Monday, August 31, 2009

Illustration Friday - Magnify


Needle Felted Snowman (2 1/2" tall)

Okay this isn't exactly an illustration but sometimes I feel like I have to branch out and do something artsy besides illustration to refuel my batteries. And besides I thought it fit this week's topic, because she is teeny.

This all came about because someone gave me a bag of raw wool this summer. And when I say raw I mean straight of the sheep, smelling like a barn, raw. Probably the funniest part of this whole story is that the person that gave me the wool lives in New York City. But I was assured the sheep did not.

So I Googled what I could do with a smelly bag of dirty wool and discovered needle felting. Then when I saw the cute little snowman made by Jenn Docherty in the "Holiday Crafts" magazine I picked up the other day, I knew I had to try it. Of course it's necessary to wash the wool and comb out all the nasty bits before you can do that. So after five washings, lots of brushing and a much greater appreciation of my pioneer ancestors, I had a nice fluffy pile of wool. My next hurdle was where to find the special barbed felting needles. Luckily there is a beautiful yarn store not too too far from here that carries them, so I made a special trip down to Littleton Mass for the needles.

My snowlady looks nothing like Jenn Docherty's. Part of my objective was trying to use up bits from my own stash instead of making a copy of Jenn's creation. But I still think she came out okay. And I still have a big basket full of wool to give it another try.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Witch Coloring Page


In anticipation of the release of my new picture book I have added yet another new coloring page to my website. (It's up to you to give the witch a face.) Here's a link to the downloadable PDF. To see all the "On a Dark, Dark Night" coloring pages and activities visit my website.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Dark Dark Night Coloring Page


I added a new coloring page to my website. Happy coloring! You can also download the PDF for this coloring page here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

'On a Dark, Dark Night' Doll


I thought it would be fun to have a little mascot to accompany us to our book events this fall. So I had the idea that I would 'quickly' make a cloth doll that looked like the main character in the book. I tend to say things like that. I'll say stuff like, "I'll quickly sew some curtains for the kitchen" or "I'll just whip up some pillows for the sofa." My husband calls it naive optimism. And as usual things didn't go as quickly as I had hoped. I was up until 2am last night working on this little guy. And it looks like a fabric bomb went off in here. But in the end, I think he turned out okay. The only problem I have now is, what to name him. The book never refers to the character's name. Anyone have any ideas?

On a tehcnical note, I had planned on using fake fur for his hair. Didn't they used to sell strips of long fake fur in the craft stores? Am I imagining things? I couldn't find it anywhere. So I ended up crocheting his hair out of "Fun Fur" yarn. I think it worked out even better in the end.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

'On a Dark Dark Night' is Almost Here!



I'm getting excited. The release date for "On a Dark, Dark Night" is just a week away. (giddy laughter) If you are not in the business you may not realize how long it takes to get a picture book published. We are talking years here. So when one finally comes to fruition it's a pretty exciting day. In fact, you might say this is what us authors and illustrators live for.

One of the really great perks of having a book come out, is that we get to do author events and book signings. As an illustrator I'm usually locked away in the belfry, um, I mean my studio. Don't get me wrong I love my job and my studio, but it does get a little lonely sometimes. So getting to go out and share my work with folks is a great treat. And I've got several book events scheduled this fall with Jean Cochran, the author of "On a Dark, Dark Night." One of them is even a costume party at a book store in Salem Mass. How cool is that! You can check out the whole schedule under "book tour" info on the right side of the page.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Quilted Pencil Box


I took time out to do a little sewing project and make my daughter a new pencil bag for school. I took the dimensions of one of those plastic pencils boxes they sell at the discount stores this time of year and made a quilted version. I hope she likes it better than the plastic version.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sentinel and Enterprise


Holy newspapers Bat Man! I have been mentioned in three newspapers this past week. I'm starting to feel like Paris Hilton. I think I need a chihuahua.

The Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise did a story about my visit to the Lunenburg Library yesterday afternoon. Front page even! It was a lot of fun, plus I was able to wear my normal clothes :) It was close to 90 degrees yesterday so I wore shorts and flip flops to the library. The picture doesn't show that I was still wearing my flip flops during my presentation (oops, I forgot my black shoes). But I bet even witches go to the beach in August.

Here's the article (copied from sentinelandenterprise.com)

An open book: Lunenburg illustrator shares secrets with young audience

By Dan Magazu, dmagazu@sentinelandenterprise.com
Posted: 08/11/2009 07:04:24 AM EDT

LUNENBURG -- Local author and illustrator Jennifer Morris provided about 20 children with a sneak peek of her new book Monday during a Halloween-themed event at the Lunenburg Public Library.

Morris drew all of the illustrations for On a Dark, Dark Night, which was written by Jean Cochran and is due out in September.

The book is about a boy who fears that a witch is lurking around his house. Fittingly, Morris came to the event dressed like a witch. Several of the kids who attended the Halloween in August event also dressed up in costumes.

"You guys are going to be the first to see the new book," she told the kids. "You can't get copies in stores yet."

Morris, who has lived in Lunenburg for the past nine years, read the story to the kids and explained a little about her job as an author and illustrator.

Morris said she is constantly sketching things she sees in everyday life as practice. She also studies the anatomy of humans and animals to aid in her illustrations.

"When you draw people, you need to know where those bones are," Morris said. "It will make your drawings much more realistic."

Morris demonstrated to the kids how she draws a cat. She does all of her illustrations in pencil, and then scans them onto a computer to add in the color.

"All of my illustrations for books have been digital," Morris said. "It's great because you have an undo button."

Morris, who has worked as a professional author and illustrator for
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10 years, has done two other children's books.

May I Please Have a Cookie? is available through the Scholastic Readers Club, and Please Write Back! is due out in April.

"It's been pretty cool," she said. "Getting paid to do something you love is always a good thing."

She attended the University of Pittsburgh and received a bachelor of science degree in computer science with minors in art and mathematics.

Morris has had her illustrations featured in magazines and on greeting cards and party supplies.

She was honored earlier this month by High Five Magazine for illustrations she contributed to the September 2008 edition.

The drawings depicted a child receiving her very first backpack. The illustrations were named Best of the Issue by members of the magazine's editorial, art, and production staff.

Morris lives in town with her husband Michael, and their children, Robin, 11, and Leo, 8.

For more information about her work, visit www.jemorris.com.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Illustration Friday - Impatience


With some things, I am a very impatient person. For example, I will eat cold leftovers because I don't want to wait the 60 seconds for the microwave. But sometimes I will overwork and over think and illustration to death. So I thought it would be fun to see if I could do an illustration in 10 minutes. I just drew the first thing that popped into my mind. Why a grinning pink unicorn? Maybe my daughter has been watching too many "Charlie the Unicorn" videos on Youtube. But I kind of like his (her?) expression. I have to admit, I couldn't finish in 10 minutes. It took me closer to 30 minutes from start to finish.

Friday, August 07, 2009

High Five Press Release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lunenburg Illustrator Honored by National Children’s Magazine

Illustrator Jennifer Morris receives Pewter Plate Award from Highlights
High Five magazine

August 4, 2009 (Columbus, OH) – Jennifer Morris of Lunenburg, Mass. has
been honored by Highlights High Five for her illustrations for the
September 2008 issue’s bonus pull-out pages titled “My First Backpack.”
Morris’s illustration was named “Best of the Issue” by the Highlights High
Five editorial, art and production staff.
Morris says she was thrilled when Highlights High Five contacted her
about illustrating for the magazine because she has fond memories of
Highlights from her childhood years.
Highlights High Five Editor in Chief Christine French Clark says
illustrators like Morris “help us achieve our objective of bringing the
most imaginative and original works to our readers.”
In recognition of her achievement, Morris received an 8-inch pewter
plate engraved with her name, the title of the winning illustration and the
issue in which it appeared. The pewter plates are handcrafted in Honesdale,
Pennsylvania, the home of Highlights since its beginning in 1946.
In January 2007, Highlights began publishing Highlights High Five, an
adaptation of the classic magazine for pre-readers and beginning readers
ages 2 to 6.
Each month, the staff of Highlights High Five votes for the author
and illustrator whose work it considers to be the best in that issue.
Editor in Chief Emeritus of Highlights Kent L. Brown Jr. established the
tradition in 1982 as a way to show appreciation to freelance contributors
for excellent work.
Morris is an award award-winning illustrator and children’s book
author. Her illustrations appear in children’s picture books, children’s
publications and on greeting cards and party supplies. Morris has won
national awards for several of her greeting card designs.
Two books Morris has worked on will be released in the next year.
“On a Dark, Dark Night,” illustrated by Morris and written by Jean Cochran
comes out in September. “Please Write Back!” which Morris wrote and
illustrated will be released in April 2010.
Morris shares her excitement for this award
with her husband Michael and children Robin, 11, and Leo, 8.

About Highlights for Children:
Devoted to “Fun with a Purpose,” Highlights for Children, Inc. has helped
children become their best selves for generations. Its flagship
publication, Highlights magazine, the most recognizable and widely-read
children’s magazine in the nation, printed its one-billionth copy in June
2006. Other Highlights offerings include the new magazine celebrating early
childhood, Highlights High Five and Highlights for Children Book Clubs.
Online, children can visit HighlightsKids.com for interactive content
related to each issue of the magazine, and parents can visit
HighlightsParents.com for informative articles and suggestions for
additional family activities. Corporate offices are in Columbus, Ohio, and
editorial offices are in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Fun with a Purpose is a
trademark of Highlights for Children, Inc.