Kenzie Rennemann, 19, grew up on the Cartoon Network and animated Disney movies, like many people her age.
As she grew older, she became more than just entertained by silly characters like “Flapjack” and “Chowder.” She realized the art skills involved in developing the characters and began appreciating the creativity of their animation.
It’s one of the reasons why the Viera High School graduate (class of 2019) opted to major in digital arts and sciences at the University of Florida, where she is in the first semester of her sophomore year.
Rennemann’s plans to be an animator or digital artist for a major network – think Cartoon Network, Disney or Nickelodeon – were advanced recently with the publication of “Open Wide – A Dental Adventure,” a dental book put out by the Space Coast Health Foundation to teach younger children about proper dental care. Rennemann is the “Open Wide” illustrator.
“I really enjoy doing character design,” Rennemann said, who had to balance her busy UF work schedule with the illustration demands for “Open Wide.”
“In this book, there were a lot of characters that I could create, and each had their own unique personality. That was a lot of fun for me.”
The cast of characters in “Open Wide” are zoological, so you have chipmunks, a goat, meerkats and an orangutan dentist named Dr. Molar. The menagerie teams up to explain proper dental care.
The SCHF is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the health and access to quality health care of all Brevard County residents. One of SCHF’s focus areas is dental education and oral hygiene. It has a dental task force that studies those issues.
One of the task force members, Scott Huff of Suntree, suggested an animated book aimed at children as a good way to spread the word on dental care in the community. The book is dedicated to Huff, who also served on the SCHF’s board of directors for many years. (The SCHF provided funds for the book’s publication, along with a grant from the Delta Dental Foundation.)
Rennemann’s mother, Shannon, who is on the SCHF staff, asked her daughter if she would be interested in providing artwork for
Rennemann saw a big opportunity, and challenge, with the book.
“I guess the biggest challenge is that I had never done a project of this size, so time-managing illustrating this book and my schoolwork was pretty rough at first,” she said.
Melody Marler, who serves on the dental task force and is on the SCHF staff, is the book’s author and project leader.
“I’ve published several books and worked with a lot of published authors and illustrators, and rarely do you find a talent like Kenzie Rennemann,” said Marler, who is also an author. “We were so lucky to find her right here in our own community.”
She also earned praises from David Alejandro Peregrina, her visual design instructor at Viera High School’s Academy for Communication, Art + Design. Peregrina is now the senior graphic designer at Mid-Ohio Food Collective in Columbus, Ohio.
“Kenzie cares about what she creates, revealing itself in the characters and scenes she illustrates,” Peregrina said. “Her competitive spirit has always pushed her to perfect her craft, and she’s a lifelong learner. That was evident to me as she would visit me in between classes to critique her sketches or talk about how she wanted to approach a project.”
Rennemann’s twin sister, Jordyn, who also attended Viera High School, seems to have the same natural artistic and design talent as Kenzie. Jordyn is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Emerging Media: Character Animation.
“Open Wide” will be part of the Rolling Readers Space Coast program and will be read to elementary school students throughout Brevard. Rennemann plans to be one of the guest readers.
The book also will end up in the waiting rooms of several dentist offices in Brevard County.
To inquire about getting a copy of “Open Wide,” contact Melody Marler at 321-419-0923 or Melody.Marler@SCHFBrevard.org.