It takes work to illustrate a children’s book.
A new traveling exhibit at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum is a fascinating look at how four different Alaskan illustrators approach their work: Jim Fowler, Evon Zerbetz, Michaela Goade and Mitchell Watley. Everyone has a unique point of view.
Adult family members may want to accompany their little ones to experience this exhibit, which also has activity stations for fun.
The exhibit comes to Fairbanks via Museums AK, the state museum association. Director of the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, Meredith Maple, said upon hearing that the exhibit was available to rent, it seemed like the perfect fit for the children’s museum. But the museum could not afford the cost of renting, transporting, setting up and maintaining the exhibit.
“Knowing that Alaska 529 supports projects that inspire lifelong learning, I asked to sit down and offer them sponsorship — and they loved it,” Maple said.
Alaska 529 director Lael Oldmixon said the sponsorship was a perfect fit for the organization.
“Working at the Children’s Museum, sparking a love of learning and curiosity, aligns perfectly with our brand and what we value as an organization,” said Oldmixon. “We want to support initiatives that help influence children in positive ways towards literacy and learning. When children are inspired and have access to these types of activities and exposures, these learning moments can have a lifelong impact. »
Alaska 529 is an education savings plan program designed to make saving for education easier. He also regularly supports literacy programs and projects throughout the state.
“We have big goals with Alaska 529,” Oldmixon said. “We really want to see these young people grow and thrive. Supporting these organizations is one way to do this.
It’s never too early for young people to be exposed to career exploration. An exhibition like this provides insight into a career as a children’s book illustrator.
“Whoever said ‘Gambling is serious business,'” Oldmixon said, “we totally agree with that.”
The different sections of the exhibit show the process of making a 32-page children’s book. The four featured artists come to life in the exhibition via video, answering children’s questions such as “How do you do that?” and “How long does it take?” There are answers to more detailed questions like “How do artists deal with drawing the same animals over and over again?”
Visitors to the exhibition will learn what the different artists’ studios look like. They can also work on their own sketches at the gallery’s activity stations.
Each featured artist approaches illustration a little differently, depending on their expertise.
Artist Jim Fowler is a plein air (exterior) landscape painter who begins with sketches, then paints his artwork in acrylics after scripting the images.
Artist Evon Zerbetz is a lifelong printmaker. She uses carving tools to carve linoleum to create linocuts. She then inks the plans and prints her work by hand.
Artist Michaela Goade, whose Tlinget name is Sheit.een, draws and paints in watercolor, then adds digital finishing touches.
Mitch Watley draws first in pencil, then colors these sketches digitally on the computer.
The exhibit will remain at the Fairbanks Children’s Museum until early 2023.
The Fairbanks Children’s Museum is open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per person. Museum members always play for free.
Illustrating Alaska is presented by ExhibitAK and the Alaska State Museum with support from Alaska State Libraries, Friends of the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum; Alaska Litho; Sealaska Heritage Institute—Baby Raven Reads program; Alaskan Robotics; Lucid reverie; Rainy Retreat Bookstore; and Hearthside Books.