Happy September!

This is my September hedge a gram. When I was a student I wanted information on what it was like to be a professional, making my living from artwork. Now that illustrating is my job, I write this hedge a gram to give you an idea what it's like.
I am half way through my new book, which I'm calling THE EASTER EGG for now. Like most of my books, it has a center panel and a smaller illustration on each side, showing the action in other places. The fun of it is that the characters, rabbits and robins, don't know the whole story until the very end. The reader can put the pieces together and guess what it is. I like putting clues in my artwork that help tell the story. The borders are made up of pussy willow branches, one of my favorite botanicals. They start out small and grow as time goes by. By the end of the book they are long pale green catkins, hardly recognizable as the soft furry-like gray buttons that first appear. In this way I can show time passing.
In my top border I show a robin pair nesting. While mother robin is sitting on her nest a pair of troublesome squirrels go chasing through and knock one of the eggs down onto the forest floor. This sequence will be in the top border. I like having three stories in one, that all resolve on the last pages. Many people have asked me how I got started putting borders in my work. I remember as a child when I loved reading. I didn't like the feeling of suspense though, like most kids do. I'd also read the last page first to see if anything really bad happened. Then I'd go back and start reading from the beginning and really enjoy the book!
Now, when I give hints about the end of the story, it seems like the kind of book that I would have liked when I was six or seven. I still am more interested in the telling of a story that of the outcome. One of the fascinating aspects of reading many different authors, is to experience the many styles they have. I am drawn to books that create such a believable world that when you close the cover of the book, it's a jolt to go back in your reality, like awaking from a dream.
I would love for you to take a few minutes and think about the stories or artwork that you have created. Sometimes it's a mystery to know why we are pulled toward certain colors, images and different kinds of stories. When I look at a class's drawings, it's astounding at how unique each picture is even though I know that art is a way to express yourself. It's always an inspiring surprise. I hope you will try really hard to assemble some art materials and give yourself some pure time, unspoiled by TV or other people's games and voices, so you can play around with your ideas. Or, if you are more of a writer, give yourself that time to describe some of the characters or plot ideas you may have been thinking of.
Good luck in September, in creating a new unique project.

Your friend,

Jan Brett