We are so excited to be sharing a sneak peek into the beautiful new book from illustrator and author Joyce Hesselberth! Pitter Pattern is all about introducing kids to simple patterns that can be found everywhere around us: in nature, sports, math, language, art, and music! Lu and her friends love looking for patterns – what patterns will you spot with them?
We love that Pitter Pattern not only has amazing illustrations but is a great educating tool as well! Kids follow along on Lu’s adventures as she learns about patterns and then can take these lessons out into their daily lives too. You can even download a free printable activity sheet, access a teaching guide, and of course craft along with the video below to learn about patterns in quilting!
Pitter Pattern is available everywhere books are sold on February 11th – preorder your copy today! Keep reading to see more illustrations from Pitter Pattern and learn about Joyce’s inspiration!
What inspired you to write and illustrate Pitter Pattern?
First, an absolute love of pattern! It’s both beautiful and functional.
Function first. With my own kids, I noticed how important pattern recognition was. It helped them predict what would come next; it gave them a feeling of control. If they recognize that every day we get dressed, have breakfast, and brush our teeth, then that’s a pattern! They can see that it repeats every morning and know what to expect.
The second reason is pure beauty. Patterns are everywhere and they are gorgeous! I never pass up a chance to create a pattern for the endpapers of my books. When I started working on the artwork for this book, one of the first things I did was to create a little library of patterns by hand. It was a guilty pleasure for me, but I always try and bring my hand back into the art.
When writing and illustrating a book, do the words or the pictures come to you first?
I start with a little bit of both. I keep a sketchbook and I start with little thumbnail sketches and scribbled words. It’s a messy process. When I think I have something that I like, I separate the words from the images, and type the manuscript. Then I start scaling up my sketches and refining them. One of the joys of being both the author and the illustrator is that I can feel free to move both parts of the story around so it’s a very organic process.
Did you have a favorite picture book growing up? If so, do you remember why you loved it so much?
Miss Suzy, by Miriam Young. It was illustrated by Arnold Lobel. I’m happy that it’s back in print now. Miss Suzy was a squirrel and she lived “in the tip, tip, top of a tall oak tree.” There’s nothing that I don’t love about this book, but as a kid, I especially loved all the details of the house she lived in. In fact, when I got the chance to decorate my room, I insisted on a moss green carpet, just like Miss Suzy’s. Hers was made from real moss, and mine wasn’t (it was a long shag, very 70’s), but I still remember picking it out and trying to get the color as close as I could. The world that Young and Lobel created was magical, and I wanted a part of it.
How did you first get into writing and illustrating children’s books?
I’ve wanted to write and illustrate books since I was in college, but I didn’t really commit to it until I was in my thirties. I was illustrating for magazines and newspapers at that time, and it was hard to make room for a side project that might not go anywhere. At some point though, I realized that I would regret it forever if I didn’t try. I decided to spend an hour or so every day until I came up with my first book idea to send to publishers. It was a slow start, but I learned a lot. My first few ideas were rejected (probably for good reasons) but with each pitch I think I improved. When I finally sold my first book, it was a dream come true.
What’s been inspiring you lately and what do you do when you’re feeling blocked creatively?
I’m surrounded by creative people, both in my studio and at the college where I teach illustration, so inspiration is everywhere. But sometimes I feel like I need to step away from all that to refresh, especially if I’m feeling blocked. My favorite place to go is a trail not too far from our house. It used to be a railroad track so it’s super long and flat, but also shady and green. It runs along the edge of a river and there are lots of beautiful views. I go for long(ish) runs and it keeps me focused.
A big thank you to Joyce Hesselberth for sharing this sneak peek with us! Follow Joyce on Instagram to keep up with all her latest creative adventures!