109th recruiter illustrates a children's book

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Amber Mullen
  • 109th Airlift Wing

Tech. Sgt. Stephanie Lambert, a recruiter assigned to the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Airlift Wing, is illustrating a children’s book written by a local author. Since September, Lambert has been working with Richard Crowley, the author, to produce sketches and illustrations that closely align with his vision for the book.

Crowley found inspiration to write the children’s book after hearing the story of the owl they found in the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree. Once the book was written, he started his search to find an illustrator. After reviewing several people’s work, he chose Lambert to illustrate.

“We started working together and going back and forth about what he wants each picture to look like,” said Lambert. “This is my first project that I have done for a book.”

The book is titled “The Owl and the Christmas Tree” and is composed of about 20 illustrations. For each illustration, Crowley and Lambert work together to create an image that works cohesively for each page of the book. Lambert will sketch the image and make modifications as needed based on Crowley’s vision. Once the image is finalized, Lambert will begin to bring the sketch to life as a watercolor painting. Each illustration takes roughly two weeks to complete.

“I want to make illustrations that appeal to not just the kids but to the parents as well,” said Lambert. “I want my artwork to lend to the story and make it better.”

Prior to joining the military, Lambert earned a fine arts degree from The Sage Colleges of Fine Arts and entered her artwork into art shows while she was attending school. She even won first place at two of the shows she entered.

Although she did not pursue a full time career in the fine arts, her passion for illustration never waivered. Lambert’s passion transitioned to a hobby and she started doing commission projects for family, friends, and even local realtors in the area.

“I never thought that I would end up full time in the military because my first love is doing art,” said Lambert. “I love to paint and draw. I went to school for fine arts. Over the years it has become more of a hobby but I am looking forward to making it more a part of my life through commissioning projects or illustrations.”

Lambert has always had an admiration for the arts since a young age. She pulls inspiration from her favorite childhood books to help guide her when creating images for the book she is currently working on.

“I feel like everyone has that one book from their childhood that they want their kids to experience,” said Lambert. “I’m pulling from my experience of reading children's books to my own children to come up with good illustrations that are going to be memorable.”

Lambert’s passion for arts is also reflected in her daughters. Lambert’s oldest daughter will be graduating soon with her Bachelor’s in Illustration while her youngest daughters have grown a passion for drawing.

Being in the military has given Lambert a unique perspective when creating her imagery. Her experience in the military has allowed her to be more inclusive in her drawings.

“I feel like my experience in the military has given me a different insight that I can bring into my drawings,” said Lambert. “I've met a lot of people from different backgrounds and it really helps to put that perspective into a children’s book. As early as possible you want inclusion to be a part of their lives in every aspect. The author and I have tried to include different demographics in the book to make sure everyone feels included.”

Despite the demand of being in the military full time, Lambert is pursuing her passion of art and accomplishing her goal of illustrating a book. The book is expected to be published this fall and ready to be enjoyed by all for the holiday season.