Creator Spotlight: Drusilla Kehl

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Drusilla Kehl, “The Illustrated Rat.” In Drusilla’s own words…

“I am, at heart, a commercial artist or illustrator, not a fine artist. It was the way I was brought up. My father was an art director, and my mother a fashion illustrator, and she endeavored to teach me drawing from a young age, something I didn’t really appreciate much at the time. My influences were the classic and Golden Age illustrators and gender paintings. I grew up with books by Howard Pyle and Andrew Wyeth, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC) was my second home. All of these factors influenced what I do now. I did not attend art school, and in fact was the brat who hated every art class I attended. However back in the day there were lots of life drawing sessions offered, including those with clothed models geared towards commercial illustrators, and those I attended whenever I could. I graduated with honors in English from Connecticut College.”

Big Dog by Drusilla Kehl

“I worked as a storyboard artist for over 20 years, working in a privately owned agency in NY whose primary account was Hasbro Toys. While it sounds like fun, and there were times when it was, it was also sometimes horrendously busy and stressful. Hasbro (including Playskool & Milton Bradly) relied heavily on TV advertising and, because of their extensive product lines, generated vast amounts of work. On this job I learned to use markers (this was just before everything turned digital), and how to draw almost anything very fast and under pressure. These skills have stood me in good stead, and while hardly anyone uses markers any more, my experience with them helped as I taught myself watercolors. Both are unforgiving media.”

Faces by Drusilla Kehl

“Now I devote my time to watercolor and graphite illustration and take commissions. I do portraits and other types of gender art, often featuring pet rats and other creatures. I have some personal projects I am also working on including a rat themed tarot, The Rata Arcana,
and some book ideas. My website is The Illustrated Rat. I have shops on Etsy, RedBubble, and Zazzle.”

Rats are Stars by Drusilla Kehl

Learn more:
The Illustrated Rat
The Illustrated Rat @ Etsy
The Illustrated Rat @ Redbubble
The Illustrated Rat @ Zazzle
The Illustrated Rat @ Facebook
The Illustrated Rat @ Twitter
The Illustrated Rat @ Instagram


Creator Spotlight: Mighty Pegasus Art

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Mighty Pegasus Art. In Victor’s own words…

“Hello, everyone! My name is Victor, but I am known as Mighty Pegasus Art! I am an artist based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and I started my journey as an artist in September 2018 doing comic and anime conventions. My goal is to inspire anyone to start their own journey to find their true self, and express themselves truthfully with art.”

“Before I go any further in my introduction, I would like to take this moment to thank Jin Wicked for giving me the opportunity to share my story with you all!! I met Jin Wicked recently during the grand opening of a local comic store, and she shared a little of her time to give me some great advice to be a successful artist. Thank you Jin!!”

All Might Plus Ultra by Mighty Pegasus Art

“As I mentioned, I’m based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, but I was born and raised in France. I moved to Florida in 2003, then moved to Minnesota in 2009. I have the very typical artist’s story — I have been drawing since a very young age, but was always afraid to try to follow my dream and become an artist. So after high school, I quit drawing for a very long time. Fast-forward 13 years later — it’s early 2017, and I was looking back at what I had accomplished after I finished high school. I did not go to college right away. I joined the U.S. Navy at 21 years-old, and had just separated in 2016 from the military. I was a little lost. I went from one job to another just to figure out what I really wanted to do, but no jobs really made me happy. I then saw an old friend of mine who still lived in France. He became an artist like we used to talk about when we were kids. His artist name is Kazamatt. His Facebook was full of events that he attended, helped promote, and exhibited his art! I was so amazed! Since that day, I got back in touch with him, and I started drawing again!”

Wonder Woman Ultimate by Mighty Pegasus Art

“For one whole year, all I did was get back into my passion and try to get better than ever. During that one year of just drawing for myself, I stumbled upon another artist who is known for doing many conventions while vlogging his journey. His name is Christopher Cayco. He inspired me to push myself even more and better myself. At this point, it was almost the end of 2017, and I decided to become an anime/comic convention artist! So for the next whole year, I studied more, I prepared art prints, and I searched for upcoming shows and booked them. In November 2018, I went to my first comic convention in the Artist Alley at Wizard World Con in Madison, WI. I had such a wonderful time! I met people that really loved my art, and who got inspired to become artists themselves! I never looked back since! Today, I’m still going from city to city and convention to convention to showcase my art and my passion. I continue to help, support, and inspire young artists to follow their dream of becoming an artist!”

Venom Rage by Mighty Pegasus Art

Learn more:
Mighty Pegasus Art @ Store Envy
Mighty Pegasus Art @ Facebook
Mighty Pegasus Art @ Instagram
Mighty Pegasus Art @ Youtube
Mighty Pegasus Art @ Twitch


Creator Spotlight: Doug Kallberg

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Doug Kallberg. In Doug’s own words…

“Doug Kallberg is an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and painter. He draws inspiration from the likes of Bill Watterson, Will Eisner, and many more artists far more talented than he is.”

GOT Cover by Doug Kallberg

“Doug has been drawing Pandora’s Box for his company Free Range Studios for nearly ten years, and has produced comics of the strip between being the artist on The Kingdom of Loathing licensed comic book series by the gaming company of the same name. His books have been featured at San Diego Comic-con International, MCBA Conventions, The Walker Art Center, and have sold internationally.”

CON-Life by Doug Kallberg

“He has had his own business for over a decade doing illustration and graphics for contracts, making logos, material for print and web for various companies around the Minneapolis metro area and Minnesota including: The Monday Night Comedy Show, The Comedy Corner Underground, the 10,000 Laughs comedy festival, Stand Up! Records, Dangerous Man Brewing, Sisyphus Brewing and various local members of the Minneapolis comedy scene, as well as art for St. Paul Saint’s ‘Ushertainers.’ He currently resides in the farthest reaches of the twin cities with his wife and daughter.”

Pandora's Box by Doug Kallberg

Learn more:
Free Range Studios
Free Range Studios @ Facebook
Doug Kallberg @ Instagram


Creator Spotlight: Taya Ell

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Taya Ell. In Taya’s own words…

“My Name is Taya and I am the creator behind Zombie Cheshire Productions. I am an artist with many media I enjoy, and a new mother. I enjoy sculpting, drawing, and painting mainly but I also dabble in resin and crystal garden crafting. My creations are usually a mix of creepy-cute, fantasy, and super nerdy. I take a lot of inspiration from my favorite books and video games such as the ‘Final Fantasy’ and ‘Legend of Zelda’ series.”

“I grew up drawing all sorts of things. The first I was ever able to draw decently well was old cars when I was pretty young. Then I discovered video games and anime which influenced my art style and helped me grow immensely. Over time I slowly transitioned to my current style after art classes and figuring out how to use references. I am only where I am today with my drawing and painting due to lots of practice.”

Dragon Sculpture by Taya Ell

“At a young age I also discovered cosplay and have been cosplaying for over 10 years now. I really love costume building and the creative process behind it all. My favorite cosplay build has been my Steam Punk Moogle cosplay from the ‘Final Fantasy’ series (pictured below) where I created the whole dress, head piece, and wings with help from some rather creative friends of mine. I mainly cosplay from video games since they have had such a big influence on my life.”

Steam Punk Moogle Cosplay by Taya Ell

“Over the years I added sculpting and resin crafting to my repertoire of crafts. I especially love sculpting dragons and have plans to create many more through the years. I love incorporating crystals into my sculptures where I can because I feel like it adds something special to each piece. With resin I get to experiment with my creepy-cute side and play with ALL THE GLITTER, AKA the bane of a crafter’s existence. I really enjoy it as a medium though and it allows me to create some truly awesome stuff.”

“In my spare time (when I am not creating things) I enjoy reading, playing my favorite RPGs (role playing games), and spending time with my small little family. I love sharing my creativity with the world and can’t wait to share it with my little one. On that note though, I am going to wrap this up. Thank you for reading and learning about me and my art. Stay Crafty my friends!”

Painting by Taya Ell

Learn more:
Zombie Cheshire Productions @ DeviantArt
Zombie Cheshire Productions @ Facebook
Zombie Cheshire Productions @ Instagram
Zombie Cheshire Productions @ Twitter


Creator Spotlight: Bob Lipski

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Bob Lipski. In Bob’s own words…

“My name is Bob Lipski and I have been making comics in the Twin Cities since roughly 2001. I grew up reading comics; mostly ‘Peanuts,’ ‘Archie,’ and of course, ‘Calvin and Hobbes.’ I was obsessed with Batman and the X-Men in Junior High, but when I got to High School I discovered ‘Sandman’ by Neil Gaiman and was hooked on non-superhero stuff for a long time. I stopped reading comics when ‘Sandman’ wrapped up, and I thought I was done with them. But when I was in my 20s I got a part-time job at DreamHaven Books, and discovered comics all over again. This time I was drawn to James Kochalka, Alex Robinson, and Julie Doucet. I was amazed at the auto-biographical stuff that Adrian Tomine was doing, and thought I could take a crack at making my own comics. I always liked to draw but this was a new adventure.”

Cover of Uptown Girl by Bob Lipski

“My first comic was a simple, one-page quasi-biographical thing called ‘Fake Farm Landscape.’ Really different than the stuff I do now, but it was stuff about me growing up and stupid stuff I did. I learned a lot about panel structure and balloon placement. I published it on the Internet and did that for a while; maybe a year, maybe longer. I got tired of talking about myself and started a new comic called ‘Uptown Girl.’ It was set in Minneapolis, about a plucky young reporter, and was in the spirit of ‘Archie’ comics and ‘Seinfeld.’ I self-published it monthly for 75 issues. I loved doing that comic. The monthly schedule was a grind. I was inspired by books by Kevin Cannon, and I wanted to up my art game. My wife and I just had our second child, and it was a good time to step away from the monthly schedule, spend more time with my family, and more time making comics instead of spending every Saturday at Kinkos. I went on to publish five original ‘Uptown Girl’ graphic novels (and one retrospective) before wrapping up the series. All in all, I made ‘Uptown Girl’ stories for around 13 years.”

Comics by Bob Lipski

“In 2015 I launched my current comic, ‘The Incredible Retros,’ which I publish five times a week. It’s about a team of superheroes fighting villains in the year 2438. It is very much a mash-up of X-Men and ‘The Simpsons,’ I think. Epic adventures with funny dialogue. I think it’s funny, anyway. I am also working on a new stand-alone graphic novel called ‘Norah Locke’ and it’s pretty much ‘The Legend of Zelda’ but set in White Bear Lake where I live. It’s going to be like 500 pages, and I hope to finish it before I die.”

“So that’s me. I have a wonderful wife and two great kids. It’s a better life than I thought I would ever have.”

Jin’s Note: Through Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, The Retros second print-copy volume “Secret Identity” is available through a Kickstarter campaign.

Comics by Bob Lipski

Learn more:
The Retros
The Retros @ Facebook
Bob Lipski @ WordPress
Bob Lipski @ Instagram
Bob Lipski @ Twitter


Creator Spotlight: Ben Cooper

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Ben Cooper. In Ben’s own words…

“Photography is a lifelong passion for me. It gives me new perspectives on the world around me, and allows me to chronicle moments in time. It’s what I love to do.”

“While I enjoy photographing anything interesting, I am especially fascinated by rediscovering the world immediately around me. I grew up in the Twin Cities area and have lived in Minnesota for most of my life. (It’s Gray Duck!) I feel fortunate to live here: close to incredible arts, architecture, professional sports and city life, but still within reach of beautiful lakes, wildlife and nature. It’s this world near to me that comprises much of what I photograph. I started using my camera to preserve and capture some of the places and moments that are special about Minnesota, as well as discovering new ones. In the process I’ve gained amazing new perspectives on things close to me but often overlooked or taken for granted.”

Island Near Horseshoe Bay by Ben Cooper

“I try to learn something every time I use my camera, in terms of photography and the place or subject I’m shooting. Whether it’s long-exposure photography involving physical filters, old-school film photography, or creative lighting for a portrait shoot, I’m always trying to learn or perfect something and challenge myself. I try to capture what it is about a subject that fascinates me, so I can preserve and share it through photography. I love the idea that at some point after I’m gone, some of what I’ve created will live on.”

Twin Cities After Sunset by Ben Cooper

“I sell my work online through my website,, but I also do a lot of shows in the spring, summer and fall. I love doing indoor events like the St. Paul Art Crawl and Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl, but typically do several outdoor shows as well. Outdoor shows can be extremely challenging, especially when factoring in the weather elements, but it’s a great way to gain exposure and meet new people and prospective buyers. Currently, I’m gearing up for a more ambitious, somewhat abstract, film photography project with the goal of a possible grant and a future solo show.”

North Shore Sunrise by Ben Cooper

Learn more:
Ben R Cooper Photography
Ben R Cooper Photography @ Facebook
Ben R Cooper Photography @ Instagram
Ben R Cooper Photography @ Twitter


Creator Spotlight: Mark Wise

“Creator spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This spotlight is on friend Mark Wise. In Mark’s own words…

“I’m a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Cartoonist. Probably in that order, though I’d love to flip that around. I’ve been drawing my whole life and I have always loved comics. Starting with the newspaper strips and later, at the age you’re supposed to grow out of comics, I fell in love with comic books. To this day I wear those early influences, like Todd McFarlane, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, on my sleeve.”

Coffee by Mark Wise

“In a nod to all the black and white indie comics I grew up with, probably my favorite style to work in is a high-contrast black and white style. Typically I will draw on bristol board and ink directly over my pencils using a dip pen and various brushes with India ink. When I do work in color, I prefer to use watercolors with my inks, or color the images digitally in Photoshop. Sometimes, depending on what the final image is going to be used for, I’ll even ‘ink’ digitally in Illustrator.”

Frankenstein's Monster by Mark Wise

“The past couple of years, this past year especially, I’ve done a pretty decent job getting my name out in the local Houston art scene. My art shows regularly at The Insomnia Gallery, and I have started getting a decent collection of merchandise made. One of my goals for the upcoming year, and moving forward is to get back into drawing sequential art again. Graphic design pays the bills. Illustration is getting me noticed in the local art scene, but my true love is still comics. So like I said at the beginning, I’m going to work to flip those three around.”

Robot Mascot by Mark Wise

Learn more:
Mark Wise Art
Mark Wise Art @ Facebook
Mark Wise Art @ Instagram
Mark Wise Art @ Twitter