How and why did you decide to pursue illustration as your career?
I orginally thought I wanted to go into animation, because I had such a love for Disney Animation and the history of animation. I started out at Savannah College of Art and Design as an animation major, but once I realized how computerized it is now with 3D animation I realized that all I really wanted to do was draw cute and whimsical illustrations to make people smile! From there I switched courses and majored in Illustration instead! Best decision I ever made.
Did you attend art school or undertake any other formal artistic training?
Yes, I attended Savannah College of Art and Design as an illustration major from 2014 to 2018.
Where do you currently live and where did you grow up?
I grew up in the north Georgia mountains, but I very recently moved to upstate New York and I love it here!
Was creativity part of your childhood?
A huge part! My parents recognized very early on that I had a love and gift for art, so they encouraged it as much as possible! They were the best parents and always provided me with an art studio room in every house we lived in! This was big part of shaping me towards the path I went down.
Have you always loved to draw?
Yes, it's been my number one favorite thing to do ever since I could hold a crayon!
Which books from your own childhood really stand out?
I remember I loved the book, "Theres an Aligator Under My Bed." by Mercer Mayor.
What piece of software or hardware could you not live without and why?
I'm in love with the app Procreate! I use it in almost all of my illustrations now!
What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
When I'm not working digitally in procreate I love painting with Gouache! I love how opaque the final product turns out.
Which project has been most instrumental in developing your personal style?
Probably an illustration I did for Valentines day this past year called Jazz Bears. I was so happy with the final result and got a lot of praise from many people about it.
What do you hope children take away from your drawings?
I hope they feel happier and walk away from my illustrations with a smile on their face. I hope it also leaves them with a sense of wonder about what they saw.
Take us behind the scenes and describe your studio / workspace.
My studio is my favorite room in the house! It is filled to the brim with inspiring decorations, art, and fun knicknacks. When you first enter you see a couple different storage units, one cabinet and one antique drawer cabinet filled with art supplies. Next to that is my drafting table were I sketch, make gouache paintings and so much more. To the left of that is my easle with oil paints. Across from that is my main desk where I do all my computer work. On my desk shelf I have a statue of Pinochio and Jimminy cricket, a bunch of art books, a slinky dog toy, a small pirate ship figurine, and a bunch of disney knicknacks.
Which 4 words would you use to describe your illustration portfolio?
Fun, whimsical, adventurous, and joyful.
Which area of children’s publishing excites you the most?
Having my illustrations in the small hands of young readers, and getting the chance to shape there ever growing minds through my imagery.
Do you have a favourite soundtrack you listen to when you’re working?
I always listen to whatever music is most appropriate for what i'm illustrating. So often times when I'm in the process of creating a new character I will listen to the Pixar's Greatest Hits CD, because it gets me in the headspace for that task. If i'm creating a cute christmas illustration, I have to listen to christmas music, even if it's April.
What things affect your creativity?
Having lots of fun, silly, and inspiring objects all over my workspace defnitely puts me in th creative mindset. Thats why my studio is covered in fun decorations and toys!
What makes a good children’s book?
I think the combination of a good lesson learned at the end, great writing, and great illustrations is the perfect combination!
When you are not drawing, how do you like to relax?
I love listening to jazz music and going out swing dancing! It's probably my favorite activity outisde of art.
What’s one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I'm a black belt in Tae Kwan Do!
If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing something in foresnics. I always loved that stuff and thought being a detective would be so cool!
What are some of your favourite subjects to draw?
Anything cute and happy, but I have noticed that I've created quite a few space themed illustrations in my day!
Animals feature heavily in children’s books – do you have a pet?
I do have one big orange cat right now named Houdini, but am planning on getting a sausage dog pretty soon too!