GREEN Green Intermediate School teacher Erin Wozniak has a full plate in front of her. The mother of two daughters, she also is the school's art teacher and helps display her student's artwork at the Central Administration Building. She also has her artwork on display down in Columbus near the convention center at the Hammond Harkins Gallery.
And if all this was not enough, she recently completed the illustrations for a children's book.
Wozniak always wanted to illustrate a children's book, but time seemed to be a problem, with everything that was going on in her life. Then, through a combination of circumstances, she connected with author Jay Miletsky who was looking for someone to illustrate his new book,"Ricky, the Rock that Couldn't Roll."
After discussing the project, she got the job and began work on it after school ended last summer. Using her computer, Photoshop, iPad Pro and other digital tools, Wozniak set a goal of completing a two-page spread a week. While that may not sound like much, a lot of the time, she said, was taken up by e-mailing the artwork back and forth to Miletsky and making the changes he suggested.
One of the things that they decided on was to use a style of illustration that was similar to that of Sheldon "Shel" Silverstein, an American writer known for his black and white cartoons
"While most of the illustration is black and white, the actual rocks are colored, " said Wozniak. "This was a break from what Silverstein did in is illustrations. And to give the rocks the texture that is shown in the book, I used crumpled paper and took photos of it to use for the illustrations. I was very happy with the final results."
When school started in the fall, Wozniak was still hard at work on the illustrations. So, to make use of the experience, she decided to share it with her students.
"I taught them what was involved with working with an author. I even taught them how to draw 'Ricky,' " she said. "They really seemed to enjoy finding out about what all was involved in the process, and were excited when they actually saw the book."
The book deals with the story of "Ricky," a rock who has a flat bottom and can't roll with the other round rocks. He is then helped by his friends who can roll. The story was inspired by Miletsky's daughter who has Cerebral Palsy and was confined to a wheelchair, though she is now learning to use a walker to get around. The message deals with a person being able to overcome a problem with the help of their friends and perseverance.
The book was self-published by Miletsky through New Paige Press. The initial run was 2,000 and was available on Amazon.com for between $14.95 and $17.95. It quickly sold out. A second printing is anticipated and Wozniak is hoping it will become available in local bookstores such as Barnes and Noble and Books a Million.
For Wozniak, this was one of things on her bucket list to do and she is very happy with her first outing in the publishing world. The sequel to "Ricky" is in the works but it will deal with a different set of characters and story line.
Wozniak's family was very happy with the initial results.
"My husband was very proud of me, and my two daughters just loved it," she said.
And in the beginning of the book, Wozniak dedicated the forward to her two daughters which really made them excited. The dedication reads, "For my sunshine and my tiger" - Erin.
Being a published author is quite a achievement to accomplish. Wozniak has joined the ranks of several Green teachers who have been published through the years, and hopefully she will add more books to her first success.