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Alumni Arts: Drawing from Her Childhood


At age 10 art-loving Suzanne “Suzy” Gerhart (BFA ’99) was asked by her elementary school librarian in Lakewood, Colorado, to draw a picture of Ribsy, the mischievous dog mentioned in many of Beverly Cleary’s books, on a big sheet of butcher paper. The project got her gears turning, and she decided then to become either an artist or a librarian. Now, as an illustrator, design manager at BYU Continuing Education, and adjunct illustration instructor, she straddles both art and print media.

Early influences like children’s book illustrators Louis Darling, Dr. Seuss, Garth Williams, and Richard Scarry shaped Gerhart’s love of literature. Today she approaches her art from a lens of storytelling, spirituality, and life lessons. “I like teaching principles—like hard work,” says Gerhart. “My heritage of pioneers and German-Ukrainian immigrants in Montana seeps into my work. I want to pass that on to new generations of readers.” See more of Gerhart’s work at suzygerhart.com.

An illustration of a homeless man pushing cart of groceries through a crowd of people in a crosswalk.
Cookies, Cans, and Christmas, in Friend magazine, December 2016. Illustration by Suzanne Gerhart.
An illustration of an old man raising a spoon above a soup pot in the forest. A dog and a child are looking into the pot. A girl is walking down the trail with a basket of potatoes.
Selection from Spot’s Soup, a digital children’s book, 2016. Illustration by Suzanne Gerhart.
Rodeo posters featuring a pig playing a guitar while sitting on a bucking armadillo and a fox with clown make-up.
Posters for the Austin Rodeo, 2012. Illustration by Suzanne Gerhart.