Local college grad illustrates children's book

Sabrina Kuchta, illustrator of
Sabrina Kuchta, illustrator of “Where Horses Fly” (Photo/submitted)

Region – It's quite inspiring to meet a young college graduate who is smart, talented, passionate, and already at the young age of 24, has her work in a published book.

Sabrina Kuchta of Northborough graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 2011 with a degree in illustration. The book, “Where Horses Fly” was a collaboration between the publisher, Jan Pogue, owner of Vineyard Stories on Martha's Vineyard, and the author, Jacqui Boulter.

“School was OK, but art was always something that I looked forward to,” Kuchta explained. “Through middle school, art was always my focus. One of my art teachers, Winslow Myers, who taught previously at RISD, recognized my talent and hard work while in my freshman year of high school…. He told me that I was destined to go to RISD. By the time I was applying to colleges, that was the school that I had my heart set on.”

College proved to be quite challenging for Kuchta. She describes her freshman year as a “boot camp,” going to class from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. while studying design, 3D, and drawing. This gave her a taste of different mediums.

“I thought I wanted to do illustrations as a major. Just the idea that there are a multitude of illustration answers for a problem. I made a quilt, 3D sculpture, and a painting for illustration assignments while at RISD. I was also fascinated with children's illustrations,” Kuchta said.

She relishes the notion that some child experiencing the book that she illustrated will have the images that she created in their mind forever. It may also help them resolve a problem, teach a life lesson, or help them see the world a different way.

Living part time on Martha's Vineyard gave Sabrina the backdrop for many of her images – the beach, dunes, nature, and wildlife.

During the summers there, she took classes at the Old Sculpin Gallery in Edgartown. Cara Yarling, also an artist and a teacher there, was a mentor to Kuchta when she was young. When Yarling started teaching at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs, Kuchta became her assistant. Cara moved on but Sabrina stayed and has continued to teach summer classes.

“When the publisher, Jan Pogue called Ann Smith, Director at Featherstone Center for the Arts to ask for someone who would be a good fit to illustrate a children's book, I was the one recommended. I was at the right place at the right time. It was the summer after I graduated RISD. I could not have been more excited,” said Kuchta.

The process for this book collaboration was pretty quick. Once the contract was signed, Kuchta created the sketches to go along with the manuscript.? The book was released the following summer. Many book signings followed.

Since the release of the book, Kuchta has been working tirelessly on watercolor images. She also does ceramics and will be showing her work in Worcester at The Fireworks at the Sprinkler Factory on Harlow Street.

She has participated in numerous art shows, including the All Island Art Show in Oaks Bluff, stART on the Street in Worcester, and at Featherstone Center for the Arts.

“One of the coolest things for me about having a published book is going into a local bookstore and seeing it on their shelf and knowing that some child somewhere is going to forever have my images in their memories,” said Kuchta.

For more information, contact the artist directly at [email protected]