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Finding My Artist

Katlyn Watt Ledger Art
Katlyn Watt Ledger Art


From the onset of my work-in-progress, I have wanted to find a teen artist to portray my protagonist’s art project in the book I’m currently writing. The art project weaves history and the old ways into modern culture and attitudes. He or she needed to be Native American and preferably of the Colville Tribes. It wouldn’t work any other way because my main character is of the Colville Tribes, Okanogan to be exact. 


I thought. I prayed. I thought some more about possible prospects, even adults, and prayed some more. While subbing at school this winter I asked around a bit and there were no takers. I knew our school had a treasure full of talent, but no one was fessing up to it. We are such a poor school we don’t even have art class any longer.


Then one day I was chatting with a friend during the after school program I coordinate and she offered a name. The name of a teen girl I’d known for years. She’s been in our program as an elementary student, then moved but came back after a few years. I had no ideas she drew. My friend asked me if I realized this gem had sketched the new Hornet logo for our school. And of course, I had no idea. Working after hours I’m not always aware of the daytime scoop. I hadn’t even a teaspoon of inkling at this point. 


So one day this particular girl came to the library where I’m based out last period of the day. I was preparing for the program and was elated she came into my space. It didn’t take long for me to ask if she was interested at all. I asked what she had been paid for her work in the past. A confused look crossed her face and she replied, “Paid? Nothing!” She blushed. 


I told her if she was interested in taking three separate pictures and combining them as my manuscript stated, I would gladly pay her an offered fee. She smiles, glanced down, and said, “Yes!”


I never imagined what the outcome would be. I figured there might be two or three rounds of drawing this project, just like my characters had to do in the book. Then when I was subbing one day, a month later or so, she was in class and stated that she was done. I now had the confused look on my face. She handed me the final project. 


I couldn’t believe what was I had in my hands. More than I could ask. More than I had dreamt. The ledger art from my head had come alive. 

I prayed. God delivered. For that I am thankful. 

And to you, Miss Katlyn Watt, I am thankful for your skill and dedication to the arts. You are one talented young lady and I’m honored to have your work for my next book. Bless you, my talented friend. I pray you find much success with your gift! 


~We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. – Dakota


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  1. What a stunning cover! So glad you provided the background for how it came about.

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Gabby, I would love for it to be a cover. I’ll see if I can sell the book or not. Thank you!

  2. Alice Trego says:

    A great story, Carmen. I’m glad you and Katlyn found each other to make this collaboration come to fruition. And how wonderful to find a young ledger art artist. I’m a lover of ledger art myself, and I can see Katlyn will have a promising future thanks to you and your qest to find a young artist…

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Thank you, Alice. I hope she takes art by the reins and gallops away with it!

  3. My response disappeared!
    You and Katlyn are gifts to one another and we are the beneficiaries. Looking forward to seeing and reading your finished project.

  4. Dear Carmen,
    I think you and Katlyn are gifts, one to the other, and we will be the beneficiaries! Your separate talents have come together in a beautiful way. Looking forward to seeing your finished project.

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Your comment did come through, Arleta and I thank you! Yes, they have come together. Great way to look at things.

  5. What a great story. She’s a very talented young woman, and to have you value her talent in this way is a great affirmation of her gifts and hard work.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Kelly, I think the little bit of attention she is getting is benefitting her. She’s been reading the Facebook comments. It looks like they are lifting her confidence. She’s amazing!

  6. What a wonderful story, Carmen! Isn’t it sad when schools have to eliminate music and art?: From the fourth grade on through high school I was involved in music–bands and orchestras. I played the clarinet. This was such a terrific blessing for me. I know I gained in poise and self-confidence because of this. I am so glad you found your artist–she sounds like a gem.


    1. carmenpeone says:

      Mary, It is sad. And all due to funding. But we do have an expanding band program and like you I was brought up in it but playing the flute. My high-school band instructor gave me so much courage and self-esteem it changed my life. She is truly a gem!

  7. How awesome is that. God is so good to provide.

    1. carmenpeone says:

      He sure is, Melody. I pray she finds a future in the arts. He has the talent for it.

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Thank you, Shanna. I’m still in disbelief. I was so excited I didn’t even have another student take our picture together. I will do that soon! I have the art piece in my office and look at it daily. Sigh. Love it.

  8. Great idea, and wonderful how it came to fruition. Good for you both!

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Thank you, T. Lynn. She’s a gem!

  9. A beautiful story and the one art image looks haunting, engaging. Amazing how the universe provides. I experienced a similar set of unfoldings when the editor was looking for a Navajo artist to create the cover for Soldier Sister, Fly Home. Serendipity … plus patience and asking. Shonto Begay was contacted and after he read the manuscript, said “yes.”

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Nancy, that is incredible. I love when things just fall into place. And isn’t it such an honor? I’ll be sure to look up your book. I can’t wait to see the cover!

    2. carmenpeone says:


      What a stunning cover! Your book is on my to-read list! Congratulations.

  10. Wonderful story, Carmen–she’s one talented young lady and I hope she continues in this vein. And you’re one lucky author!

    1. carmenpeone says:

      Thank you, Andrea. What a find! And all the attention is boosting her confidence. I love it! She’s amazing. Thank you for commenting.