October Hedge a gram

Mossy Dummy Pages 17 – 18

Happy October,

This is Jan Brett, and I’d like to say a few words about what’s going on in my life as a children’s author and illustrator.
I have about a month to work on my new book, MOSSY before going out on the book tour, and I’m looking forward to a stretch of time where I can devote a lot of time to it. When I’m working on the finishes, I’ll continue doing a little research on the side, but it’s mostly putting slot of hours in painting. I created a fairly elaborate book dummy this time. If you could see it, it’s loose cartoon like drawings done with rapidiograph ( a kind of mechanical ink pen) and watercolors on typing paper. It’s a about 1/2 the size the final pages will be, but in the same proportions as the published book. Tomorrow I’ll bring the first 17 pages to NY city to show to my editor, the art director and designer. It’s always disconcerting because there are already things I plan to improve, but I’m possessive about my work. This is probably because the best work comes from way back in my sub-conscience, and when a lot of people add their opinions it’s hard to hear my own voice. This is not to say that sometimes others are right. The publisher works far ahead of the publishing date, and they present a brief visual version to book buyers early on. That means I do a few pages in the beginning of the story, some in the middle and several at the end. It’s not the ideal way to work, but if I had completed more of the book earlier it would be different.I love wild flowers , and since Mossy takes place in the spring I’ve been sticking to the wild flowers the bloom at that time. But one of the last pages pictures Mossy, her mate Scute, and their little babies and I realized I could time it anytime that turtles are not in hibernation. I’ve been gathering the flowers that grow in early October including one of my favorites new England purple aster, and goldenrod. I was surprised to see their are over 25 varieties of goldenrod.  I may be asked to work on the jacket next, but after that I’ll be working on the pages showing people in their 1913 time period clothes, which should be fun, since I m interested in costume.

                       Norwell Turtle Pond

Norwell Turtle Pond

Joe and I are planning two trips for future books. It’s hard to take the focus off the book I’m currently fascinated by. Were going to India in February, birding in the interior of India in a wildlife park, where there are tigers. I have a book in mind but it is not set in stone. In June I’m going to Sweden and Russia. The focus will be Saint Petersburg. My editor Margaret and I share a fondness for chickens, especially the colorful varieties and their humanlike personality traits. Margaret threw out what fun a Chicken Cinderella would be. When we looked at planning our Russian trip the travel people and guidebooks kept pointing us toward opulent mansions and palaces, so I’m exploring the possibility of setting a chicken Cinderella there. I have always loved the tale of the Snow Queen, and I might get a chance to illustrate a fairy tale set in winter if I set a chicken Cinderella in the Russian wintertime. I’m also getting ideas for another future book, the folktale, The Turnip. For that book I will visit a farm and a Dacha to start imagining a setting as well as seeing authentic farm equipment, typical buildings and Russian farm animals. I have a friend who bred Russian orloff poultry, but I have in mind the beautiful Phoenix rooster, for the handsome prince in Cinderella, and one of my elegant polish pullets for Cinderella.

Once a child asked me what the hardest part of my job is. One of the hardest parts is not having more time to work on my books ideas!  I have three book ideas in the back of my mind work to work on when I’m driving in the car, running, or when I’m getting ready to fall asleep.  They are almost like the big jigsaw puzzle people set up on the table, to be worked on in spurts.  You might find that keeping a mental notebook about a creative project a good way to make use of all your creative energy, with pieces ready when you sit down with a couple of hours of solitude.
Good luck and happy reading,

Jan Brett

  1. #1 by Darlene Ryan on October 14, 2011 - 11:30 pm

    Hi Jan,

    Love your books and read them to my class often:)
    Will you be traveling to Canada in the near future?

  2. #2 by SEO on October 19, 2011 - 8:42 am

    This site will give you a glimpse of what’s happening in the mind of a writer/ illustrator. Very interesting to read.

  3. #3 by Valerie Brideau on October 19, 2011 - 6:00 pm

    Hello Jan

    It would be very interesting to see, via one of your videos, the process of how a book is created – from the dummy to the published work… what materials you choose and why for each leading character…

    I will most certainly look forward to your book focused in India and the new visuals that you will add to your amazing repetoire.

    My best

  4. #4 by Lana Duncan on October 27, 2011 - 5:43 pm

    Jan…. Any ideas for apps for the IPad with or books? Or are you thinking of going directly to the app and skipping the published book first? I live near the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with lots of resources. I owned Storytime Children’s bookstore in Sacramento. We hosted you many times for book signings. Remember those days? Would love to talk to you! Lana Duncan

  5. #5 by Jan Brett on October 28, 2011 - 9:42 pm

    Hi Lana,

    Of course, Joe and I remember you very well. We’re still touring, it’s different, but we still enjoy it. Thanks for being in touch. My first app on Ipod will be released on December 8th. Much love, Jan

  6. #6 by Eleanor Manning on November 6, 2011 - 6:09 pm

    Dear Jan Brett,
    I am 8 years old and live in UT. I was reading one of your books and decided to make one of my own. I hope I could talk to you about illustrating my book. I know you are very busy. Hope you can.
    Your friend,

  7. #7 by Mary Fritz on November 27, 2011 - 5:02 pm

    Hi Jan,
    My students are thrilled with your new book and we are waiting for the App coming soon. Please remember droid apps as well.

    We are designing our Library webpage and hope to include ebooks as soon as possible. We just created our first QR and put the curly-Q box right in our Logo for our school.

    I am so pleased with how personable you really are, when I read your comments to my students they are so happy to count you friend, me too!
    Good traveling,
    Mary-in-the Library at SHCS

  8. #8 by Mandy Brown on November 28, 2011 - 8:50 pm

    Hi Jan and Joe, I love reading about your latest adventures and upcoming events! I was just telling my daughters 2nd grade teacher about your website and was excited to hear she loves your books as well! I am going to try and plan their Christmas crafts around your books so I look forward to searching your website and revisiting your books. I always miss teaching around the holidays! Dale is planning to run the Boston Marathon again and we hope to catch up again this year! Happy Holidays!
    Mandy and Dale Brown

  9. #9 by Trish Nickerson on November 29, 2011 - 2:56 pm

    Dear Jan,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and plans here on this blog. A longtime fan and collector, I am fascinated by the peek into your process, and the wealth of experience and passion you bring to your work. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us who admire your work to glimpse the master creating, and to share that with our students! All the best,
    Trish Nickerson, Montessori teacher in NM

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