Self-portrait of artist Douglas Jones.

Illustrator Douglas Jones has clients across the globe – but he lives right here in Nelson. Last fall, the Nelson Public Library commissioned Jones to create a poster and a series of illustrations in honour of the library’s 100th birthday. These works and the sketches that were their foundation, are now on display in a special exhibition at the library.

The poster, depicting a young woman reading while Nelson’s orange bridge serves as a hammock, has captured Nelson’s imagination; the illustration series represents four eras of reading in the library’s history and these will be a part of the library’s historic exhibition at Touchstones Nelson this fall.

“We are thrilled to have Doug as our official centenary artist,” says Adult Services Coordinator Anne DeGrace. “He’s captured the spirit of reading and of the library’s place in the fabric of Nelson, brilliantly.”

Jones has worked as an illustrator for more than 30 years. His commercial clients include Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Nissan, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Penguin, Houghton Mifflin, Fast Company, Audubon and more.

There’s a literary connection as well. His children’s book illustration includes two books written by Carol Foskett Cordsen, Market Day and The Milkman, It’s a Wonderful Life for Kids by Jimmy Hawkins, and Madame President, the Extraordinary, True (and evolving) Story of Women in Politics by Catherine Thimmes.

Jones enjoyed the assignment, which had special resonance for him. “It may seem quaint to people who have never known a world without computers, but I would not be where I am in my illustration career today without libraries and the art books that I obsessed over,” he says. “They informed and influenced my work, inspired me and helped me work for far flung clients from this remote little city. It’s an honour to have been asked to work on the illustrations for the Nelson Public Library’s anniversary.”

Art prints and book bags featuring the centenary poster are available for sale. The exhibition of Jones’s library illustrations continues through February.

– Anne DeGrace