Happy January!

     I am starting the New Year working night and day on my book, THE MERMAID. It is expected at the end of the month, and I look forward to many hours working on it. Every month I pause to write an update about my work, and it is my hope that if you are curious about what it is like to have illustrating be your profession, my Hedge a gram will give you a little insight.
     I have been working on THE MERMAID for just under a year. I can't decide if the looming deadline is helpful, because it forces me to think clearly or at least decisively, or it deadens the paintings because I am so focused on finishing on time. Right now I am in a good place creatively, but I am aware that I do not have the option of experimenting or doing a page over. 
    I often think back to the book tour when I have a chance to talk to children about creating a book. I want the children to give it a try. Even though teachers and librarians encourage them, and give assignments, I want the children to know how much fun it can be as well. I want children to know how personal it can be. Nothing can match the exuberance of coming up with a great idea, and then getting it on paper. There is a lot of give and take within oneself that is hard to explain. Especially since I'm afraid too much analysis will turn off ones creativity.
    On one hand, it is good to be disciplined and have a good work ethic. On the other hand, it is important to let random ideas be welcome and to play around with different approaches. I guess the answer is to cultivate an inner voice that measures and values as the pictures unfold. The greatest success and triumph is when a greater force takes over. This is hard to explain to children when they have not had experience.
     Probably the best approach for me is not talk about what I'm going to do, but to show my intentions by doing the artwork and writing. When I was a girl I was not always happy about what I said, but when I drew a picture, I had the time to think things through. Although I could be critical of my artwork, on the whole I felt it was genuine and honest. That same feeling still pervades today.
    Some people are born with a spark. They have a driving force that makes them try over and over again to perfect their craft. If I am one of those people , I hope that I will never lose the motivation to let the artwork unfold with a light hand.
     2017 is spread out before us. I am looking forward to seeing the beauty in our world, and spending time storytelling with painting. I hope you find a project that takes hold and you have a creative year. Happy New Year!

Your friend, Jan Brett