Shirley MacKenzie

Illustration and Books

 I believe that every work of art is, in a way, an illustration. It is an attempt to communicate through the objects of our attention. We seek to provoke the viewer's imagination with imagery from our world and by creative manipulation, reveal our own  story along with that to which we observe.

Orphan Sage was not realized as a book until almost all eighteen paintings were complete. I sought to create images that could reveal the stages within my own story of abandonment, adoption, and search for lost family. I linked the illustrations with prose and poetry. The words pull the artwork together in sequence. This was not only a personal story but a leap into experimentation as an artist. Could I tell a story in paintings? Could I format it to fit in the viewer's hand? Could I affect the reader not only with the subject matter, but with this new approach to communication and art? I leave that to my readers to answer. Copies are available here for $20. Canadian plus shipping. I donate $5. from each book to Parent finders National, helping others to find family.


I was commissioned to illustrate the lovely gourmet breakfast cookbook titled

Food With Thought. This was for Radclyffe House Bed and Breakfast. It carries delicious, original recipes for the adventurous traveler. The illustrations play on the whimsical, the joys of new places, new foods, and sweet imagery to decorate the recipes.

The Laughing Princess, written by Seymour Hamilton; magically narrated by a dragon, tells the story of twelve other dragons to two unsuspecting children vacationing in Scotland.  When the words can become so relished, it is a joy to imagine and polish up an illustration. Here you'll find twelve full colour and twelve pen and ink drawings. This sweet children's book was a delight to work through with Seymour Hamilton, and Jessica Knaus from Acedrex Publishing. Take a look at this book and other novels of adventure written by Seymour Hamilton.

review from -  A charming collection of stories about dragons told in elegant language that will be a joy for adults and a delight for children. Advanced young readers of 11 and 14, older readers 13 to 15. Illustrations and layout are beautiful and pleasing to the eye.