April Hedge a Gram

I've got three double page spreads across my desk - the first experiments and finished artwork for Happy Hens. No matter how much I plan, re-think and am absolutely sure of the direction I'm heading, I often end of changing things as I go from my sketches to the finished drawing. When I do the dummy, it's almost like a cartoon - I can exaggerate and toss out ideas. Then when I go to paint on the final pages, I often reevaluate my work.

For all of the young artists, would you like me to share a device that I use for checking a drawing. Look at your work in a mirror! It's like seeing it for the first time. Let's say I've drawn my character, and I've been working on her expression for so long that I don't know if it's right or not. That's when I show it to myself in the mirror. I often find something new. Try it.

I have wonderful news since my March Hedge a gram. Stephanie, the little girl that I'm going to use for the model for Mei-Mei in Happy Hens came over to our house. Stephanie and I read the book dummy, which I had sent to her before, and then she acted out the motions that the book character goes through. She was just like I imagined my character, intelligent, thoughtful and determined about planning a good future. In my book, Mei-Mei won't accept that a fisherman wants to sell her dear hen. I can picture Stephanie coming to that same conclusion. Stephanie also loved my hens and they liked her too. Hens aren't like a dog or even a cat in their level of interaction with people, but they respond when a person is gentle and soothing. They even like baby talk. Don't ask me how I know that!

Now that it's Spring some of you may be getting your own chicks, or if you already have hens maybe your hens will be hatching their own babies. I'd love to hear your stories. Even if you don't have chicks, I'd like to hear about your pets. Which reminds me, our hedgehog Buffy is just fine. She got to meet Stephanie and her brother Terence too.

Bye for now. Happy Reading.


Jan Brett