Little Evie in the Wild Wood: illustrated by Catherine Hyde

This will be a long tale in the telling, so make a cup of tea or coffee before you settle to look and to read.

In 2008 I went for a walk with my friend Cathy, who makes beautiful sculptures, and her daughter Evie.

Evie walking in the wood near Bath

We walked in the woods and as we walked I thought of wolves. The birds sang. Small creatures rustled in the undergrowth. We found a pair of shoes. But that is another story.

A pair of lost pink dancing shoes in a wood near BathBack home I wrote a story called Little Evie in the Darkwoods. I always write first with a pen on paper. For me it easier to write this way, maybe because I am drawing the words rather than keying them in to a computer. Anyway, to begin with it looked like this:

first page of text for EvieI typed up the story and sent it to Frances Lincoln, and there it sat for a while,quietly in a draw, waiting.

Meanwhile I met Catherine Hyde. Her first two books, The Princesses Blankets by Carol Ann Dufy and The Firebird by Saviour Pirotta were published by Templar. Both were very beautiful. But when I asked Catherine what she was working on next she said she wasn’t sure. So I sent her Little Evie. I had always had a curiosity to discover what it was like to have your words interpreted by an artist or an illustrator and it seemed to me that Little Evie in the Darkwoods was just meant for Catherine.

Catherine liked the story, Frances Lincoln were intrigued by the idea of Catherine working with them on a book, loved the story of Evie, so then it was over to Catherine to gather up the story and make it live.

What has happened so far over the weeks has been a joy for me to watch. Catherine and I talked a little, of where the story came from. It grew partly out of my horror at Little Red Riding Hood when I was a child. It was all wrong. Always made me cry. It grew partly out of hearing Barbara Kinsolver talk about how children’s stories reinforced the fear of the wild and wild places. It grew partly out of wolf love and wild love. Then we stopped talking and I stood back and watched and waited. This is some of what happened next.

early sketches by Catherine Hydeearly sketches by Catherine Hydeearly sketches of evie by Catherine Hydewolf by Catherine Hyde

wolf by Catherine Hyde

Then early beautiful sketches by Catherine became ink wolves.

wolf by Catherine Hydeinkwolfinkwolf walkingNext came colour.

The house where Evie livesLittle Evie in the DarkwoodsAnd then Catherine began to put the images into the form of a book.

Into the wood

At the edge of the clearing by Catherine Hydejam tarts by Catherine Hyderiding home.Evie and the Wolf by Catherine HydeSo, have I found out what it is like to have a story illustrated? I can only touch the surface of trying to explain. It has been like watching someone put flesh onto the bones of something I started and to make it beautiful. Catherine, through her vision and sense of design has made Evie and the Darkwood and the wolf live and breathe. There have been times when I have crept up to facebook after a long day in my studio to find a treasure or two posted on my facebook wall as Catherine has made her way from the edge of the book into the heart of it. It has been an exciting experience.

In the Wildwood by Catherine Hyde Evie and the wolf by Catherine Hyde







Little Evie in the Wild Wood, written by Jackie Morris, illustrated by Catherine Hyde, published in the UK and the USA by Janetta Otta-Barry Books, Frances Lincoln in 2013. To see all the art for Evie have a look at Catherine’s website.

And did I notice when the title was edited? No, I didn’t. The Darkwood became The Wild Wood, so now we have Little Evie in the Wild Wood, which carries more light with it, an emerald green light.

For sale in all good independent bookshops in UK and USA.

About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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30 Responses to Little Evie in the Wild Wood: illustrated by Catherine Hyde

  1. wow Jackie it is going to be wonderful when all done and printed!

  2. Mo Crow says:

    thank you for sharing the process of collaboration, the letting go of your words to Catherine to take them into her heart and seeing what has emerged so far is such a beautiful thing!

    • Jackie says:

      Someone asked me how I could let someone else illustrate my words, but I write faster than I paint and also it doesn’t feel like I have ‘ownership’ of the stories I write. Yes, I write them. But this one seemed just to be calling out to Catherine. And I think it shows so well in what she has produced so far. I can’t wait to read this in schools. But then I love her other two books also.

  3. Judy Dyble says:

    How wonderful! I have the same thrilling feeling when my words are clothed in music and turned into songs.
    I am so looking forward to seeing the story and the pictures, when it is all finished and gorgeous

  4. Have just loved this post. So enjoy seeing the processes. Thank you

  5. Tamsin Abbott says:

    It has been an absolute joy to watch this process unfold. Two amazing women with incredible talent creating something out of this world.
    I also so agree with Jackie about fear and the wild woods. I have always felt at home in the natural world, it’s the cities that make me jump out of my skin.

  6. Oh what a treat…the roots and the process illustrated. It’s just thrilling. You have conveyed the expectation and joy of it so well. It got me to thinking about my little story, not so magical, but quite a nice story about a chimp and his pet. I wrote it for a free animal issue paper a friend publishes, Anyhow, it just got me to thinking about the whole process of creating. As always, thank you.

  7. It is how one dreaming can set off another. Then the magic grows.
    I find that collaborative working gives you the courage to go down paths not normally walked. One artist can speak and then another is enabled to see. It looks fantastic.

  8. Magic Cochin says:

    I love the final images with the wolf as the protector… it make me think of ancient tales like the story of St Edmund.


  9. Carrie says:

    I love Catherine’s work, even in these early sketches she has conveyed so much spirit, especially in the gaze of the wolf in that last one… I’m sure it will be an amazing collaboration and I can’t wait to see and read the end result!
    (calmed me down after day two of house moving anyway, thanks!)

  10. Jess says:

    Oh my goodness I can tell already I’m going to love this book! I shall wait with baited breath for the day it’s ready. I feel very privileged to see the beginnings. 🙂
    Jess xx

  11. Julie Clay says:

    Looks amazing, I like Catherines work, it’s always magical. What a lovely collaboration. You must feel quite proud that your words have inspired such creativity, it’s a gift you have. Well done.

  12. catherine hyde says:

    I don’t think I have ever met someone so prolific, so generous of heart, so passionate and original as Jackie Morris. When she sent me the story I felt that it was mine – one of those wand chooses the wizard moments. People are perhaps right to ask why would you want someone else to illustrate your work as we all know that if Jackie had illustrated it herself it would have been a marvel of beauty – but I think that she is right and that stories once written have lives of their own – something is released when you read and the power of words to conjure images is a potent thing.

  13. WOL says:

    If you don’t know of them already, I think you’d love these guys.

  14. Christina says:

    How wonderful to see the birth and nurturing of a new tale, I love seeing how it develops, seeing how other artists create. What a marvelous collaboration this is, I can’t wait to see the finished book.

  15. Oh Jackie, how exciting for you! And for little Evie too! It looks beautiful and sounds wonderfull.. I am happy for you x

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  17. emilie says:

    What a fascinating entry! I found it really intriguing to see how a picture book comes to life and to see the illustrations take shape and come to life. Thank you for sharing. I cannot wait to get this book!

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  22. Judy Murdoch says:

    So very delightful, and another to add to my list of must haves and must read before I die.

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