For a long while after that, he asked his wife author-illustrator, Shelley Ann Jackson, if she would write the story for him so he could paint it.
Shelley suggested that he try his own hand at putting just the right words together in just the right order to tell his story.
Then he’d be that appealing combination (for some children’s book editors) — an author-illustrator.
Jeff’s response was to work up a little pencil sketch dummy that told the story without any words at all. But later his and Shelley’s agent urged him to add at least a few words to his pictures — to appease that segment of the market that believes that picture books are meant to be read.
The result is Wiener Wolf about a dachshund who hears the call of the wild and decides that he’ll leave Granny’s home to run with the wolves.
For anyone in the Central Texas area, Jeff will teach a University of Texas informal class on illustrating children’s books starting Tuesday, June 28 at 6 p.m.
The above video is from a 90-minute interview I did with Jeff and Shelley for students of my online course on children’s book illustration Make Your Splashes-Make Your Marks.
You can see a little more from that interview here.
And you can see how their four-year-old daughter Harper responds to her daddy’s picture book below.