Featured Illustrators: Jamie Jonathan Ball

Jamie Jonathan Ball

Jamie Jonathan Ball's picturebook The Red Boat is set on the island of Tobago. It tells the story of a young boy who longs to be like his grandad, a fisherman. The project was inspired by a painting titled "Red Boat (Imaginary Boys)", by Peter Doig, a Scottish artist who spent his formative years in Trinidad.

In the illustration from The Red Boat titled "Jumping High", the main character's grandfather tells him he is not allowed to go out alone in the fishing boat until he is taller; he then tries to jump to prove he is tall enough! The illustration titled "Running on the Beach" depicts a scene in the story where the grandfather realises his mischievous grandson has taken the boat regardless of his warnings and runs after him; he's very fast for such an old man! Jamie is currently looking for a publisher for The Red Boat. You can read the entire story of The Red Boat on his website.

Jamie on what Caribbean children's illustration means to him:

"The Caribbean has been a source of inspiration since I became enthralled with the painter Peter Doig (who I believe lived there for some years). I found his paintings of Trinidad and Tobago so lush and encapsulating, showing me tropical environments so different to Europe. I began imagining stories centred around the characters he paints, which led me to produce the story and illustrations for The Red Boat. I also love the opportunity to draw the exciting wildlife natural to the Caribbean. I dream of visiting one day to make field sketches and explore local stories."


Jamie Jonathan Ball is a British Illustrator/Creative Designer currently living and working in London, England. Introducing children to travel is a central theme in his work; he enjoys using colourful graphics and vivid storytelling to encourage children to explore the world and their imagination. He especially enjoys drawing tropical animals and environments. Jamie was most recently published in the Children's City Guidebooks, Lilly und Anton Entdecken: Berlin / M√ľnchen / Wien / Paris / London / Mallorca for the German publisher Del Medio Verlag.

View more of Jamie's work here:

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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  1. The Red Boat is a sweet story, though so short, even for a picture book. Maybe I just want to see more of the illustrations which are really fantastic, and evoke the island atmosphere very well. Great job! Best of luck seeking a publisher.

  2. It is a pleasure to be featured this month with you Jamie and I hope someday you visit Anguilla so we can meet. Lovely work.