lime light // jen from red parka and her new book

red parka book tour

Thrilled to have Jennifer Skelly from Red Parka Design talking about her new bookA Compendium of Collective Nouns.

Jennifer self-published her book via Pozible, and I jumped in and backed the project because I thought it was such a great idea. And imagine, a real, live book!

Today Jen is here answering a few questions as part of her book launch bloggy tour and I handed over the interviewing over to my two boys who have delighted in turning the pages and learning some new collective nouns and admiring the illustrations. The book has been a bit hit in the Lime Lane household.

red parka book tour

 What made you make the book?

I’m a word and animal lover and so of course collective nouns have always held a fascination for me. As an illustrator, I drew a parliament of owls one day and turned it into a print. This became my most popular print and made me think I should draw more. And so I did ~ soon after the owls came a smack of jellyfish, a parcel of penguins, an ostentation of peacocks and a flamboyance of flamingo.
These prints were very popular at my market stall and the idea of a whole book of illustrated collective nouns started to form. And eventually, I decided to do it!

What age group is the book for?

It’s hard to say – the book appeals to kids as well as adult so I’d say 1 – 100 perhaps?


Why did you make the animals different colours?

Some animals are naturally bright colours, such as rosellas or finches, so these were easy. But some animals are just lots of black or brown, and for these ones, in many cases, I added some variations in colour and some small splashes of pattern to brighten the final image up. Although I have a distinct style that means the book hangs together as one body of work, I did try to see each page, each animal, as a piece it it’s own right and therefore, if I felt, as an artist, that it was a good idea to use a bit of artistic licence with the colours then that’s what I would do!


Whales are a favourite of Master 11

Do you have a favourite animal? What is your favourite collective noun group?

My favourite animal is the elephant, but I’m not sure what my favourite page from the book is – it changes all the time!

Did you get any help?

I did all the drawing by myself and also the layout and book design, although I did get some excellent help from my friend Kelly who is a graphic designer. Because I’m not so good at the technical side of things, she checked all my files and made sure that they were correct so that the printers would print as exact as possible.
Other then that, no. I did everything by myself.


Where did you get all the collective nouns from? Did you learn them or from the internet?

I did some research online to find out the correct collective noun. There’s a lot of resources but a lot of it’s made up. It can be very difficult to know what’s correct in many cases, and on occasions where I wasn’t sure which was the best way to go, I took the liberty of choosing the most interesting term.

How did you draw the pictures?

I draw on a Cintiq Wacom Graphics Tablet, which is my favourite thing in the whole world!! Then I use Photoshop for doing the colour and inDesign for layouts.

And a question from me: How does it feel to be published and to have an actual book you can hold?

It feels truly amazing! It’s been a dream of mine for so long and to finally see it and hold it is an incredible feeling. I was so nervous when the boxes arrived, I almost couldn’t open them in case they weren’t any good, but pulling out a book and feeling the beautiful paper and smooth cover and that new book smell … I honestly believe this is the coolest thing I’ve ever done! And I’m already dreaming about what my next book might be …

red parka book tour

You can buy the book here, it would make a great Christmas present! And follow Jen’s work on her blog here and her website.


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