Started making illustrations for Albatros Publishing and won the Albatros Publishing Award for illustrations to "Hello, Is Anybody There?", a book by Jostein Gaarder in 1998; received the Golden Ribbon (in Brno) for illustrations to "The Enigma and the Mirror", a book by Jostein Gaarder in 1999; contributed illustrations to tens of books by 2004.

His best works include illustrations to "On the Motherland's Fathers' Czech Blood" and "On the Secret of the Queen of the Cows", books of newspaper columns by Michal Horáček (published by LN Publishing) that received rave reviews and became bestsellers.

Book illustrations have gained him many admirers abroad, too. For example, the "Irish Leprechaun Stories" by Bairbre McCarthy with Jelen's illustrations (published by Albatros) was a great success, and was followed by a version published in Ireland (in English). In 2009 the former Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen gave a copy of this book to US President Barack Obama as a present for his daughters.

Made drawings for Národní Listy, Mladý svět (illustrations to Letters of Love and Hate by Michal Horáček), Lettre internationale, Středoevropské noviny (Lidové noviny supplement), Pátek (Lidové noviny magazine), Playboy, Penthouse, Kmit (Independent Journalism Centre's magazine - acted as Art Director), Transitions (international magazine about transitions in post-communist societies), QUO, Hospodářské noviny.

Oldřich Jelen was born in 1961 in Bělá pod Bezdězem; trained as a book-binder; his first teacher was Josef Josef, a master of the book binding trade; privately studied drawing and painting while doing various occasional jobs; studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague between 1990 and 1993, then left the Academy to work as a freelance artist.

Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague between 1990 and 1993, then left the Academy to work as a freelance artist; cooperated with various periodicals during his studies, making small thematic illustrations in the early stages and getting a greater amount of creative freedom after a fairly short time.

Nahoru