„There are some days when I think I’m going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.“ A bit morbid? Maybe. But that’s what Salvador Dali said and I felt the same way while working with Leonard. So that everybody knows who and what I’m talking about, I hereby introduce, dear folks: Leonard Wells Kenyon aka Lenny K. Writer, Artist, Idiot.
His words, not mine, but I couldn’t have said it any better. Is Leonard Wells Kenyon perhaps New England’s greatest cultural asset? Guess, we’ll find out! (hier geht es zur deutschen Version)
The macabre and satirical artist began as a Horror/Comedy novelist in beautiful, though sleepy, Vermont, with little success. During that time, he even won a competition that left about 10,000 submissions behind to get McNally Jackson’s 1st Annual Children’s Book Award. But writing for children wasn’t what he’d intended. Then a couple of years ago Leonard signed with Emily Mitchell of Wernick & Pratt, a literary agency that specializes in children’s books, and so the illustrator and author „Lenny K.“ was born.
„This Book Is Not For Chickens“
Currently, Leonard is working on the final touches of his first children’s book, „This Book Is Not For Chickens“, which will be published by Penguin in 2019. That sounds like a big deal, and it is, but the book business is tough and even with those victories, Leonard still faces daily rejection. Though as persistent as he is, he didn’t give up on his ideas and presented some of that rejection for the world the see on Amazon Kindle.
OF THE BIG UGLY AND A COWARDLY COOK
His second book „The Cowardly Cook“ is somewhat inspired by his work at restaurants. The protagonist, the cook of the „Creepy Café“, has lost his glasses on opening night and begins to see more than just ghosts in his kitchen. A funny story with awesome English rhymes – which definitely should be read in its original language in order to fully appreciate them. This one is perfect for younger children with some English basics.
His third children’s book is also available on Amazon Kindle. „Big Ugly” is about a Big Foot and the pros and cons of having one living with you in your home. Leonard says it’s a bit of wishful thinking on his part, because he really wants them to exist, though he’d keep his own in the barn and not in the house! This book was done 100 % digitally unlike his other work, and is super amusing and well readable for school kids with English basics or even with help of their parents. It also seems this won’t be Big Ugly’s only stroke, because Leonard has hinted at more stories about “the big hairy mess”.
Never give up and be relentless
Then, not too long ago, his fourth book, „An Odd Balloon“ was published on Amazon as well. The protagonist, „balloon boy“, is maybe 7 or maybe he’s 55 – Leonard wouldn’t give a straight answer. I think that’s just fine because the story is about never giving up, even when you might fail in the end, and that’s an ageless lesson. I’d almost say this book is perfect for teens. The pictures aren’t as child-friendly as some of his other work, and as a combination of hand drawing and digital work, I think they represent his artistry at it’s best. You can get a print of “Balloon Boy” and „The Haunted Circus“ on Lenny’s Etsy shop „IdiotIllustrations“ or even through our Reportink shop.
By never giving up and being just as relentless as his own ‘Balloon Boy’, he was discovered by some well-known players in the entertainment industry. But of course, there was a little help and luck, too.
Last year, he was introduced to Dustin Warburton – a well-known American author of children books, horror stories for (young) adults, graphic novels and even films – by a mutual friend. Thus, the foundation of some very exciting things began to happen. Their first collaboration together, and under the tutelage of entertainment titan, David Chackler, was with no one less than Tom Holland and the book „How To Scare A Monster“ was born.
Psycho II, Child’s Play, Fright Night
You read that right, the director of „Psycho II“, „Child’s Play“ and „Fright Night“ writes children’s books now and he does it very well. It’s a beautiful story about a little Leonard, too, (named after our very own Lenny K.) who decides the win over his fear of the monster living in his closet. The printed version of „How To Scare A Monster“ is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Their next collaboration was „A World Without Color“, with beloved American Actor John Amos (Roots, Coming to America, Good Times). It’s an enchanting story about sympathy for our fellow men in order to make our own gray daily routine more colorful and pleasant. „A World Without Color“ is also available on Amazon since Sept. 22.
So far, so good, right? Illustrator, writer – that’s not enough! This multitalented man has been making music since he was 15 and has played in several bands. Leonard calls himself a decent drummer, but claims to be a mediocre guitarist and singer. That’s overly humble in my opinion. Just watch Mighty Box’s New Band on YouTube and see if you don’t disagree with him. On this particular track, this „idiot“ is joined by his longtime friend Brian Vaine on the broom, I mean bass and lead guitar.
That guy is even tattooed!
What’s missing to get the whole package? Exactly, tattoos! Leonard’s tattoos were done in NYC and at a shop in Shaftsbury Vermont called „Body Blend“ and though he’s all the way on the other side of the ocean, we weren’t going to let him get away without showing a few of them off.
His sleeve is an ode to the things he holds dear – family, music, writing, Disney and Stephen King. I also want to add that he was kind of slow on the uptake – he got his first tattoo, his books, at the age of 30.
As for me, it was a huge pleasure to work with this sharp-witted, humorous and perhaps the most silver-tongued weirdo, I’ve met yet. But never let him know I said so.
Please check his work out on Amazon, Etsy or even our Reportink store and help spread the word about this very talented oddball!