Sept. 25, 2006
-- Colleges are back in session and campuses are bustling with activity. This time of year is especially hectic for seniors as they complete their last year of formal education before entering their professional career of choice. In addition to attending classes, they must find time to perfect their resumes, locate internships and begin planning for their future.
For Erik Jones, a senior at Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, life is a little bit different than that of his peers. His career as an illustrator is already in full swing with one book in his professional portfolio and another one on the way. “I had no idea that this was going to be the plan for me” exclaims Jones. “God was just in the airplane that’s all.” Jones alludes to the fateful day that was the major turning point in his professional life.
Jones’ mother had just been visiting him in Sarasota from her home outside of Chicago. “My mom called me after she got back home and told me that she gave my email address to a woman she sat next to on the plane. My mom told me the woman had just written a children’s book and was looking for an illustrator.”
Tampa business owner and national speaker, Kimberly King had just finished writing her first children’s book, ‘God is in the Refrigerator’
. As a national speaker and business owner, King is a seasoned writer of corporate manuals, books, and other learning tools but this was the first time she was in need of an illustrator. Inspired by her grandmother, 86 year old Willa Jenkins of Temple Terrace, FL, King decided to take one of her grandmother’
s true stories of faith and create a Christian children’s book. “I was looking for someone who could really capture the emotion in facial expressions and someone who could take my creative ideas and bring them to life on paper.” The detail and the required number of illustrations put this project out of King’s budget. “I was getting a little frustrated, but just as I do with everything else in life, I put it all in God’s hands.” “Sitting next to Erik’s mom in the airplane was all part of God’s plan,’ King explains. By the first week of May of this year, King and Jones had made contact and the book was coming to life.
Being a self-publisher, King has complete decision making rights and ownership to everything about the look and feel of the book. Jones and King often exchange ideas over iced mochas at the Panera Bread while Jones sketches and King paints her vision. “This experience is the best one I’ve ever had”, says Jones, “I not only got an employer, I received a mentor and a friend as well. I’ve learned that self-publishing is hard and it takes a lot of motivation and passion to become successful.”
After Jones graduated from Gibbs High School PCCA (Pinellas County Center for the Arts) in 2001, he joined a band for a couple of years but soon realized that art was his real passion. “The illustrations for ‘God is in the Refrigerator’
were a lot of fun but now that Kimberly and I have completed one project together the comfort level is greater and we are getting more and more in synch so the projects get even more exciting.” Where do you find God? is becoming a brand and a key phrase in King’s speaking and her other ancillary products. With greeting cards, coloring book pages and t-shirts, Jones is kept very busy. King is now making her book available to Christian schools as part of their fundraising activities. The students can be actively involved in spreading faith while raising money for their school. King provides a generous portion of the book proceeds back to each sponsoring organization. “I’m on a mission,” says King, “I want to help children realize that God is the center point in our lives and He really does answer all of our prayers. I love engaging kids with the question of where they found God today. You never know- You may even find him in a refrigerator!”
King is off to a great start with “God is in the Refrigerator”
as she has already partnered with several Christian schools such as The Cambridge School in Tampa and Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran School in Temple Terrace. She was a guest on the Christian Family Radio Station and will be airing on the Homekeepers Show on the Christian Television Network later this year. As for Jones; “The sky is the limit for me!” he declares. “I enjoy taking on new challenges and experimenting with new illustration styles. Kimberly is always open to new ideas and you just never know what the two of us will come up with next!” Whatever God’s plan is for this writer/illustrator team, you can bet that it will be spectacular.
You can see Jones’ artistic talents on the book’s web site at www.wheredoyoufindgod.com. You can also order the book or schedule King to speak at your next event.