Illustrator Blends Fantasy and Reality to Create Captivating Images

Terri DelNegro tells the story of a cat's homecoming in first children's book
By Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte
May 4, 2016 Updated: May 4, 2016

MIDDLETOWN—With the eye of an artist, Terri DelNegro embeds photographic images into graphics that illustrate her first children’s book, “A Friend for Macaroni.” DelNegro was on hand to promote her book on April 30 at the Thrall Library.

DelNegro said she was inspired by a real experience with her granddaughter. The child’s cat Macaroni had run away and was missing for three days. DelNegro recalls her granddaughter’s anguish. “She was very devastated. She kept saying ‘Why would he leave me? I never even got to say goodbye.'”

The little girl’s mother had a solution. “My daughter-in-law told her that she should write him a letter and put it up on the hill where she saw him last to give her a chance to say goodbye.” What happened next was uncanny. “That evening the cat came home.”

DelNegro’s creative juices began to flow. “I started to visualize pictures to depict her story.” DelNegro took and printed photos of Macaroni in various positions.

Terri DelNegro, author and illustrator of "A Friend for Macaroni" at Thrall Library in Middletown on April 30, 2016. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)
Terri DelNegro, author and illustrator of “A Friend for Macaroni” at Thrall Library in Middletown on April 30, 2016. (Yvonne Marcotte/Epoch Times)

She cut them out and arranged the images, adding other animals into the composition “so I could show what it might have looked like when he was meeting other animals in the woods.”  

Getting the story published took elbow grease. She taught herself how to use a desktop publisher to format the book “and how to put the pictures in the right format for self-publishing.”

Creative Life

DelNegro has another photographer in the family—her mother. “I grew up with her always having a camera around her neck.” As a child growing up in Middletown, she was one of her mother’s favorite subjects to photograph. “Every time I turned around she wanted to take pictures of me in different professional photographer poses.”

I learned how to develop my own pictures. It just grew from there.
— Terri DelNegro, photographer and children's book author

DelNegro’s mother had a dark room. “I learned how to develop my own pictures. It just grew from there.” DelNegro now works in computer graphics.

DelNegro shoots with a Canon EOS rebel SL1. A short bio on the Thrall website states that DelNegro “loves blending fantasy and reality to create captivating pictures.”

Her favorite artist/illustrator is Caldecott honoree Aaron Becker. She regards his book trailers, short video clips that take the viewer through the book, as especially creative. DelNegro intends her own book trailer. “I keep watching his over and over for inspiration.”

This is possibly the first of more to come. She is considering a story about seagulls “that have sort of a show and tell at the beach.”

The library hosted a meet-and-greet with local authors and illustrators publishing in adult fiction, non-fiction, and children’s books. Readers could learn about the publishing process and take a look at the authors’ books.

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Yvonne Marcotte
Yvonne Marcotte