New Children's Book Illustrations

I'm splitting my time this week painting (a Christmas commission) and polishing some new children's book ideas. Plus, of course, running. I run a lot. 

When it comes to children's books, I usually write the text first (and maybe have a simple sketch or two in the hopper). After that, I like to sketch the entire book out in my notebook in pencil, run it by my agent for feedback and then settle in to work on the digital illustrations, which usually take me a few weeks working on and off. 

Currently, my agent Carrie is shopping this project, and I hope I have happy news to report very soon! Here's a little peek: 

 

More Stories about Children's Books

Denver Santa Illustration

Around this time of year, Jonathan is usually busy painting Christmas present commissions and doing client illustrations for holiday cards. This year is no exception: he just finished this Santa illustration for a Denver client. 

It's crazy to think we're headed toward the holidays. Here in our Denver suburb, we'll hit a toasty high of 72-ish today. I walked yesterday in shorts and a tee shirt. Loving it! This is definitely the warmest "fall" we've had here. But alas, colder weather is coming. Our sprinkler lines are getting blown out tomorrow. Then, the lawn will go dormant and we know the cold will be quickly behind. Happy November everyone!

Denver Illustrator Postcards

I have a postcard campaign going out to some Denver creative folks I'd like to work with. This is a new way to stay in touch for me. I'm hoping that this little card gets tacked to an office wall until someone says, "Emergency! We need some custom illustrations IMMEDIATELY." 

Commercial illustrations are a fine way to put food on the table. I'm lucky that I've worked with some great companies and some great agencies. This week, I'm sketching some "far out" 1970's illustrations for a Denver healthcare company. It's part of an insert that's going in a larger booklet. For this project, I'm teamed up with the talented Pixie Design who is making my illustrations look really groovy. (See what I did there?) 

Here's the postcard. We'll see if it brings in any new interest. I hope so!

 

Other Posts about Illustration

Wild Mascot Illustrations

Our girls' charter school's Spirit Week is right around the corner. Jonathan created some illustrations for the occasion. Kids will vote on their fave "wild thing." Fun times! I know our kiddos are excited about voting. I need to round up our spare change...every year, it's a mad dash in the morning to find the right coin for that particular day (Pennies on Monday, nickels on Tuesday, etc.) 

 

More Blog Posts Featuring Jonathan's Illustrations

Source: http://www.jonathanfenske.com

Introducing a New Scholastic Book: Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske

Oh happy day, we get to share our special news with you! Contracts are signed and edits are underway. Drum roll... Scholastic will publish Jonathan's children's book, Barnacle Is Bored, in 2016!

This will be Jonathan's first children's book with Scholastic. His agent, the lovely Carrie Hannigan of HSG Agency, sold the book to Katie Carella at Scholastic. I just got the shivers typing that sentence. I mean, Sch-o-las-tic! Home of Harry Potter! Keeper of book fairs across the land. Eek and eek.

So, yeah, we're just a little bit excited over here.

Barnacle Is Bored is a tale of a barnacle who is fairly ho-hum about his life. The tide goes in. The tide goes out. One day, in the midst of his boring life, Barnacle spies a saucy polka-dotted fish. Surely this fish has a great life, right? You'll have to follow the very bored Barnacle to find out!

We are deeply grateful that Jonathan has been granted the opportunity to work with two great publishers; first Penguin USA and now Scholastic. Writing children's books is the very thing my sweetie was made to do, I think. And it's really gratifying to watch this unfold right here in our little studio.

Here are a few illustrations from the book, which could change, but will give you an idea. (Savvy readers of this blog might remember that I blogged about Barnacle before.)

An image from Denver children's book author and illustrator Jonathan Fenske's new book from Scholastic Barnacle Is Bored
An image from Denver children's book author and illustrator Jonathan Fenske's new book from Scholastic Barnacle Is Bored
An image from Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske
An image from Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske
An illustration from Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske Scholastic Books 2016
An illustration from Barnacle Is Bored by Jonathan Fenske Scholastic Books 2016

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Jonathan is the author and illustrator of Love Is in the Air, Guppy Up!, Woodward and McTwee, and A Pig, A Fox and A Box (June 16, 2015). In 2016, Scholastic will publish Barnacle Is Bored. Jennifer (that's me!) is the author of two novels for adults and has a few projects up her sleeves, illustrated by Mr. Fenske. 

Happy Caturday!

I found this little gem of a cat last month when Jonathan was arranging some files. I was all, "Where did THIS come from? I love it!" And he's so modest, he was all [SHRUG.] Needless to say, there's a story about a cat rattling around in his brain. I shall sniff it out soon. With no more further adieu, here is a fat cat for your Caturday. And it's lovingly dedicated to Aunt Laura who loves cats.

An illustration of a gray at sleeping by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
An illustration of a gray at sleeping by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Character design illustration by Jonathan Fenske

Time for a Beer Run: Character Design by Jonathan Fenske

Happy Monday from the studio! I thought it would be fun to kick off the week with a few character designs Jonathan did last week for clients. First up is "Time for a Beer Run":

Illustrator-Jonathan-Fenske-Denver
Illustrator-Jonathan-Fenske-Denver

Next up is this pretty fox for a client in Fort Lupton, CO.

Jonathan-Fenske-illustrator
Jonathan-Fenske-illustrator

Finally, we have this wild guy for a client in Denver, CO.

Jonathan-Fenske-character-designer
Jonathan-Fenske-character-designer

Character design is Jonathan's first love. It's the thing that comes most effortlessly to him. And I love seeing these fun and zany characters roll off of the assembly line in his brain!

Jonathan Fenske and the Very Busy February

Today, Dear Reader, enjoy this roundup of February in the life of two writers/one artist/illustrator/video scribe who are keeping it together with duct tape and just a teensy bit of coffee. First up, and most excitedly, we have SECRET NEWS to share. There is a book. A picture book by Jonathan. To be published by a FANTASTIC new publishing house friend. A WONDERFUL editor. A great STORY and ILLUSTRATIONS. But until the contract is signed and the ink is dried, I can only be VAGUE and ANNOYING. Sorry 'bout that!

Jonathan-Fenske-childrens-book
Jonathan-Fenske-childrens-book

Two weeks ago, Jonathan traveled to Boston to video scribe for The Big Studio. He worked for almost a week, dodging huge snowdrifts, and scribing up a ton. Here's a snap of his work:

Jonathan-Fenske-video-scribe
Jonathan-Fenske-video-scribe

Traveling for a husband and father of three young, howling girls is like a vacation, Jonathan tells us. And I (Jennifer) can agree. At the end of last year, I traveled out to Burbank, CA for a few meetings with the fab startup where I am a content consultant. Beautiful hotel? Nice meals in cool restaurants that aren't Chick-Fil-A? No one saying,"Are you awake, Mom? It's 5:05 a.m." Yes, please!

Jonathan also continues to do drawing and painting commissions. He doesn't paint for galleries anymore, but he certainly always has one or more canvases in the wings. This is a drawing for a client of his daughter when she was young. There was another drawing (by a different artist) of the client's son. So, now they have a matching pair. The client was so pleased, he commissioned Jonathan to do a painting of the kids who are now older children/teens.

Jonathan-Fenske-Denver-artist
Jonathan-Fenske-Denver-artist

During February, Jonathan also finished up another children's book that his fabulous agent, Carrie Hannigan, has making the rounds. Hopefully good news to come, soon!

Jonathan-Fenske-illustrator-Denver
Jonathan-Fenske-illustrator-Denver

One of Jonathan's character design clients, 3W Races, makes the BEST race medals, tees and ribbons. Here's a recent project Jonathan did for 3W's Prairie Dog Half Marathon series. He designed the ribbon with PeeDee, the mascot (that he also created for 3W). If you were a runner, wouldn't you love this custom medal rather than the generic "foot and wing" medal? If you dig PeeDee, you can visit 3W's store, here, and suit up.

photo (6)
photo (6)

I think that's about it! We also took the show on the road last week, visiting family in New Mexico. Jennifer wrote each morning for her work and Jonathan watched the little darlings. Now that we're back home, it's crunch time to get some projects turned in. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

We're Jennifer and Jonathan Fenske, creators of FatandAppy.com. Jonathan is the author/illustrator of Woodward and McTwee (Penguin USA), among other books. Jennifer blogs about faith and life at ThePenzy.com

New Video Scribe: Soluto

Jonathan worked with Room 214 once again to create another video scribe. Love this one, baby! [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aX12Los4LI]

You can see more video scribes from Jonathan here and here. If you want to work with him, we recommend Room 214 wholeheartedly.

A few other things:

  • Jonathan's newly on Instagram @jonathanfenske
  • Here is Jonathan's page on his lovely literary agent's (Carrie Hannigan of HSG Agency) website.
  • And a fun mention of Woodward and McTwee on the fabulous book site, Growing Book by Book. By the way, they have the BEST Facebook page. Check it out!

That's all for now. Thanks SO much for stopping by!

Denver Video Scribe: Telespine

You may remember Jonathan illustrates video scribes (also called "whiteboard animation"). He's done a few recently in Denver/Boulder for Telespine, Asurion and Verizon. Here's the Telespine video scribe. Listen for the funny background words and noises. Love the post-production on this one---Room 214 does such a great job, as always. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHvRZOQIifw&w=560&h=315]

Designing Icons for Luv

Happy Friday! Dropping in here for a sec to show off casually display the beautiful logo and icons Jonathan created for my new blog, The Penzy. The subtitle of the blog is "Faith + Pretty Things." It's a blend of Christian inspiration plus indie home decor, jewelry, art, etc. I love faith-y blogs and I love indie craft/design, so voila! I decided to blog about both of them, together. Naturally, the next stop was to tell Jonathan I needed a logo. And icons.

And then I scrawled designs on a napkin. And scraps of paper. It was so sad panda. I can write, but I cannot draw what's in my head.

Patient husband he is, Jonathan sat down one evening and cranked these out. We tweaked and discussed and swapped colors and fonts until we were both happy. I love them, I really, really do! Go see them in action at The Penzy.

The logo for The Penzy, an online blog about faith and pretty things by Jennifer Manske Fenske
The logo for The Penzy, an online blog about faith and pretty things by Jennifer Manske Fenske
A heart icon on a blue background by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
A heart icon on a blue background by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
An icon of black glasses for The Penzy blog by Jonathan Fenske
An icon of black glasses for The Penzy blog by Jonathan Fenske
A frame icon by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske for the blog The Penzy
A frame icon by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske for the blog The Penzy

Do you need a logo or icon for your blog? Contact Jonathan for info and rates. He's reasonable and fun to work with...I promise!

Character Design: Under the Sea

I posted recently about a new children's book Jonathan was working on with some plucky sea creatures. The good news is that he's finished the coloring (the illustrations I posted were in black and white). Now, it's with his agent and we could not be more thrilled. Someone, somewhere will fall in love with this new story. We just know it (the dolphins told us). We're Denver-based illustrator and character designer Jonathan Fenske and Jennifer Manske Fenske. Check out Fat and Appy, our online store for modern art for kids featuring Jonathan's illustrations. 

Character-designer-Jonathan-Fenske
Character-designer-Jonathan-Fenske

this joy + ride: issue 70

We're most delightfully pleased that Jonathan is featured in this joy +ride issue 70 today. this joy + ride is an elegant compendium of art, designers, photographers, poets and other creative folk, published twice per month by shari and sheri. What's awesome about today's edition is that it features the illustrations from STUFF, a new picture book that Jonathan worked on all summer. I've been dying to show you illustrations of this project for months, but I kept it under wraps so this joy + ride could feature it first. So, here's one illustration to enjoy. Hop over to this joy + ride for the rest!

An illustration of the children's picture book STUFF by Jonathan Fenske
An illustration of the children's picture book STUFF by Jonathan Fenske

Follow this joy + ride on Twitter

Sea Life Illustrations

Jonathan has returned to illustrating and writing his own children's books this week, after taking a little detour to help me with a picture book that I implausibly wrote last month. He's also doing video scribes with Room 214 and whipping out character design for a Colorado startup. We'll share more on those projects when they are finished.

Here's a quick peek at some digital sketches of his new picture book. He hasn't colored them yet; he's thinking of using Prismacolor pencils and doing the coloring by hand. I think I like this idea very much...can't wait to see what he does.

An illustration of a barnacle by Jonathan Fenske
An illustration of a barnacle by Jonathan Fenske

And here's another one:

Sting ray illustration by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske
Sting ray illustration by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske

Thanks for stopping by our blog! We're Jennifer and Jonathan, and we make modern art prints on canvas over at FatandAppy.com featuring Jonathan's designs. 

For Better, For Worse; In Art, In Writing

Jonathan is really, really supportive of my writing. He's given me time, space, encouragement and the occasional dry-your-eyes pep talk our entire marriage concerning my writing dreams. That's why my two novels are both dedicated to him. Without my husband, they would not exist. I mean that most sincerely.

We usually work on separate projects but over the past few years, we've melded our artistic brains together on occasion. Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children is probably the biggest effort. But we also joined forces for my middle grade manuscript, MAGICAL RAINTREE DAUGHTERS.

Our newest project is a picture book---my first one ever! I thought ideas for picture books only flowed to one Fenske in the house, but a story popped into my head this summer. I was kind of shocked. Then, I wrote it down. Pages and pages overflowing from my pen. I handed it to Jonathan, sure he would connect with the text and bow low before me. (Just kidding on that last part.)

Illustration by children's book illustrator Jonathan Fenske of a boy jumping on a couch.
Illustration by children's book illustrator Jonathan Fenske of a boy jumping on a couch.

He read it right away and then handed it back, saying kindly that I needed to get it down under 300 words. In other words, I needed to slash oodles and oodles of text. Words. Phrases. Helpful adjectives. You know, my stuff. 

Jonathan was completely correct. So I edited. Cut. Cut some more. Argued over word choice with Jonathan. Described some illustrations to him. Daydreamed about others that might come into shape once he started drawing.

It's still a work in progress, but Jonathan has given me a rough illustration style he's going for to match the sparse (now 199 words!!) text and the (I hope) evocative feeling of the story.

More details later. But I wanted to post this illustration because, to me, it represents love and dreams.

Purple Man, King of the Suburbs

Do you have sign spinners where you live? You know, those people who twirl signs at street corners advertising local businesses. Jonathan and I had never seen so many until we moved to Colorado. They are everywhere: signs flipping and spinning, earbuds shoved in ears, jug of drinking water on the ground nearby. The BEST sign spinner worked the street in front of the Thornton Fazolis a few years ago. Our eldest daughter dubbed him "Purple Man." He was majestic: animated sign style, flowing cape, masked face. This is no overstatement: Purple Man rocked the 'burbs.

One day, we pulled over. You might say we were compelled to. Who was this guy? Jonathan asked him if we could take a picture and we expressed our sincere admiration. THIS IS WHY THE WORLD IS AWESOME. Of course, Purple Man posed for us.

Later, Jonathan made this illustration. Purple Man, wherever you may roam, we salute you.

An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske of a sign spinning Purple Man
An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske of a sign spinning Purple Man

Thanks for visiting I Love Your Work, Jonathan Fenske. If you like Jonathan's illustrations, you can see more at www.jonathanfenske.com

Hatched to Run

Jonathan just finished an illustration for the Westgate Community School "Run Wild" 5K that will be held in September. The school has begun to work with chickens, starting with tiny chicks that lived inside until they were able to make it on their own in their brand-new chicken coop.

Look carefully: do you see the prosthetic leg on the chicken? That's a tribute to one of the Westgate chickens who apparently had a leg amputated. Brave chick.

An illustration of a chicken running by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
An illustration of a chicken running by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Giveaway Winner & When Things Break

Congratulations to @beingkeri for winning a copy of Jonathan's children's book Woodward and McTwee! Keri, just send your address to Jennifer (jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com) and I will send a hardcover copy to your attention. Thanks to those who shared, followed and tweeted! On a completely different topic...

Are you experiencing broken things? We feel you. We know your pain.

A few months ago, we unwittingly entered a season of broken things. And we're not talking about small items. In no particular order, this is what failed, broke or burned in the last few months:

> Car AC (our mechanic broke it when he repaired something else but we still had to take the car back to be fixed, gratis. This involved Jonathan biking forty miles back and forth from the repair place in Denver in one day since we car share.)

> House AC. Not even kidding. This is a BIG expense. Currently, we are saving to replace the unit. So, this summer, we enjoy the great outdoors, indoors. All of our windows look like this:

An open window in a suburban house

This also means we buy allergy medicine. Having a lot of open windows is actually kind of fun; it's not too hot here in Colorado and you can hear the kids playing outside. You can also hear your neighbors discussing trimming their hedges; yelling at their dogs; and jumping on trampolines. This part is a little weird.

As a southerner, not having air conditioning seems like not having a lung. Or a dinner table. It just feels like a major THING is missing. But once we realized that saving up for the replacement compressor unit was really the only option, well, I just kind of accepted it. And cranked open sixteen windows.

> Garage Door. The torsion springs were apparently put in by the neighborhood builder using the cheapest product available. So, along with all of our neighbors, our garage door broke down like an old donkey.

> Dryer. When we moved into this house almost seven years ago, we purchased a very pretty middle-of-the-line Whirlpool washer/dryer combo. At some point, the heating coils overheated, tripping every fail safe inside the dryer. Melting ensued. Jonathan YouTubed the heck out of that thing and then ordered $125 worth of parts online. After watching videos over and over, he was able to get the dryer back on its feet.

> Dishwasher. Again, another nice Whirlpool appliance. Something plugged and whatever...I stopped listening. A few dollars online, another YouTube video and Jonathan had the dishwasher up and running again.

I know these are all first-world problems. I know I am blessed to have a newish house filled with modern conveniences. I know all of this. And hopefully, things are about to stop breaking down around here. 

But when you are facing hundreds or thousands of dollars of repairs you weren't expecting, it can get a little panicky. So, if this is you, take heart. We're going through a Season of Broken Things. It's not fun and it's not cheap. I hope that your brokeness passes quickly. And I hope our story encourages someone, somewhere.

Also this: if you stop by for a visit, dress in layers.