Monday, December 10, 2012

Afternoon at the Bruce

Yesterday's visit to the Bruce Museum was a blast! For me, the best part was talking to the children up close and one on one about how picture books are made. (See how low my chair was? Perfect kid-eye-level!) I brought along lots of show and tell-- my sketchbook, thumbnail sketches, cleaned-up sketches, and final art.

I think the kids were most surprised by the scribbles in my sketchbook, and how messy the beginnings of a book can be. But maybe that gives them permission to explore their own ideas without trying to make them "perfect" the first time around. I hope!

Once again, I wish I had taken more pictures. But here's a shot of the museum shop...

... and Sled Ride art on the wall!...

The exhibit runs through February 24th, 2013!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let It Snow! Children's Book Art at the Bruce Museum

I am beyond honored to be part of the Let It Snow! Children's Book Art exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut! The show runs from December 1 - February 24, 2013. It's a thrill to be included in this group of many of my most favorite illustrators. Go see some beautiful winter-themed art, if you get the chance!

Also, the museum will be running educational programs for teachers, parents, and children throughout the exhibition. I'll be there on Sunday, December 9th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm as guest artist for Family Day: Children's Book Day. Hope you'll stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm the Map

It's a week of waiting-for-okays and working-on-maps.
And I can't get this song out of my head...

In other news,  I'll be signing copies of Sled Ride at the C.H. Booth Library in Newtown, Connecticut this Saturday from 10 am to noon. (More info here.) Hope you'll stop by!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Launch Party Fun

This past weekend's launch party was a blast! Author Rebecca Rule and I read, showed art, and met tons of nice people who came out to enjoy the day at the New Hampshire Farm Museum.

I thought I'd get a chance to take more pictures, but we were too busy signing books! (My favorite was the little boy who asked his mother, "Mommy, why does she get to write in the book?" Too funny!)

Here are more great pictures of the day...

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Birthday!

Today is release day for The Iciest, Diciest Scariest Sled Ride Ever! I'm heading up to New Hampshire for tomorrow's launch party at the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton, NH, from 1-3 pm. (Here's more info.)

And... Paricon Sleds has donated this very cool Flexible Flyer sled to raffle off! Fun stuff. I hope you'll join us!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Books & Storms & Stuff

Lots of exciting projects in the works here. (Hint: more books!) Some fun maps, too.

We were very fortunate during Hurricane Sandy, and only lost power for one day. (Unlike the two storms last year.) Most of town was out for more than a week. Even so, we had nothing like the damage along the coast, New York & New Jersey. Just devastating.

Below are some of the ominous looking trees that thankfully didn't fall on our house. (It was a different, scary tree story all around the area.) Here's the sky the morning after the storm:

And then we woke up to 8 inches of snow this morning. Which is pretty. (But maybe not so early in the season.)

Gotta love a bunch of cords of firewood, though.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Book Trailers, Launch Parties, & More

The wonderful folks at Islandport Press made a book trailer for Sled Ride! I'm so impressed with the amount of care and attention they give their books. Take a look:

Also, if you're around on November 10th, I hope you'll join me and author Becky Rule for the book launch party at the New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton, NH. There will be treats! And the world's longest sled! (Can't wait to see that.) It will be a ton of fun. More details here...

And finally, here's another lovely review over at Waking Brain Cells. Yay!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Whohoo! A Kirkus Star for Sled Ride!

THE ICIEST, DICIEST, SCARIEST SLED RIDE EVER! (reviewed on October 1, 2012)
A young girl’s first-person narration brings a New England sled ride to life.
But this isn’t just any sled ride. Inspired by ice-crusted snow, Grampa Bud’s yarns of his childhood and a giant homemade double-runner sled, seven friends set out to conquer the “highest, mightiest, iciest sledding hill.” Rule lengthens out one sled run into an entire book, but its pace is not slow and clunky, nor does it drag. Instead, she marvels in the details along the way, building up the suspense. Comically, the children attempt to get themselves and the sled to the top of the hill, taking each other out like dominoes as they relentlessly and repeatedly slide down to form a pig pile at the bottom. When they finally manage it, Thermes beautifully conveys the awesomeness of the hill they have chosen to tackle; none of the kids will speak their fears aloud, though their faces say volumes. The trip down is accomplished in just a few spreads, a ride so fast that tears, fears, screams and laughter all get whipped, “like a beautiful scarf trailing wildly behind.” The watercolors give a wonderful array of viewpoints, showing the path of the sled run as well as close-ups of the children: fresh-faced and having the time of their lives.
Parents beware: Children are likely to scout out the highest hill to try to replicate this amazing run. (Picture book. 4-8)

A HUGE thank you, Kirkus! This calls for happy dancing and chocolate! (And lots of exclamation points!!!)

Read the review on site...

... and I hope you'll enter the Goodreads giveaway!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sled Ride ~ Giveaway!

The Sled Ride book releases on November 9th! I'm giving away three copies on Goodreads to celebrate. Head on over and enter!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever! by Rebecca Rule



          The Iciest, Diciest, Scariest Sled Ride Ever!


          by Rebecca Rule


            Giveaway ends November 17, 2012.

            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.




      Enter to win

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Moose to the Finish Line...

This week I spread all the Moose book art out on my dining room table to check for consistency and final touch-ups. Sometimes it's really hard to know if a piece is finished. At this point I usually go through a round of neurotic panic... What if it's awful? Should I have done it differently? Should I chuck it all and go work at some big box store?...

Then my husband laughs at me and says I do this after every project. He's right. And in talking to my artist friends it seems we all go through this to some extent. Phew! I must be normal.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Books With Maps ~ The Vine Basket

This is a map I did recently for a book called The Vine Basket, by Josanne La Valley, coming out next spring. I love books with maps for so many reasons. (Not just because I get to create them!) One is that they anchor your imagination in the world of the story...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Near Oops

More building up of line and color here. (Tint courtesy of Instagram. Dang, those filters are fun to play with!)

Sometimes on a long project your brain switches into cruise mode. I was painting along, thinking in the back of my mind that a red lobster would pop beautifully. Only problem– these are sea creatures in their environment. A red lobster would be... a cooked lobster.

Close one, Jen...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Moose Book ~ Sketch

Here's a rough sketch from the Moose book. I'm deep into final art right now and having a blast drawing the huge variety of critters in this book– birds, bugs, marine life, mammals– and, of course, Moose!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Beachy Break

I took a much-needed break at the beach. It was hard to do this– I'm in the middle of some exciting projects, with more waiting in the wings– and I was afraid of losing momentum. That said, I haven't had a vacation in a long time. It was so refreshing!

There were spectacular sunrises. (I'm still an early riser, even on vacation.)

And clouds. And wind. And awesome thunderstorms!

The requisite disembodied-pedicured-feet-on-beach angle shot...

... and miscellaneous flotsam. This must be a good sign:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coastline Map

Here's a very simple map of the Connecticut coastline I did recently for Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine. Nice to see how they use it on the page.

(My crummy scan doesn't do the magazine justice... their gorgeous photography gives me total house and garden envy!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I've been interviewed by the lovely Alison Hertz over at her blog, On My Mind. Alison is doing a series of interviews with different authors & illustrators every Wednesday. Great idea!

Thanks, Alison!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Neil Gaiman's commencement speech has already gone viral, but I had to post it, if only for myself to go back and watch again. So much brilliant advice for creative folks. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I've added some new pieces to my color portfolio if you'd like to check it out.

(Also, I'm pondering how to switch my site from rickety old GoLive to Dreamweaver. Yikes! Terrifying! Anyone have any words of wisdom to share?)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 Best Children's Books of the Year

Yesterday I was thrilled to find out that Maggie & Oliver made the Bank Street College 2012 Best Children's Books of the Year list. Yippee! I'm also happy to see so many great books by friends and acquaintances on the list. Congrats to all!

Here are a few pieces of interior art. These are scans from the originals... they are printed in a lovely soft sepia color in the book: