Baraboo artist Tierra Jackson has designed menus for famous chef Wolfgang Puck and done portraits of celebrities such as Mandy Moore, Phil Vassar and Taylor Swift. But it is a special thrill for her as a children's story she illustrated is published this month.
Jackson will sign copies of the book, "Off the Wall" by Jillian DiGiacomo from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 19 at Recycled Sally's, 100 Third St. downtown Baraboo.
Jackson was born in Baraboo, grew up in Prairie du Sac and said she's had a sketch book with her almost every day of her life. As a teen, she illustrated "Worms for Breakfast," a book written by one of her teachers, though she doesn't know if it ever was published.
She recently was surprised to see another book she illustrated during her teen years "Eagles Over the River" by Jean Clausen and Michael A. Fried, is available on Amazon.com
"It's a God-given talent, ever since I was 2 I've been drawing," Jackson said. "I won my first drawing/coloring contest at 3 years old against 9 and 10 year olds, won my mom a Mother's Day cake."
Jackson said she wrote and illustrated her own children's book "Crazy Carrot Curls," a story about a young girl struggling to tame her curly red hair. She approached a publisher, Storypeople Press, to put the book in print, but they weren't interested in her story.
However, the company liked Jackson's artwork and asked her to collaborate with some of its authors, starting with illustrations for "Off the Wall."
"They said my illustrations would be perfect for it," she said. "So I read the manuscript and could visualize the story."
That began a year of Jackson working with water colors, pen and ink creating 28 pages of drawings, emailing her ideas to DiGiacomo in New Jersey and getting comments back. One of the most important things was the appearance of the story's protagonist, a girl named Delilah.
"She changes throughout the story; according to how people perceive her, she changes into that type of character," Jackson said.
She said the story has a message about trying to be authentic to your inner self. Children commonly are too swayed by how other people perceive them, she said.
"I think they'll see the humor in it and be able to relate to it," she said. "They need to remember who they are inside is much more important."
Jackson said it is a thrill that her artistic career move in this direction.
"It kind of encompasses everything I love with the water color painting, the characters, the writing and especially working with kids," she said.
Jackson invites authors interested in working with her to email her at Godslittleartist@live.com.
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org