b'Your Guide to theIndomitable Jay CooperPen and paper in hand, this local author-illustrator brings joie de vivreto your elementary school or bookstoreBY SARA COURTNEYJay Cooper at the MAPSO Book FestivalJ ay Cooper is at it again. He islong devotion to literature, and to this day, moving about the gymnasium ofCooper is a passionate advocate for encour-St. Cloud Elementary School inaging kids to readwhether its the books West Orange, darting back andthe parents approve of, or the comic books forth under a projection of thewith potty humor. I didnt understand at words HOW MANY OF YOUthe time I was learning all this vocabulary, LIKETODRAW?Withhisand I was learning narrative structure, and distinctive beard and a mischievous look in hisstory design so well, because I was just hav-eyes, Cooper is in his element. He takes sug- ing fun reading entertaining material, he gestions from the audience of captivated kidssays. The comics of his youth inspired him engagedinaninteractivedrawingsessionofsigning books at Words bookstore (Hes thankingto major in literaturenot artwhen he what Cooper calls robot by committee. How manyyou for supporting your local independent book- got to college. It was primarily because of art that I eyeballs does the robot have? What is the shape ofstore!Andalso,stillbrainstorming),ordrawingbecame a heavy reader.the robots head? he asks, and the kids answer, andfeverishly on NJ Transit (this is from all that brain- Cooper moved to New York City in 1998 and pretty soon, to the delight of an auditorium full ofstorming). Hes a rollicking good conversationalist,promptly got hired in the mailroom at Martha Stew-kids, a quirky robot is illustrated before thempartprone to making unexpected detours into details youart Living magazine. I had no idea what I wanted to Coopers, but also part theirs. didnt know you needed but are so happy to have,do, he admits. I had no direction. I followed a girl Drawing is fun! Reading is amazing! Do you likesuch as the fact that his scanner is named Scan Lee. to New York City because she was going to Colum-Jay Cooper yet? If you dont know, ask your kids. AndGrowing up in Delaware (There are only twobia grad school, and I sort of fell into it. When he the answer is an unambiguous yes. people you will ever meet from Delaware. Its me andsent out a memo that misspelled the iconic designer Cooper is an author and illustrator of more thanPresident Biden, he explains), Cooper always lovedas Martha Stuart, his friendly and infectious spirit 20 books, an executive creative director at a Broad- drawing. I drew all the time, he says. His love ofhelped it all blow over.way ad agency, and an enthusiastic collector of raredrawing eventually grew to a love of comic books.He quickly made his way up through the market-and first edition books. Perhaps you have seen himI started to read comic books and I just devoureding department. After taking classes at the School of jogging around Maplewood (hes brainstorming) orthem. This dedication to comics grew into a life- Visual Arts, his portfolio grew, and he moved into 26/ matters magazine / winter 2023'