School Of Fish

Temple Students Learn About Job Of Illustrator

The cover of “Swim With Fish” written by Debbie Pietsch and illustrated by Aleida Foulk. Submitted photo

KENNEDY – Without ever reading the words, you may understand what the story is about.

That’s the job of an illustrator.

And for Aleida Foulk, her illustrator job is a dream come true.

By sharing how she illustrates books, she made art come alive for students at the Paul Temple Elementary School. Foulk said that an illustrator is a person who creates images and drawings to communicate an idea or story.

“A super cool thing about being an illustrator is that we can kind of tell what the picture is telling us and what the story is about without even reading the words,” Foulk told a group of second graders.

Aleida Foulk shares with Temple Elementary School students how she illustrates books. P-J photo by Michael Zabrodsky

She explained to the students she would guide them through the book that she had the pleasure of illustrating. It is entitled “Swim With Fish.” The author is Debbie Pietsch.

YouTube player

As an activity and a preview to her presentation, students were asked to color in cut-outs of fish that Foulk provided. Once the coloring was finished, the students’ artwork was placed on hallway walls.

Temple became a school of fish – pun intended.

During the presentation Foulk admitted to the students that she had to hone her fish drawing skills before she gave the cut-outs to the students.

“I would get up really early in the morning, and drink my coffee, and practice drawing fish. And sometimes I would even dream about drawing fish in my sleep, because I wanted to get really good at illustrating,” Foulk said with a smile.

Foulk went on turning pages of the book and explained about what the story is – the characters’ dreams coming true.

And Foulk stopped at that point and explained to the students that she had a connection with the characters, Derek and Paxton.

“I had a dream come true. And I am holding it right here,” Foulk said.

The students learned that growing up, Foulk always was drawing, loved quiet spaces and quiet time where she could be creative and use her imagination. Foulk said she took art classes in high school and then went on to college and received a degree in art. And currently she is an art teacher at Falconer Central School. She contiues to practice art by going to art museums and galleries as well as working with new materials and ideas.

“There was a time when I was really young in high school that I thought it would be awesome to illustrate a book someday,” Foulk added.

Foulk’s fine art influences are Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz. While there she studied abroad and watched art history come to life by visiting places where those artists painted.

As Foulk continued with her presentation, she would give a “thumbs-up” sign to the students. When she gave the sign, she asked the students to respond by giving “thumbs-up” signs of their own, encouraging Foulk to continue. Throughout the presentation, the students gave many “thumbs-up” signs.

Foulk ended the presentation with a guessing game where she showed illustrators on a screen and asked if any students knew who they were.

“It’s really fun for me to say that I am an illustrator,” Foulk said.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today