A House by Kevin Henkes

h1 September 7th, 2021 by jules

One of Henkes’s house sketches in watercolor and colored pencil


It was my pleasure to review for the Horn Book the latest picture book from Kevin Henkes. It’s called A House (Greenwillow, September 2021), and that review is here.

Here at 7-Imp today, Henkes shares some early sketches, as well as a few images that served as inspiration for this book. I thank him for sharing.

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Kevin: The first/main inspiration for A House was seeing a reproduction of Paul Klee’s Three Houses (1922) in a magazine a couple years ago.


(Click image to enlarge)


The other houses that I returned to throughout the development of the book [pictured below] were, clockwise from upper right:

  1. Maurice Sendak’s stable from Charlotte and the White Horse by Ruth Krauss (Harper and Brothers, 1955)
  2. Lois Lenski’s house in The Little Family (Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1932)
  3. The little house in the background of an illustration from Françoise’s The Thank-You Book (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1947)
  4. Louis-Marie Cumont’s La Maison: Variation en quatre couleurs (Editions du Centre de Créations pour L’Enfance, 2004)


(Click image to enlarge)


These are early house sketches (pencil and ballpoint pen):


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Below are house sketches (watercolor and colored pencil):


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And there are people and animal sketches (pencil and ballpoint pen):


(Click image to enlarge)


Some Final Spreads:


(Click spread to enlarge)


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(Click cover to enlarge)


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A HOUSE. Copyright © 2021 by Kevin Henkes. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, New York. All other images reproduced by permission of Kevin Henkes.

One comment to “A House by Kevin Henkes”

  1. This is so lovely. I especially appreciate the inspiration images–although to me, the house is most reminiscent of Strega Nona’s!

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