In June, award-winning author, illustrator, musician and professional speaker Mike Artell, of Covington, visited branches of the East Baton Rouge Public Library system to conduct cartoon illustration workshops for teens.

The workshops included lessons on how to get started in drawing and basic cartooning techniques and offered teens an opportunity to have their own drawings critiqued.

His advice on illustrations was to make drawings visually interesting for readers by always surprising them.

“When doing graphic novels or comic books, it takes a lot of drawing. I always work in pencil first, because I never get it right the first time,” Artell said.

Another tip he offered was to make drawings big because then you don’t have to draw as much, he said.

His career as a freelance writer, illustrator and cartoonist began in 1987, and he has even hosted his own television show.

Artell creates simple cartoon drawings on YouTube, illustrates for national publications and has written and illustrated more than 40 children’s books.

His book “Petite Rouge — A Cajun Red Riding Hood” was named the 2009 Read Aloud Book of the Year by the National Association of Elementary School Principals.