Published artist, illustrator and just a freshman at Chelmsford High School

CHELMSFORD – Just turned 15, but as Lucy Frankland starts completing applications for work and/or university, she can add the title of ‘published illustrator’.

A freshman at Chelmsford High School, Lucy’s illustrations – 15 of them – are featured in the new young adult sci-fi fantasy novel ‘Cryptid Academy’, by Sudbury author Howard Wolke, a family friend.

Artistry runs deep in the Frankland family. Lucy’s mother, Amanda, is a well-known Merrimack Valley artist and photographer and an art teacher at Keystone Montessori School. Based on the illustrations in Wolke’s novel, it is evident that she passed on her skills to her daughter.

“It was nice that he picked my job,” said Lucy, who was able to get an advanced reading of “Cryptid Academy” to develop a sense of appearance for each character. “I like it. It’s definitely for middle school, but I like it. It’s a good storyline.

“Cryptid Academy,” Wolke’s first novel, follows the golems, jinn, naga, and fairies of the middle school-themed Collinstein Academy, where each character is unique in appearance and behavior, and faces the same problems facing young adults.

“It’s about how they get separated because of things that happen at school, and how they group together and include everyone and exist together,” Lucy said. “I like the mystery part. It’s about the truth. The main character is a golem and they are built on the truth, so they can’t tell a lie. So it’s kind of an interesting addition to the story.

“But I love that it’s about inclusiveness and truth,” she added.

Golems, djinns, nagas, and fairies are characters perhaps a middle school artist is better suited to illustrate, which is what Wolke was looking for last year when he was in the final stages of his novel.

“I loved the idea of ​​an eighth grader doing illustrations,” she said. “Lucy has a great mental eye for character looks and her style is perfect.”

Through the character descriptions in the last few pages, Lucy was able to shape the look of each character. Over the next few weeks, with regular virtual meetings with Wolke, she brought each of them to life.

“Lucy did a great job working with me on this,” Wolke said. “Every step of the way, Lucy was there and with her and the illustrations of her are amazing.”

Wolke’s book release was part of a science fiction discussion Nov. 29 at the Silver Unicorn Bookstore in Acton, where he recognized his young illustrator, drawing applause from friends and family who attended.

The sequel to “Cryptid Academy” is already underway and Wolke is hoping for a spring 2024 release. He has already contacted Lucy about the artwork.

“I wouldn’t do it without his illustrations,” Wolke said.

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