Young artist's work featured in J.K. Rowling book

Abiyana Holmes' art is shown in `Ickabog'


Abiyana Holmes, 11, a student at Eldorado Elementary in Highlands Ranch, has been drawing pictures since she could hold a pencil. So when her friend told her that Scholastic was holding a competition for students to submit artwork to be included in the J.K. Rowling book “The Ickabog” last year, she welcomed the challenge. The competition ran alongside the free online serialization of the book, which was released by the author during the pandemic, with chapters being released regularly online.

“Me and my friends were so excited about the book, and after each chapter I would make a drawing,” said Holmes. “I have been drawing for a very long time now, and I like to explore with a lot of different supplies. My favorite right now are alcohol markers because you can blend really well with them, and they are good for shading.”

Holmes submitted 23 drawing in the Scholastic competition, based on characters and chapters in the book. One of them depicting a woman sitting in a chair sewing by candlelight was chosen for publication.

“I wanted to draw light coming from the candle because in the book it says the character was sitting in a chair and sewing,” said Holmes. “I've never drawn that before, and I just really like exploring with colors.”

Holmes said she practices drawing every day, and she and her friends spent hours drawing illustrations whenever they were together. She was nearly speechless when her parents told her that her picture was one of 34 chosen, out of more than 42,000 entries submitted in the United States and Canada.

“I feel really, really happy,” said Holmes. “They sent it in email and my parents received it first, and when they came home and told me I was really happy and didn't really have any words. I couldn't believe it.”

“The Ickabog” was released in print last November, and is currently in bookstores. Holmes received an autographed copy from J.K. Rowling, along with $650 worth of books donated to a library of her choice, which was Eldorado Elementary's library.

“I'd like to thank every single child who submitted pictures for `The Ickabog' illustration competition,” said Rowling in a statement. “Looking through the artwork online has been a joy and I know I'm far from alone in marveling at the talent on display. For me, the most exciting part of publishing `The Ickabog' has been seeing all the wonderful illustrations coming in although I didn't judge the illustration competition. I'd probably have put them all in the book if I could!”


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