Meet Daniel Jennewein

An up-and-coming illustrator of childrens’ books, Daniel Jennewein is certainly doing something different than most. He is living his dream. In this post, he shares the story of his career move from graphic designer to book illustrator. We are thrilled that he is the first person to be featured in our DSD (doing something different) career series.

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Daniel’s Daily Drawings

I could say it all started with my blog danielsdailydrawings.blogspot.com.

Illustration 531I’d been a web designer since 1999, a job I enjoyed at times but mainly had so I could pay the bills. In the beginning I learned a lot, which was fulfilling enough, but as time went by and I realized I spent more time doing than learning, I started to feel bored.

In order to exercise my mind, I began experimenting with personal side projects.  The first task was a childrens’ book that I planned to develop with my wife Lenore, who is a copywriter. It didn’t take us long to notice that it was a difficult thing to do and that it required a lot of energy – energy which is difficult to unleash while working full-time. After a long time period of working nights and weekends on our book, we finally had a dummy and sent it out for critique.  The feedback made us realize we’d need to dedicate more time to it, and we put it on hold indefinitely.

From this experience I learned that I shouldn’t put more on my plate than I can handle and looked for a personal project that I could tackle while having a demanding full-time job.  It had to be a project that wouldn’t require me to take off work for days or weeks to get the job done but rather short, regular sessions – i.e. something I could do in the evenings after work even when I was very tired.

Illustration 682Many designers and artists keep sketchbooks, but I thought this might not have enough structure to keep me drawing often, which is how the idea for my blog was born. The title Daniel’s Daily Drawings already forces me to publish a drawing a day. However it doesn’t place restrictions on how rough, how funny how  good or how bad a drawing has to be. Here I have all the freedom in the world to draw whatever I feel like but I am also obliged to follow a strict routine.

In May 2007 I visited the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna and had the opportunity to show my work to Art Directors from renowned publishing houses. At that time, I already had quite a few drawings up on my blog and chose the 3 best ones to show. To my surprise, my drawings were highly praised and I ended up with a two book illustration contracts with HarperCollins. This experience gave me the confidence I needed to embark on my new career path as a freelance illustrator.  I doubt I would have dared to take this radical step without having had this encouraging experience.

Sometimes we just need little pushes and kicks to follow our true destinies.

Daniel

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Daniel JenneweinAbout me

My Name is Daniel Jennewein.  I live in Frankfurt with my wife Lenore and 2 very spoiled Birman cats. My first picture book (written by Audrey Vernick) “Is Your Buffalo Ready For Kindergarten?” will be released in summer 2010. In addition to drawing, I love to travel and hang out with inspiring people like Shailia.

14 responses to “Meet Daniel Jennewein

  1. Daniel, I am so happy you are getting to follow your dream! VERY proud of you!

  2. As a follower of Lenore’s blog, I’ve heard about Daniel’s work before but I didn’t know the whole story. Congratulations on finding something that you love to do and DOING it! I wish you much success with this first books … and with all the others that will follow.🙂

  3. Ooh, I got to meet Lenore at BEA in NYC. I adore picture books and spotlight them once a week on my blog. I’d love to add this one to my collection!

  4. I’ve been a friend of Daniel’s for a few years now and not only is his talent entertaining, but his determination is inspiring! I look forward to bigger and better things in his future!

  5. Fanstastic. I have two little ones and we are always looking for new picture books. When they outgrow them I save them for when I go back to teaching schoo. I will be watching out for this author in 2010.

    Elie (Ellz Readz)

  6. Congratulations on your upcoming book release, Daniel! It’s good to hear about your successes so far. I think that at some point you definitely need to do a book about the cats!

  7. I’m so excited about Daniel’s book and hope he has a very successful career!

  8. Thought I’d comment to see if the comments are working😉

  9. Great post! I wish Daniel all the best in his career!

    *waving at Lenore*😉

  10. inspiring story, encouraging for artists who end up as designers.

  11. Daniel, your work is great and I’m looking forward to seeing you new book. Congratulations!

  12. thank you for the nice comments🙂

  13. Hi Daniel! I’m coming over from Lenore’s place. It’s great that you’re living your dream. I wish I could say the same, but I’m still not even sure I know what I want to be when I grow up. lol

    Deidre

  14. Hi Daniel,
    good to hear from you!
    Where can I pre-order the book? My older son is going to Kindergarten since September.😀

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