Meet the Illustrator

Michael Steirnagle

Portrait of Michael Steirnagle

Growing up in the desert played a big role in Michael Steirnagle's career as an artist. Because there wasn't much to do, he says, "we had to be creative to entertain ourselves."

Steirnagle often uses a model when he needs to paint a person. His own children, Matthew and Stacy, pose for him when he is painting characters who look like them. For the illustrations for Hatchet, Steirnagle used a boy who lived down the street as his model. Then he did research to learn what features to paint in the background of the illustrations.

Look carefully again at Steirnagle's illustrations for Hatchet. What colors, brush strokes, and other details of the paintings tell you how Brian is feeling? How does Steirnagle show other important parts of the story?

Photography Credit


Other Books Illustrated by Michael Steirnagle

  • Billy Lazroe and the King of the Sea: A Northwest Legend
    (written by Eric A. Kimmel)
  • All by Herself: Fourteen Girls Who Made a Difference
    (written by Ann Whitford Paul)