August Hedge a gram,
Hi, this is Jan Brett and this is my August Hedge a gram. I am right in
the middle of painting the illustrations for The Three Snow Bears. It takes me
about an hour to paint a square inch of the illustrations, so it's a slow
process. I love to sketch out the little Inuit girl trying on the three pairs
of boots in the bears igloo, first in pencil, then with a soft gray line in
watercolor. As I fill in all the colors and details, I loose track of time.
It's always a fresh surprise when after a few hours, poof! there she is with a
character all her own. It's funny, even though I'm a professional artist, and
make my living drawing, I am uncomfortable unless the picture feels right. It's
almost like there's a world I can enter by drawing like flashing a light in a
dark cave and seeing paintings on the wall. If a picture is going well it's
like electricity is going through me it's so exciting. There's a down side too,
when every path I take doesn't seem to work. It's especially frustrating when I
have to start over.
For all of you kids that are serious about your art, here's my motto "If
it was easy, anyone could do it!"
I say that to myself when I need determination.
My favorite page so far, is when the little Inuit girl tries on three pairs
of boots. On Baffin Island where I visited, and in all of the Arctic, boots are
marvels of ingenuity and art. Sometimes they are made to be waterproof, and
the stitches can only be made by a seamstress who is very skilled and
meticulous. The materials are chosen very carefully so nothing is wasted.
Sometimes there is stiff fur on the bottoms so you don't slide on slippery ice.
Komituks, which is Inuktitut for traditional boots are so warm that no other
material can rival them.
The seamstress sometimes will make designs with different colors of fur.
In my book I studied many, many boots in order to make the three bears boots
extra special, but also look authentic. Now when I look at that page I can
almost believe those boots really exist. I'm always amazed at the way reality
is blurred when I'm making a book! During August, perhaps you'll take pencils
or markers and paper, close the door to your room and let your mind drift as you
draw. You too may be surprised at the new place that comes into existence from
Happy drawing. Bye for now, your friend,