About This Blog

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I'm not on board with the whole ebook thing. I enjoy books in all their formats. But there is nothing quite like a bookstore with its neatly arranged shelves of books and artfully created displays of new arrivals, best sellers, and suggested reading. I especially enjoy discovering small, independent bookstores and have made it my mission to visit and report back on as many of these gems as I can. That is my focus, but there is really nothing that is off limits as long as it is about books or reading. Hope you enjoy my blog and come back often.

Friday, January 11, 2013


One of the things that I most enjoyed about being a high school librarian was graduation. It was so gratifying to be there to see the finished products, as it were, walk confidently across the stage to accept their diplomas and begin their young adult lives, all the while remembering these same students a scant four years earlier when they were timid freshmen with plenty of middle school still left in them. Thanks to social media, I still keep in touch with several former students. It's nice to know what they are doing with themselves and to hear about their accomplishments.

 Matt Miller, a.k.a. Sunflowerman, is one such student. He was a good student, but he wasn't in the book club, nor was he one of those rabid readers who frequented the library on a daily basis. Truth be told, he actually spent much more time in the art room than in the library. What then, you might wonder, is his connection to books? Why a blog post about Sunflowerman?

 Well, several years ago I had this crazy idea of promoting reading by creating a student café in an old storage room adjacent to the library. A colleague helped me get the idea off the ground, and the Read-a-Latté Café was born. We began with a donated futon, some Goodwill lamps, an old computer, and some café tables pilfered from the student commons. But we needed something fun for the walls, and that's where Matt came in. With the help and encouragement of the art teacher, he created some large, stylized book and coffee themed art which added just the pizzazz we were looking for. Then I found some plain wood bar stools on sale at Target, and Matt jazzed those up with book and coffee art too. The café would not have been the same without Matt's contributions.

 Matt furthered his studies in art after high school and now plies his creative trade in Atlanta, Georgia, as a freelance illustrator focussing on men's fashion. From that work has come some wonderful book art. As Matt explained to me in a recent exchange,

 "I was working on large Portrait Fashion Illustrations that would take 5-8 hours to complete. They were looking great but I needed to understand the way clothes are supposed to fit the figure so I took to doing small card stock illustrations that were no more than 5 minutes each. It was simple with just a brush and black ink. When the card stock ran dry I moved on to using what I had around me which happened to be this old Sherlock Holmes book from the 1950s.

 Friends and random strangers loved them so much I couldn't stop. Now they are intricate illustrations of ink, watercolor and acrylics."

 Of course once I saw Matt's book art, I knew I had to do a blog post about it. Take a look at a few more of his book pages below. Then to find out even more about Matt and his artistic endeavors, including a gallery of other book pages, visit his website: http://sunflowerman.com.

1 comment:

Katy Manck, MLS said...

His work is phenomenal!

I'm also a retired high school librarian and love hearing how my former students are doing in their 'grown-up' lives.

**Katy M
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