From digital art to acrylic scenes

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 12, 2020

Local artist Abigail Chatelain is quick to try new art forms and experiment with different materials.

Her work is full of soft landscapes, people and animals and architecture that may be familiar to residents of Pearl River County. Her home is filled with artwork, including dreamy fall forest scenes and a wolf lit by moonlight.

At 10-years-old Chatelain took a week long colored pencil art class that taught her the basics and kickstarted her dedication to drawing. She has a degree in art from William Carey University and sells her work on a commission basis.

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At first Chatelain primarily worked in acrylic paints. She was more comfortable with the medium than oil paints, and acrylics offer an easier cleanup. These days, much of her work is digital.

Chatelain and her brother worked together to create “A Tour of Pearl River County Mississippi” coloring book, Vol. 1. They took photos of iconic Pearl River County landmarks and events, which include everything form the railroad to Poplarville’s Blueberry Jubilee.

Chatelain then creates a coloring page using the photo as a base. She chooses which lines to digitally trace, simplifying the original image into a coloring page. Creating the coloring page digitally means that she has to choose which parts of the picture to bring out and how to balance the image using line thickness. Keeping too many fine details in the image creates something closer to an illustration rather than a fun coloring page, she said.

Chatelain also created the coloring pages for “Keep Pearl River County Clean and Green,” a coloring book put out by the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to help encourage recycling and discourage littering.

Chatelain was also commissioned to create illustrations for an educational book for children. The educational book was intended to offer Christian ministry while also sharing stories about sexual abuse to reach children who may be dealing with those experiences.

Chatelain illustrated specific verses from the Bible as well as scenes from the real stories of sexual abuse.

Not all of her commissioned work is quite as serious. She’s also been commissioned to create a cartoon, which was then printed on glasses and aprons.

Chatelain has also experimented with other art forms, trying her hand at stained glass, pottery and even mounting butterflies.

Butterfly mounting is a delicate process. The dead insects have to be rehydrated, allowed to dry for a day, before being spread out on a board with butterfly tweezers. Lightweight paper is pinned carefully on top of them to allow the butterflies to dry in the correct position.

Her current project is another coloring book, Volume 2 of “A Tour of Pearl River County Mississippi.”

Chatelain can be reached at