Today I’m thrilled to welcome Joyce Hesselberth to my blog to talk about her upcoming release, Pitter Pattern.
Hi Joyce! Thanks for stopping by my blog!
Hi Dylan! It’s so nice to be here. Thanks for inviting me!
Tell us a little bit about your new book, Pitter Pattern.
Pitter Pattern is all about where you can find patterns: in nature, in music, in movement, in days of the week. Everywhere really! I love patterns, but I also find them incredibly useful. I noticed when my kids were little how important pattern recognition was. I wanted to make a book that went beyond ABABAB and ABCABC (although it covers that too). Once kids can recognize patterns, they start to understand what comes next and that gives them an incredible understanding of how to navigate through the world.
Tell us a little bit about your illustration process.
I always start with lots of sketching and then slowly refine them until I’m ready to start the final art. I like to work with a lot of textures and bold geometric shapes. My work is digital, but I mix traditional paint with it so when I’m starting a book I take some time to do some loose and messy painting first. For this book, I knew I wanted to work a lot of patterns in, so I created a little library of patterns by hand.
Have you always been into writing/illustrating?
I’ve always been making art. My mom was an art teacher and there were always projects going on at home. As a kid, my writing was mostly limited to journals, but I did write a lot. I don’t think I really combined the two until I decided to write my first picture book in my thirties. It didn’t get published (which may have been for the best) but it got me hooked on writing and illustrating more stories.
What’s the most exciting part of your job?
Oh! That’s hard. It’s a really great job. I think the best part might be when I figure out how to finish a story. It has to fit in this perfect little 32 or 40 page format, and when it all comes together it’s magical. It’s like solving a puzzle that you didn’t know you could figure out. That ‘aha’ moment is so satisfying. Of course, when a publisher makes an offer it’s also pretty exciting!
What inspires your creativity?
I draw a lot from nature – just being out in it sometimes is enough. I go for long(ish) runs on the trail near our home and soak it all in. I’m also surrounded by creative people every day, both at our studio and at the college where I teach (MICA).
What is one thing that readers don’t know about you, that only you could tell us?
Once upon a time, I had a chicken named Duck. Now, I have a chicken named Goose. My family and I are not very good at naming chickens.
If you weren’t writing/illustrating books, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’d like to travel more. Could I be an explorer? Of course, I’d probably draw some pictures and jot down a few notes about it and I’d end up right back where I started – writing/illustrating books.
What can readers expect from you in the future?
More books of course! Like any good author/illustrator, I have a few more books in the works. I’m working on one that should hit in 2021 and it’s about something I love dearly – trees!
Anything else you’d like to share with readers of this blog?
I love thinking about activities that can go with my books – easy art projects that can extend learning, but are also fun. You can look for projects to bring into the classroom or do at home on my website at https://www.joycehesselberth.com/resources.
You can also enjoy this new video here.