Ringling College Graduate Lauera VanDerHeart With Her Illustrations for 'The Story of Pawn' Book Series
In 1994, Lauera VanDerHeart graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design and left the campus for what she thought was the last time - but she was wrong. Earlier this month Lauera walked back on campus to a vastly changed Ringling campus of 48 acres and more than 110 buildings. She stood in the hallway of the Academic Center building looking down hall after hall hung with dozens of glossy posters representing almost every major animated movie of our time. At the bottom of each poster was a plaque displaying the names of past Ringling graduates who contributed to the development of these projects.
Moments later, Lauera joined the echoes of past Ringling art graduates when she donated the four books of 'The Story of Pawn' series for which she was the principal illustrator to Ringling College. From her original drawing tablets at Ringling in the early 1990's to the over three hundred glossy illustrations in author Sienna LaRene's 'The Story of Pawn' series, Lauera has traveled the road of the creator of art.
"Over the years I have been involved in many illustration projects, but 'The Story of Pawn' has been my most ambitious," said Lauera. "When I first read the manuscripts of these four books about this hero Pawn, the smallest piece in a chess set, who conquers the bad doers through the power of critical thinking, I knew I wanted to be part of this project. A book series written in melodic language for children with all the chess piece characters, a Sorceress, a Magician (I loved drawing him!), a crazy Zhaandy character who is part horse and part magic animal, I thought, 'What a great story for kids! So much fun to read while teaching them powerful thinking skills.'"
While at Ringling, one of Lauera's professors in a sculpting class told her she should seriously consider sculpting as a career. Her illustrations in 'The Story of Pawn' series books have been replicated in the identical chess set pieces she sculpted for The Mighty Pawn Publishing Company, the company publishing the books.
Sienna LaRene, author of 'The Story of Pawn' series, said, "Pawn is about the little guy who overcomes great odds to achieve justice in his world. That idea was the compass that guided me through forty years of practicing law, fighting for people's rights. Pawn shows that the least powerful of us can become the most powerful through critical thinking, planning, team building, practice and perseverance. I'm Greek and I like to recall what one of my forebears, Archimedes said, 'Give me a place to stand on, a lever, and I will move the earth.' That place to stand on, that lever, for children is the ability to think something through before making a decision or before acting (the skill of a chess player). The world they will move will be their own successes in life."