Duration: A year and a half.
Location: A suburb just outside of Toronto, Canada.
Education: BA in illustration at Sheridan College in Canada.
Career path: I wanted to be an animator until I saw artist Alphonse Mucha’s work in high school. I knew that I had to do what he did! Drawing insanely beautiful images and then having them used in different commercial ways was mind blowing. I went to Sheridan College to study illustration because it was close to my family home.
Artistic influences: The work of artists Yoshitaka Amano, Kilian Eng, Dylan Glynn James Jean, Tessar Lo, Nimit Malavia, Alphonse Mucha, Kay Nielsen and Jillian Tamaki always make my heart flutter. Recently, I started liking Japanese woodblock prints, Chinese ink paintings and old-school landscapes—the Group of Seven, the Canadian landscape painters group was especially rad.
Favorite projects: My most recent piece for New York Times because it was my first GIF project. It was challenging—I only had three days from roughs to final—but my art director sent me the sweetest emails afterward! Collaborating with art director Meredith Holigroski on last year’s images for the Walrus’s Summer Reading issue was so much fun. My cover for Lehigh Bulletin and my illustrations for Canadian Wildlife’s magazine article on eel research, were just so interesting, and I learned a lot!
Work environment: I work in my home’s common area. It’s very soothing! There’s a big window behind my computer, and I work close to the kitchen and the backyard, so I can let my dog outside whenever he wants.
Approach: My art style, which utilizes a mix of media, really confuses people because they never know how much of my work is done traditionally versus digitally—it’s usually 50/50. People are also intrigued by how emotional my work can feel. I’m usually hired to create images about emotionally difficult topics, like death, mental health and separation. Having people relate to my work has always been important to me. The fact that I’m being hired to make illustrations that emotionally connect with a general audience is special and amazing.
Aspirations: I’d love to create illustrations for the New Yorker. I also want to be hired for my work and for the way I work, but across different industries. I’d love to illustrate posters, paint a beautiful mural, work for the gaming industry and create animations. I want to expand where my skills can go.
Philosophy: Don’t overthink your work. When I was in school, I was always worried if my work was good enough, if it was cool enough, if I was a two-bit artist. Since I’ve started working in the industry, I’ve realized that thoughts like these aren’t healthy, and they don’t make you a better artist. I like my work more now that I care less about what people think. I just draw what I want and work the way I want. As long as my clients are happy with the final results, I’m happy!
Fun fact: Anime is pretty cool.