March Hedge a gram

Happy March,
    This is my March hedge a gram and I'd like to tell you all about what's happening in my life as a professional illustrator.  I'm hoping some of you may consider working on a big creative project or at least plan on doing one.
     I have spend a great part of the day discussing my Easter book idea with my editor, Margaret.  As usual, my idea seemed fabulous in my mind, great, written in longhand, a little less great once typed up and "needing some" work when I viewed it through Margaret's eyes.  She is a superlative editor, because she knows how to bring up a point without seeming critical.  It's as if one's book idea is like a beautiful field covered with new snow.  A few animals tracks are charming not as nice when it's crisscrossed with people tracks and snowmobiles and no longer pretty at all if the snow gets dirty and mud splashes on the whiteness.  When Margaret makes a suggestion it's like soft little rabbit tracks.
     I say all of this in a jokey way, but if you are just starting out as an illustrator or author it can be really devastating to be criticized, and hard to recover.  It's a delicate balance between listening to good advice and having the courage of one's conviction.  Even as a published author I've had some criticism that made it seem difficult to go on.
     I like to work fresh, first thing in the morning, then I'm peppy and full of the energy I'll need to correct any wrongs and sort everything else.
     I am looking forward to painting different varieties of rabbits; lops, dutchs, angoras and others in my book.  If anyone has a photo of their rabbit, that is clear and characterful I would enjoy seeing it.  If I do use it, not copy it but use it like I would a model, I will put all about it in my newsnotes.
     For once, the time I'm taking to write and dummy up the story coincides with the time of year in New England.  Even though it is 14 degrees outside and we are expecting snow, our witch hazel bush is blooming yellow sprays of flowers and it was still light at 5:45 in the evening.  Spring is coming.
     I am taking a lot of long runs this time of year and I like to think about names and border ideas as I go along.  There is something about mindless exercise that helps me puzzle out my stories.   When I get to the art, it's a different matter - it all just flows.  Maybe you are the opposite and feel like your writing is stronger.  Whatever your style is, wouldn't you agree that it is exhilarating to see characters form and events propel them.
     Lastly, we just came back a trip.  On a trip to Namibia in Southern Africa we tracked a bull wide-lipped or white rhino.  My husband Joe took video tape of it, and I am excited to show it to you combined with a "How to Draw a Rhino" art lesson.   Some of the unusual creatures we saw were; a rare python (it was small), a rock python (it was large), two beautiful leopard tortoises, one very large, a rock dassie or hyrax who deserve to be in a book someday plus a breeding herd of easy going desert elephants, black faced impala, always beautiful and birds, birds, birds!  We saw over 150 species of birds including some huge raptors and my favorite, painted snipes.   Painted snipes have long legs, long bills and beautiful colors which are surrounded by a black outline so they look like they are out of a coloring book.
     Here's a fun fact.  Scorpions glow when illuminated with an ultraviolet light.  In Africa we went out at night and saw the bright stars in constellations.  They look vibrant when one is away from town and city lights, and, as if putting on a show of their own, iridescent little scorpions shown on the ground and peeking out of their holes in trees.
     Happy reading, happy creating,
                                  Your friend,

                                      Jan Brett