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Jez Alborough

As a child

Jez Alborough was born and grew up in Kingston-upon-Thames. He loved drawing and painting from an early age and always wanted to be an artist. “I used to love the exercise books which had one blank page opposite one lined page,” he says. “It was like an invitation to me to write a story and draw the illustrations.” Jez didn’t much like secondary school, but going to art college in Norwich was a much happier experience: “It felt like freedom. Having the time and space to do what I wanted to do was so uplifting.” He graduated with a BA Honours degree in Graphic Design, and started to look for illustration work.

As an adult

After college Jez found some work doing editorial illustrations for magazines, but not enough to live on. It was when he realized that he could illustrate his own stories that some doors started to open. Walker Books gave Jez some welcome encouragement at a time when he was finding out what it was he actually could do, and this eventually lead to his first successful book about a Bear and a boy called Eddy.

As an artist

Jez has written and illustrated over forty picture books; including the Eddy and the Bear series (Where's My Teddy, It's the Bear and My Friend Bear) which were turned into a Bafta award winning television series, the bestselling Bobo books (Hug, Tall and Yes), the Duck in the Truck series and his latest picture book Albert and Little Henry. Jez says that the question he is most frequently asked ("Where do you get your ideas from?") is the hardest one to answer. "I don’t really know where they come from," he says, "I’m just glad that they do come, and as long as that keeps happening I will continue having a great time playing with them and making them into picture books."

Things you didn't know about Jez Alborough

  1. With his brother, Jez wrote an episode of the TV comedy series Murder Most Horrid, starring Dawn French, and made a very brief appearance in the final scene.
  2. His favourite books as a child were A. A. Milne’s Now We Are Six (especially the poem "Wheezles and Sneezles") and Bennet Cerf’s Book of Riddles.
  3. His favourite book for children is Oh, the Places You Will Go by Dr Seuss
  4. He enjoys spotting birds which visit his garden.
  5. He once had a job drawing people’s portraits at a Butlin’s holiday camp.
  6. His favourite film is Whistle Down the Wind.
  7. He enjoys walking by the sea.
  8. He took part in a sponsored Hugathon (inspired by his book Hug) with 480 pupils at Thomas’s Preparatory School in London that set a new world record for the most people hugging in one place at the same time.
  9. He wrote the theme music for Duck in the Truck.
  10. He plays rhythm and lead guitar in a Blues Band called The Jackals (his brother is the drummer).

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