Artwork by Erick Paulsrud, a third-grade homeschooled student from Anchor Point, has been selected for the cover of the Alaska Statewide Harvest Survey Report, distributed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Inspired by a real-life experience, the artwork of Erick Paulsrud of Anchor Point has been selected for the cover of a publication from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
"We are very excited about this," said Shannon Royse, with the department's Sport Fish Division. "A lot of people will see his artwork."
A lot, indeed. The state mails 47,000 copies of the Alaska Statewide Harvest Survey Report to Alaska and non-Alaska anglers, requesting information on sport and personal-use fishing and shellfish harvest during 2005. Designing the cover art is not bad exposure for an artist who is in the fourth grade.
"It was from when I caught my first fish," Erick, the son of Rick and Lori Paulsrud, said of the idea behind the cover art.
"I think it was a king salmon. I caught it at the Fishing Hole in Homer when I was fishing with my dad. I think I was around 3. It was kind of funny, (the fish) was about as big as me."
In a letter from the state notifying Erick his piece had been selected, Joann MacClellan praised the artist's ability.
"It is wonderful to see a delightful fishing activity with many of Alaska's greatest treasures shown," MacClellan said. "You should be proud of your artistic ability, and we hope you continue to enjoy the Alaskan outdoors."
The drawing initially competed for the cover of the Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations, according to Erick's mother. Coming in second, it and other entries were displayed during a sportsmen's show at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage earlier this year.
"Then (the state) called us here the other day and said they loved the picture so much, they had chosen it to go on the cover of the survey," Lori Paulsrud said, adding her son's artistic abilities come from his father's side of the family.
"His dad's a very good artist, doing mostly wildlife in pencil. And his great-grandfather on his father's side was a very good artist, too. A lot of cowboy and Indian-type artwork."
Although Erick is clearly talented when it comes to drawing very detailed outdoor scenes, his favorite subjects reflect his interest in science: snakes, spiders, scorpions and reptiles. Illustrating a journal that documents a bug zoo he has developed as a Cub Scout project complete with 17 crickets, two Madagascar hissing cockroaches, four walking sticks and three silk worms, with two dozen ants soon to be added has been another opportunity for him to hone his artistic talent.
Erick is home-schooled with Sonlight Education, a program from Colorado. His assignments frequently are accompanied by his artwork, according to his mother.
"He does all kinds of things," she said. "He likes to do sculptures out of clay. He paints. He draws. He colors. He just likes art in general. He's happier if he can draw a picture to go along with what he's doing."
Although Erick enjoys working with colored pencils, clay currently is his favorite medium, but he enjoys trying new materials.
"I did two art classes with Renee Jahnke, and we did all different kinds of activities, like printmaking, watercolors, clay faces, sculpture all different kinds of stuff," he said.
Earlier this year he won honorable mention for his entry in the Alaska Junior Duck Stamp Program art competition. He has entered several coloring contests. And seeing his cover art displayed at Sullivan Arena was "pretty exciting."
With so much already accomplished and so much left to learn, what plans does the young artist have for the future?
"I think for now, I'll just keep exploring," he said.
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