MC Art Student Illustrates “Twister”

imageStories of Mississippi College alumni receiving honors and making it big after graduation have been shared for years. However, MC is currently home to a student already making an impact in the worlds of graphic design and children’s literature.

MC senior graphic design major Clayton Thigpen has already made a name for himself by illustrating the children’s book Twister that was recently published.

Twister is a story written by local author John W. Johnson. It revolves around a horse that is born during a tornado in rural Mississippi. The story contains Mississippi history from the 1930s and is intended for children five and older.

Thigpen took a unique approach when illustrating the book. He used a method called “digital watercolor” to create people and animals that reflect historical Mississippi. The technique works just like it sounds; artists create watercolor-esque images with computer programs, such as Photoshop.

“The whole process took from September last year to March this year. It started off with just 25 illustrations, but after the meeting to see which images matched which parts of the story, I was asked to do another 25 to balance out the art with the amount of text,” said Thigpen.

Thigpen was illustrating the book while taking classes, serving as an officer in Circle K, and working as a media intern at Broadmoor Baptist Church.

“Clayton has spent many hours drawing and redrawing different images that were used in the book. He is very humble about his work and does not like to boast.

“He has done a great job, he has worked hard, and he has gotten a lot of great feedback, even from illustrating companies,” said Thigpen’s girlfriend, Tiffany Johnston.

Although there is talk of a second Twister book in the works, Thigpen said he will not be working on any more illustrations for a while.image-1

“I’d love the opportunity to illustrate more children’s literature but not until after graduation. I learned my lesson last year trying to balance out drawing for a book on top of art classes, being a part of Circle K, and a time-consuming job at my church. However, besides the sugar-induced 4 a.m. drawing sessions, it was a pretty good experience.”

This time-consuming project paid off in the end; however, the book is now available on Amazon, as well as Lemuria Books in Banner Hall.

The book will also be promoted by Clinton’s own Olde Towne markets during October and November.

Ashley Gressett, Contributing Writer 

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