TROY art student’s illustrations featured in new book

Posted: Tuesday, 22 April 2008

TROY—Stefani Slaughter is an artist, not an English teacher, but her art can help you become a better speller.

The Troy University freshman art and design major from Birmingham will have her artwork prominently displayed in a new book “Fuchsia Shock,” written by John T. Bird, a Birmingham author and owner of Esmeralda Press. Slaughter designed the cover art for the book, but her greatest contribution was 151 illustrations prominently featured throughout the book.

“Fuchsia Shock” is a clever, often-humorous guide to properly spelling hard-to-spell words. Each page features a word accompanied by author Bird’s mnemonic device to recall the proper spelling. Slaughter’s illustrations are designed to help readers recall the mnemonic device.

For example, to properly spell the sea creature called “abalone,” Bird suggests thinking of a seashell who is sad because he is “alone.” Slaughter’s illustration depicted a sad-eyed abalone by itself on the ocean floor. She drew all the images by hand and scanned them into a computer so she could digitally manipulate them.

“It took me several months to illustrate,” Slaughter said. “We originally had 205 entries with illustrations, but he cut it down to 151. It was a challenged because the illustrations couldn’t just look good; they had to serve a specific purpose.”

Slaughter, who graduated from Shades Valley High School Academy of Art, met Bird during her senior year of high school at the Magic City Art Convention. Bird is currently seeking a publisher for “Fuchsia Shock,” Slaughter said.

The TROY freshman said her father introduced her to drawing at a young age. She opted for the art and design major at Troy University as her next step toward a full-time art career.

“I chose TROY because it has a good art program,” she said. “I want to have a career as an illustrator of books and do some gallery work.”

Jerry Johnson, professor and chair of the Department of Art and Design said Slaughter’s artistic maturity is rare in a freshman.

“It would impress me if an incoming freshman came to college stating that she had done an illustration or two for an upcoming book, but, in this case, Stefani blew me away with not only her style of illustration but the sheer quantity of work she did for this author,” Johnson said. “At such an early age, she is already being prolific.”