WVHS graduate Maya Henderson meets with kindergarten class


WVHS graduate Maya Henderson meets with kindergarten class

June 22, 2022

Warwick Valley High School graduate Maya Henderson returned to Pine Island Elementary School last week to meet with students in the class of her former kindergarten teacher Mrs. Canfield. Maya, who will be a senior at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the fall, talked about how she illustrated the children’s book “123s With Tonellio”.

Maya showed the kindergarten students her process of creating illustrations. She starts with a rough sketch, and then adds lines, colors and details. Maya also showed the students how she draws on an iPad with a stylus.

The students did have some questions for Maya. One boy wanted to know if Maya could draw Sonic the Hedgehog. Maya answered that she is a huge Sonic fan and can draw the character. Students also asked about drawing dinosaurs and princesses. Maya can do both.

During her presentation, Maya showed the students a photo of her kindergarten class from 2005, including Mrs. Canfield. She also brought the blue composition book she drew in when she was in kindergarten.

“If you want to be an artist, you can do it,” Maya told the children.

After that, Maya gave the students step-by-step instructions on how to draw a character from the book she illustrated. She drew under a projector so the students could follow each step with their own drawing.

Maya started drawing when she was very young and always knew she wanted to be an artist. She remembers her kindergarten art teacher was Ms. Cosco, who now teaches art at WVMS. Ms. Cosco remembers Maya as a very talented student.

Maya continued working in art in high school, including participating in the “Once Upon a Child” children’s book project. She credits WVHS art teacher Ms. Spano with helping her get into MICA with a scholarship.

 “I’ve been interested in art pretty much my entire life,” Maya said. “I knew from kindergarten that I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. My ultimate goal is to write and illustrate my own children’s books and graphic novels.”

In addition to illustrating the children’s book, Maya has had three pieces published on The New Yorker website. She received an Instagram direct message from a New Yorker cartoon editor who liked Maya’s work.

 “At first I thought it was a scam or a joke, but it was legitimate,” Maya said. “And the rest is history.”

You can learn more about Maya on her website and see her New Yorker work at https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/maya-henderson

See a photo gallery of Maya’s visit below:


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