Local author and illustrator Alicia Young held a recent launch party in Killeen for her first book, “Drawing from God’s Love: An Artist’s Devotional.”

Young has been drawing for as long as she can remember, growing up in her parents’ art school for kids in Arlington. She has illustrated over 25 children’s books, but decided it was her turn to be the author. Her father suggested in January that she turn her illustrations into a book, and from there things fell into place quickly.

Young decided to self-publish her book to have more control over the process and timing, and said that was a learning curve and a blessing.

Young said it was her friend Sarah’s idea to host the party on Small Business Saturday last month. Young and her husband moved to the Killeen area in the spring from North Texas, and when her friend heard she wanted to publish her book, she suggested the party. It was a joint event with LuLaRoe Team Hoffman, so guests could purchase Young’s book as well as shop for clothing.

Midparty Young hosted a drawing lesson, where attendees learned how to draw Mr. Hedgie, the book’s adorable hedgehog character. Young enjoyed putting the book together and knew this would be a good way to introduce it. “It was really fun. I loved every part of it,” Young said.

What started out as daily drawings accompanied by a devotional on her Instagram account quickly gained popularity with her followers. Young said she had the flu last winter, so she had to do all of her drawing from the couch with just one color, which was very unlike the usual full-color illustrations done at her desk.

This, she said, “was all part of God’s plan, so I’m actually grateful.” People began reacting positively to the monochromatic drawings, and the idea went from there.

The book includes 31 days of devotionals with corresponding illustrations, as well as coloring pages and Bible verse cutouts. She said the book is not a children’s book, but for all ages to enjoy.

“This is for the whole family. Some people are getting it to read to their younger children, and some are giving it to their moms or grandmas,” Young said.

Each day features a two-page spread that includes the day’s devotional, staged photos, and accompanying illustrations, all in a monochromatic theme. Young staged all of the photographs herself on her back porch, using small trinkets she acquired from her home or local garage sales.

This is just the first book in her devotional series. Look for her next book, a mermaid devotional, in May.

Young said her hope with this book is “to help families draw closer to Jesus. Without him, I wouldn’t even be doing any of this. I want it to be really encouraging … to lead people closer to the Lord and encourage people to pursue whatever God has called them to do.”

She said her inspiration is God’s creation, as shown in her numerous drawings of nature, especially her favorite character Mr. Hedgie that can be seen on almost every page of her book.

To buy a copy of the book, a Mr. Hedgie enamel pin, or miniature paintings, go to her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/aliciayoungart.To see her work in action, go to her Instagram account @aliciayoungart.

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