ILLUSTRATING THE SPIRIT OF THE WOLF
Estacada Middle School student Maria Roshto didn't expect to become the artist for "The Wolfenoot Story." But when a Facebook post put out a call for an artist for the children's book, her mother encouraged her to submit her work for consideration.
"It was a surprise," Maria said. "I was reading through the comments and I found a lot of people making great art. And here I am, a 13-year-old making cartoons for my own amusement."
"It was just like buying a lottery ticket," added Denise, Maria's mother.
Created by a 7-year-old New Zealand resident in 2018, Wolfenoot is a holiday in which the Spirit of the Wolf brings gifts to everyone. People who have or previously have had dogs as pets, or people who are kind to dogs, receive the best gifts.
Celebrated on Nov. 23, Wolfenoot also involves eating roast meat and cakes decorated like full moons.
"The Wolfenoot Story" tells the tale about the origin of the Spirit of the Wolf. It's available for pre-order at www.thepatchworkraven.com and is tentatively scheduled for release in February.
When creating the illustration on her iPad, Maria didn't have much difficulty bringing the story to life.
"I'm a very creative person. When I read a book, I can always imagine what's happening and what the characters look like. So when I was reading it, I came up with different sketches and drawings," she said.
Maria received an outline of "The Wolfenoot Story," which noted where full and half page illustrations would be needed. She created 15 images for the book in approximately one month.
She said the most challenging part of the process was when she had to resize some of the illustrations.
"It was a big change that took a week to fix. I had to change the size of the pages and copy and paste the drawing and put it into a new format. It took a while to figure out," she explained.
She had a lot of freedom in what she drew.
"For the most part, they left it up to her. The only feedback was minor," Denise said. "As for what image would represent the words, she would come up with it and they said, 'that sounds great.'"
Maria added that her favorite part of the experience was "drawing. And that I'm getting paid."
Maria also enjoys creating comics and often takes inspiration from plays like "Dear Evan Hansen" and "Be More Chill."
"Her father has taken her to a lot of Broadway plays. She came back with a lot of art out of that," Denise said. "Anything she sees that she likes, she sort of unwraps over the next few days."
Maria has been interested in art since her earliest days.
"She was born into art," Denise said. "Before she could talk, I realized she needed a way (to express herself). She would come into my office and get papers and pens, so I went and bought a little art station for her. She would bring stuff into Red Barn (Preschool) that was 3-D."
Maria's favorite medium is digital, and she enjoys working on her iPad.
"Once I got my iPad and put the apps on it, I was gone. I still haven't resurfaced to the normal world," she said. "With digital, I can do a lot more with colors. When I do sketches in my sketchbook, I don't have multiple colors. Sometimes if I work too much on the iPad, I accidentally try to zoom in on the paper."
In November, Maria, Denise and their two dogs celebrated Wolfenoot with a cake featuring one of Maria's drawings. This year, Maria hopes to apply her artistic abilities to the celebration in a new way.
"Next year I want to make my own cake. I know how to do frosting art," she said.