Jan Brett quotes and sayings
December 1, 1949
I always feel like my book is a success when I see a child reading it, and they have their pointer finger out, and they kind of keep their place as they look all around the page. I've always been impressed by how children are so observant.
A book is something that young readers can experience on their own time. They decide when to turn the page. They'll put their arm right on the page so you can't turn it because they're not ready to go to the next page yet. They just want to look at it again, or they want to read the book over and over because they really enjoy setting the pace themselves.
I like to pretend that each book is my first one and last one, because it takes a tremendous amount of energy to do a book.
People may think that because I have illustrated and written all these books it must be easy for me, but it's not really easy for me. The drawing part is easy - I love doing it. But continuing to move forward is hard.
I create books for six-year-olds. I don't know why that time of my life was so important to me, but no matter what I draw, it always looks like it comes from a children's book. I can't resist. I'll set out to paint a serious picture then think, "Well, maybe there would be a little bunny in that corner.".
I love children because that's a part of my life that was so happy, and I like to remember back to those days where everything is a discovery, and the world is so fresh.
When I was little I used to wish I could talk to the illustrators because I wanted to discuss something about the books. With so many of the other art forms that children experience, such as movies and television, they don't get to control the pace.
My grandmother would give me a beautiful book each year. I especially loved the Beatrix Potter books. They were very detailed. And I promised myself that was what I'd do. I also loved the big words she used. I was excited because I knew what they meant from the context. I put a few big words in for just that reason.
Of all people, children are the ones that really understand when there's a truth there for them - an emotional truth. The characters really have to work. Children, as an audience, are very inspirational for me.
I remember the special quiet of rainy days when I felt that I could enter the pages of my beautiful picture books. Now I try to recreate that feeling of believing that the imaginary place I'm drawing really exists. The detail in my work helps to convince me, and I hope others as well, that such places might be real.
Teachers have to respect the privacy of students' creative life, but at the same time give them a chance to express themselves.
I have a hard time writing, and I usually have to put a timer at my desk and put it on for an hour. But I love to illustrate, and I can hardly stop myself.
My parents would tell us to go outside and play or to do creative stuff, but television was very limited. So we used our own creativity to entertain ourselves. We were out in the woods a lot making huts and playing horses.
I remember kids used to give me a penny for drawing them a horse. I loved horses, but I couldn't have one, so I would draw a horse for myself. I would make it food and a blanket for it to wear and a place to live.
When I was little, I loved books that gave me lots of detail so that I felt like I could be transported to this other place, or, in the case of an illustration, I felt like I could walk into the page.
I just love to draw. It's very intense for me. The day will just go by like the snap of a finger. A lot of times I'll draw or paint late into the night. When I am really concentrating, I kind of lose track of what I am doing.
My optimism has helped me through some hard times. If you try to send out good things, good things come back to you.
Children have such vibrant minds. They need to play. They need to be creative. They need to imagine. It's so important for their sense of self discovery. And it helps them learn problem-solving.
A lot of times it's the child that sees something and not the grownup. I love that because, when readers get older, they start looking for the most important ideas in the story. They don't look at things in the same way anymore. Children haven't really learned to do that yet. They take all their great, intellectual skills, look at the full page, and appreciate all of the different things.
We're going to Surf City, gonna have some fun. Now, two girls for every boy.
Sometimes I get ideas from childhood. In 'The Hat', Hedgie starts getting teased about his hat, and he just pretends that everything is okay. That's the advice that my mother gave me - not to get mad and pretend that everything is okay. And it worked.
I loved being a child. If I do have a talent, it's not so much being an artist, but it's being able to remember back to that time.
When I go to another country, I try to be a big sponge and look at what the houses may look like and what colors predominate. I do not do research as much as just get ideas and ask people about things.
One of my favorite books is 'Armadillo Rodeo', and I got the idea from traveling to Texas and seeing armadillos.
The books take a year just to do the drawing. I will travel to a country to do the research and get ideas. Sometimes I don't travel to do research, but mostly I do. It takes a long time, but do I ever get tired of it? Not really. The characters kind of grow and evolve.
I knew that I wanted to be an illustrator since I was in kindergarten. I can remember the exact day. The art teacher usually came to our classroom once a week, but she was absent that day. Instead, our regular teacher gave us each a huge piece of paper and crayons, and we could do whatever we wanted.
A children's book is the perfect place where young readers can understand the world because they can take a deep breath and look at it and imagine and contemplate while they're looking at.
Leonardo da Vinci
Vincent Van Gogh
Julie Anne Peters
Roy Jones Jr.
Robert W. Service
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