Pursuing her dreams in the Big Apple

HAFTR alum Jacquelyn Roslyn illustrates children’s book


When Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway (HAFTR) alum Jacquelyn Roslyn moved to Manhattan in 2011 from Lawrence, she thought it was the best place to live in order to pursue her career in illustration and with her first book out this year, it seems she may have been on to something.

On Labor Day, “The Peanut Pickle,” a children’s book about having a peanut allergy, hit stores and Roslyn, 22, a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) graduate, illustrated all 48 pages.

After showing her portfolio to the Manhattan-based Sky Pony Press in May 2011, she received an email from the children’s book imprint of Skyhorse Publishing three months later asking her if she’d like to illustrate the book. “I was ecstatic,” she said about the opportunity. “I emailed them back right away and signed a contract. I only told my parents in the beginning because I didn’t want to tell anyone until it was set in stone.”

Roslyn’s father, Seth, was excited for his daughter when he found out she would be illustrating the book. “I’m proud of her; it’s certainly an accomplishment,” he said. “All of my children are incredibly creative and I think it stems from my wife — she’s an illustrator.”

Gila, Roslyn’s mother, also a FIT graduate, has been an illustrator for the past 30 years for a variety of magazines and newspapers. “We are an artistic family,” she said. “Jacquelyn has an amazing sense of color and a very unique style. It didn’t surprise or shock me that she illustrated this book; I would expect this from her because she’s amazing and talented.”

The author of the “Peanut Pickle,” Jessica Jacobs, and the publishing company gave Roslyn freedom to design the main character, Ben. “I came up with sketches for each page and once I showed it to the author and got her input I had three months to do final illustrations,” Roslyn said. “There aren’t a lot of books out there about children’s allergies. Children see a child their age and are able to understand what they’re going through and learn how to deal with certain situations.”

She began drawing when she was a child and credits her mother for exposing her to the world of art. “It’s not only seeing what I accomplish but having the ideas in my head get a point across,” she said. “I enjoy being able to connect with people in that sense.”

Roslyn believes her professional life was propelled by her HAFTR education. “It definitely prepared me because going to private school and yeshiva gave me a good understanding of my religion, roots and where I came from,” Roslyn said. “They also have a great art program and that access to art allowed me to develop my skills.”

Dale Malekoff, the director of the Art Institute at HAFTR High School, said Roslyn completed a four-year intensive art program that included drawing, ceramics and painting. “She was always very dedicated to her art and spent as much time as possible in the art studio,” Malekoff said. “Her attention to detail foretold her unique ability for illustration. I am so very proud of her and expect to see many more projects in her budding career.”

With one book completed, Roslyn has been busy freelancing and illustrating another book that educates children about different countries. “I’m hoping it will be out soon,” she said. “I’ve been building a lot of connections and am excited to branch out my career.”