November Hedge a gram

     Happy  November!   It's nice to take a breath after a busy book tour and reach out to all the future illustrators and writers who read my monthly Hedge a gram!
      It's "crunch" time.  I have about a month to finish my book, The Three Bears.   People react differently to deadlines, but there are some things I like about that looming must be done, date.  I am naturally kind of lazy and scattered.  Having a deadline makes me invigorated.  I like the drama and the excitement of all my ideas having to be acted on.  For months, I've tried one thing, then another, try not to miss any creative bend in the road.   Now I have to be bold, decisive and....finish the book!
     Thank you, Thank  you those of you who came to say "Hi" at my booksignings across America.  I hope you could tell how much it meant to me.   Even though it was bustling, the truth is that all year long I work by myself, or rather me, and Joe and the chickens, and I am inspired by the contact you have made at the booksignings.  I really hope the little talk I put together helped you with your work.  Funny thing is, it helps me with mine too!  It's not a bad thing to say out loud the story behind the book.
     Many of you asked, what inspires?  For me, I love to look at the art from different cultures, especially folk art.  The idea that people everywhere find decorating, carving, embroidering, and creating, valuable.  Every book has its own item or artifact that I prop up in my studio.  I find something that reminds me why I want to explore a certain setting.  In Honey...Honey...Lion! I had a packet of Guinea Fowl feathers.  They are the birds native to Africa that are black with white polka dots.  Incredibly, the look grey from a distance and the flocks of birds blend in with the grasses.  They also have bright red and blue faces!
     Four The Three Bears, I have some soapstone sculptures of birds and seals that I bought on our trip to Baffin island.  They snap me right back to the time of our eye-opening trip.  I  also have a pair of embroidered slippers that put me in mind of the traditional clothing and a tapestry depicting Arctic wildlife.
     One of the best messengers from another place and time is fragrance.  Although I haven't illustrated a book about it, I have a clump of reindeer beard moss from Mt Hood in Oregon.  When I place my face into it and close my eyes, I am remembering the road up to Timberline Lodge, every detail clear.  Maybe you'll see something that you brought back from a trip that will start a story going!  Good luck!
     Bye for now, happy reading!  Your friend,

                                      Jan Brett