Kimi Wilcox and Haley Johnson were model pupils at River Ridge Elementary School on Friday.
The 10-year-old girls served as models for a sketch by Chris Soentpiet, an author and illustrator of children's books, who spent the day with the pupils.
He posed the girls like department store mannequins and drew circles on a large piece of paper to represent their bodies. Then, in a matter of seconds, he drew them as two men playing chess.
"If you want to be a model, you have to be able to listen, follow directions and cooperate," Soentpiet told his audience of fourth- and fifth-graders.
Haley and Kimi said they enjoyed being models.
"It was fun. I liked being sketched on paper," said Haley.
Kimi said she liked being in front of the audience. As for being a model, she said, "It was hard a little."
The artist describe his craft to the pupils. He explained how he selects models, how he draws story boards for his illustrations before meeting with publishers and how his watercolors become illustrations.
"Even before I paint, I always paint practice pictures," he said.
Soentpiet also described how he uses photographs.
"I take about 300 digital pictures per book," he said.
The author and illustrator recently finished his 19th book. He said it takes him about a year to complete one book.
The Korean-born Soentpiet, who was adopted at age 8 by a family in Hawaii after the death of his parents, said he draws on his own experiences for his works.
Soentpiet, who visited other Columbia County schools earlier this spring, said he spends about three months out of the year traveling to schools, libraries and conferences.
He said he enjoys showing pupils how a real-life, working artist lives.
"I would like for them to have the love and appreciation not only for literature but for the art," he said.
Jordan Richardson, 11, enjoyed the presentation.
"I liked it a lot. He is a famous author and illustrator," he said.
Soentpiet said he first realized he had a talent when he was in fifth grade. His high school art teacher encouraged him to make a living as an artist.
Kelley Rigdon, the River Ridge media specialist, said she hoped Soentpiet's presentation would inspire pupils to become readers, writers and illustrators.
"We have his books here in the media center, and the students love his books and illustrations. His illustrations are so full of color and so lifelike," she said.
For more information about Soentpiet and his works, log onto www.soentpiet.com.
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