Author/Illustrator Gabe Jensen Talks Art Process (+ win a pb manuscript critique!)

Please welcome children’s book author/illustrator Gabe Jensen to Frog on a Blog! Gabe stopped by to talk a bit about the art process he used when he created his book Neverwoof, which was just published this past September by Familius. This rollicking read-aloud has already garnered several positive reviews. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing about how artists create their art and why they choose the style that they do. Let’s hear from Gabe!

Gabe Jensen sharing Neverwoof.

For NEVERWOOF, I wanted to return to a simpler time in kids’ books when you could only print in two colors. And often those colors were clashing. I don’t remember as a kid ever thinking, “Great story, but the color theory was off” 🙂 . It also gave me a ready activity to do with classes: kids color with their two favorite crayons. I love the resulting images.

Kid’s two-color activity.

Normal 4-color printing has limits on certain colors — especially orange. So we printed this book with spot color where they can mix up any Pantone. It’s more expensive, but it means the book has an orange you won’t see in most titles. I don’t know if people pick up on that, but maybe subconsciously.

Gabe with spreads from Neverwoof.

When I was writing the book, my dad — the science fiction writer Terry Bisson — helped me with the text. My mom is a quilter with a wonderful sense of color, and we sat together to choose the exact orange and green.

One of Gabe’s mom’s quilts.
One of Gabe’s dad’s books.
Gabe says, “I really, really like green and orange.” 🙂

Working with the people at Familius was really great. They gave me a lot of creative latitude, and my editor/book designer Brooke Jorden contributed the debossing of the cover, which gives it that great tactile feel.

Thank you, Gabe! That was truly fascinating.

Giveaway Time!

Gabe has generously offered-to one lucky winner-a picture book manuscript critique! Just leave a comment on this blog post by April 15th for your chance to win. I’ll choose a winner at random and contact you with information on how to connect with Gabe. Share this blog post on any social media site and earn one extra entry per site, just let me know where you shared. Good luck!

Gabe first tried to publish a kids book at age 19 (Nightbringers is still looking for a home — anyone? 🙂 ). Since then, he’s worked on kid’s digital projects, like Jeff Kinney’s (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) site Poptropica, as a puzzle designer (Castlemouse, Lumosity), and an ad creative for clients like Coca-Cola. He has three kids, and lives in Berkeley, CA with a two-eyed Cyclops (false) and a one-eyed cat (true).

He’s currently working on his second book NOCTURNAL NICO, about a kid who tries to convince his parents he’s nocturnal so he can stay up late. Hmmm, how about purple and yellow?

Gabe says, “I love pics of pups reading Neverwoof! Send them to me at gabe@gabejensenbooks.com and I’ll post on social media.”

Find Gabe here:

https://gabejensenbooks.com/

Twitter

Instagram

10 thoughts on “Author/Illustrator Gabe Jensen Talks Art Process (+ win a pb manuscript critique!)

  1. yangmommy says:

    Just as littles look at the pictures in picture books, I first quickly read thru your color-creative post & was immediately drawn in by A) the “old fashionedness” cover of “Neverwoof” and very much B) those cool kicks!! Then I went back to reread the entire blog & truly enjoyed learning how & why you created that color palette. Thx so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Searra says:

    I love the title, Neverwoof. It sounds almost like an ingredient in a witch’s potion or something. LOL. I also shared on Twitter! Thanks for the read and the intro to Gabe!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nadine Poper says:

    I have this book for my school library! The ending is hilarious! I will try to remember to bring it home on Monday to snap a pic with my two dachshunds… who would never bite anyone in the behind! 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

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