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Denise Brunkus's career as an artist has been vast and varied, with jobs ranging from copying illuminated manuscripts for a museum to airbrushing art on motorcycles. She's designed stickers, toys, and greeting cards, and her illustrations have appeared in national magazines. She has illustrated more than 60 books, most notably the bestselling Junie B. Jones series, Charlie Hits It Big, Chocolatina and Groundhog Gets a Say.




Making art has always been my most favorite thing to do. As a young artist, I used crayons and paints to make pictures and cards, and made dolls and puppets with sticks and Kleenex and scraps of fabric. I practiced drawing by copying the comics in the Sunday newspaper. As I went along, I learned to "see" and be inspired by the world around me. I drew all the time. Then, when I was seventeen, the local PTA asked me to illustrate a booklet for them. I did the job, and guess what? They paid me! That was my first art job and the start of my career. Since then I've done a wide variety of projects, with jobs ranging from copying illuminated medieval manuscripts for a museum to airbrushing art on motorcycles. Each job often led to the next. I designed stickers and toys, and the greeting cards I created caught the attention of the art director at Parents magazine. She hired me to do an illustration for the magazine, and for many years thereafter my work appeared regularly in an assortment of national magazines. Then, as it happened, an art director at a publishing house noticed my illustrations in one of those magazines. She gave me my first book to illustrate, and I've been illustrating children's books ever since.

Illustrating a book is a big, involved project that goes on for months. And I like that because it gives me the chance to really settle into a particular world where I get to spend time with some very interesting characters. Project to project I never know who or what I will encounter. It's like Miss Libro always says," You never know who you are going to meet in a good book." She's right! One moment I'm trying to see life through the eyes of a small rodent as I scramble to keep up with a feisty little guinea pig that's headed for Hollywood in a book called Charlie Hits It Big. Then, next thing I know, I am living life as a second grader and dealing with a ghost, a dragon, and a pig on the loose (Read All About It!). I can tell you that with adventures like these my job is never dull. As long as I allow myself to be open to possibility, these adventures will continue and I will always get to do my most favorite thing—make art!