KATHERINE FENN THOMAS
What motivates you as a writer and illustrator?
I love to compose stories and illustrations that stretch the imagination. I enjoy playing with the sounds and shapes of words in the same way that I play with lines, shapes, textures and colors in my artwork. I especially like the picture book genre, where each turn of the page brings new surprises.
My goal as an author and illustrator is to create fictional stories that encourage inventive thinking and teach something new, while still being exciting and fun to read.
My illustrations are motivated by the thrill of creating something or someone new—a character or a place that has only now come into existence.
Through my own creative process, I combine realistic traits with whimsical qualities, allowing the young reader to relate to the story and feel connected with the characters, while also inviting the reader’s imagination to participate in the storytelling.
In developing a new character, I am intrigued by the way a character’s personality can be portrayed through his or her postures and gestures—a dragging shoelace or a tightly pinned barrette can reveal more about the character than is written in the text.
I like to have new surprises in every page turn, and I always add hidden gems to each illustration (sometimes geared more toward the adult reading the story) to prompt the rereading of a book again and again, discovering new delights with each experience.
What types of books do you like to read?
I like to read every genre of children's literature, from picture books to YA novels, especially those with a little bit of magic and plenty of adventure. I like books that are plot-driven, and written in close third-person point of view. I like to be inside the character's head, but I don't want the character talking directly to me. My favorite authors are those who make me see something in a whole new way, with unique metaphors and subtle connections throughout the story. Sometimes I love a book just for the author's style of writing, regardless of the subject.
My favorite illustrators are John Rocco—for his use of color and shape to create character and scene, Chris Riddell—for his imaginative, expressive line work, Demelsa Houghton and Rebecca Dautremer—for the mysterious magical quality in their work. Readers may see the subtle influences of these artists in my own illustrations.
How has becoming an author/illustrator affected your own reading habits?
I'm always reading as a writer, admiring how other author's put words together and create images and impressions for the reader.
I have a habit of mentally illustrating everything I read and everything I experience. I especially like to see movies in the theater, and watch how the compositions and color palettes evolve through the story. When I'm shopping or going to yoga class, I mentally paint the shapes and colors around me, creating characters, scenes and stories that might be reflected in my work at some point.
PUBLISHER: Dragon Pup Press, 2020
Clark wants to join the band!
His friends bring him one instrument after another, but they just can't find the right instrument for a grasshopper to play.
Despite his physical challenges, Clark shows great perseverance and determination. His friends, in turn, must exercise patience and understanding as they try to help Clark explore the different instruments in the band.
Told with delightful illustrations and lyrical text, children of all ages will enjoy learning about the different instrument families, and they will appreciate what it means to become a member of the marching band.
PUBLISHER: Dragon Pup Press, 2019
A girl and a grasshopper set out on a flying sailboat to explore the habitats of the world. Their day is filled with excitement from dawn to dusk. But a last-minute dilemma arises, and it seems they may never get back home. Told in delightful rhyme, children will enjoy reading the story of Clark the grasshopper, with his silly antics, and his friend Lewis, with her gentle, caring nature, as they encounter new friends all over the world, and they learn that kindness can sometimes be rewarded in unexpected ways.
Katherine fenn thomas
Fabulous children’s book by Katherine Fenn Thomas! This is an imaginative tale of adventure, friendship, diversity, helping others, and doing the right thing. The illustrations are loaded with whimsical, as well as realistic, details of wildlife and sailing. We have reread the book several times and each time we discover something new in the picture – a hidden object or a clue about what’s coming next. Lewis and Clark, Come Home Before Dark! is the new favorite on our family’s bookshelf!
"I got this book for my granddaughter in kindergarten. She loved the book and made a video to tell me how much she liked it and the illustrations in it. Highly recommend"
I was lucky enough to watch the evolution of this story through Katherine's beautiful artwork. The story sparked my curiosity as I have a Lewis of my own (our son's name) and I wasn't disappointed. I was transported with Lewis and Clark, on their adventures. I bought the book for our granddaughter but just HAD to read it myself first! I read children's books to our grandchildren, I have all the classics but it's been a while since reading a story that actually takes you along with them. Her illustrations are so detailed and interesting.
It is now in my 'library', in the classics section, with a few bent pages because our 22-month-old granddaughter LOVES it! I so love Katherine's art, I bought her the poster of Lewis and Clark!
A 'must have' book.
This children's book not only tells a sweet tail full of truths about living an honest, loyal, and loving life, but is full of wonderful illustrations that make you love the characters and friends they meet during their journey. Very well done by Katherine Fenn Thomas. -April Rimpo