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

Live Scribe Denver Event

Add live scribing to Jonathan's resume! Jonathan was hired by Ground Floor Media to "live scribe" during an event at Children's Hospital about cyberbullying. It's an important topic and he made sure to prepare so that he could offer helpful and accurate illustrations from a panel discussion.

As you may know, Jonathan has done a ton of video scribing, and he's very comfortable with illustrating topics on camera. But it's usually just a producer and maybe one other person in the room. The live scribe event was the first time Jonathan scribed in front of a group of people. He said he was on his toes the entire time, but he enjoyed doing it and would do it again!

Children's Hospital will own the artwork that was created (3'x4' on wooden panel), so all that's left is some varnishing to lock in the illustrations. Fun times.

Thanks for stopping by! We're Jonathan and Jennifer Fenske. Jonathan is a children's book author and illustrator. Jennifer is a novelist who is currently editing an early chapter book she's written in-between corporate marketing gigs.

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

Character Design: 3W Races

Jonathan has been working on character design for Colorado-based 3W Races, a fabulous company that offers local racing events in partnership with local businesses that benefit local charities. Jonathan was brought on to do character design for 3W's "Peedy" mascot, also called "Prairie Dog." Jonathan loves working with this young company and as a runner himself, he's completely dialed in to what they are doing.

Here's a look at Peedy running through the four seasons:

An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan's also character designed other race characters, including a one-legged chicken. Here's a cute story about Jonathan, a race through rain and mud, and our three girls.

Thanks for stopping by, ya'll! We appreciate your support so, so much.

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

Denver Illustrator Mad Skillz

We're feeling a little punchy tonight: it's the end of Spring Break and we enjoyed a staycation. Which is to say we searched desperately for free or low cost things to do each day with three kids of varying ages (8, 5 and 2). Anyhoo, tonight's meal was stir fry whipped up at home and supplemented with delicious potstickers from Thornton's own Heaven Dragon. Plus: gigantic slices of navel oranges. Bring on that weekend! Here's a cute illustration from Jonathan's latest picture book project called STUFF. He's been working on this character this week and he says he's finally there. Have a great weekend, ya'll! And thanks for stopping by.

A picture of a boy looking up by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
A picture of a boy looking up by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Denver Corporate Client Mural

Jonathan finished up this week's mural project Tuesday night (or should I say Wednesday morning?) for The Regis Company in Golden, CO. He worked at night (by his request) so he could cruise along and not disturb the company's employees. (I have mentioned it before, but Jonathan started out as an artist back in the day painting murals in homes). This client (awesome, awesome people willing to take a chance on an animation-ish, whiteboard style mural) found Jonathan's whiteboard animation/video scribe work online and contacted him to see if they could work together.

A mural by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

The mural is 16'Wx8'H and is painted on MDO signboard. I have to brag on my man: he engineered this cool way to hang the panels on two strips running horizontally. The panels are fitted with 45-degree-angle pieces of whitewood that interlock for easy removal. Why not just screw the panels into the wall, right? Well, this way, the company, which is growing like gangbusters, can lift off the panels in a jiffy and take them to their new corporate space one day when it's needed.

You might notice the empty cartoon bubbles on the mural. Those are for removable vinyl art that can be applied for various client visits or other uses. Using these removable pieces of vinyl allows the mural to be updated with projects, awards or anything relevant that happens later.

Detail of a mural by the Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Detail of a Colorado mural by Jonathan Fenske

A mural for a corporate client by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske, detail

Thanks for stopping by our blog! Check out our Etsy shop for some original art from $49 or canvas Giclee prints from $99, all by Jonathan, of course. And don't forget, Woodward and McTwee debuts March 20, 2014 for the young reader in your life. 

Fisher Price Supa Dupa: Original Art from $49

Hi all. Jonathan looooves to sketch and draw. This week, in between children's book stuff and painting commissions, he sat down and sketched some of his favorite vintage Fisher-Price toys and other playthings. I asked if we could put them on our Etsy store, and he was cool with that. So....drumroll...here are four new drawings that are perfect for the beginning art collector (priced at $49-$59, unframed). An original sketch by Jonathan Fenske of a bear from Goldilocks Fisher Price playset

Denver artist Jonathan Fenske's drawing of a bear from the Fisher Price Goldilocks playset

Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske's sketch of the black Fisher Price dog

A drawing of the Fisher Price knight by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske's sketch of a 1950's deer figurine

A graphite drawing of the knight from the Fisher Price Castle playset by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

A detail of a Little People Fisher Price drawing by Jonathan Fenske

You can find these one-of-a-kind drawings at our new Fat and Appy Etsy store. We're planning on using the Etsy shop as a place to experiment with new products, so if you have any ideas or suggestions, leave them in the comments! Thanks for stopping by, as always. We love ya'll.

Because Sometimes, You Just Have to Have Cat Illustrations

We're still working away on our special projects, so again, please excuse the stillness here. I am *THISCLOSE* to finishing my middle grade novel, so close ICANTASTEIT. My heroine is making her journey home--for now, insert sinister laugh--and I'm tying up all of, well, everything. And this makes me nervous but also grateful. I am so very happy with this book. It has been a delight to write. And I can't say that about every book I have written (this is my 4.5th; two were published; one wasn't; and one was halfway completed before I realized it wasn't a book I could write.) And now, since you dropped by: here's a cat illustration Jonathan did today for a local client. It's a Kat Karnival!

An illustration of a cat juggling mice by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske
An illustration of a cat juggling mice by Denver artist Jonathan Fenske

Under Construction: Unicorns and Body Parts

Thanks for your blogging patience as Jonathan and I continue to crank out some special projects. I have discovered that I can't blog and work on my middle grade novel, Magical Raintree Daughters. I can do one or the other, but not both. Jonathan has finished his latest picture book and I'll give you a hint: it concerns the lowly chin. That's right, folks, we're all about the chin up in here. And what's this with unicorns, you say? Well, I have noticed that when Magical Raintree Daughters starts to bog down, I think of my eldest girl and I know she would be chomping at the bit to see more action. So, I think to myself, "Throw in a unicorn!" And then the story gets moving again. I haven't actually added a unicorn, yet, of course. But I have been writing in the equivalent.

I should be done with the novel in about 5-7,000 words. It's challenging to pull it all together, but I am excited to end this particular story. Then, I'll take a break and start on Book Two, which will be about the oldest magical Raintree daughter, Penhally.

Until then, here's a picture of our middle girl, reading away. We love books around here, we sure do.

A little girl reads a children's book
A little girl reads a children's book

Buzzy Buzzy Creative Hive

Things are a little quiet on the blog lately. That's because Jonathan and I have both entered a season of writing and illustration projects. We're cranking to meet completely self-imposed deadlines for our literary pursuits. I am back at work, six days per week, on Magical Raintree Daughters, a middle grade (ages 8-12) fantasy adventure novel. I'm about halfway through with it. I'll be finished at the end of the month. I posted the first two chapters on the blog a while back. They have been revised a good bit but you can see where I am going. Here's a little hook I am working on: Cassiopeia Raintree can cheat death with her hands and feet. The middle child of three magical sisters, Cassie is a climber. But she’s always had to hide that gift until the night a smoak kidnaps and drags her to the land of the evil Aramynes. That’s when Cassie finds out the Aramynes were turned to monsters years ago…and it’s all the magical children’s fault.

Chapter_One_Dragoblin-novel-by-Jennifer-Fenske
Chapter_One_Dragoblin-novel-by-Jennifer-Fenske

I love writing again in novel form. As much as I enjoyed writing my first two novels (and publishing them..that's really fun!), writing for a middle grade audience is completely a blast. Each day, when my eldest daughter comes home from school, she reads the latest bit and tells me her thoughts and offers suggestions.

Some people have asked if I am going to post more of the book. I plan to sell it (hopefully) so at this point, I'll probably bring it back inside the studio and not post more of it for now.

Jonathan is working on a new children's picture book. He's not ready to release the title yet, so I'll just include one illustration here. I love this book and can't wait to share more with you. That hyena illustration really cracks me up. He is also excited to finish the illustrations for Poor Peter Burke (the manuscript is complete).

An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske
An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske