Ann Marcelli on the job at an OU sports event. Photo courtesy of Joe Jordan.

Has it been six years? Six years since Ann Marcelli was a Rio Rancho High School senior and covering and photographing sports in her spare time for the Observer.
Since she snagged her diploma on the stage at Santa Ana Star Center, she’s not only attended the University of Oklahoma and snagged two more sheepskins there — a bachelor’s and a master’s — but also logged countless hours in the Sooners’ sports media relations department.
In her role with the OU athletics department, she’s been to numerous Big 12 football and basketball games, and been the main contact for men’s and women’s tennis teams and volleyball.
Update: Now she’s added to her résumé, this time as an illustrator: “Adam the Angry Monster” is her first illustrated book.
“I always wanted to do something with art,” she said, undeterred when people told her “there’s no money in that.”
In her late July 2020 post on Facebook, she said: “OK, OK, it’s happening… During quarantine I’ve had the opportunity to get back into art and design. I’ve got some fun plans for my work, starting with custom illustrations for sale! I’m overwhelmed by how much support I’ve already gotten. I’ve started an art-stagram to keep everything in one place and keep track of requests a little better. I’ll be sharing new pieces and a little more about my work on ANM_illustrations.”
Her creative work can be found at
Teaming with the creator
“Adam the Angry Monster” author Nicole Rivera Brastard received her master’s degree at New Mexico State University in 2010 and has been working as a licensed marriage and family therapist with children, teenagers and adults since that time. She has a private practice, focused on working with children and teenagers.
“Technically, she’s my fourth cousin; she lives in Las Cruces,” Marcelli said. “I’ve never met her.”
Marcelli says the author-illustrator partnership is convoluted: “Another cousin that I know better lives in Albuquerque, and she and my mom were talking; (Brastard) was writing a book and needed an illustrator — and my mom said, ‘My daughter’s an illustrator.’”
That led to the arrangement, facilitated on Zoom.
“It started in early November, but I was about to get into basketball, so I didn’t know if I could handle it,” Marcelli continued. “That’s my busiest part of the year, so ‘work with me a little bit on the timeline.’ We worked it out.”
There are actually two “Adam the Angry Monster” books.
“It’s the same story, with one version for 3- to 5-year-olds, one for ages 6-10,” she said, estimating the number of her illustrations between the two “Adams” close to 40.
“I’ve always drawn, (and) I used to paint, especially in high school, but I didn’t have enough room in college,” she said.
“I remember when I was little, I was always drawing, whether it was in art class or on my own. Through school — and even into college — I would draw in the margins of my notes or even draw what I was learning instead of writing it out,” she explained. “In college, I was introduced to graphic design and was hooked, but PhotoShop didn’t allow me to draw and move things around the way I wanted to.”
Last Christmas, a digital gift enhanced her skill set for graphic design.
In the past, she explained, “I would always sketch things out before I got into PhotoShop. I got an iPad and started drawing with the Procreate app, and that opened up a lot more possibilities. With Procreate, there are a lot of tools that you can use to make your work look like pencil sketches, paintings and anything in between — so it’s really cool. You can essentially work in a variety of media all in one place.”
Marcelli said the pandemic has almost been a blessing in disguise, as she’s not only had to enhance her digital skills but enjoyed doing so.
“I will do Nicole’s social media… and start looking for free-lance work,” she said. “I’ve done logos for a couple companies.”
Although sports still coarse through her veins, Marcelli said these recent opportunities will probably serve her well in the future: “I would like to do something where I’m not boxed into one area, using that whole skill set — social media, digital design. There are so many opportunities for creative work, especially now, when everything is digital.
“It’s cool to see how that industry has grown over the past year.”
The paperback edition of the 3- to 5-year-old version is available at, Marcelli said. Both versions are available as eBooks.