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L.A. Waters sales associate has talent for illustrations
Glenn Spell produces drawings for children's book
Paint brush and pallet in hand, Glenn Spell blends into a mural he painted in the wine cellar in the home of Chip and Delia Mobley. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    When a local furniture sales associate and artist traveled to Metter to help  a customer with her furniture, he had no idea what the fruits of his labor would be.
    Glenn Spell, who works at L.A. Waters as his day job, is also an accomplished artist, so when Doris Cook asked him if he knew of anyone that might be able to illustrate a children's book she'd written,  he saw an opportunity.
    “I was doing an interior design project for Mrs. Cook and she asked me if I knew anybody who could possibly illustrate a children’s book. I said, ‘Well, I’m an artist; I’ve done illustrations,’ so that was the way it started,” he said.
    As a result, Cook's book, "Animalapples," is peppered with colorful illustrations of a dinosaur, deer and other animals and landscapes. Spell said that despite an extensive artistic career, this was his first publication.    
    “I’m an artist; I’ve done cartoons for people who wanted to commemorate some funny event in their life, but I don’t really have any experience in illustration up until this point,” he said. “I use watercolor and acrylic, and when I’m painting pictures, I usually use oil, but for quick studies and things like that I use watercolor.”
    The author    recalled the genesis of the project, also.
    “I bought some furniture from L.A. Waters, and he came out to help me decorate a couple of rooms at my home, and in talking with him, I found out he could draw and among his many talents, he could do watercolor paintings, and I told him, ‘Oh, my goodness, I need an illustrator for a book I’ve written,' a story I’d had written for about eight years.”
    Spell, who graduated from Georgia Southern College in 1970 with a degree in art education, has been pleased with the reaction to the book and his illustrations. Spell credits his college painting instructor Roxie Remley, who is still active in the local arts community, with helping cultivate his painting skills.
    “People like it. Several people who have bought the book have told me they bought it because they thought the content and the story was, to use their word, ‘adorable,’” he said with a laugh. “I spent about 30 minutes on each illustration and I was doing it in my free time. It took about two months. Every time I got a chance to sit down and do one, I’d do it.
    "She was not in any great big hurry, so I was able to work on it in my off hours from my regular job."
    Cook said that the main character, a baby dinosaur, was a creation of her grandson, and Spell built on that image when illustrating the book.
    “My grandson had created a little dinosaur in it, but I just never did get it finished and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. So, (Spell) read the story and said he liked it and said he would do that; he’d be happy to illustrate it for me. And it just went from there.”
    Did the illustrations Spell produced for the book meet Cook’s expectations? “Very much so,” she said, and added that she had minimal input into his work. “He had to use the original dinosaur” that her grandson brought to life, she said, but beyond that, he was on his own.
    “I went through and told him a few things that I could see…he drew one or two for me in the beginning just for me to see if I liked them, and he went with it,” she said.    
    The experience of illustrating Cook's book has opened a new world of possibilty for Spell.
    “When I got into it, I realized that it might be something I might like to do myself; write a children’s book and illustrate it myself. My wife is a retired elementary school teacher and she has actually talked about doing a children’s book with me illustrating it and her writing it, so I can see something in the future. We’ve actually talked about collaborating on a children’s book."
    Cook also said she would be happy to have Spell illustrate another of her books in the future.
    “Oh, my goodness, yes. I have a couple of books already written. Yes, I would very much like to. He’s very good. I’d like very much to have a book signing in Bulloch County for his sake because he is so well known over there.
    “Glenn has helped my story. I told somebody, ‘his artwork has helped my story.’"

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