My journey as an illustrator started when I was very young. I have always loved to draw and can't remember a time when I wasn't drawing. Through the encouragement of my family, friends and some amazing teachers, at the age of 17 I found myself wanting to go to art school so I could focus on making stuff.
As a high school senior, I applied to several art schools. After visiting KCAI and spending a weekend in Kansas City, I felt at home here. A year later, I was a foundation student at the Kansas City Art Institute.
The following years were intense, eye-opening, fun, humbling, goofy, difficult and unforgettable. During the first semester of my junior year in the Illustration Department, I interned at Hallmark Cards. I worked for Hallmark, in various capacities, for the past 20 years.
People tend to think of flowers, fuzzy bunnies and those (sappy) commercials when they hear the word "Hallmark." Hallmark has all those things, but it also has a whole lot more. During my time there I was able to work on a variety of projects, in several different roles. I worked on greeting cards, books, posters, plush toys, marketing pieces, web design, animation, identity, 3D products and much more (including an 11 foot robot!). I've been an illustrator, designer and collaborator. I also spent 3 years as the art director for Shoebox (the tiny, little division of Hallmark).
Contained within these pages are samples of recent work that I have done and projects that I have been a part of. I like to be involved in a lot of different things and keep myself busy with all sorts of stuff. That might involve making some robots, doodling a pattern, creating a crazy (!) hyperdoodle, drawing in my sketchbook, doing some hand lettering or painting in my studio -- or any combination of this stuff!
Got a fun project you'd like some help on? Get in touch (see Contact page). I'd love to work with you!
Thanks for stopping by & looking at my work!
What is it about pattern that excites my eyes so much? Since I was a little girl, my eyes have been drawn to pattern. Dots and lines and stripes and squares, zig-zags and stars and squiggles and circles -- I see it everywhere, and love it all.
One of my childhood heroes was illustrator/artist Ed Emberley. Every week my mom would take me and my siblings to the library to check out some new books and just about every week, I'd check out another Ed Emberley drawing book (if it wasn't already checked out!). One of the things that I love about his books is the premise on which every one of his books is based. He basically states that if you can draw these fives things - a square, a circle, a triangle, a rectangle and a squiggle - then you can draw anything. As a kid, that statement blew my mind (!) but as I made my way through his books, I slowly realized that he was right! You can draw ANYTHING!
While drawing recently, I realized that the way I draw and
what I draw really hasn’t changed that much since I was a kid. I suppose it’s gotten more
refined, but looking at my drawing it really made me think of when I was little, and the things I
I suppose that our visual language starts when we are young and the more we draw/create, the more we understand drawing/creating and the better we get at it (hopefully).
The characters you see here might not be as silly as the ones I drew when I was a kid, but I certainly had a lot of fun drawing them! I still think about those 5 basic shapes when I draw. Hopefully that comes through in what you see here. :)
When I first entered my major and heard that I had to take typography because it was required, I groaned and thought, "I want to draw! I don't want to work with letters!" I, of course, had NO IDEA what I was talking about. At all. Little did I realize that "working with letters" was really fun and that drawing letters was even more fun!
Today, I do lots of hand lettering. My favorite tool of choice is a crow quill pen. Using various nibs I like to work on vellum, Strathmore or watercolor paper. Hand lettering has made me into a bit of a pen nerd too. When I'm not using my crow quill, i like to use a brush or a variety of different drawing pens that I carry with my sketchbook.
I'm not sure how old I was when I was given my first wind-up robot. I still have it. It's about 2 inches tall. It's plastic and very basic. It looks like one of those little toys that you get out of a 25¢ vending machine where you put the quarter in and this little toy in a plastic bubble pops out. Slowly, over the years, I got more robots as gifts and before you knew it I had a collection.
I love robots because you can take any combination of shapes, put them together and you have a robot. There's no right way or wrong way to make a robot or to draw a robot. Think of all the different famous robots that are part of pop culture: Robby the Robot, Gort, Maximillian, Wall-E, Bender, Rosie, to name a few. They're all different. I love that.
After having collected robots for so long I started to draw and paint them....and eventually, I started making them into small 3D wooden bots. Why not draw the things you're inspired by?
sketchbook bot 01, 2016, gouache & acrylic on watercolor paper
These robot ATCs, completed as part of a project that I give my students on repetition, are part of The Robot Army, an ongoing project that started in 2008. This group is cut paper & Posca marker on birch plywood.
Fixit Bots, mixed media on board, 2013
Drawings for the large die-cut bots that accompanied me at the Hallmark Retail Summit.
...and here they are! Printed, cut and ready to go!
My drawing set-up for the Hallmark Retail Summit was in the Space Room at Kaleidoscope!
Drawing robots for the attendees of the Hallmark Retail Summit.
Robot stickers! Produced by Hallmark, Inc.
a favorite robot from my collection
3D bots + customs
Here are just a few of the 3D robots that I've built over the years. At 11 feet tall KBOT, seen in the third slide, is by far the largest robot I've created to date! KBOT was created for Kaleidoscope, a creative fun place for kids here in Kansas City. Kaleidoscope is owned by Hallmark and is located next to the Hallmark Visitor's Center near Crown Center.
The other robots were for various projects, individually commissioned or just for fun. Just about all of them start with either a drawing or by playing with blocks. I have jars of old wooden blocks that I use to create the bots. I sometimes cut/alter them to make new shapes or I just use them as they are.
For more information about the KBOT, check out this post by Chris Duh, here:
I almost never do pencil roughs. I'm not sure if I ever did or not...but most of the time I go right to ink to paper. If I don't like what I ink/draw the first time, I draw it again (and again) until I like it, until it feels right. If it doesn't get to that point, I scrap it & throw it out. And then, I go for a walk.
When I come back to it, hopefully it happens and everything comes together. Here are a few drawings that fell into place right from the start.
I completed my first sketchbook in high school. I think I was a junior. My art teacher at the time actually called them "idea books" which I've always liked because in many ways, that's what they are for me. Even if I don't realize it at the time I'm drawing, what I put down within those pages often leads to something else that I come to understand and see later.
I've carried a sketchbook with me for years. I rarely go anywhere without one. I'm not sure how many I've filled, but drawing and exploring within them is something that I treasure. I try to keep them all in the same place so if there was ever a fire in my studio, I'd know right where to grab them (if possible!).
The pages you see here are a random sampling of some of my favorite spreads.
I love seeing how different artists interpret the same theme, with shared perimeters & limitations. I am always inspired by the results. We each bring our own eyes and experiences to these things. Seeing how they translate visually is exciting.
Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to be a part of some great projects. What you see here are the highlights of the last several years, including a dream-come-true opportunity to be part of a print set called Monster Parade which was based on the inspiring work of illustrator/artist Ed Emberley! (Thank you David Huyck!) I've also included a few pics of my first attempt at ceramics which left me yearning for more. Someday... !
Made In The Middle conference, October 2016
my piece for the Made in the Middle print suite
Mail Me Art exhibition and book launch, Summer 2013
From Here to There, my piece for Mail Me Art
Monster Parade, a print suite with illustrator Ed Emberley
Beep! Bop! Rarr!, my piece for Monster Parade
Show the Love print show, February 2011
Love Your Neighbor as Your Self, my piece for Show the Love
all the prints from Show the Love
At the end of the day, it's always been important to me that I make something for myself. For as much fun as I have doing commercial work, it's still art-directed. Over the past 20 years, I have been exploring, showing my personal work in galleries here in Kansas City and across the country.
For more information and/or to view additional work, please visit my other website, here:
I began teaching at the Kansas City Art Institute in January of 2011. I was thrilled to have been asked to teach within the department that I graduated from so many years earlier. For that first class, I taught a night class as an adjunct instructor called Graphic Form for Illustrators (or, as it's also known, Image and Type). I had a lot of fun during that class so when I was asked to come back as a full-time special appointment instructor the following year, I was on the moon!
My philosophy of teaching is rooted in the desire to give my students an understanding of what it's like to be a professional, working illustrator while helping them develop and refine their personal visual language so that it may speak to a wide range of creative challenges. Most of the variety of assignments are based in real-world opportunities with specific deadlines, target audiences/clients and conceptual needs.
It is my goal to help each and every student find and see the talent that lies within them, to pull the very best out of them, push them forward, and prepare them for what they want to achieve as best I can.
The pieces that you see here are just a small sample of the breadth of work that has been done over the last several years. Most of the work here was completed during the junior year, although there is some work that was completed during the sophomore year as well.
student work 2
As you can see, there is a variety of work here. In the sophomore class, we begin by exploring hand lettering, working with type, and balancing image with type. Assignments during the junior year include the ideation and creation of magazine covers, posters (band poster & movie poster), book covers, CD/record packaging, as well as sequential, visual storytelling and personal expression.
To see more examples of student work, check out this set on flickr: