My name is Jared Noury, and I am the illustrator of these two books, Meet Me at the Salish Sea and Explore with Me at the Salish Sea. I am a self-taught artist who started painting and selling at a farmers market on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Art was always a hobby of mine, but I never really took it too seriously until I was asked by Nancy Klimp if I would illustrate her project, which was supposed to be a single book.

More About Jared Noury, Children’s Book Illustrator for Nature Speaks to Us

At the time, I was working as a joiner, building ships, and I worked on this only as a side project. Nancy then introduced me to Mi Ae Lipe, who would ultimately help us design and self-publish the book. I created a number of preliminary paintings and many sketches, but ultimately, the decision was made at one meeting to just start over, with the exception of a few paintings that we kept. After that meeting, I knew that I’d have a long road ahead of me and it wouldn’t be something I could just do on the side!

Introducing Jared Noury, Artist and Children's Book Illustrator for Nature Speaks To Us • Nature Speaks to Us

I decided to fully commit to this project, even if I was scared and had no idea how to do it, technically and artistically.  

Every illustration started with sketches that needed to be approved and then developed into a painting.  I decided to use acrylic on canvas because it was the medium that I felt most comfortable using.  Some ideations came naturally while others showed up after multiple denials. Every meeting that Nancy, Mi Ae, and I had was nerve-racking, as I knew impending criticism would ensue. Every morning for over a year, I would make my way to my studio—sometimes begrudgingly—and work. Slowly but surely, I would figure out how to complete every little detail with the help of Mi Ae and Nancy. After the completion of close to 50 paintings, I was astonished at how much I had grown as an artist!

Introducing Jared Noury, Artist and Children's Book Illustrator for Nature Speaks To Us • Nature Speaks to Us

Illustrating these books has taught me that I have a lot more untapped potential than I ever would have imagined. Taking things step by step and not overwhelming myself was paramount to obtaining this huge goal. Taking my time and not rushing the process was also key to the overall success of this project.

After this crazy year that we have had with the pandemic, my goal for these books is to reintroduce children to nature through beautiful poetry and illustrations. 

You can find Jared Noury on Instagram.