July Hedge a Gram

Happy July!

Summer is great isn't it? Now's the time to do something creative, not for school, not an assignment, but just for you. Here's a good way to start. Write down some of the things that interest you. Here's my list so you can get an idea. Five things that interest me are chickens, the color yellow, the sky, different cloud patterns, and flowers that talk (like in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll).

The next step is to work on a story, just in your mind. My favorite times are....just before falling asleep (this works great if you can't fall asleep for some reason), and when I go for a run. But any time you're alone is a good time.

Now, my secret is not to tell anyone how the story or plan for a drawing is coming. Store up all your excitement and eagerness to tell it. Wait until you can put it on paper or on your computer. Think of blowing up balloon - you've got all these ideas but when you tell another person, it's like letting some or the air out of the balloon. Instead, think of how surprised and amazed your audience will be with the complete story!

One last thought, don't be afraid to work on your story, then, put it away in order to look at it later, with fresh eyes. If you hear a little voice saying this isn't any good, don't pay any attention to it. You can make your story great! Try harder! Fix things! You'll be very glad you did. I hope you have fun being creative this summer. It's what makes you a unique person.

As for me, I'm happily painting the finish spreads for The Surprise, my new book for the fall of 2000. I'm buying a new camera to take close-ups of my hens and rooster. Every time I go by a pond full of water lilies and cattails, I stop and have a look. There are some geese and goslings in my book and every few days several goose couples and their babies parade by our dock. How convenient! I hope all these things will make The Surprise believable.

I'll be thinking of a new idea for next year's book too -- let me know how you're doing and we can cheer each other on.

Your friend,


PS. Buffy, my pet hedgehog, says hi. I just made her a nice environment with ferns moss and a cozy rock cave. She's still very shy, but we hear her on her wheel at night. I used her as the model for Hedgie in The Hat.