Storybook Research – Cicily Mary Barker


I grew up on Cicily Mary Barker’s flower fairies and the beautiful illustrations were what made me fall in love with her books completely. They have a graceful and delicate quality that reflects the subject matter perfectly. I really like how she matches the fairy with the flower the are supposed to represent and gives them clothing and characteristics similar to those flowers.


In both style and subject matter, Barker’s work has influenced my own. Her colour palette is based on the colours of the flower and the place it would grow, making it very natural, combined with the intricate details, makes for incredible illustrations in her books. Because my book is called The Butterfly Soldier, I thought of these illustrations as inspiration for drawing my protagonist with his monarch butterfly wings. Most of the fairies have butterfly wings so I thought it would be a good place to draw inspiration from.


Barker shows that you can have intricate and elegant illustrations that work with text in a book and can also stand alone as works of art. I aim for my illustrations to do something similar however they are very specific to the content I’m working with where as Barker’s books are more¬†encyclopaedic anthologies than stories so this may only be true of a few of my illustrations.


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