KONFESSION: I am extremely JEALOUS of people who are gifted in drawing/painting/sketching. Having no ability beyond constructing a wobbly stick figure or the occasional doodle, I truly appreciate the artists I know – like my cover artist, Jennifer Pennington. Phantom Island’s cover art would be a blank vast of nothingness had she not lent her creativity in oil painting! (I love my Boomer on the cover!)

Last summer when I was a guest author at the Big Brothers Big Sisters annual picnic, a Big Sis named Jeannette won the Phantom Island signed copy giveaway. When she came over to my table, I got to meet her Little Sis (Astin)… a teenage girl who immediately stole my heart. I decided to give Astin a copy of the book, too, so they could read it together.
Well, it turns out that Astin loves to draw and is pretty good at it. After reading Wind, Astin started drawing scenes that inspired her… and ended up creating this…

If you look closely, you can see how her artist’s mind depicted the characters in the book and their respective tribes. You see Whitnee in the middle with representations of all four life forces (Wind, Water, Earth, & Fire). In each of the four corners, she drew the birthmarks for each tribe. I believe the other pictures are characters from each tribe – if I’m deciphering correctly, it looks like Ezekiel & Sarah (Aeros) top left with Morgan and Thomas next to them (Hydros). Bottom left seems like Gabriel to me because of the tunic-style clothing (Pyras) & Caleb & Eden (Geos) to his right. AWESOME!
I absolutely love the detail given to dressing them as described in the book (tunics) and the use of the right colors for each tribe. I am just so impressed and touched that my eyes watered when I first saw this!
The picture and a signed copy of the book sold at the BIG Gala Event (Auction) a few months ago for maximum bid. Interestingly enough, my aunt Kathryn went to this event. I had no idea she went every year and she had no idea my book was being auctioned. So she was shocked when she saw it and started bidding so she could buy it for me! When a gentleman outbid her, she went to him and asked if there was any way she could work out a deal with him. He told her he was buying the book and picture for his niece. My aunt said, “What a coincidence! I’m wanting it for my niece… the author!”
Ah, Astin, if you only knew how treasured your work is and how much it means to me! Thank you for making images from my written words. Keep drawing, girl! And to the rest of you who can slap down some color and lines and actually put together an image with meaning… be thankful for it!! Use it!! You never know when your talent will encourage others…