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Queen Elizabeth illustrated by Jennifer Farley
Many folk stories and legends about Grace O’Malley have survived since her days of pirating and trading with a huge number of traditional songs and poems about her.

Queen Elizabeth meets Grace O'Malley illustrated by Jennifer Farley


Brian Boru and the Vikings


To commemorate the town of Swords connection with the 1000th anniversary of the Battle of Clontarf and the death of Brian Boru, Fingal County Council organised a weekend of activities in the town of Swords itself that included a night time torch-light parade to mark the funeral procession and handing over of Brian’s body to the delegation from Armagh.

I was commissioned to create the illustrations and graphic design work on a set of three large 2m x 1m corriboards – telling the story of the Vikings arrival, the battle at Clontarf and Brian’s removal to the tower in Swords. I illustrated a series of posters showing some of the main characters involved in the Battle of Clontarf in 1014 – Brian Boru, Wolf the Quarrelsome and Sitric Silkenbeard. The promotional materials also included a very large 6m x 1.2m PVC banner and a DL trifold brochure.

Death of Brian Boru - Vikings - Illustrated by Jennifer Farley

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