April Hedge a gram

It's April!

This is my April hedge a gram. It's a window into my professional life that I love to share with future children's book illustrators and writers. I hope that you're enjoying a little bit of spring where you are. I haven't seen any migrating birds yet except robins, but the spring peepers are peeping and the crocuses and Lenten rose are in bloom. We had a single chick hatch, Snowdrop. She has two mommies, my Silkies Lily and Rose who decided to share a nest. They are excellent mothers.

I'm doing the book dummy for Noah's Ark. I'm starting to amass quite a collection of animal books. The book dummy is a sketch version of the book I have in mind. I've chosen certain proportions for the size that the finished book should be. It could be tall and thin, square, or horizontal. Of course, I can change everything in midstream. That's the beauty of a dummy. It's the time to try ideas out. I sent away for special paper called papyrus. It was invented in ancient times and is made out of kind of grass that grows in marshy places, like around the Nile river in Egypt. It's a beautiful gold color.

We have one of the oldest wooden churches in America in the next town, the town where I grew up. It has open beams all the way to the roof. It is exactly the kind of space I picture for the inside of Noah's enormous ark. I'm not sure if the Old Ship Church in Hingham, Massachusetts was built by shipbuilders or if it just looks like an old ship, but when I sit inside it, I think "ark".

As I'm planning this new book, I'm hearing lots of news about the one I've just finished. It's being printed now, and I've seen some of the proofs. Of all the books I've done in my life, Who's that Knocking on Christmas Eve, has taken the longest to get right, especially the jacket! I'm lucky to work with people at my publisher who really care about getting the printing right.

I'm glad to be back home doing my artwork. I've been travelling on the book tour. I love meeting teachers, librarians, and all the educators that are so devoted to their classes. The children I met are so remarkable that the word wonder-ful is the only way to describe them. I have some beautiful drawings on my bulletin board that I was given. On the tour in Petoskey, Michigan, I also got to meet a live hedgehog and a hen with perfect manners.

For some reason a part of me is not happy unless I can draw a little everyday, and that is why I am so happy, especially right now, when I can remember the happy faces from booksignings.

Happy spring!

Your friend,

Jan Brett