Designated Drawer

Junior Speaks About New Opportunity of Illustrating a Children’s Book


Photo courtesy of Briana Spradling

Depicting a field of sunflowers, the painting above is one of many of Spradling’s creations from seventh grade. “My best friend and I were on a road trip with her family and we stopped on the side of the road to take a break and look at the sunflowers,” Spradling said. “My friend and I went into the field and that’s when I saw how pretty the sky looked and I just had to capture it.”

Ally JohnPress, Reporter

Page by page, scene by scene, line by line. The start of a book begins. Sheets and sheets of paper filled with hand-drawn artwork are brought to life by the hand of junior Briana Spradling. Her drawings illustrate the works created by writer and former Cedar Park valedictorian, Rachel Pokorney. 

The idea came to be when Spradling was contacted through Facebook in late September by Pokorney. The two are family friends, and Pokorney, who graduated in 2015, said she has always been impressed with Spradling’s level of talent for drawing. The two have only met once, but Spradling has already started working on thumbnail sketches, or blueprints, of the pages. 

“I was stoked,” Spradling said. “I actually got her message during a really rough time and her asking me made me cry a little. I’ve been drawing as long as I’ve been able to draw on the living room walls with a crayon. [What] I’m most excited about for this project is getting back into the swing of things and making more art regularly, since now I have an excuse [to because of] all the business of school. Also, illustrating a book that’s going to be published is just really exciting in general.”

Spradling’s passion for creativity came from her mother, who, according to Spradling, always encouraged and supported whatever her kids wanted to pursue. For Spradling, this meant art. She doesn’t partake in any kind of art classes, but is instead self-taught. 

“From my point of view, [being self-taught] is the best way to learn art because art is all about learning about life,” Spradling said. “Yourself, others, and everything surrounding you. From others’ views it can be seen as a waste of time and totally pointless, [but] the people who think like that are incompetent and don’t value life the way artists do.”

However, Spradling says she still sometimes struggles with time management and creative blocks. 

“When I hit a creative block I do two things,” Spradling said. “I pray for inspiration, and [I go] somewhere new, but it doesn’t have to be far. It takes a lot of time to get a piece done. I don’t really have any concerns with illustrating a book other than I hope I do well.”

Spradling said she is still a little unsure about what style she is going to use for the book or a method of pacing herself, but she said she is still excited nonetheless. 

“If even one copy of the book is sold then I officially have the title of ‘professional illustrator,’” Spradling said. “That makes me feel great because if that happens then I can put that on my resume. Also, I can just tell people that because it’s an accomplishment I can be proud of.”

Publication dates haven’t been set yet because Pokorney said she doesn’t want Spradling to feel rushed and thinks that taking more time illustrating means a better finished product. 

“I hope [illustrating this book] will improve my chances of getting other job opportunities,” Spradling said. “I’m not sure this is something I want to fully pursue but it’s definitely an opportunity I’m glad to have.”

Not only does Spradling draw, but she does photography, as well. She recently started an Instagram account specifically for her photos, @breezephotographys. She takes photos of everything, but she said she highly enjoys taking candid portraits. 

“I don’t know what led me to photography,” Spradling said. “Photography is just another form of art and art is what I know I’m good at.”

Spradling is thinking about going to A&M or ACC, and her dream job is to be a traveling photographer.