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A Perfect Gallery Show for Families at Thomas More College

“I get to paint all the things I like to paint,” Jeffery Ebbeler says happily. “Robots, dragons, talking vegetables…”

Ebbeler is a much-sought illustrator of children’s literature, and his work is on view through Nov. 24 at Thomas More College. The family-friendly exhibit includes more than 40 whimsical paintings from “about 10 books,” a video piece, a large sculpture, sketches and magazine covers, will fill the Eva G. Farris Gallery almost to over-flowing. 

Jeffrey Ebbeler: Click! is named for his 2015 book, and the exhibit coincides with the OKI (Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana) Children’s Literature Conference on the college campus on Nov. 7. Ebbeler is a featured speaker at the conference and will give a free, public gallery talk on Nov. 16. 

Gallery director Elizabeth Neal said the conference is a perfect opportunity “to really emphasize and feature a local, working Illustrator. The Tri-State has such a rich, prolific amount of talented illustrators.” 

Ebbeler is excited about the show because “a lot of people, especially kids, don’t think about paintings somebody actually made” that are miniaturized for the page of a book. 

If Click! inspires young gallery-goers to try illustration, he’ll be a happy man. Ebbeler’s picture book is “a bedtime story told through sounds.” A child has a bird-shaped lamp on his nightstand and when he turns it off – click! – the bird comes to life. The bird follows noises on a nocturnal adventure with almost no words. 

Ebbeler hopes Click! encourages children to pay attention to the sounds all around them and to develop their powers of observation.

The Thomas More exhibit includes a video with animation featuring the book’s sound effects. He also worked with a local welder and a glass blower to create a four-foot sculpture of the story’s bird lamp.

Ebbeler notes that illustrating “takes a lot of time (but) the process of coming up with a good story, an idea that’s original, is surprisingly hard.” He has more of those ideas, watch for them in the near future.

Jeffrey Ebbeler: Click!, Nov. 5-24. Eva G. Farris Gallery, Library Building, Thomas More College, Crestview Hills.  Special events: Meet the Authors; Gallery Talk 1:15 p.m. Nov. 16. Gallery hours: 5:30 p.m. Nov.6; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 2-8 p.m. Sunday. 859-344-3300.

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts