Learn illustration tips from West Linn author, illustrator

 The Green Beans are major characters in the book.Mark Fearing, children’s book author and illustrator, will hold a special reading event for his latest illustration project, “How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans,” April 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the West Linn Public Library.

Fearing will read the book and then lead attendees through an illustration exercise. The event is free and open to all, especially those ages 5 through 12.

“How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans” is written by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Fearing, a West Linn resident.

“This book is a good one,” said Fearing. “I usually get a handful of manuscripts in every year and this one was on top right away. The author, David LaRochelle, is a very funny author. He’s from Minnesota, which is my home state ... It’s a funny manuscript and as soon as I read it I wanted it. It’s a great book for picky eaters I am told and it’s a funny take on your favorite food that you don’t like. It’s a chance to do a really bright, colorful, engaging, funny story. It has a good heart and a real sweet ending and there’s a lot of extra stuff you can add in a book like that.”

Extra stuff like details of Martha’s dog, who is her cohort throughout the tale.

“Once the Green Beans steal her parents she thinks she’s going to eat what she wants and stay up all night. Of course she realizes that it’s not so fun without the folks. And the dog is right there with her the whole time, right up to the end when he’s crunching a few green beans when she rescues everybody.”

Fearing said that illustrating is fun work, but it’s not a fast process. It takes him anywhere from eight months to a year to complete a project.

Fearing said the age of those attending the April 30 event will determine what he will present. He said he likes to show how basic shapes like circles, squares and rectangles can become characters. He redrew one of the pictures from the book to be used for a coloring contest.

“How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans” is available at area book stores and online at, Barnes and Noble and Powell’s Books. Those who might miss the event on April 30 can catch a similar event May 4 at Green Bean Books, 1600 NE Alberta St. in Portland.

Fearing’s next picture book, “A Very Witchy Spelling Bee” by Washington author George Shannon will be released in July by Harcourt Books. After that he will illustrate two of his own books.

The West Linn Public Library is located at 1595 Burns St.

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