By lauren linhard
Victoria Schultz displays her published cover illustration for ‘Princess Charlie and the Unicorn.’
REEDSVILLE -Victoria Schultz has been sketching since she was 4 years old. In elementary school, when everyone was learning how to draw Fred Flintstone, she was creating her own landscape of characters and animals. By the time she graduated from Indian Valley High School, she had taken every art class available.
"Drawing was something that I enjoyed and was a great help to me as an outlet," Schultz said. "I was never good at sports and had few friends, but art was something that I knew I could do and do well. The older I became, the more driven I was to push my imagination."
Continuing on to The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania, she majored in Applied Sciences of Animation and Media Arts Animation. After graduating in 2011, Schultz was contacted by Priscilla Hoffman, a writer from York, to assist in illustrating the first of 15 children's books.
"Several friends had suggested people they knew to do the artwork, but they all failed to produce names and numbers in a timely fashion," Hoffman said. "I went to the Art Institute in York and ... was given Victoria's website and I fell in love with her work. It was perfect for my book."
Schultz's style is based heavily on the fantasy world, varying between digital animation and sketch pieces. However, her talent extends to work inspired by real-life as well, she said.
"I feel there is a style for every mood or occasion and I like staying versatile to keep my work interesting and give it a stronger voice," Schultz said. "I do enjoy fantasy the most, however I cannot denote the importance that life pieces hold since I build fantasy from real-life, making it more believable."
Schultz was shocked when Hoffman contacted her, seemingly out of the blue, she said. Though excited she remained apprehensive, having had others approach her with book ideas but never following through.
After speaking through phone and email, they decided to partner on the project and take a chance on each other, Hoffman said.
"Victoria understood that this was my first book and we might not make a bunch of money, but we were both willing," Hoffman said.
The book was inspired by Hoffman's granddaughter, Charlie. During a family visit, Charlie asked her grandmother to write a story about dragons, unicorns and her cousins, Channing and Kennedy. On Hoffman's return trip, while waiting for a ride to the airport, she wrote Charlie's book titled, "Princess Charlie and the Unicorn."
"I sent Victoria photos of my grandchildren, who are characters in the book, and she did a great job of portraying them by their hair color and round faces," Hoffman said. "The rest was pure imagination. It was like she was reading my mind with the colors and style."
The process for creating the illustrations was rather simple and organic, Schultz said. It started with idea sketches that were developed into full pencil and ink drawings. The images were then scanned, digitally colored and sized for the publisher's use.
"I have sold character designs to one of my former professors and was contacted by a company to assist in making a future cellphone app, but the book 'Princess Charlie and the Unicorn' is one of my proudest achievements," Schultz said.
The book was published in April and can be purchased for $15.19 through Barnes and Noble or for $15.99 through Amazon.com. Work has already begun on the second book and it should be available by the holiday season, Hoffman said.
"I have seen one preliminary illustration for the next book and once again it's perfect," Hoffman said. "I trust Victoria will interpret my words exactly how I would like them to be."
Schultz looks forward to continuing work on the series of children's books and hopes to be employed by a studio in the future.
To see samples of her work visit mangothemighty.weebly.com.