Go on a Fantastical Journey at 'Never Abandon Imagination' Exhibit

New exhibit at Mint Museum Randolph showcases art of award-winning author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi.


Published:

See works from across the career of New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi at the exhibition “Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi” from June 22 to November 3, 2019 at Mint Museum Randolph.

Ann Gonzales

From board games to favorite childhood books, graphic novels, action figures and toys, Tony DiTerlizzi's art studio is filled with things of his childhood. It makes sense for a man whose career is driven by imagination. DiTerlizzi is widely recognized as one of this generation’s leading authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults, including "The Spiderwick Chronicles," a middle-age novel that was made into a major motion picture in 2008, "The Spider & the Fly," and the children's book series "Ted." His first big break, however, was as an illustrator for the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, then Planescape, followed by the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering.

More than 150 of DiTerlizzi's original works, including sketches and drawings from when he was in elementary, middle and high school, are on display at the exhibition "Never Abandon Imagination: The Fantastical Art of Tony DiTerlizzi," at the Mint Museum Randolph, June 22 through Nov. 3. The exhibit is designed with kids in mind. Many pieces are mounted at kid level. Many gallery walls are designed by local Children's Theatre of Charlotte set designer Tim Parati to mimic the worlds of the characters DiTerlizzi created. There are also numerous interactive stations for kids to create their own art.

For DiTerlizzi, the ultimate goal of the exhibit is to inspire kids with his early drawings and sketches who may walk away and think "Wow maybe I can do that," he says. "When you look at a finished painting as a kid, you look and think 'I can’t do that' and 'how do I get there,' so we intentionally put things in of all stages of my art from elementary, high school and art school to demystify the art."

DiTerlizzi_books

Browse books written and illustrated by DiTerlizzi at the Mint Museum Randolph exhibit.

Photo by Michele Huggins


The Early Influencers

DiTerlizzi, 49, grew up in Florida and says he was always the kid in the back of class drawing. He credits his parents and school art teachers for their encouragement of his raw talent, which pushed him to keep drawing and ultimately follow his dream of illustrating children's books. 

"I grew up in an artsy household and had the fortune of having a stay-at-home-mom who was artistically inclined. She was the one who sat and drew with me at the kitchen table or in my bedroom." DiTerlizzi says.

He loved drawing so much as a child, he remembers a time just after his mother had painted his bedroom walls. He was around age 6 and very into drawing dinosaurs.

"While (the walls) were drying I went into my room with pencils and just covered them with dinosaur drawings. I can still remember the look of Mom just like 'you just did that didn’t you.'" As the story goes, "My dad comes home from work and he had stopped by the butcher and had gotten and gotten a roll of butcher paper and put it on the walls and said now you can draw on the walls." Instead of squelching his innate desire to draw, "my parents figured out how to make it work for me," he says. 

For many years, DiTerlizzi says he didn't think there was anything particularly special about his art, but he knew he loved to draw. By the time he was a senior in high school, however, he started to consider art schools after graduation.

"My art teacher, Tom Wetzel, took me under his wing and saw my raw ability, but also saw that I didn’t have a focus." Wetzel pushed him to find his point of view. What kind of art did he want to do? At the time, his younger brother was reading "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." Over the course of the weekend, while reading with his brother, DiTerlizzi decided that he wanted to do his own rendition of the Alice in Wonderland characters. It was then that he decided he wanted to be a children's book illustrator.

Holding Onto the Fairy Tales

DiTerlizzi got a his big break the fall after he graduated college and after repeatedly sending numerous illustrations to TSR, the then owners of Dungeons & Dragons. A fan of the game, DiTerlizzi spent a decade illustrating characters for Dungeons & Dragons and is happy to see a renaissance of the game with kids today.  

DiTerlizzi_ImaginationExhibit

The exhibit also highlights the early years of DiTerlizzi’s career, when he got his start designing for Dungeons & Dragons, Planescape, and Magic: The Gathering. 

Photo by Ann Gonzales


"Twelve-year-olds who played in the '80s now have 12-year-olds, so it’s a put-your-device-down-and-let’s-play-together-as-a-family game," he says. "And it scratches your imagination. Whatever you think of can be done." Same can be said of the game Magic: The Gathering for which DiTerlizzi also spent years painting illustrations.

A fan of classic fairy tales and stories by Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum and contemporary authors, including Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl, DiTerlizzi says he constantly taps his 8, 9, 10-year-old self through stories and toys he holds onto. He also takes inspiration from his 12-year-old daughter Sophia who keeps him connected to childhood celebrations, trials and tribulations, and the simple things kids love today as much as he did when he was a kid like "Friday night pizza and a movie and crawling up on the couch with your family to watch The Goonies," he says.

"I makes books that I think would impress the 10-year-old version of myself," he says, but he runs all new book ideas by Sophia to get her take. "Aside from her opinion and encouragement, she brings me back to being 12."

DiTerlizzi_Create Your Own

DiTerlizzi_Interactive

Hands-on elements and art stations are part of the Never Abandon Imagination exhibition.

PHOTO BY MICHELE HUGGINS


Artist Advice

For anyone who has a child who is interested in art, DiTerlizzi advises patience. "I think art is a skill not unlike knowing to play an instrument, so it takes time and patience, and you will fail many times, but you will succeed," he says. "Not everything will go your way and not they way you think it will." Lessons that can also be applied to life.

"I’m really the product of a kid who just had daydreams of being an artist, and could tell stories that I liked as my job, and I just never stopped doing that. There were many years that it looked like it wouldn’t happen, but then it did. I didn’t give up," he says.

What's in Your Art Kit?

As a mom of a kid who loves to draw, this was my son's question for DiTerlizzi: What's in your art kit? His answers:

  1. Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils
  2. Eraser pack with gum and white eraser
  3. Pilot microball pens
  4. Reams of white bond paper

"I use some fancy paints, but my main tools, my most beloved tools, can be bought at a CVS or a Staples," he says.

DiTerlizzi, who used markers in art school and now uses pen and ink and watercolors, says alcohol-based markers like Copics, are a great way to learn color and blending as opposed to watercolor paints, "which can be intimidating," he says.

His trick: Put a bit of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swap, then use the cotton swab on a picture colored with alcohol-based markers to blend colors and give the appearance of watercolors. The same can can be done with water-based markers. Simply draw with water-based markers, then use a brush and water to turn it into something like a watercolor.

"At end of day have to find what feels so natural it feels like another finger on your end and can use the pen or paint as effortlessly as possible. For some it’s oil paint, watercolor or its a camera," he says.

“Never Abandon Imagination” is at the Mint Museum Randolph from June 22 to Nov. 3. Museum admission is free on opening day (June 22), and includes family-friendly activities, plus a talk by DiTerlizzi at 1 p.m.

Michele Huggins is the editor of Charlotte Parent magazine.

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Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
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Website »

More information

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More information

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Cost: Free to military service men and women

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More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


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More information

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Website »

More information

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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

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Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
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View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free to military service men and women

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View map »


Website »

More information

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Carowinds Paladium
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View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
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Website »

More information

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Enjoy this community fireworks display at the lake. Viewing locations include Buster Boyd Bridge Boat Landing, Papa Doc's outside deck, Rey Azteca deck at Lake Wylie Plaza, Lake Wylie...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Buster Boyd Bridge Boat Landing
185 Blucher Cir.
Clover, SC
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Drop off your little ones to explore, play and learn during Music Mondays, Theater Thursdays and Food Fridays. A small snack is provided. Register online.

Cost: $21-$31

Where:
New Hope Baptist Church
2024 Redbud Drive
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddlers can enjoy a special jump session every weekday morning. With each child age 6 and younger, an adult may jump for free, not including DefyGravity socks for $3.

Cost: $11 for one hour

Where:
DefyGravity Trampoline Park
8116 University City Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

In addition to pass activities, the festival will feature live music, yoga, Battle Royale SUP Sprint and two days of fireworks. 

Cost: $6 for parking, activities and food available for purchase

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Drop in for safe play on the equipment indoors.

Cost: $8, $10 on weekends and school holidays

Where:
Superior Play Systems
11415 Granite St.
Suite C
, NC
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More information

Caregivers and their littles learn new yoga poses with songs and games. Multiple class rates available.

Cost: $20

Where:
Tiny Blooms Yoga
15905 Brookway Drive
Suite 4106
Huntersville, NC
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Website »

More information

Teach or play with your child in the heated pool.

Cost: $5 per swimmer, max $15 per family

Where:
Goldfish Swim School
13403 S. Ridge Drive
, NC
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Website »

More information

Visit Harrisburg or two days of fun, including amusements, food, entertainment and two nights of fireworks!

Cost: Free

Where:
Harrisburg Park
191 Sims Pkwy.
Harrisburg, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

rab dinner from a variety of local food trucks at this weekly rally. Visit the website for a list of participating trucks.

Cost: Free admission

Where:
Resident Culture Brewing Company
2101 Central Ave.
, NC
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This family-friendly event features craft brews, wine, cider, live music and the best food trucks in Charlotte. Bring the whole family, including your dogs. Along...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sycamore Brewing
2161 Hawkins St.
, NC
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Website »

More information

Treat the kids and yourself to a fun night out! Drop kids off to run, play and dance. Pizza dinner is included.

Cost: $25

Where:
Romp n' Roll NW Charlotte
3611 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road
207
, NC
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Website »

More information

The businesses at the Warehouses on White are pleased to host each first Friday for a night of fun and food!

Cost: Free

Where:
Warehouse on White
130 W. White St.
Rock Hill, SC
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Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 4th of July at the annual fireworks show, which will occur on both July 3 and July 4.

Cost: $45+, children 3-5 receive free admission with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

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Kick off Independence Day with a 4-mile race and 1-mile kids’ run. There will be no race-day registration. The event starts in Midtown with a family friendly finish line festival at Park...

Cost: $7-$42+

Where:
Metropolitan
1111 Metropolitan Ave.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Sponsor: New Dominion
Website »

More information

Bring the kids, strollers or dogs to complete 7.4 miles, 7.4 kilometers or 1.7 miles.

Cost: $25+

Where:
The Huntersville Business Park
13420 Reese Blvd. W.
Huntersville, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Before the afternoon and evening festivities, enjoy a morning parade. The parade will travel down Highway 49 beginning at Captain Steve’s Restaurant and ending at Robinson Ave. off...

Cost: Free

Where:
Highway 49
Harrisburg, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Welcome new citizens to the Charlotte community at a U.S. Oath and Naturalization ceremony. Learn more about the meaning of citizenship, democracy, immigration and freedom, and participate in...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Charlotte Museum of History
3500 Shamrock Drive
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Parade will feature vehicles, walkers, trucks, military equipment, horses and fire trucks.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Indian Trail
Indian Trail, NC


Website »

More information

Decorate your bikes and wagons at the Town Hall Green at 5:15pm for the People's Parade, which will begin at 6:15pm. Decorations will be provided. Picnic in Stumptown Park, beginning at 6pm,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Matthews, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Stars versus Stripes will feature some of the best collegiate players in the nation with fireworks to follow.

Cost: $19+

Where:
BB&T Stadium
324 S. Mint St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Enjoy music outdoors with the family. Dates: April 28, May 3, May 17, June 7, June 14, July 4, Aug. 2, Aug. 23, Sept. 6 and Sept. 20.

Cost: Free

Where:
Davidson Village Green
Intersection of Main Street and Concord Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Watch Kannapolis take on West Virginia!

Cost: TBA

Where:
Atrium Health Ballpark
1 Cannon Baller Way
Kannapolis, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The DJ and beverage garden will kick off at 6pm, and featured bands will start at 7pm. Food will be available for purchase.

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Belmont
Main Street
Belmont, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

All Kids Workshop attendees must be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times. All kids get to keep their craft, receive a free certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Home Depot
4750 South Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows presented faith of Jesus Christ in song. Come discover the ways the Lord used their efforts and their music to open hearts around the world. Read inspiring...

Cost: Free

Where:
The Billy Graham Library
4330 Westmont Drive
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: The Billy Graham Library
Website »

More information

In addition to pass activities, the festival will feature live music, yoga, Battle Royale SUP Sprint and two days of fireworks. 

Cost: $6 for parking, activities and food available for purchase

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

On Saturdays and Sundays from noon-5pm, the arcade bar opens to all ages with a parent or guardian present.

Cost: Cost for games

Where:
Abari Game Bar
1721 N. Davidson St.
, NC
View map »


Telephone: 980-430-4587
Website »

More information

Live the story of Stephen and the Apostles. Experience the rousing power of ANNO DOMINI: the year of our Lord while enjoying a Greek dinner.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theater
3327 Highway 51
Fort Mill, SC  29715
View map »


Website »

More information

Visit Harrisburg or two days of fun, including amusements, food, entertainment and two nights of fireworks!

Cost: Free

Where:
Harrisburg Park
191 Sims Pkwy.
Harrisburg, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

River Jam brings live music outdoors, right in the middle of the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Hear music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during each of...

Cost: $6 for parking

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
, NC
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Website »

More information

Celebrate the 4th of July at the annual fireworks show, which will occur on both July 3 and July 4.

Cost: $45+, children 3-5 receive free admission with Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the black basalt sculpture made by Josiah Wedgwood and other Staffordshire potters in late eighteenth-century England. 

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free

Where:
Mint Museum Randolph
2730 Randolph Road
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Multiplied: Edition MAT and the Transformable Work of Art examines the rise of three-dimensional objects issued in editions, which emerged as an international phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cost: $5-$9, children younger than 10 free

Where:
Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
420 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

The Things Come Apart exhibit reveals the inner workings of common, everyday items. Images explore how things are designed and how technology has evolved over time.

Cost: $6-$7, children 3 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Carowinds will pay tribute to military service men and women by honoring their bravery during Military Days. Active, inactive and retired service members are granted free admission to Carowinds by...

Cost: Free to military service men and women

Where:
Carowinds
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

This cultural celebration will include The Spectacle of Color Parade, a street party and festive foods.

Cost: $45+, children ages 3-5 free entry with a Pre-K Pass

Where:
Carowinds Paladium
14523 Carowinds Blvd.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

See the original, Broadway-style dinner show, and experience the story of Stephen and the Apostles. See website for showtimes.

Cost: $10-$40

Where:
NarroWay Theatre
3327 Hwy 51
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Sponsor: NarroWay Productions
Telephone: 803-802-2300
Website »

More information

This exhibit explores the various aspects of walls, which includes the artistic, social, political and historical aspects, as well as the physical barriers like fences or sand berms. The space is...

Cost: $6-$15, children 4 and younger free, included with admission

Where:
Mint Museum Uptown
500 S. Tryon St.
, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for our Pinkyswear Virtual Kids Triathlon event. This virtual event which kicks off formally on June 1st for all ages and abilities, and the triathlon can be completed anywhere! The...

Cost: $15

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: Pinkyswear Foundation
Contact Name: Valorie Liggett
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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Annual Guides

G.P.S. [Go.Play.See]

Your guide to raising kids in the Queen City, plus our 2019 Readers' Favorites for places to play, explore and learn with the kids.

Education Guide

A comprehensive guide to independent, private, charter and public schools in Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York counties.
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