The author and illustrator visited Old Kings Elementary School on March 31.
Troy Cummings, author/illustrator of the famed "Notebook of Doom" children's series, delighted students with a visit to Old Kings Elementary School on Friday, March 31.
Cummings said he first began doodling pictures of the Peanuts characters while riding the school bus as a boy growing up in Indiana. He got more serious about those sketches, and the stories he eventually began writing to accompany them, in his college years. Once getting his first manuscript published in 2009, Cummings was able to quit his day job as a freelance graphic designer and devote his time to writing and illustrating full time.
These days, in addition to that, he regularly visits schools across the country to talk to students about his books, most of which focus on monsters and other fantastical characters who end up in unusual situations, like his Alexander "Salamander" of the "Notebook" series.
To prepare for Cummings' visit, Old Kings students handcrafted signs as well as monster creations of their own which were displayed on the stage behind the author as he spoke.
Cummings demonstrated his writing and illustrating process by asking for student volunteers to help him sketch out a monster he created with their input during the assembly. He took suggestions about what it should look like, as well as what kind of a story they might create around it.
"The goal is to connect all the pieces: the characters, the setting, the plot," Cummings said.
Cummings said that while he is currently at work on the last and final installment in his "Notebook" series (which should be on shelves by October), he is always working on new ideas.
Visits to schools like Old Kings, as well as the letters he receives from children, continue to serve as inspiration for his work, as does the ideas he gets from two of his biggest fans, his children who are 7 and 9.
"Their enthusiasm always keeps me going," Cummings said.