Cecil College student Ethan Kellum’s work published


NORTH EAST, Md. – A childhood dream became a reality for Ethan Kellum after publishing his first book with author Leasy James. Kellum, an art and design major at Cecil College, illustrated To Who You Will Be, a children’s book about a parent’s love letter to their child.

“One of my lifelong dreams has been to have my work published. I have always wanted to be a professional illustrator, and this book has been a dream come true for me,” said Kellum, a native of Elkton, Md.

James approached Kellum about illustrating the book, as she knew of his talents from when he was attending Tri-State Christian Academy. At the time she met Kellum, James was teaching middle school English. She is an Associate Professor of Composition and Rhetoric at Delaware State University.

“I was honored when Leasy asked me to collaborate on this book. She’s an amazing person, and there’s no one else I would have rather worked with for my first book,” said Kellum.

James developed the idea of writing a children’s book about a parent’s love letter to their child. Kellum’s illustrations were formulated through the interpretation of her writing. Her work consisted of writing prose that would coincide with a page Kellum would illustrate. The process involved a lot of editing, tweaking, and re-editing the illustrations and, in some cases, entirely scrapping what they had.

“The process of illustrating a book has taught me so much about the professional world and what it takes to get your name out there and forge a career path for yourself,” said Kellum, who is in the planning stages of a second book with James.

In the meantime, Kellum is perfecting his style while pursuing an Associate of Arts in Art and Design at Cecil College. He plans to transfer to the University of Delaware for a bachelor’s degree in fine arts or graphic design.

“I would love to be able to do something with my art. I have always wanted to be a comic book artist; that’s definitely a life goal of mine. I think it would be pretty cool to do concept art for film, television, and maybe even video games,” said Kellum, who works part-time at Captain Blue Hen Comics in Newark, De. “I do theater which is very time-consuming, and I have a side hustle of being an independent artist, so I am always on the go.”

Kellum’s creativity was recently on display as a cast member of the “Sponge Bob the Musical” stage performance at Milburn Stone Theatre, where he played the role of “Patchy, the Pirate.” Theatre has been a creative outlet for him since middle school, and he landed a role in the Spring performance of Godspell at Milburn Stone Theatre.

“I try to stay active while attending Cecil College because I think staying connected with the community is important. I’ve been a part of so many cool experiences, I’ve met so many people and made so many friendships and connections,” said Kellum. “Cecil is a tight-knit community, yet it’s such a welcoming and supportive community.”


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