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Ones to watch: Loveis Wise, who just upon graduating from art school was commissioned to create cover art for The New Yorker. Her career is exploding. Erin Robinson of Brooklyn Dolly created a beautiful series of illustrations for The Washington Post for a feature about Obama’s legacy. She’s been doing amazing work for years, but with her recent pivot into editorial illustration, I’m excited to see where her path takes her next. I also enjoy the work of Hanna Barczyk.

Timeless archives: I use the digital collections of the Library of Congress for references if I have to do a historical portrait or scene. Browsing around the digital archives of other institutions, like the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Smithsonian Institutions and the New York Public Library, also provides wonderful inspiration and image references.

Community: I’ve been a part of the Women Who Draw network since it originally launched in 2016, and it has given my work a lot of exposure. I think it’s a great resource for art directors and editors looking to find new-to-them talent.

Binge reading: My favorite graphic novel of the year so far is Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau, published by First Second. I received an advance copy, and I couldn’t put it down—devoured the entire thing in a day.

Thoughtful hiring: Especially with politics being in the state it is in 2019, we need to really take care to hire folks who are capable of the sensitivity required to tell the more difficult stories that are being told today. Historically, illustration as a field has been accessible almost exclusively to the already affluent—many of whom were straight, White, cis men—and when you consider how imagery can frame a story or an article in an instant, I think it’s become increasingly important to hire people who are equipped to properly frame the narrative. 

Amazing work: Seosamh and Anka’s ’80s sci-fi web-comic SUPERPOSE.

Emerging talents: I’m currently loving the work of Pris Bampoh, who is a London-based illustrator, as well as Choo, an Australia-based Chinese Indonesian illustrator extraordinaire.

Guilty pleasure: Mochi ice cream. I always have some in the freezer.

Inspirational reads: The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, Arbitrary Stupid Goal by Tamara Shopsin and Did You See Me? by Sophia Foster-Dimino.

Game changer: The democratizing effect of social media is already affecting the creators and the media I follow. Without traditional gatekeepers, I’m seeing more work by people of color, women and queer folks than I ever have before—and the work is often more politically outspoken. All of illustration will grow and change in response to this democratization. Diversity is the opposite of myopia and sterility. Diversity brings us closer to truth, while any art period or movement made by only one kind of person—for instance, only White men—is inherently untrue. So, that’s something I’m extremely excited and grateful for. I like truth. As artists, I think it might be our main job.

Mind-blowing work: Jillian Tamaki’s work—especially the sketches she posts on Instagram—not only because they are mind-blowing, but also because, somehow, her work has managed to be mind-blowing throughout the entire course of her career. 

Creative fuel: I’ll generally have a podcast playing in the background in the afternoon. Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review and The Totally Football Show are my staples, and I seek out other podcasts that talk about film, TV and football (soccer) because these are the things I find myself thinking about on a regular basis. I also listen to Arrest All Mimics, which features interviews with notable figures within creative industries. 

Must-see show: The new animated series on Netflix called Carmen Sandiego. The characters and backgrounds are beautifully illustrated, and the design and art direction of the show is by Kevin Dart. The show has a very retro feel, and it’s easy on the eyes.

Important part of the job: The hardest thing to say to a potential client is, “No, I’m not interested in working on this project.” I feel a sense of guilt whenever I say no. I just don’t want to let anyone down. But it’s reached a point where I have to turn down pretty much 80 to 90 percent of the enquiries that I receive. 

Reading list: Interior by Thomas Clerc, a 352-page-long description of the author’s Parisian apartment. Also, Fox by Dubravka Ugrešić, T Singer by Dag Solstad and Some Trick: Thirteen Stories by Helen DeWitt. 

Go-to planning tool: I use Notion for everything—this may sound biased because I do all of the app’s illustrations, but it’s genuinely excellent and far more versatile than other tools.

Quirky habit: Writing little stand-up bits that I don’t have the guts to actually try out, so I walk for hours telling myself jokes, which is not as bleak as it may sound.

In good company: I like Molly Fairhurst, Tsuchika Nishimura, Disa Wallander, Yoon-hee Lee, Olivia Kim, Emi Ueoka, Lily Snowden-Fine, Max Litvinov and Anna Haifisch—their work already feels timeless.

Dream collaborator: MUJI, so I could get all the nice design-y things—ideally, a full MUJI house that would replace my sad, little room, along with all my roommates.


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