We’re Off To Harvard Square: Local Artist’s Illustrations Get A Second Life

The first time Sage Stossel sat down to pen We’re Off to Harvard Square, she gave up.

Stossel wanted to write and illustrate a children’s book, and figured the easiest way to go about doing so was to write a story and then sketch out the drawings to accompany it. The longtime Harvard Square resident had recently moved away from Cambridge, and looking back, she says she must have missed it. “For whatever reason, when I sat down to come up with something, what I ended up doing was a kind of Dr. Seuss-y, rhyming tribute to Harvard Square,” she says.

But Stossel was young—just out of college—and on her first attempt she didn’t get much further than the poem. “When I sat down to then try to do the pictures, I realized Harvard Square is actually a really complicated thing to draw,” she recalls. “I was kind of in over my head, so I just stuck it in a drawer.”

With time and practice, Stossel honed her skill, eventually gaining the confidence to return to her project. She’d ended up moving back to Harvard Square, and she started posting up throughout the neighborhood with her pen and sketchbook. (“I guess I was braver then,” laughs Stossel, who has since illustrated more children’s books—using pencil.) Locals would come up and talk to her as she committed the square’s landmarks—the Coop, Pinocchio’s Pizza, Out of Town News—to paper, including one homeless gentleman who provided continuous encouragement as she fleshed out her drawings.  Read more here


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