Featured Writer

Adjoa Burrowes, Writer and Illustrator

"Itís not an easy path. You really have to love it."

Beautiful words plus vivid images. That's the basic formula for a picture book. Typically, one person supplies one half of that equation and somebody else provides the other. But in the case of Adjoa Burrowes, she is the talent that does both. Although an author, Burrowes defines herself as an artist first. "That's been my destiny. Art found me. It steered me."

Her talent was evident from an early age. "In grammar school, my brother and I won just about every art award there was in the school," she recalled of her grade school days in Chicago. "It got to the point that the other kids didn't even want to enter a contest with those Jackson kids."

She followed her artist's journey by attending Lane Technical High School in Chicago where a teen could major in art, then Howard University where she got a degree in fine arts and printmaking. Now, she's a senior graphic artist at the northern Virginia campus of Georgetown University. Burrowes' entree into children's literature came while working as a graphic designer in California. She was a freelancer for an educational publisher. One day while reviewing Burrowes' art portfolio, the art director said, "Girl, you really need to be doing childrenís books." This pragmatic mother of three responded by saying, "Do you have any work for me?"

"As a matter of fact, yes," replied the director who hired Burrowes to create some educational posters. Since then, Burrowes has illustrated over a dozen picture books. A few of the most recent ones include: My Steps, published in 1996, and in 2000, Grandma's Purple Flowers and Everybody Wears Braids, two books which she both wrote and illustrated. See more of Adjoa Burrowes' art work by clicking on absolutearts.com/portfolios/a/adjoa.

Just like her interest in art, Burrowes' interest in words started young, too. "I started writing in grammar school after my mother passed away," she explained. Composing picture books has become a way for her to combine both creative passions.

"Things just flowed," she said of her successes in the competitive art world. Unlike so many would-be artists, she said, "I never thought art impractical." However, she does allow that although practicing one's art is not impractical or impossible, that does not mean it isn't challenging. "Keep pursuing your dreams and ideas. It's not an easy path," she admonished. "You really have to love it."