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Drawing from life

Emily Krueger holds up a childrens book she created the illustrations for. Other projects are spread on the table, including cards, coloring books and an artist book with a short section about her. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal

Bright-green animated data characters lead readers through an adorable new children's book that explains how a computer server works.

"Goodnight Server Room" is an easy-to-understand explanation written in a rhyming style. The book takes children on a cute story about what happens in a server room, beginning with blinking lights and circuit boards to explaining what data is and how it moves around. Fun illustrations help children (and some adults) understand that "the processor is like a brain, it thinks and thinks and won't complain. No problem is too big or small. The processor solves them, one and all."

Esko illustrator Emily Krueger collaborated with author Tyler Smith for the book. Smith is a software engineer who could not find any books to help explain his work to his young children, so he wrote one and asked Krueger to draw the illustrations.

"I was happy with the way it turned out," Krueger said. "This was our first full book together." She had illustrated a few book covers with Smith on earlier projects.

Krueger is a 2009 Esko graduate who recently moved back to the area. She graduated from Bemidji State University with a degree in fine art and graphic design.

The 27-year-old has had a variety of illustration jobs, including a coloring book, quilt fabric and a autumn greeting card at Trader Joe's.

Her specialty is nature and animals, so the latest book was outside of her usual realm of subjects.

Krueger has always been interested in art. One of her first memories was drawing the family dog in a recliner when she was 8 years old.

In school, Krueger took any art-related classes she could fit in her schedule. She also looked outside her school to further her passion and took classes at the Duluth Art Institute. Krueger also entered countless contests and exhibits over the years.

"Corky Joslin (art teacher at the time) steered me towards BSU," Krueger said.

Krueger combines old-fashioned drawing techniques with modern technology to create her illustrations. She scans her photos into the computer and then "paints" them using Adobe Photoshop photo-editing software to create the finished product.

The book is available at and

The book can be purchased at The Red Balloon (Saint Paul) and Minnesota Center for Book Arts (Minneapolis).

Smith said they've sold about 550 copies since the book became available Dec. 1. He is hoping to sell 2,000 copies.