June Hedge a gram

 Happy June,

     Here's my June hedge a gram.   This is the time I gather my thoughts about being an artist, and I try to tell you about the challenges and fun I am having with my children's books.  I am thinking about the child or reader that has a book deep in their mind that is about to unfold.  Sometimes we're distracted or just not ready to dig in.  After all making a book is hard work.  The surprise is how exciting and uplifting it is to get in the middle of a creative project.
      You may know that the book I'm working on tells about Hedgie the Hedgehog going to outer space.  I got the idea from when I was a young person, and used to draw other worlds.  My mother always pushed us to use our imaginations, and the big attraction about outer space is that almost anything can happen.  I also think astronauts are the heros of our time.  The discipline they have to have to study and train is awesome.  The astronauts were once kids like anybody, whose parents were very amazed that their child became an astronaut.  When I tell the story of Hedgie, he's a stand in for all the people who stepped forward to be part of the discovery and adventure of space.
     You may be surprised at another huge influence I have.  It's kids!  This spring I visited three schools.  When I was at these schools, I saw the children's drawings.  Some were from the How to Draw videos on my website, some were their own ideas and some were from my little art lessons.  I am amazed at the talent of the kids.
     I am intrigued at how much of a story their drawings tell.  They are not afraid to do new things and put their ideas into use.  I think of the Toucan birds one class drew for example.  Each one looked like it could talk any minute or fly off the page.  Some artists drew wild leafy backgrounds with exotic flowers or dangerous predators.  When I looked at the drawings, I wanted to know more.
     I made my mind up that I would put more mystery and atmosphere in my new book.  I would not answer every question asked in the art work.  I liked how my imagination was fired up looking at the student's artwork and I want my book to be the same way.
     Please, please, please take some time to draw a picture.  Drawing is like swimming, or math, or playing a musical instrument, you get better the more you practice!
     Right now, I'm working on Hedgie's astronaut uniform and his spaceship.  I am designing the interior of the laboratory where he works.   Seeing the facilities at the Space Center gave me some ideas.  I am also getting ready to show some scenes from outer space.  I have photos from the Hubble telescope for that.  Soon I will show my first finished drawing to my editor Margaret and my art director Cecilia.  I listen carefully to what they say because I want my space book to be the best it can be.
     Good luck and keep on being creative!

                         Your friend,

                                Jan Brett