January Hedge a gram

Happy New Year and Happy January,

      When I see the symbol of  the little baby representing the New Year, I remember why January 1st is my favorite holiday.  It's time to shrug off all the mistakes and ho hum ways of last year, and make a new start.  In addition to telling you what is going on in my life as an illustrator, as I usually do in my monthly hedge a gram, I'd also like to explain why looking at life from a  child's point of view is so exhilarating.
     My children's books take about a year to complete.  Some of that year is taken up by research, travelling, and promoting my new books.   Last month, I finished the artwork for Big Sparkler.  Since the book will have sparkles in it, the last thing I did was to indicate where the sparkles would go.  At the last minute, the publisher got word from the printer that I couldn't have sparkles in all the places I wanted, so I had to compromise.  It was  technical problem.  The way I looked at it, I'm happy to have the sparkles period.  The sparkles will be see through so my art can show from underneath, and they will have all the colors of the rainbow so it will look other-worldly.   This will be good because my book takes place in outer space!
     I am working on the story for the next book, which is a version for Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  I've always wanted to tell the story in an Arctic setting with Goldilocks as an Intuit girl with black hair, ,and the bears as polar bears.   I would like to use my imagination and dress up the polar bears in parkas and mukluks.  I would like to imagine their house made out of ice and snow, colored with silvery greens and blues.  I've seen photos of icebergs and I've seen a glacier.  Both times I was surprised at how blue-green the ice looked, especially in the deep crevices.
    This story will have a secondary border story showing the Inuit girl's dog team.   Our family dog was a Siberian Husky which is a breed that loves to pull sleds.  Perky lived with us for 15 and 1/2 years.  She has inspired lots of books.  If you have ever read the Trouble with Trolls or The First Dog you would see her.  My friend, Lee, has two beautiful Huskies and I'll probably ask her if I can use them as models.  One of her huskies, Laika, had such beautiful coloring I combined her with our dog Perky for my troll story.  Right now, I am going over my thoughts about the book when I'm in the car with my husband, Joe, or when I'm running.   When I'm running I get fresh thoughts, and talking with Joe my thoughts get organized in a helpful way.
     This month, I'll be doing some sketches that follow my story line.   Once my pencil hits the paper a new part of my brain kicks in.  Then the story takes on a life of its own.  When I create the world that will be my book, the excitement is overwhelming.
      The wonder and curiosity of childhood and the beginning of an art adventure make the beginning of 2006 very exciting.  Sometimes I think of my ideas as beautiful wild horses.   It's my job to tame and harness them, but not spoil their wildness or originality.   Good luck with your creative work.  As we feel the energy of the New Year let's create original work that is unlike anything we're done before.
     Happy New Year, your friend.

                             Jan Brett