A local Gloversville artist reads a book containing her illustrations
GLOVERSVILLE — Six-year-old Kolbe Zimmerman jumped off the bench of the picnic table where he was sitting with his 8-year-old brother Kyle Zimmerman and mother Jessica Zimmerman and quickly pointed to the large illustration on the easel.
He had found a chicken that illustrator Cheryl Bielli had hidden in an image from the book “The Boy Who Never Thrown Anything” by Margie Peterson of Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Bielli, a former Gloversville School District art teacher, had asked the three kids in attendance for a Thursday morning book reading at Trail Station Park to help find the chickens on the original artwork she had designed for the book. as she read the story to them.
“They love puzzles,” said Mayfield’s Jessica Zimmerman.
The book, which goes on sale nationwide on September 6, is about a boy named Tommy who finds himself trapped in his bedroom after he begins hoarding numerous items like toys and books.
“It’s hilarious,” Bielli said.
During the reading, Bielli also talked about the various artistic concepts that went into creating the pages, such as elements that are meant to be closer in a photo are drawn in more detail, while parts of the image that are supposed to be further away are drawn with less detail.
She also educated children about copyright
Bielli said she has been drawing since she was a child. Both of her parents were artists and found ways to share their abilities, like her father who owned a bakery and decorated cakes.
“I think it’s just in our wiring,” Bielli said, noting that his brother is also a draftsman.
This is the illustrator’s first book, and she’s always wanted to write her own too.
One of the book ideas she wants to work on is the story of a child who gets his finger stuck in his nose while picking it. It’s based on some interactions she’s had with children, she said.
The illustrations, which took around 200 hours to complete, are done in watercolor, according to Bielli.
She said one of the pages took 30 hours to paint.
“Margie gave me real specific instructions for the scenes she wanted,” she said.
Bielli said finally seeing the book and having it ready to sell is exciting. The book was delayed for about two years due to COVID, she said.
She was also very happy to see how children and adults reacted to the books.
“I think the book is memorable and resonates with every generation,” Bielli said. “We are all hoarders in some way.”
Kyle Zimmerman said his favorite page was the one featuring a blowtorch, while his brother loved the penultimate page, which is a puzzle where the reader must find hidden objects.
Bielli said there was a small mistake on this penultimate page – a spoon is hidden in the photo but was mistakenly not included in the list of things to find.
The book also has some questions on the last page and instructions for another activity.
At the end of the event, Bielli handed out papers on which the character of Tommy from the book was drawn but missing details like his face. She asked everyone to draw those details and include trash in the picture like in the book.
Kyle Zimmerman said he would draw in his R2-D2 hat. Jessica Zimmerman said he should add a whistle — a now deflated dog ball.
“He won’t get rid of it,” she laughs.