EXETER -- Exeter High School graduate Steph (Erdkamp) Covey (class of 1994) just illustrated her first book.
Covey grew up enjoying art and taking every art class she could at Exeter High School. She hadn’t planned on illustrating a book for someone else but her mother-in-law saw an ad on Craigslist in Missouri where she now lives, looking for an artist to work on a book and immediately thought of Covey.
She contacted the author, Roger Barbieri, showed him some of her work, and he hired her to illustrate his book, “The Power of You.”
Covey explained the book is about “helping people love themselves.”
She contributed all the artwork in the book -- the cover, front, back and 11 other pages.
She enjoyed “watching how things came to life, how God used me to do the book.”
During the eight months it took to do the illustrations, she says she struggled with artist block and “learned to walk away when a page got frustrating and to stop when it’s good. Call it, enough is enough.”
Covey started doing the illustrations in acrylic paint but the quick drying time wasn’t allowing her to blend colors together well. During this project she started using alcohol markers which allowed her to fuse the colors. Most of the clothes on the children were done with markers while the backgrounds were primarily acrylic paint.
Throughout the process Covey learned a great deal about self-publication. She wrote a book of her own and hasn’t finished the illustrations but now she knows which direction she can go to get it published. The book is about a squirrel who finds himself in a pickle (and it might feature Exeter Lumber).
As a child she remembered that her dad, Dave Erdkamp, and his brother Dale, always had a calendar in the office at Exeter Lumber that contained hidden eyeballs on each page. She decided to put a hidden little heart on each illustration in “The Power of You.”
Covey has fond memories of growing up in Exeter and a great love of art her whole life, saying, “I always liked to draw or color. Mrs. Ferris was my art teacher in high school and we spent a lot of time on a mural in the elementary wing.”
Covey has generously donated her book to the Exeter Public Library and the book is available for check out. She is currently illustrating her second book called, “Maggie and the Grumpy Old Man,” by Ethan Endicott.