Jeri's bunnies hop from pages to fabric

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By Suzy Smith
For Blount Today

Thanks to her vivid imagination and her talent, Jeri Landers has created the world of Hopalong Hollow, the setting of a children’s book reminiscent of the Little Golden Books that were staples on the bookshelves of every child.

"I’ve always felt like animals have their own personalities," said Landers, the author and illustrator of "Hopalong Jack and the Blue Bunnies."

In addition to her books, Landers has designed a collection of 22 fabrics based on her illustrations. The collection of 22 fabrics is by Northcott. Landers will be reading and signing her picture book at Pappy’s Quilting Place in Maryville from noon -
3:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. Pappy’s, 3426 Sevierville Road, also features Landers’ fabric.

According to Landers, writing and illustrating a children’s book was a gradual process and not something she set out to do. She started her career as a wildlife artist and then she began painting folk art. Her folk art designs led to her own greeting card company, Hopalong Greetings which, on the back of each card, feature the inspiration of her children’s book, Hopalong Jack. Landers spent two years illustrating her first picture book. The intricate illustrations were done in watercolor and a little pen and ink. She painted 374 rabbits for the book. Her inspiration came from works by Beatrix Potter and illustrator, Eloise Wilkin of the Golden Book series.

"Hopalong Jack and the Blue Bunnies" has won a children’s book award from IPPY, an online magazine that promotes works by independent publishers.

Landers and her husband, James, formed Ochre Moon Press to produce Jeri Lander’s picture books.

"The vision remains pure from how I saw it in the beginning," Landers said in explaining why she chose to independently publish her book. "I want it (the book) to have lasting value and stand the test of time."

Landers, originally from Colorado, moved to East Tennessee 17 years ago when she drove through the area on her way home from an art show. She and her husband live in Rutledge on a farm in a 100-year-old farmhouse that took years to renovate. Landers, an animal lover, has ducks, geese, dogs, cats, sheep and goats on the farm.

Landers is busy illustrating her next picture book, "The Journey of Bushky Bushy Bottom" due out in a couple months.

Bushky Bushy Bottom is a squirrel who hails from Hopalong Hollow. Landers has plans on several picture books that feature
the lovable animals from Hopalong Hollow.

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