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Famous children's illustrators draw for the crowd on the final day of Maine Lit Fest

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Illustrators Scott Nash and Chris Van Dusen attend the “Draw Off” at Main Lit Fest in Portland on Saturday. Sean Patrick Ouelett/Staff Photographer

Two nationally-renowned children’s authors/illustrators from Maine put their talents to the test on Saturday’s “Drawoff,” boldly presenting ideas to children in defiance of their efforts to explain it. I came up with it.

Chris Van Dusen, who wrote and illustrated “The Circus Ship,” and Scott Nash, who wrote and illustrated “Shrunken Treasures,” stood before the audience under a tent in Monument Square, Portland. . The event was held on the final day of Maine Lit Fest, a celebration of books donated by the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the Colby College Creative Writing Program.

Children in the audience gave Van Dusen and Nash challenging themes, from trombone-carrying ants to “burger unicorns.”

As the painting began, Nash encouraged the children to make stumps. “Let’s get messy.”

Illustrator Chris Van Dusen joins us in “Draw Off” with Scott Nash at Lit Fest in Portland on Saturday. Sean Patrick Ouelett/Staff Photographer

Hands flew out and the two were tied for the next half hour.

Nine-year-old Bert Butler of Nobleboro commissioned them to paint the Titanic. The artists turned away and began to sketch. Within minutes, Van Dusen drew the Titanic, sinking below the surface, but the iceberg still standing. Nash’s Titanic was still afloat and about to hit the ice.

Eight-year-old Nadia Doyon from Lewiston asked for a burger unicorn.

“Did you say ‘hamburger unicorn’?” Nash asked with a puzzled look on his face. The girl nodded to her. The audience laughed. Nash came up with a hamburger with protruding horns. Van Dusen’s sketches were fluffy tails and hamburgers.

Eight-year-old Naija Clarke of Yarmouth asked for a giraffe eating a lollipop. Jasper Whalen, 3, of Portland, wanted a trombone-carrying ant.

“How many ants?” Nash asked.

Illustrators Scott Nash and Chris Van Dusen are laughing in the background at Draw Off on Saturday as part of Maine Lit Fest in Portland. Sean Patrick Ouelett/Staff Photographer

The fair-haired youth showed five fingers. laugh more. Within minutes, various versions of Ali appeared with giant trombones.

Ten-year-old Margaret Madden from Falmouth asked for a pirate birthday party. Van Dusen sketched a pirate about to cut through a huge cake with lit candles. Nash drew a scary pirate with a skull-shaped cake.

When the painting was finished, the artist signed the sketch and gave it to the children.

Maine author Samara Cole Doyon, with the help of her daughter Nadia, 8, during Multicultural Story Hour as part of Maine Lit Fest on Saturday in Portland, writes her book I am reading “Magnificent Homespun Brown”. Sean Patrick Ouelett/Staff Photographer

Nash is the executive director of the Portland Illustration Institute, which raises awareness of illustrators through exhibitions. Nash has illustrated over 50 of his children’s books, including Jeff Brown’s book Flat Stanley. He also designed Nickelodeon’s ‘Nick at Nite’, ‘Nick Jr.’ and ‘Comedy Central’ logos. He also wrote and illustrated for “Blue Jay the Pirate’s High Sky Adventure” and “Tough Fluff: The Case of Ducky’s Lost Brain”, and is the main author of his Illustration program at the College of Art. was established.

Van Dusen said this was his third drawing contest and joked that the sketches “wouldn’t be pretty”. increase. His latest book is the sold-out Big Truck, Little Island. The book has just been reprinted and will be available in stores soon, he said. He has also illustrated for other authors, including the popular series “Mercy Watson” by Kate DiCamillo.

The purpose of the event is to encourage children’s creativity, Nash said, adding that he loves ideas from young people. He said he was a little underwhelmed by the unicorn burger.

“I didn’t justify it, but the idea was great,” Nash said. to tell us.

As children get older, they start to become self-critical of their drawings. “I try to get them to doodle first and then draw on top of it,” says Nash, adding that she wants to make it easy for children to draw, making them think, “I can do it.” . that too. ‘ ‘

Also on Saturday, Monument Square hosted a Book Fair featuring Maine’s books and authors.

Coco McCracken of Portland, South Portland’s Ira Frank 2 (left) and Portland’s Ryan McCracken (2) as they listen to book readings on Saturday at Portland’s Main Lit Fest is holding Sean Patrick Ouelett/Staff Photographer

The Literary Festival was held from September 30th to October. 1 was in Waterville and then moved to Portland on October 4-8. At various events he has presented over 50 Maine writers.

The goal is to promote literature in Maine, said Gibson Feilblanc, executive director of the Alliance of Maine Writers and Publishers.

Per capita, Maine is rich in writers who “do quality work at the state, regional and national levels.” Writers appear and meet and talk to fans.

They and others are highly literate citizens, Fay-LeBlanc said.

Emerson Frost of Portland said she wondered what the tents were for when she was at the Portland Public Library on Saturday. “It’s great that her fair is being held,” said Frost, who had four books. “It’s great that people are celebrating reading.”

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