About Susan Jeffers
I realize now that I have always done the same things. When I was little, my best moments were spent drawing pictures, reading stories with my parents, playing with friends and sitting by the Ramapo River dreaming of horses. This has not changed. Being a childrens book illustrator has combined all of these things.
Literature has been a great support in my life. The
story of Black Beauty kept me company growing up. I longed to be gentle
and steadfast as he was. I was inspired by Velvet's courage and wanted
to win the Grand National on my beloved piebald horse like she did. I
remember sitting in the choir loft deciding on how I would illustrate
the Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen that my parents had read to
me. Retelling that story to myself got me through many tedious moments.
I wished I were as brave as Gerta but I was pretty sure that I was the
wayward Kai and my older sister, Judy, was going to have to come rescue
me from the frosty Queen. I loved these stories, they always asked me
to be the best I could be.
Picture of my sister Judy and me. I am the one on the right.
I enjoy researching books like Hiawatha so much that I have trouble extricating myself from old photos and first person diaries of being captured by Indians, which are of course more stories.
For the most part I work in pen and ink and guache, an opaque watercolor. I make thousands of little lines with a fine pen to describe the forms. Tnis looks hard, but it is actually the easiest part and is very relaxing. The most difficultpart for me is telling the story with the right relationship of composition and characters to convey the emotion of the story. This requires making many little drawings, called thumbnail sketches, until the drawing says what you want it to say, hopefully. Sometimes this does not happen.
My favorite things to do these days are riding and studying
dressage with a beautiful horse named Hans, (Hans is much the better student)
and painting landscapes and portraits. Happily this is a lot like my work.
Picture of me and Hans 17h Swedish Warmblood.
Graduate of Pratt Institute 1964
Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York Times Best Seller Brother Eagle Sister Sky