Author and illustrator Jonathan Miller visited with Bright School students today.
Miller is the author and illustrator of the children’s book series “The Adventures of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund.” His four books include “Sammy‘s Family Tree Vol. 1,” “Sammy in Space,” “Sammy on Safari” and “Sammy's Last Week in Charleston.” The series features a fearless canine champion who works as a fact-checker for the Internet. Each book details his daring exploits to verify the truth amidst the digital cosmos.
Miller told students that he was inspired to write the series while he was dog sitting for a friend’s dachshund, who is “the real Sammy.” He had always wanted to create art for a living and he really clicked with the dog. Hence, the idea of Sammy the Wonder Dachshund was born.
The enchanting city of Charleston, SC served as the backdrop for his inaugural book. Miller spent countless hours writing the story (thatincluded 13 revisions) and many more hours creating the artwork. A single illustration of the city of Charleston included in the book demanded over 40 hours of devoted craftsmanship. Upon completion, Miller told students it took about three years to get the book distributed to young readers.
Miller’s illustration technique is unique as he creates each picture by cutting and layering construction paper. He begins with a drawing, then chooses colors of paper, cuts them into shapes, then glues them down in layers. He adds final details with a sharpie.
Students were delighted as he read “Sammy in Space” while briefly pausing to explain some illustrations in the book. Although all of Miller’s illustrations include an incredible amount of detail, he showed students an illustration of a space shuttle simulator that took a staggering 83 hours to complete. It was only after the publication that he noticed one character was missing two lines on his ear. He wisely advised, “Always double check your work.”
Miller told students that being an author and illustrator is “pretty awesome” and the “best job I’ve had in my life.” Besides writing and creating illustrations, Miller spends several months of the year traveling and speaking at schools. He joked that he enjoys visiting art stores in each town he visits to support his “paper buying problem.”
Students were eager to purchase additional signed books from Miller. Forms were sent home with students who wish to make additional purchases. The Bright library will also have copies for check out.