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!

Jonathan Fenske Illustration: Chicken Legs

Jonathan is doing editorial/commercial illustrations for Mercury Payment Systems and New York Life this week. I'll show some of that work later, but for now, here's a quick illustration from Chicken Legs, an as yet unpublished children's book Jonathan has written and illustrated. You can see more of Jonathan's children's book characters and books in this blog post. Chicken Legs is about a young chicken who gets teased by his friend Pig and Goat because of his "chicken legs" His father lovingly steps in to help comfort his son by sketching some drawings...with some funny results.

Chicken Legs image, a children's book by Jonathan Fenske

I Love My Anythink

I love my Anythink. I say this statement at least once per week, and all of my friends know I can't stop yapping about how great our quirky library is. Anythink is seven libraries in Adams County, Colorado, a suburban community north of Denver. Anythink is a true Cinderella story: Rangeview, our local library district, was the least-funded in the state with dilapidated buildings and dusty, dispirited collections. We moved to Thornton in 2007 and visited our closest branch once. We never went back. But behind the scenes, things were changing.

Back in 2004, the Rangeview Library district became an independent entity from Adams County. In 2006, voters approved a mill levy increase to fund improvements. Flush with this cash, and led by library director Pam Sandlian Smith, Rangeview was reborn as Anythink: A Revolution of Rangeview Libraries. From worst to first, as they say, and the world noticed. Awards started flying and the Anythink staff now advises library communities around the world.

So, how do I describe Anythink? First of all, the flagship branch, Wright Farms, is two blocks away from our house, so it's bikeable, walkable, it's just close. I love that.

But for everyone else, it's stunning, modern architecture with an outdoor landscape rich in hands-on experiences. It's no late fees and self-checkout. It's the cafe. It's The Studio. It's the soaring ceilings, gorgeous furniture, friendly staff. It's great programming, like a week and a half ago when I took my two youngest to hear author and illustrator David Shannon read Duck On a Bike, our One Book 4 Colorado selection. We also recently attended the opening of The Studio and interacted with cool technology (all five of us, no easy feat, but the staff made it easy).

Thanks, Anythink. Our lives are better because you're here.

David Shannon reads Duck on a Bike

 

Blue Gate: Snapshots from Santa Fe

We spent Thanksgiving with my brother and his family in Santa Fe. I love the architecture there, the courtyards, the light. Our hosts for Thanksgiving Day own a beautiful house and we had a blast playing horseshoes, looking for wild ponies and just wandering around. Earlier in the week we were able to stop in to the William and Joseph Gallery where Jonathan shows in Santa Fe. Awesome trip. DSC_0303We

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Love Is in the Air: Jonathan's New Children's Book Is Published!

This week was a fun one in the Fenske household. Jonathan's first children's book that he wrote and illustrated published Dec. 27. Love Is in the Air (Penguin USA) is the story of a lonely balloon and a lively kite and their special day in the park together. Jonathan is pretty excited and I am over the moon. It's not every day you get to walk into Barnes and Noble and see your sweetie's new book on the shelf. Proud of you, baby!  

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

Love Is in the Air is available in soft cover, hardcover and (soon!) it will be an enhanced ebook, produced by Penguin's awesome ebook partner.

 

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

What's next for Jonathan? Penguin will release Guppy Up! Feb. 7, 2013. Plus, he always has new children's books in progress, and Penguin is interested in some new titles for 2014. So, stay tuned!

A Colorado Christmas

We're just back from the library. A chicken psole cooks in the crockpot, courtesy of my sister-in-law who is visiting from Santa Fe. The house is full with six kids, 10 and under. To say things are in an uproar would be an understatement. But it's a good kind of chaos, the kind where adults carefully plan an outing to Which Wich, Starbucks and then to Anythink. I love Colorado. I don't think I've ever written that here, but it's true. For several years, we longed for the South, our home. But now, six years in, we are Coloradans. We have found the right neighborhood, school, church and we are blessed with more friends than we can carefully tend to. And then there's the beauty that is Colorado. In about an hour, we can be in Rocky Mountain National Park, flash our annual pass, and be off into the wild.

Last month, before we were laid low with influenza, strep throat and pneumonia, we took visiting Fenskes to RMNP. Here are a few shots of the snow, the hike and the gorgeousness that is Colorado. Happy and blessed to be here.

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Fenske Art Roundup

It's been a while since I blogged, so we apologize for the tumbleweeds. Here's a roundup from the Fenske studio. Enjoy! Love Is In the Air eBooks Jonathan's first children's book with Penguin USA, Love Is In the Air, is publishing Dec. 27, 2012. We just found out that Penguin will be making ebooks for Love Is In the Air and for Guppy Up! which publishes Feb. 7, 2013. Hurray! Since we have just completed making an app, it was a joy to hear about the ebooks. Someone else will be in charge of every single detail. Someone else can test, test and test some more. Making an app or ebook is hard work. Even so, I think that Fat and Appy's next project will be an ebook of a fun children's book that Jonathan wrote last year called Happy Thoughts. It hasn't found a home yet, so we're thinking it's a perfect way to dip our toe in the book app market. (Wait---didn't I just complain that making an app is hard work? Well, it is, but we just can't stay away....)

www.jonathanfenske.com

Healthy Creatures Launches on the App Store Our first children's app for iPad launched one month ago! Healthy Creatures is a creative app for children ages 3-8 that allows kids to make creatures out of fruits and vegetables. It's .99 on the App Store and we're thrilled to have ten reviews of 4 and 5 stars! We've also been featured on awesome blogs such as 5DollarDinners.com, TodayIAteaRainbow.com and MileHighMamas.com. We've even been mentioned on the App Nanny's podcast! Along the way, we're learning the ropes of app promotion, app marketing and the general app-ecosystem. Want to see Healthy Creatures in action? Watch the app trailer.

Westgate Community School 5K Westgate is a wonderful charter school in our neck of the woods that just moved into their forever home (the first three years of the school's existence was spent in a rented old middle school). Jonathan designed Westgate's first ever 5K logo which celebrated the new building.

www.jonathanfenske.com

The Kitchen Sink Jonathan has been working with Room 214, a social media agency in Boulder, doing some visual scribe work. Jennifer is researching tee shirt companies to produce a line of toddler and kid's tees. We made two one-offs with Fat and Appy's logo for the Denver Startup Bash a few weeks ago. Jonathan is also working on a handful of painting commissions from clients around the country.

www.jonathanfenske.com That's it for now! As always, we'd love it if you followed us on Twitter (@fatandappyfun or @jenmanskefenske), Facebook or YouTube.

The Beautiful Place

Sometimes, shaking up the normal routine is what we need to do to see something beautiful. Jennifer's parents visited this week from South Carolina and we took them to Barr Lake State Park, east of Denver. We wanted to see the baby bald eagles that are nesting there, but the hike was not an option for our multi-generational group. So we stuck close to shore and enjoyed the gorgeous scenery. Every step we took led us past the almost-ready-to-bud-and-bloom Colorado landscape. Winter was over and spring was arriving, glorious blue skies and warm winds trailing in her wake. http://www.jonathanfenske.com

We all get in the rut of normal life. It's easy to forget to lift our heads and take in something special, something beautiful. What are you discovering today?

http://www.jonathanfenske.com