Character Design: 3W Races

Jonathan has been working on character design for Colorado-based 3W Races, a fabulous company that offers local racing events in partnership with local businesses that benefit local charities.

Jonathan was brought on to do character design for 3W’s “Peedy” mascot, also called “Prairie Dog.” Jonathan loves working with this young company and as a runner himself, he’s completely dialed in to what they are doing.

Here’s a look at Peedy running through the four seasons:

An illustration by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Jonathan’s also character designed other race characters, including a one-legged chicken. Here’s a cute story about Jonathan, a race through rain and mud, and our three girls.

Thanks for stopping by, ya’ll! We appreciate your support so, so much.

Advertisements

Fat and Appy Is Open on Etsy!

We opened Fat and Appy Modern Art at FatandAppy.com a few months ago, using the Shopify platform (which we love). But a lot of people we respect (and have successful Etsy shops themselves) nudged us to “get on Etsy.”

I’ve been shopping on Etsy forever, so it wasn’t a hard sell. I just knew it would take a lot of work to load in the store, set up tags, photos and pull it all together in the “About” section. And then last week, we finally decided to take the plunge. Jonathan and I both worked hours rewriting copy, enlarging jpegs and brainstorming tags. We also launched a new design, called “Identity Crisis.” It’s available in four sizes, starting at $99.

Rody bouncing horse by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Our new Etsy store can be found at FatandAppyModernArt. I think it’s so exciting to be in the company of thousands of creatives who are making things. I hope we can debut new products on the Etsy store or maybe even original drawings to get feedback. I’ve even been cooking up a 3D printer project. I have endless ideas…but I just try to take them one at a time and decide what to pursue. My notebook is full of ideas; Jonathan has a similar notebook and his is crammed with project ideas, too.

And now we can check off Etsy. Hurray!

Tomato painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fox print by illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Yeehaw Colorado painting by Jonathan Fenske

A fried egg print by Fat and Appy, designed by Jonathan Fenske

Vintage Bear Illustration

Jonathan looooves old vintage squeaky toys. We have more than a few. Here’s a bear he drew back in 2010 called “Bear Capture” that sold in Atlanta’s Matre Gallery. Pro tip: Love an artist’s work but can’t afford a painting? Look for their pencil on paper sketches or ask if they can do a pencil commission. The difference in price can be significant and you still get a piece of work you love! Be sure to budget in a nice frame to protect the drawing. We like frames from Dick Blick and Target’s RE collection.

Like this drawing? Be sure to check out our line of affordable Giclee prints on canvas at Fat and Appy Modern Art for Children

An illustration of a vintage bear by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Fat and Appy Modern Art for Kids on 5280.com

When I was in Racine, WI last week, I had the pleasure of talking to Daliah Singer of  5280 Magazine about Fat and Appy, our line of modern art canvas prints for kids. You can read her sweet article about our art in the 5280.com story.  She really “got”  what we are up to with our small business. I am so happy we chatted!

Here’s a sneak peek:

“As a mom to three daughters (ages seven, four, and 18 months), novelist Jennifer Manske Fenske knows something about decorating kids’ rooms. But as the wife of an artist—and a creative woman herself—Fenske had trouble finding works to hang on the wall that felt appropriate and unique for her girls. “I believe that children really do deserve pretty art,” she says. “I think that they are incredibly intelligent and that they respond to art that speaks to them.””     

Black-dog-by-Jonathan-Fenske                              

Heavy Odds: We’ll Take Them

Yesterday, we woke up to fun news and several “congratulations!” emails: Healthy Creatures, our children’s app for iPad was featured in the Denver Post. We were interviewed by technology reporter Andy Vuong; Aaron Ontiveroz took our portrait. Both journalists were awesome and couldn’t have been easier or nicer to work with. I liked Andy’s angle in the story about the hard road ahead of us as indie mobile app developers in a crowded market. He’s absolutely correct—finding mobile app success on the App Store without Disney or Dora in your name is really, really tough. But here’s the thing: working our tails off in the creative world is all Jonathan and I have ever known.

It was tough when Jonathan was a talented painter in search of a gallery. He walked in and out of galleries in Atlanta until he found one that believed in him. Jonathan’s paintings now hang in collectors’ homes across the U.S., a museum, foundations and currently, Santa Fe. His commission backlog is months long.

It was tough when I wanted so badly to publish my novel, I could barely step into a bookstore without being overcome by longing. I wrote query letters and was rejected by everyone on my list–until an agent took a chance and asked me to rewrite my first novel. That one didn’t sell, but my agent sold the next one to St. Martin’s Press. And the next one.

It was tough when I wrote novels at the kitchen table after working all day at my marketing job. Both times, my belly was swollen with a kicking, nutrient-sucking daughter. But Jonathan would not let me give up. When the development dragged on for Healthy Creatures, Jonathan told me to dig deep and keep at it—that we would see it through, together. And we did, with a third newborn daughter kicking on the floor beside me as I worked.

And it was tough when Jonathan kept rising to the top of the slush pile for his children’s books that he wrote and illustrated. He came so close several times before a major publisher offered a contract. We rejoiced, champagne flowing, and then plummeted to earth when the publisher shuttered the imprint, dumping all of the recently acquired titles. I watched in awe as Jonathan picked himself up and headed back out there, pitching his books on his own. In December 2012 and then again in February 2013 Penguin USA will publish Jonathan’s children’s books Love Is In the Air and Guppy Up!

Do you have a dream? Of course you do. If you’ve read this far, let me tell you: it will be tough. You’ll never work harder. But don’t you dare give up.

The odds are heavy? Of course they are. You are short of money? Time? Connections? We are, too.

But here’s the thing: the alternative is not trying. That’s not an option for so many of us. So, for that, I’ll take a longshot any day.

What’s your longshot dream? Tell us in the comments so we can encourage you.

Fenske Art Roundup

It’s been a while since I blogged, so we apologize for the tumbleweeds. Here’s a roundup from the Fenske studio. Enjoy!

Love Is In the Air eBooks
Jonathan’s first children’s book with Penguin USA, Love Is In the Air, is publishing Dec. 27, 2012. We just found out that Penguin will be making ebooks for Love Is In the Air and for Guppy Up! which publishes Feb. 7, 2013. Hurray! Since we have just completed making an app, it was a joy to hear about the ebooks. Someone else will be in charge of every single detail. Someone else can test, test and test some more. Making an app or ebook is hard work. Even so, I think that Fat and Appy’s next project will be an ebook of a fun children’s book that Jonathan wrote last year called Happy Thoughts. It hasn’t found a home yet, so we’re thinking it’s a perfect way to dip our toe in the book app market. (Wait—didn’t I just complain that making an app is hard work? Well, it is, but we just can’t stay away….)

www.jonathanfenske.com

Healthy Creatures Launches on the App Store
Our first children’s app for iPad launched one month ago! Healthy Creatures is a creative app for children ages 3-8 that allows kids to make creatures out of fruits and vegetables. It’s .99 on the App Store and we’re thrilled to have ten reviews of 4 and 5 stars! We’ve also been featured on awesome blogs such as 5DollarDinners.com, TodayIAteaRainbow.com and MileHighMamas.com. We’ve even been mentioned on the App Nanny’s podcast! Along the way, we’re learning the ropes of app promotion, app marketing and the general app-ecosystem. Want to see Healthy Creatures in action? Watch the app trailer.

Westgate Community School 5K
Westgate is a wonderful charter school in our neck of the woods that just moved into their forever home (the first three years of the school’s existence was spent in a rented old middle school). Jonathan designed Westgate’s first ever 5K logo which celebrated the new building.


www.jonathanfenske.com

The Kitchen Sink
Jonathan has been working with Room 214, a social media agency in Boulder, doing some visual scribe work. Jennifer is researching tee shirt companies to produce a line of toddler and kid’s tees. We made two one-offs with Fat and Appy’s logo for the Denver Startup Bash a few weeks ago. Jonathan is also working on a handful of painting commissions from clients around the country.

www.jonathanfenske.com

That’s it for now! As always, we’d love it if you followed us on Twitter (@fatandappyfun or @jenmanskefenske), Facebook or YouTube.