An illustrator by trade but not necessarily on purpose, Oliver “fell into” picture books while originally pursuing a Fine Arts career. It certainly appears he fell on his feet, with multiple NY Times Bestsellers under his belt and a body of work showcasing his abundant curiosity and endless imagination.
Above all, Oliver is a storyteller and grew up in Belfast listening to “grannies in the kitchen and uncles in the pub”. Perhaps a case of wanderlust, he now lives in New York City continuing to apply the lessons he started learning at that young and impressionable age.
Some of these lessons include:
- Stories are about timing, structure and always have three things: A beginning, a middle and end. It sounds so obvious that it’s often the first thing to be overlooked.
- Words can either contrast or complement each other. There is power when using them, especially when sparingly.
- Confidence is an absolute miracle worker. Act the part, because everyone else is also full of shit. If you don’t believe your own bullshit than nobody else will.
While this is all practical advice, the magic of Oliver’s talk was delivered through his humour, playfulness and ability to make the audience think about serious subjects in an entertaining way. The Northern Ireland accent definitely contributed to his charismatic stage presence, however the main reason Oliver’s talk was unanimously enjoyed, is that he didn’t put on a speech and he didn’t put on a show. What he did, was put on a story.
Extra Oliver for your Jeffers:
- Design Matters podcast with another TYPO17 speaker, Debbie Millman
- Oliver Jeffers World
- Shop some OJ stuff