Illustrator Tom Woodruff with an album

Words certainly convey information – but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

That was true for St. Johns Public School students this past week, thanks to illustrator Tom Woodruff’s creative talents that brought Michigan history into elementary school classrooms across the district. Native American culture and traditions and the beauty of nature and its influence on the development of the Great Lakes State were brought to life through Woodruff’s artistic talents during hands-on drawing sessions and a community workshop.

Students, created their own interpretations of Woodruff’s original drawings during the grade-level sessions. Woodruff provided a verbal history lesson about the objects that he sketched while explaining the illustration process as the students followed along. He also answered questions and signed a number of the student’s drawings.

Primary funding for Woodruff’s visit was provided by St. Johns Schools Foundation for Excellence, a non- profit organization that works to support district-wide programming and projects which are unable to be funded from the district’s operating budget. Additional funding came from Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) at each of the elementary school buildings: East Olive, Eureka, Gateway, Oakview and Riley.

To view Woodruff’s art work, including prints from his various books, visit