Illustrator explains his job and then does it

Alana Moore, 10, Jacob DeCarli, 11, and library assistant Debbie Eichelberger hold the first two paintings illustrator John Manders created during his visit to Greencastle.

John Manders, 2006 Outstanding Author/Illustrator as named by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, entertained kindergarten through fifth grade students Nov. 16 during American Education Week. The Pittsburgh artist explained how he researched and created the colorful pictures he has published in over 30 children's books.

In his workshop, he starts with a thumbnail sketch, transfers it via carbon paper to watercolor paper, makes a color strip to determine the hues he will use, then starts drawing. The initial sketch is in monochrome and transitions to color. "I just keep piling paint on," he told the students, and then demonstrated.

The end result was three paintings in three assemblies. The kindergarden and first graders got a picture of a cat, and the second and third graders one of Santa Claus. They will be housed in the primary school library. The Santa picture for the fourth and fifth graders will hang in the elementary school library.

"The students really enjoyed the assembly," said librarian Debbie Wine. "Many liked watching him paint. Even teachers commented it was interesting to hear him explain how he mixes the paint and decides what to paint first."

The visit was sponsored by the PTO.