March Hedge a gram
This is Jan Brett, and this is my March hedge a
gram...the time I take every month to let you know what I'm doing as an author
When I finished THE 3 LITTLE DASSIES last month, I felt
like I had a huge open landscape to begin creating my new book. Realistically
though, there are a lot of aspects to my work that aren't actually working on my
book. I am being interviewed by newspapers from the towns I will go to on my
book tour in March. I'll be gone three weeks on our big bus. When I'm not
signing at book stores, I'll be working on a mural for THE EASTER EGG, that we
will put up on the web. I'm looking forward to traveling to towns I've never
been to before and speaking to children about being creative. Although it will
be hard to stop working on my new book, a little space may be helpful. I can
work on some of the ideas I have. My book, HOME FOR CHRISTMAS is about a troll
family. At home, I'm working on the dummy or cartoon version of the story. I can
do sketches of funny troll clothes, and the kind of house they will live in. In
April, I will be traveling to Sweden to do more research, and it's good if I
have a checklist of things to look for, so my images will be authentic. I am
leaving room in my mind for lots of changes, additions, and edits, because it's
wonderful when the story one is working on takes on a life of its own. It's like
having a roadmap, but not sticking to the exact route. At the end of my story,
Rollo the troll escapes the deep snow drifts at the top of the mountain. He
falls into the snow when the animal he is riding loses its antlers. Then, he
toboggans down the mountain on an antler, which becomes a giant sled.
I like to draw reindeer, and it would work better
plot wise if there was a herd, but reindeer have somewhat thin and spindly
antlers, perhaps too thin to make a sled. Now moose, which also live in Sweden,
have a perfect antler Rollo could sled on, but they're somewhat solitary
creatures and the female does not have antlers. You can be sure I'll be finding
out a lot about moose and reindeer on my trip in order to decide which animal
Rollo will be were riding.
In the meantime I'm getting excited about Easter and
I'm decorating eggs. I have a giant ostrich egg I brought back from Africa that
I've been coloring with gel pens. I will have to put a clear coat of protective
shine on top. Also, my pullets (young chickens, females under one year old) are
just beginning to lay eggs. Their first eggs are very small, and they are Bantam
chickens which lay small eggs in the first place. That makes a very dainty egg
to color. The gel pens are great because I do not like to work in acrylic paint.
I can't seem to get the results I want. If I have time I'd like to try drawing
on my eggs with a wax drawing tool. Melted wax is put on the egg with a stylus
that lets you apply a very thin line. Then you dip the eggs in a dye bath. No
dye will adhere to where the wax is. When you melt the wax a beautiful design
appears like magic. You can see one of these eggs, call Pysinki in THE EASTER
EGG. Until now I've just bought eggs that expert artists have created.
I may also try making some eggs and chick cookies. I
think eggs are fascinating. They have been a symbol of springtime for thousands
of years. Of all the eggs in the world, my favorites are wild bird and shorebird
eggs that have squiggles, dots, and swirls over beautiful background color like
light brown, reddish bay or green.
March is a transitional month and I certainly feel like
I'm between many different worlds artistically and in my life. The thing I like
about being an artist, is that it's always the common thread that goes through
my life, and that is very comforting.
Happy creating and have fun getting ready for Easter.