Taking advantage of the natural light pouring in from her dining room’s large picture window, Moscow artist Jessica Linn Evans works on illustrations for her latest children’s book. Her creations are vibrant and playful and appealing to children, which makes perfect sense when you consider her history. “Ever since I was five years old I wanted to do children’s books. I remember writing and illustrating a book trilogy for my mom when I was a little girl.” Now, as an adult and a mother with four children of her own, Jessica Linn Evans’ childhood dream is coming true.
Evans has contributed illustrations and drawings to numerous educational books for the past several years. Her first full book, Waiting Through Winter, was released in December 2015 and contains various animals in their winter habitat including hibernating bears and squirrels nestled in a cozy tree. The book took Evans’ and author Jason Farley over six months to complete, but the experience was worth it. “I really learned a lot,” says Evans.
Evans’ current project, Little Mouse Finds a Friend, features a playful family of mice and their delightful insect companions. The illustrations of the characters show faces with a lot of personality and spunk, much like the children that inspire her. “I love kids,” Evans says. “Kids are so great. They’re fun and inquisitive and smart and they need good stories.” She also likes having the opportunity to share art with children. “I want my art to be accessible,” she says. “A lot of great art is in now in children’s books.”
Her love of good stories and accessible art inspired Jessica Linn Evans to start working on writing, as well as illustrating, her own original fairy tale. She appreciates fairy tales for the way they present a problem and show a solution. She feels fairy tales tap into a child’s imagination. “I like that these stories make kids think, while giving them patterns to follow in their real life. What will they do when they encounter the dragon?” She is also drawn to fairy tales for their enchanted qualities. She likes to bring a bit of magic into her work and says, “There’s a lot more magic in the world than we can see.”
Along with being inspired by classic stories, Evans finds inspiration right where she lives. “We’re so spoiled living in Idaho,” she says. “We’re surrounded by so much beauty and nature here.”♦