North Delta artist’s debut book an aquatic adventure through the alphabet

Retired North Delta art teacher Dave Stevens will be launching his children’s book at the George Mackie Library on Oct. 15.

Dave Stevens sits in his studio surrounded by the whimsical creatures he created for his debut book Weirdly Wonderful A to Z during the North Delta Studio Stomp on Oct. 1.

Thanks to the support of his family and community, a local artist is getting ready to add ‘writer’ to his resumé.

Dave Stevens, who taught art at North Delta Secondary for 30 years before retiring in 2012, is set to release his debut children’s book Weirdly Wonderful A to Z with a launch event this weekend at the George Mackie Library.

Weirdly Wonderful is an alphabet book that uses Stevens’ own illustrations to showcase sea creatures found exclusively in B.C. as seen through an imaginative childlike lens.

“What I wanted to do was take aquatic creatures from British Columbia and try and picture them how somebody who hasn’t seen what they look like initially might start to picture them in their imagination,” Stevens said.

Inspired by his work as a storyteller for his own children, Stevens crafted his art around the literal names of the creatures he picked for his book, placing the head of an elephant on a seal and adding a peanut butter and jelly sandwich next to a jellyfish.

More than just a collection of fanciful drawings, Weirdly Wonderful is also educational, as Stevens drew realistic depictions of the creatures at the bottom of each page along with its common name, its Latin name, and some fun facts.

In fact, Stevens found that the biggest challenge in putting the book together came from arranging all the illustrations and information about the creatures he wanted to share with his audience on each page.

One of the strongest forces behind this project was Stevens’ wife Diane, an English teacher and unpublished author, who helped proofread his work and pushed him to complete the book.

“She’s got a very extensive background in the whole writing process… and she was really challenging me to change my mindset, because once the book is out, it’s out,” he said.

Stevens found out the hard way what a slow grind getting a book published can be, taking time to pitch his creation to publishers, only to wait months before getting a negative response.

Eventually, he decided to publish the book himself.

“This is where I’m known, both as a teacher and as an artist and I’ve been part of this community for 30 years,” he said. “I know a lot of people are cheering for me.”

Stevens has already begun work on his next book, a similar alphabet-based collection of information and illustrations about animals, except this time he’s setting his focus on the skies with birds and flying insects.

“I like the longevity of [a book] and the whole idea that is an ex- tension of who I am,” he said. “I’m an illustrator, I’m an artist, but I also like to tell stories to my kids.”

Stevens will be at the George Mackie Library (8440 112 St., Delta) from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Oct. 15. Copies of Weirdly Wonderful A to Z will be available for purchase and signing by the author-illustrator. All ages are welcome.


Just Posted

UPDATE: Surrey man wanted in ‘vicious’ attack on autistic man has criminal history

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for one count of aggravated assault

Tree-removal at site of future South Surrey park ‘necessary’

City says many of 26 trees cut last week for Sunnyside Saddle Club Park were unhealthy

Metro gas prices hit 155.7 cents a litre and higher

Lower Mainland could see 1.60 cents by April

Spraying planned in Surrey to eradicate ‘growing gypsy moth population’

Ground spray program meeting set for April 5 at Surrey school

Surrey Dodgeball League celebrates 10 seasons

The Surrey league has grown from ten to 64 teams in the past five years

Video: Diplomats clean South Surrey shoreline

Canadian, American government officials collect garbage near Peace Arch Park

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Giants trio earn accolades

Vancouver’s Bowen Byram up for WHL rookie of the year, Ty Ronning and David Tendeck selected second team all-stars

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Second suspect wanted in attack on autistic man was alleged target in 2015 shooting

Parmvir Chahil lived next door in Abbotsford to victim Ping Shun Ao, killed by stray bullet

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

New lead in one of six B.C. searches that remain unresolved

New details in case of couple who’d been flying from Cranbook to Kamloops when plane disappeared

Most Read