Mary Boone’s grandmother started taking her to art classes when she was 7 years old, but by the time she was 9, she was drawing with the teenagers.
Mary just turned 18 and is beginning her senior year at Granite City High School. She’s explored several career ideas, including forensic profiling, law enforcement and the military. But her love of drawing and fascination with superheroes kept bringing her back to art.
“I’m obsessed with superheroes,” Mary said. “When I was little I had issues with my health, and I was in the hospital a lot. That’s when I fell in love with superheroes, especially Wolverine; he has gone through so many things, and he survived.”
Mary said she would wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, unable to breathe because of her asthma. She’s much better now, after years of treatments and several hospitalizations, but the idea of overcoming obstacles kept her fascination with superheroes: mostly the Marvel Universe and the X-Men, though she saves some respect for Superman and Batman.
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Those characters are featured prominently in her drawing, which won a superior excellence ribbon at the Illinois State Fair this year. But she’s also created her own characters, and hopes to become an animation artist and character designer. And she’s already selling; Mary has begun displaying her work at area art and book fairs, selling her work to the public.
“I like making things that are new and creating characters,” Mary said. “I love making things to give to people, because it always brings a smile to their face.”
When she’s not drawing, she’s doing jigsaw puzzles; it’s been a passion of hers since she was 2 years old, doing more and more puzzles every day across her bedroom floor. Currently she’s working on a 1,000-piece puzzle of DC Comics character Harley Quinn, but there’s also a 700-piece puzzle she does almost every day, just for practice.
That’s when I fell in love with superheroes, especially Wolverine; he has gone through so many things, and he survived.
Mary’s interest in art comes naturally. Both her grandmother and her mother, Melanie Boone, dabbled in art, though they weren’t as passionate about it as Mary, according to her mother.
“She definitely has a passion for animated art, which I don’t always understand, but people are always saying, ‘I love Mary’s artwork,’” Melanie Boone said.
And what’s it like living with a budding artist? “Sometimes it’s very challenging; their motivations are different,” Melanie said. “I’m a very structured, organized type of person, and Mary’s not. I think that just goes with the artistic ability.”
That ability is definitely apparent to Patty Kopsky, Mary’s art teacher at Granite City High School. “She’s a super kid,” Kopsky said. “She’s very self-motivated, and that makes a huge difference.” Kopsky has been working with Mary to expand her reach, and expose her to different art styles than the kind of art she’s always done. She said teaching art is “an absolute thrill,” and so is watching Mary’s skill develop. “She’s very talented,” Kopsky said.
Mary plans to study art locally or at the University of California Los Angeles, but is still researching her options. Wherever she ends up, she knows she’ll keep drawing. “You need to focus on what you’re good at and what you enjoy,” she said.
- Age: 18
- School: Granite City High School
- Grade: Senior
- Town: Granite City
- Parents: Melanie and Duane Boone
- Siblings: Olivia, Sophia, and Mallory
- Favorite class: Art, English and psychology
- Clubs and activities: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Saturday art class, Granite City 4-H Club, hobby club, anime club, one year in Edwardsville Police Explorers
- Pasttimes and hobbies: Besides art, jigsaw puzzles and reading
- Future plans: College to study art and animation; character design and voice actor
- Advice for fellow students: “You need to focus on what you’re good at and what you enjoy.”