Happy Caturday!

I found this little gem of a cat last month when Jonathan was arranging some files. I was all, “Where did THIS come from? I love it!” And he’s so modest, he was all [SHRUG.] Needless to say, there’s a story about a cat rattling around in his brain. I shall sniff it out soon.

With no more further adieu, here is a fat cat for your Caturday. And it’s lovingly dedicated to Aunt Laura who loves cats.

An illustration of a gray at sleeping by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Character design illustration by Jonathan Fenske

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Time for a Beer Run: Character Design by Jonathan Fenske

Happy Monday from the studio! I thought it would be fun to kick off the week with a few character designs Jonathan did last week for clients.

First up is “Time for a Beer Run”:

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Next up is this pretty fox for a client in Fort Lupton, CO.

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Finally, we have this wild guy for a client in Denver, CO.

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Character design is Jonathan’s first love. It’s the thing that comes most effortlessly to him. And I love seeing these fun and zany characters roll off of the assembly line in his brain!

Jonathan Fenske and the Very Busy February

Today, Dear Reader, enjoy this roundup of February in the life of two writers/one artist/illustrator/video scribe who are keeping it together with duct tape and just a teensy bit of coffee.

First up, and most excitedly, we have SECRET NEWS to share. There is a book. A picture book by Jonathan. To be published by a FANTASTIC new publishing house friend. A WONDERFUL editor. A great STORY and ILLUSTRATIONS. But until the contract is signed and the ink is dried, I can only be VAGUE and ANNOYING. Sorry ’bout that!

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Two weeks ago, Jonathan traveled to Boston to video scribe for The Big Studio. He worked for almost a week, dodging huge snowdrifts, and scribing up a ton. Here’s a snap of his work:

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Traveling for a husband and father of three young, howling girls is like a vacation, Jonathan tells us. And I (Jennifer) can agree. At the end of last year, I traveled out to Burbank, CA for a few meetings with the fab startup where I am a content consultant. Beautiful hotel? Nice meals in cool restaurants that aren’t Chick-Fil-A? No one saying,”Are you awake, Mom? It’s 5:05 a.m.” Yes, please!

Jonathan also continues to do drawing and painting commissions. He doesn’t paint for galleries anymore, but he certainly always has one or more canvases in the wings. This is a drawing for a client of his daughter when she was young. There was another drawing (by a different artist) of the client’s son. So, now they have a matching pair. The client was so pleased, he commissioned Jonathan to do a painting of the kids who are now older children/teens.

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During February, Jonathan also finished up another children’s book that his fabulous agent, Carrie Hannigan, has making the rounds. Hopefully good news to come, soon!

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One of Jonathan’s character design clients, 3W Races, makes the BEST race medals, tees and ribbons. Here’s a recent project Jonathan did for 3W’s Prairie Dog Half Marathon series. He designed the ribbon with PeeDee, the mascot (that he also created for 3W). If you were a runner, wouldn’t you love this custom medal rather than the generic “foot and wing” medal? If you dig PeeDee, you can visit 3W’s store, here, and suit up.

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I think that’s about it! We also took the show on the road last week, visiting family in New Mexico. Jennifer wrote each morning for her work and Jonathan watched the little darlings. Now that we’re back home, it’s crunch time to get some projects turned in. Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.

We’re Jennifer and Jonathan Fenske, creators of FatandAppy.com. Jonathan is the author/illustrator of Woodward and McTwee (Penguin USA), among other books. Jennifer blogs about faith and life at ThePenzy.com

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.

Designing Icons for Luv

Happy Friday! Dropping in here for a sec to show off casually display the beautiful logo and icons Jonathan created for my new blog, The Penzy. The subtitle of the blog is “Faith + Pretty Things.” It’s a blend of Christian inspiration plus indie home decor, jewelry, art, etc. I love faith-y blogs and I love indie craft/design, so voila! I decided to blog about both of them, together.

Naturally, the next stop was to tell Jonathan I needed a logo. And icons.

And then I scrawled designs on a napkin. And scraps of paper. It was so sad panda. I can write, but I cannot draw what’s in my head.

Patient husband he is, Jonathan sat down one evening and cranked these out. We tweaked and discussed and swapped colors and fonts until we were both happy. I love them, I really, really do! Go see them in action at The Penzy.

 

The logo for The Penzy, an online blog about faith and pretty things by Jennifer Manske FenskeA heart icon on a blue background by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

 

An icon of black glasses for The Penzy blog by Jonathan FenskeA frame icon by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske for the blog The Penzy

 

 

Do you need a logo or icon for your blog? Contact Jonathan for info and rates. He’s reasonable and fun to work with…I promise!

Hatched to Run

Jonathan just finished an illustration for the Westgate Community School “Run Wild” 5K that will be held in September.

The school has begun to work with chickens, starting with tiny chicks that lived inside until they were able to make it on their own in their brand-new chicken coop.

Look carefully: do you see the prosthetic leg on the chicken? That’s a tribute to one of the Westgate chickens who apparently had a leg amputated. Brave chick.

An illustration of a chicken running by Denver illustrator Jonathan Fenske

Giveaway Winner & When Things Break

Congratulations to @beingkeri for winning a copy of Jonathan’s children’s book Woodward and McTwee! Keri, just send your address to Jennifer (jennifer AT fatandappy DOT com) and I will send a hardcover copy to your attention. Thanks to those who shared, followed and tweeted!

On a completely different topic…

Are you experiencing broken things? We feel you. We know your pain.

A few months ago, we unwittingly entered a season of broken things. And we’re not talking about small items. In no particular order, this is what failed, broke or burned in the last few months:

> Car AC (our mechanic broke it when he repaired something else but we still had to take the car back to be fixed, gratis. This involved Jonathan biking forty miles back and forth from the repair place in Denver in one day since we car share.)

> House AC. Not even kidding. This is a BIG expense. Currently, we are saving to replace the unit. So, this summer, we enjoy the great outdoors, indoors. All of our windows look like this:

An open window in a suburban house

This also means we buy allergy medicine. Having a lot of open windows is actually kind of fun; it’s not too hot here in Colorado and you can hear the kids playing outside. You can also hear your neighbors discussing trimming their hedges; yelling at their dogs; and jumping on trampolines. This part is a little weird.

As a southerner, not having air conditioning seems like not having a lung. Or a dinner table. It just feels like a major THING is missing. But once we realized that saving up for the replacement compressor unit was really the only option, well, I just kind of accepted it. And cranked open sixteen windows.

> Garage Door. The torsion springs were apparently put in by the neighborhood builder using the cheapest product available. So, along with all of our neighbors, our garage door broke down like an old donkey.

> Dryer. When we moved into this house almost seven years ago, we purchased a very pretty middle-of-the-line Whirlpool washer/dryer combo. At some point, the heating coils overheated, tripping every fail safe inside the dryer. Melting ensued. Jonathan YouTubed the heck out of that thing and then ordered $125 worth of parts online. After watching videos over and over, he was able to get the dryer back on its feet.

> Dishwasher. Again, another nice Whirlpool appliance. Something plugged and whatever…I stopped listening. A few dollars online, another YouTube video and Jonathan had the dishwasher up and running again.

I know these are all first-world problems. I know I am blessed to have a newish house filled with modern conveniences. I know all of this. And hopefully, things are about to stop breaking down around here. 

But when you are facing hundreds or thousands of dollars of repairs you weren’t expecting, it can get a little panicky. So, if this is you, take heart. We’re going through a Season of Broken Things. It’s not fun and it’s not cheap. I hope that your brokeness passes quickly. And I hope our story encourages someone, somewhere.

Also this: if you stop by for a visit, dress in layers.