Aletta Erdos landed herself a plum assignment in her final year of high school – she illustrated a book that’s been published by One Thousand Trees.
For the Grade 12 student at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School, the opportunity provided practical experience working with a client and giving him what he wanted, as opposed to following her own creative muse.
“Working with someone else like that is not always easy,” Aletta said in an interview. “It’s not easy to hear criticism. But I’m happy that they liked the final product. It’s given me confidence and I definitely will put it on a resume.”
Lisa Browning is the creator of the website One Thousand Trees and publisher of its online magazine that promotes health, wellness, creativity, empowerment and community. The Guelph-based company also provides publishing, editing and proofreading services and this is where Aletta comes in.
Many authors don’t know an illustrator and Browning put a call to her friend Marion Reidel, a teacher at Lourdes, who invited students to provide samples of their work and apply for the job.
“This author wanted simple illustrations and he liked Aletta’s work,” Browning said. “It was a good match.”
The book is called When Pete was a Kid, by Dennis Perrier, and it’s the story of a boy growing up on the Canadian prairies in the 1950s.
Aletta had to do some research so her drawings reflected the times.
“He gave me pieces of the text and I would come up with something,” she said. “There was a lot of emailing back and forth. He wanted minimalistic line drawings. It looked a lot messier when I was drawing it. Then I’d copy the simple lines.”
Aletta will meet the author and be presented with a copy of the book, a certificate and an honorarium for her work at a ceremony at the school next week. Browning is also donating a copy of the book to the school’s library.
“The recognition means more than anything and it certainly helps her resume to have work published,” Browning said.
Aletta is Hungarian and lived in Guelph for a year-and- a-half. She intends to return to Hungary in September to study architecture at a university in Budapest.