Before she worked with Karen Kingsbury, illustrator Jennifer Bell had never drawn a children’s book before.
It was something she was interested in, but not part of her career path. “Initially,” Jennifer says, “I went to art school but it was just for fine arts and painting. Since then, I worked for many years in graphic design—freelancing and designing greeting cards, that sort of thing.”
Then she was offered the chance to work on her first children’s book. “It was pretty exciting. I have always wanted to illustrate children’s books.”
Even more exciting, the book she was asked to illustrate was Far Flutterby (ZonderKidz), the newest children’s book written by Karen Kingsbury. “It’s such a big project. Karen Kingsbury is such a big figure in the Christian publishing industry.”
Jennifer is quick to point out she did not actually have any communication with Karen. “We haven’t spoken or emailed. Kind of funny how it works in publishing. I haven’t had much interaction with the authors.”
She enjoyed working on the book, though. “There are some interesting things we’ve done with the colors.” In the beginning of the story, “there are muted colors because he’s sad, and as he’s visited by the other butterflies it becomes much more vibrant and playful.”
This color scheme reflects the personal journey Cody takes through the story. “There’s kind of an overarching message about having faith and having to struggle,” Jennifer says, explaining that Cody the caterpillar, “looking for his place in the world,” discovers God’s plan for his life.
“I thought it was a really cute story and there are a lot of fun characters in the book,” she says. “It seemed like a good fit for me. The story is sweet. The main character, Cody the caterpillar, is a dreamer.”
And like Cody, who found his place in the world, Bell has also found wings as a children’s illustrator, having already finished two more picture books for two other publishers.