March Hedge a gram

Happy March!

     This is a good time to stop and take a breath and tell you about my life as an illustrator. Some days I can paint happily away, listen to music or books on tape and my work seems carefree. It's not always like that. Right now I'm working on the book dummy (that the sketch version of the new book) for Noah's Ark my book for fall 2003. I've got a big list of letters of the alphabet and beside each of the letters are the names of animals that begin with that letter. I also have a huge stack of reference books that picture most of the animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects in the world.
     When I narrow down the animals I'll put in my book, I'll need to study how they behave. I can't put a penguin roosting on a high beam with all of the other birds if it can't fly! When I come back from the bookstore visits that will take up most of March, I'll go to the Peabody Museum at Harvard to study the stuffed specimens of the animals. My biggest challenge will be to find a male and a female of each creature. Sometimes the male and female look really different. As everybody knows the animal board Noah's Ark two by two, boy and girl.
     I haven't really completed the manuscript for my book but I'm going ahead with the dummy. Usually I have the text all finished. The process of creating a book is puzzling, and full of challenges. Problem solving is a skill I rely on heavily!
     I'll be going to about thirty bookstores in March to sign books and especially my new story, Daisy Comes Home. I'll be so happy to see you if you are able to visit. You'll recognize me because I'll be wearing a silk jacket made in china, the place where Daisy is takes place. I wish I could bring my daughter in law Yun, who helped me with the book, but she has two little boys and a job, so she is too busy.
     Something exciting will be happening at my house while I'm away. Two of my hens will be setting on eggs. It takes 21 days for them to hatch into chicks. If all goes well, I'll have baby chicks hatching the day after I come home.
     I hope if you are working on a creative project you don't get discouraged. There is an expression. "It's always darkest before the dawn." I always say this to myself when I'm beginning a book, to remind myself it's worth it to try hard.
     Good luck! I hope I will see you at a bookstore next month.

Bye for now,

Your friend,

Jan Brett