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One of the strongest forces behind this project was Stevens’ wife Diane, an English teacher and unpublished author, who helped proofread his work and pushed him to complete the book.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: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Vantage Way in Delta reopened after chemical spill

Incident involved a couple of barrels of “low-risk” chemicals that were spilled inside a business

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read