Illustration student spreads wings with new children’s book


Julie-Ann Pelleboer, a fourth-year Illustration student worked with a writer and child therapist on the children’s book, Caterpillar’s Wings. (Photo by Linda Hermiz / The Sheridan Sun )


Julie-Ann Pelleboer never dreamed she’d have her artwork displayed in Chapters.

But the 22-year-old illustrator’s hard work paid off in Caterpillar’s Wings, a children’s book to hit store shelves this month.

“It feels big, but also really surreal,” said Pelleboer. “You always see it happen to people in movies and you think, wow, that’s amazing. It feels really cool and a little unbelievable right now, especially since I’ve never physically held the book.”

Pelleboer, a fourth-year Illustration student at Sheridan, worked alongside author and child therapist Kylee Goldman to create a story that will help kids who are struggling with change.

“It was a really amazing experience working with Julie-Ann,” said Goldman. “It was really neat getting to see her bring the book and my characters to life and she was really able to illustrate what’s happening beyond the words on a page.”

Caterpillar’s Wings follows the journey of a caterpillar whose job in the community is to help other caterpillars through their change to a butterfly, but she realizes that she’s incapable of doing so because she’s terrified of becoming one herself.

The caterpillar then sets off to seek advice from her friend, Mrs. Owl, who gives her the strength to move past her worries.

“The book is about teaching kids, and adults really, about facing their fears and about the power that relationships can have on helping people overcome fears in their life,” said Goldman.


Pelleboer hopes her illustrations can support the strong message in the book and give kids hope.

“[Goldman] really hopes to be able to use the book during her counselling sessions and I just want to make the most beautiful illustrations to go with that, to communicate that message clearly for those kids: that change is scary, but they can make it through.”

Pelleboer began working on the project during the summer of 2012. It was through her aunt, a family counsellor and friend of Goldman, that she got the opportunity.

Collaborating with Goldman was one of Pelleboer’s most enjoyable aspects of the project.

“The working relationship that I had with her was pretty awesome. It was a lot of mutual respect. I didn’t question the way she wrote because she’s the author, and she didn’t question how I did my illustrations. We would give feedback back and forth, but in the end, we were the masters of our own craft,” said Pelleboer.

But, there were still some challenges that came with being the illustrator, like figuring out how to draw animals as cartoons.

“I usually draw people,” she said. “I could draw animals realistically, but I couldn’t figure out how to anthropomorphize a caterpillar.”

It was Jayson Koblun, Pelleboer’s boyfriend, who helped her through this difficult stage.

“Though he couldn’t see a lot of the stuff I drew because of the non-disclosure agreement, he gave me a lot of pointers and tried to help me figure out the style of how I should draw the characters,” she said.

Koblun, a 24-year-old Print Journalism graduate, is extremely proud of Pelleboer. “I think Julie-Ann is a blessed and talented artist deserving of all the recognition she earned for this project,” he said.

“Her passion for art lies in getting a good message across to her audience. She has a strong desire to help people learn through art.”

Pelleboer works as a graphic designer and student admissions rep for the Student Union. When she graduates, she hopes to be able to use both her graphic design and illustration skills to expand beyond kids’ illustrations into editorial work.

CaterpillarsWings_CVR400-228x228But if the opportunity arises, she’d love to work alongside Goldman and continue the inspirational series of kids’ therapeutic books.

“I’m hoping that over the next few years, I’ll have the opportunity to publish more of these books and again be able to collaborate with Julie-Ann, to have her continue to be able to illustrate and tell my stories in the pictures that she draws,” said Goldman.

Goldman and Pelleboer will be signing copies of Caterpillar’s Wings at their book launch event on Nov. 16 at the Elgin West Community Centre.

 The book is available for pre-order at Chapters/Indigo.


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