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‘Mouse Guard’ author and illustrator visits HPA

David Petersen autographs a book for HPA student Koa Higgins. The award-winning author and illustrator recently visited the school’s Village Campus to talk about his work and his life. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)
David Petersen autographs a book for HPA student Koa Higgins. The award-winning author and illustrator recently visited the school’s Village Campus to talk about his work and his life. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)
Award-winning author and illustrator David Petersen, left, with HPA Village Campus librarian David Giff and Petersen’s wife, Julia. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)
Award-winning author and illustrator David Petersen, left, with HPA Village Campus librarian David Giff and Petersen’s wife, Julia. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HPA FOR NHN)

Award-winning author and illustrator David Petersen recently visited the Village Campus at Hawaii Preparatory Academy to talk about his work and his life. Petersen’s visit was organized by the Friends of the HPA Libraries and David Giff, Village Campus librarian.

Petersen, the creator of the “Mouse Guard” series, shared some of his early sketches with the students and talked about his creative process, which sometimes includes building models so he can draw ships, rooms, and other scenes in a realistic way.

Petersen emphasized the importance of “doing what feels natural to you.”

The Michigan-based author described how, when he was younger he tried to draw like the artists he admired. In college, Petersen studied printmaking and began to “feel more comfortable with who I was as an artist; I started drawing like myself,” he said.

“Whether you’re a writer or a dancer, or whatever it is you want to be, it’s okay to look at the people you like, but at some point, you have to do it on your own. I call it ‘Draw like yourself,’” said Petersen.

Boom! Studios and Archaia, Petersen’s publishers, provided four “Mouse Guard” comic books to each student. Petersen noted that it was refreshing to be so well received as a comic book author, because comics are not always received as a genuine literary art form.