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Westport Resident Plays Multiple Roles

Artist, author, teacher, mother and wife — these are only some of the hats that Westport resident Elaine Clayton wears.

And for Elaine, her roles are tied together by one thing: people.

"It's all connected for me," said Elaine, 48. "I'm interested in people: what their dreams are like, how the light falls on them, the things we all experience no matter where we're from, and the fact that no two of us are alike."

Born in the Texas panhandle, she said her interest comes from her father, a psychiatrist. And it's that interest and curiosity that opened many doors, starting with art.

"I started sketching at about 17. I would draw people, make up families and give people names," said Elaine, a mother of two. "I loved watching people in their own environment and capturing that."

Elaine still loves to draw people and often travels around town with a sketchbook and pencil, capturing snapshots for her Westport sketchbook .

Her love of drawing and painting took her to the Atlanta College of Art. After graduating, she landed a job as an elementary school teacher at a private school.

"For story time, I would create drawings on the board and make up a story on the spot. One day, when I went to erase the drawings, the students said, 'No, don't erase it,'" Elaine said. "They wanted me to do with my stories what I asked them to do with their stories: develop them."

Because of that classroom experience, she broke into the publishing world in 1993 with "Pup in School." She is the author and illustrator of three other children's books, and has illustrated several books for other authors, including Jane Smiley and Gregory Maguire.

To learn more about Elaine, visit her website and online sketchbook .

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