New Red Fox Collection Debuts at Fat and Appy

Really, really excited to tell ya'll that today, The Fox Has Landed. We're launching a new collection in our online store that offers parents modern art for children, Fat and Appy™. The new art collection is called Red Fox and the designs come from Jonathan's children's book Red Fox in a Shadowed Wood, a moody, evocative tale that's really different than what he's done before.

A fox print by Jonathan Fenske

Red Fox in a Shadowed Wood follows the adventures of a curious fox who travels homeward under the cover of night. Along the way, he encounters a lot of interesting things.

An art fox print from illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan Fenske fox art

Some of the adventures are a little scary, like the Black Car. But don't worry, {SPOILER} our adventurous fox makes it home okay! I really, really love this book. Jonathan is currently shopping it around, so hopefully we'll have great news to report soon.

We've released six designs for the Red Fox collection. Which is your favorite?

Psst: Don't forget! It's easy to save 10% at Fat and Appy when you sign up for our emails

Fat and Appy at the Farmers' Market

We did something new-to-us Saturday: we set up shop at the Bradburn farmers' market in Westminster, CO. Having a Fat and Appy table was a new experience, as was talking to other moms and dads about our modern art canvases. You see, I'm so used to looking at the canvases, thinking about the canvases, and working to share the canvases with the world, that it was a little strange to have to explain that, well, we sell modern art canvases. Most people thought they were looking at an original painting.

That's a tribute to our trusted vendor who uses a Giclee method to print our canvases. The quality of the canvases is stunning. They look like original paintings.

Jennifer Fenske talks to a customer at the farmers' market.

So, I found myself stumbling over the words a few times. I'll have to get smoother and less flustered.

While we were at the market, we made new friends with Daniel and Kristen from the Early Bird Restaurant in Bradburn. I enjoyed their wonderful coffee and a delicious piece of banana bread. I love discovering new indie restaurants, and I know we'll come back and eat breakfast at their restaurant in downtown Bradburn.

A vase of flowers

Big Idea was also at the market and they set up the best kids' creative activities. Our girls painted with foam and water for over an hour. They also decorated empty cardboard boxes.

The kids take turns drawing their versions of the guppy from Jonathan's book Guppy Up!

I loved the bustling nature of the market, the neighbors all stopping to chat and catch up, and of course, I loved the food.

Fresh organic strawberries.

Carrots at the farmers' market in Colorado.

Cupcake from the farmers' market.

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Jars of homemade jam from the farmers' market.

Jonathan read Guppy Up! to the kids at the market. This always cracks me up...kids really can say some hysterical things.

Jonathan Fenske reads the children's book, Guppy Up!

After he read, Jonathan drew his guppy character for the children and then they made their own versions.

Jonathan Fenske draws the guppy from his children's book Guppy Up!

Going from "online" to real-time was definitely a first for our new business. Maybe we'll try art fairs or other festivals. I'm not sure yet. I like the convenience of selling online...the store is open while I'm asleep! But there's something to be said for talking with parents and hearing their feedback and what they want for their children's decor. I would like to find a way to balance both. Either way, banana bread must be involved.

Welcome! We're Jennifer and Jonathan, and we make art, books, canvas prints and other fun things. Check out Fat and Appy to learn more. We are so glad you stopped by!

The Bunny Makes the Journey

I wrote recently about art coming out of the trash. In this case, art is coming from eBay. Jonathan purchased this little fella recently for a few bucks. He's kind of on a squeaky toy kick right now. A vintage rubber bunny

Then, Jonathan sketched the bunny, dodging our well-meaning four-year-old who often "adds" to his drawings.

A squeaky vintage rubber bunny

Jonathan's currently working on the bunny design that we'll add to Fat and Appy, our online store for modern children's art. We'll post again when the bunny makes his complete journey. Come back, won't you?

Is vintage art your thing? Check our Near and Deer, Fast Car or A Need to Nurture at FatandAppy.com. 

From Out of the Ashes: A Piggy Phoenix

Two pigs get married Sometimes, art comes out of the trash.

Jonathan purchased these cute pig figurines a few years ago. He loved their whimsical pigginess, the look in the groom's eye and the blushing playfulness of the bride. He promptly set them up and photographed them. He planned to paint the little pigs. (Jonathan has always loved painting vintage toys. You can see examples of his Fisher-Price/vintage toy paintings on his website.)

Alas, Jonathan never got the chance to paint them. The fragile porcelain figurines proved too alluring for our then-five-year old and she destroyed them with one swipe of her hand. Into the trash they went, a pile of shards.

Until last week when Jonathan came across the photograph he took before the pigs shattered. He asked me, did I think they would translate well to our new Fat and Appy canvases? I said I thought they would, and so he created a digital drawing of our besotted pig friends on their Big Day. I wish them well, don't you?

"Marry Me Pig" is available in green, gray and peach at FatandAppy.com, starting at $99. All purchases through April 24 receive a free copy of Love Is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske. Sign up for our emails and receive 15% off your next purchase. 

What's Your Favorite Children's Book? + Book News

If you have kids in your home, you read a lot of children's books. Books are everywhere around here. And beware the tidy mother who attempts to curate the collection. There were howls of protest when I started to "thin" out the bookshelves earlier this week. But we had to...shelves were stuffed and books were piled and the baby would drag them around, chewing and mewing for someone to read to her. (Kidding! She's in that stage where a book is simply not that interesting. We still read to her, of course, but she wanders off to see how her older sisters are clobbering each other. True story.) In any event, we filled a box-o-books to take to Goodwill.

Box of children's books

This book curating made me think of a guest post Jonathan did in February over at The Write Now Coach, Rochelle Melander. I've known Rochelle for many years and she's a true tour-de-force of a writing coach, author, editor...the list goes on. She kindly had Jonathan on her blog and he guest posted about his 5 favorite children's books. Here's an excerpt:

"When we had our first daughter seven years ago, I delighted in buying old picture books at thrift stores and discovering new titles at our local bookstore. When I wrote Love Is in the Air (indeed, whenever I write) all of my favorite books were (and are) swirling in my head, a beautiful, highly respected and influential mass of collective imagination."

In book news, we're pleased as punch to tell you that Penguin USA made an offer for Woodward and McTwee. It's one of several stories about a sweet, innocent hippo and a super snarky bird. The book will be published in 2014. We love Penguin, including Jonathan's editor, Bonnie Bader. Go book people!

Here's a homemade mock-up of the cover:

Cover of Woodward and McTwee children's book by Jonathan Fenske That's it from here! We invite you to head over to the new home of Fat and Appy, and our new collection of canvas prints for children featuring Jonathan's designs. Save 15% by signing up for our newsletter. Thank you for visiting. We adore you so much.

Tell us in the comments: what is your favorite children's book? 

This Tilt-A-Whirl Life: Big Changes Ahead

It’s been a little while since we blogged. I blame it on the whirl of life: meals, laundry, out-of-town work trips, freelance writing, laughing, crafting, mopping up spills of all sorts. We are a carnival ride spinning in a blur of multi-colored lights. We’re trying to catch our breath, but the reality is: someone is going to throw up.

Denver artist, video scribe, Denver illustrator

This year is bestowing blessing after blessing on us: Jonathan is video scribing like a crazy person. He also published two children’s books and has a third coming out next year. Painting commissions also take up his time, as well as other freelance illustration work.

And if that wasn’t enough, we are launching a line of stretched canvas prints of Jonathan’s work. (We’re starting with the original art Jonathan created for our app, Healthy Creatures. You can see the beta store here…pardon the mess. Update: We moved to our new home! www.fatandappy.com We have more art to add and things to build out. We’ll also be moving the URL to www.fatandappy.com.)

So, something had to give. Jennifer (that’s me!), who has always had the steady-eddy corporate job, will be coming home to manage Fat and Appy and Guppy Up!, our two art businesses. Resigning a great job was a tough decision but with so much work coming Jonathan’s way, and so many opportunities at hand, we knew it was the right time.

I am excited and just a little apprehensive to transition in such a big way. Jonathan feels the same. But it’s our time to jump off the carnival ride…and whirl away as a family, together, toward whatever is ahead.

Criminal Reshelving and Other Seedy Book Details

The first few weeks since Love Is in the Air published have been super fun, super exciting. We receive great pictures texted to us from friends and family around the country who have so kindly ventured out to bookstores to pick up a copy. Here's one from our dear friends, the C----- family who may or may have not engaged in a little "criminal reshelving." That's the practice of artfully promoting your loved one's books to the front row. Ahem, totally not condoning the practice but....thanks ya'll! http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

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http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

Other Fenske news: Jonathan heads into the studio tomorrow with Room 214 for some visual scribe work. That's where he sits and draws and they take like a million pictures of him and then editors stitch it all together into something really cool. He's also doing painting commissions, per usual. He's currently working on a commission of an Andy Warhol portrait and the other day, Jonathan had a slip of the tongue and called it an "Einstein portrait." We both giggled because there's kind of a big difference.

Jennifer (that's me!) is scheduling children's book blogger visits for Jonathan. Jodie from the awesome young readers blog Growing Book by Book has graciously agreed to post about Love Is in the Air; writing coach and all-around awesome author Rochelle Melander will also have Jonathan do some guest posts in February and then again in May.

I also work on Fat and Appy each day. Still find it crazy that we have an iPad app for sale on the App Store. Wild! People ask me what our next app will be and I think definitely ebooks. We both love children's books so much and it would be a cinch to take Jonathan's orphaned books and turn them into digital wonders. First, though, we have to get through promotion for Guppy Up! which comes out next month.

 

 

Content Creators

I really do think that well-done, original content (whether that's books, animated series, webisodes, podcasts, cartoons, you name it) is a rare thing in this world. Probably it's not so rare, because there will always be starving artists, poets and writers who create. But does the world see their work?

Read More

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.

Making a Children's App for iPad: Why Are We Doing This Again?

Just dropping in while the house is asleep to post a link to our second YouTube video for the new app company, Fat and Appy. You can't start up smaller than us! Exhibit A is this homemade video. But you know what, I love it. We are doing this new app out of our (sappy language alert!) creative wellspring. I really need to go to sleep. I think I just wrote creative wellspring.

Okay, dear reader, I am signing off. Because I respect you too much to continue.

But before I go, a quick update on the art garage sale. We have sold two of the four paintings. Thank you, social media!

Also, this: The new app for iPad, Healthy Creatures, comes out later this month. We had thought it would be the 11th, but alas, we are still in line at Apple.

For those following carefully on the video, I am wearing a Lisa Leonard necklace called "Captured Heart" and it is turned around backwards. I love me some Lisa Leonard. 

Finally, Jonathan's first Penguin USA children's book is ready for pre-order! It comes out Dec. 27, 2012, so if you like to get your New Year's 2013 shopping done early (ahem), here's a link.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMCLmRuuoO4]

We're Making a Children's App for iPad!

We've been missing from the blog world lately because we're working feverishly on our latest project. It's a children's app for iPad called Healthy Creatures. The app is aimed at ages 3-8. Kids can make creatures out of fruits and vegetables, which makes playing with your food all the more fun! The launch of the new app is set for the end of July. Our new company is called Fat and Appy. We plan to make as many apps as we can (if the first one sells okay, of course!) and also create fun digital games that go with Jonathan's children's books. His first book he wrote and illustrated---Love Is in the Air--- is coming out Dec. 20, 2012 from Penguin USA.

Please head over to Facebook and like us. Your clicking "like" gives us so much confidence! We're also on Twitter @ fatandappyfun and on YouTube. We just posted our first video. Jonathan talks about app development and how he came up with the art direction.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnwV6sl26nQ&w=560&h=315]

By the way, I did this entire blog post on the iPad...first time I've done it that way!

Thanks so much for your support. We couldn't do any of this without you!