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Jennifer Thermes (1966-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

built book review watercolor

Born 1966, in New York, NY; Education: Parsons School of Design, B.F.A., 1988. Hobbies and other interests: Languages, history, gardening, horseback riding.

Addresses

Agent—Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary Agency Inc., P.O. Box 349, Rockville Centre, NY 11571-0349.

Career

Illustrator and author. Golf Digest, assistant art director, 1988-93; freelance illustrator, 1993—.

Member

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

Writings

(Self-illustrated) When I Was Built, Henry Holt & Co. (New York, NY), 2001.

Work in Progress

A picture book for Carolrhoda Books, scheduled for publication in 2006.

Sidelights

Living in New England in a home built in 1720 inspired artist Jennifer Thermes to write her first book for children. When I Was Built is the story of an eighteenth-century

Jennifer Thermes

house, as told by the house itself. Speaking directly to readers, the elderly home discusses the differences between the lifestyles of its modern-day family and the family that built it over 200 years before. From indoor plumbing to computer and Internet wiring, the old wooden building tells about the changes it has seen and experienced over time. Thermes' "handsome pen, ink, and watercolor art has a flavor that evokes an illustration style from the 1940s," commented GraceAnne A. DeCandido in Booklist, while School Library Journal reviewer Jane Marino dubbed the picture book "a charming, if not exactly original" idea. In Publishers Weekly a reviewer enjoyed the book, stating that "Thermes's crisp ink line and austere draftsmanship lend her pictures an elegant airiness" while her choice of warm watercolor tones "imbues them with a sense of both history and domesticity."

Discussing her working methods on her Web site, Thermes explained that she spends a great deal of time allowing her story to evolve in her imagination before putting it down on paper. Even at that point, she explained, "I write many, many drafts of the story before I am satisfied." In planning out the thirty-two pages of illustrations, she makes many small pencil sketches, then inks the lines and adds watercolor. "Even though I do my artwork the old-fashioned way with ink and watercolor," she noted, "the computer comes in handy" when making up the "dummy" book to show publishers. "One thing I've learned is that the art never looks as good on paper as it does in my imagination," Thermes added. "But then I remember that it's all part of learning and growing. And hopefully that never ends!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2002, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of When I Was Built, p. 868.

Kirkus Reviews, October 15, 2001, review of When I Was Built, p. 1494.

Publishers Weekly, November 5, 2001, review of When I Was Built, p. 67.

School Library Journal, December, 2001, Jane Marino, review of When I Was Built, p. 113.

ONLINE

Jennifer Thermes Web site, http://www.JenniferThermes.com/ (October 21, 2004).

Transatlantic Literary Agency Web site, http://www.tla1.com/ (October 21, 2004), "Jennifer Thermes."

Alexander (Louis) Theroux Biography [next]

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