Artist and author Steven James Petruccio, who has illustrated over 75 books, traces the history of illustration as a vital art form. Using actual sketches and finished artwork, he takes the audience on a journey through the stages of creating an illustrated book from story to published volume.

When an illustrator takes on the job of bringing a book to life with pictures, he immediately begins to imagine what it will look like. The characters, setting and feeling of the story must all work together to make the book interesting. The most important tool any artist has is their imagination. This program inspires students to use their imaginations, practice, and keep trying to always do their best.

Mr. Petruccio tells the audience how he become an illustrator, and informs them about the history and importance of illustration as an artform. He then takes students along as he reads a story or poem for the first time and begins to wonder what the illustrations will look like. How big will the book be? Will the pictures be in color and how many will there be? All of the stages of creating a book are talked about and examples are shown. After learning and seeing all the steps of creating a finished book, ideas are solicited from the audience and used by the artist to transform a blank piece of paper into a finished illustration.

While visiting a school, Mr. Petruccio will be happy to do book signings, and informal discussions, as time permits, in addition to having his artwork on display for students to browse.

Dig, Discover & Draw!

Unearth the way that illustrators work when they create natural science and historical picture books. Award-winning children’s book illustrator Steven James Petruccio leads you in uncovering the way he

researches, creates and “digs up” characters for his detailed, accurate and interesting books. A display of original art from his books accompanies the program. (Grades K-6)

Let's See What's Under the Sea: Something's Fishy

Illustrator Steven James Petruccio presents an undersea mystery! Your job is to work with the illustrator to create a sketch of the sea-suspect by reading character descriptions in a manuscript and looking at visual clues in original illustrations. Creativity will be crucial in finding the fishy fiend! Observation and imagination is the key to solving this visual problem.


College, Elementary School, High School, Kindergarten, Middle School, Nursery, Prekindergarten, Preschool


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