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Children’s Illustrator Fordyce To Visit Pine Grove Sept. 8

By Staff | Aug 29, 2018

Percy Gets A Family was illustrated by Wetzel County native Douglas Fordyce.

Pine Grove native Douglas Fordyce has recently illustrated his first children’s book, Percy Gets A Family! Fordyce said illustrating a children’s book is something he has always wanted to do. He started drawing before he started school. Then, in college, he studied illustration and design. He attended Columbus College of Art and Design, as well as OSU. He received a BSA in Painting and Drawing.

Fordyce has always paid the bills with art. He taught for a while, but most of his adult life has been spent doing graphic design. He has worked with a lot of small businesses like restaurants and hair salons, designing logos and marketing material. He also painted for years and owned a gallery for five years. He has kept very busy with other art and didn’t really have time to illustrate.

However, a friend of Fordyce’s connected him with Julia Applegate, who wanted to write a children’s book about a big orange cat. Fordyce and Applegate met about two years ago and discussed the project. Applegate gave Fordyce photos of her cat, and he began his work from there. The book was recently printed.

Fordcye explained the book was very specific about where it took place in Columbus, Ohio. So to get inspiration, Fordyce took his camera and went to the area to take pictures of the neigborhood. He also took more pictures of Percy the cat. He uploaded those on his computer screen and started figuring out what he wanted to draw.

He said his father, who lives in Pine Grove, was the model and inspiration for one of the characters in the book, a cranky old man. He said in reality, his father is not cranky at all, but a very kind man. However, he wanted to honor him in the book.

This gentleman was inspired by Douglas Fordyce’s father, Gerald. In reality, Gerald isn’t all that cranky; however, Douglas said he wanted to honor his father in some way. (Photos provided)

Fordyce is originally from Pine Grove. He said his parents have always been very supportive of his art. His mother, Carol Fordyce, enrolled him into some adult art night classes at West Virginia Northern Community College. He became interested in oil painting in the fourth grade, and then after that, once the college was convinced Fordyce could do the work, he was taking classes all the time. Whether it be water color classes, drawing classes, he was always in some class. He spent a lot of his free time in high school going into the woods with a backpack and water color and would sketch and paint what he saw.

He said his parents would go to yard sales and purchased old used frames. His dad, Gareald Fordyce, would clean them, paint them and acquire glass.

Douglas said when was in high school, he was told that he couldn’t do anything with art. Unfortunately he believed the person who told him that. So when he first moved to Columbus, Ohio, he went to computer school for one semester. He would do his computer homework and then draw. Art has always been what makes Douglas happy. He said it is a real blessing to have some artistic talent and desire. He realized, after he became an adult, that most people don’t have that. He said he feels very lucky to be able to have that and to be able to pursue it.

Douglas said he would like to tell kids interested in drawing to “Believe in yourself, and draw everything. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed, because you can.”

Mr. Fordyce will be at the Pine Grove Public Library, located in his hometown, on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 10 a.m. for a book signing of the book, Percy Gets A Family! For those that can’t make the event, the book can be purchased online at www.percygets.com.