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Home | News | Story+Pics: Book Illustrator Shows EPISD Students Power of Determination

Story+Pics: Book Illustrator Shows EPISD Students Power of Determination

Children’s book illustrator Michael White drew more than creatures during his visit to Tom Lea Elementary School on Monday.

The “The Library Dragon” illustrator — who is visiting five EPISD elementary campuses this week to talk to students about the power of ideas — also elicited tons of laughs from students who waited patiently to hear funny stories and see amazing pictures.

“The biggest thing I want to teach them is to have the confidence level to do this. I want to show them I had all these hurdles I had to go through to become a children’s book illustrator,” White said. “It’s really about them, and how art can take them in so many different directions.

I am honored to be here in El Paso drawing with the students.”

White showed the students how he uses an airbrush to create his illustrations, letting them draw their own versions of his characters and using fun puns to create ideas for stories.

“When you add to these ideas they can become a story,” he told students. “All you have to do is put your ideas on paper and keep practicing.”

Lea librarian Lisa Gailey was ecstatic to have White presenting to the students.

“We were excited when we heard the District was bringing him to our school,” she said. “It’s awesome that he’s here because it will help inspire a lot of the students that love art and reading.”

Fifth-grader Ethan Gutierrez was excited to meet the illustrator and show him his own artwork.

“It’s great because I like drawing my own comics, so I wanted him to see them,” Ethan said. “He said I should keep drawing and working at it because that’s how the author of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid” did it. It made me feel good because that means I can make a career of this doing something I love.”

White made students laugh with his drawings, interjecting with useful tips as he went along. 

“The biggest hurdle for most artists from fifth-grade to college is they think they have to get it perfect,” he said. “I learned you don’t want perfect. You want my idea, which is formulated into a book.”

Student Briana Sanchez liked hearing about his journey in becoming an artist.

“I think it was cool to see what he wanted to do in his life,” she said. “It was fun to draw with him and meet him. I feel thankful he came to our school.”

 Story and photos by Alicia Chumley

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