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

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[VIDEO BLOG] SAVE THE USPS

“Hello, everybody!

If you don’t know me already, I’m Jin Wicked, an independent artist and performer! I’m dressed up today to talk to you about the United States Postal Service!

The USPS is one of the most beloved public institutions in our country, and is in need of our help right now due to the COVID-19 crisis. I hope you will consider contacting your representatives and urge them to make sure we have a stable, secure, and public postal service for many years to come!

In addition to employing over 97,000 military veterans, the USPS is the backbone for MILLIONS of small businesses like mine. I began selling my artwork online in 2001, and for almost twenty years the USPS has been there for me as my business has changed and grown. At one point I went to my local post office so regularly that I was invited and brought my home-made cookies to the party when one of the postal clerks retired!

The USPS provides so many vital services, including voting by mail, delivery to unprofitable rural areas, passports, money orders, and reasonably-priced post office boxes for people who may have trouble maintaining a permanent address.

When I ask you to help save the USPS, I’m also asking you to help save the artists, craftspeople, small merchants, and so many others like me that depend on the USPS to thrive. Buy some stamps — they have some beautiful “Year of The Rat” stamps available right now! — and contact your representative today! Demand they take immediate action to ensure the survival of the USPS!

Thank you for watching today! Stay home. Stay safe. Save the USPS!”

Learn more about the USPS here: https://facts.usps.com/

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[VIDEO BLOG] Quarantine Life

Livin’ my best quarantine life.

Please Support my Work
http://patreon.com/jinwicked
http://jinwicked.etsy.com/

As I mentioned in my vlog this week, this piece was placed on the backburner last October because after several unsatisfactory tests, I could not figure out how I wanted to ink the sequins on that damned jacket. After the warm-up NIMH, Mandalorian, and Deadwood pieces I finished so far this year, I finally felt ready to give it another shot. And happily, it was not a struggle this time.

Getting ahead of myself (and what I can do) is a pattern for me.

The Artist (Greyscale)

I am partial to black and white illustration, but the colour version really grew on me while I was working on it. Grey and yellow is an odd, favourite combo of mine. Whenever I could use it in framing it always felt bright and fresh.

The Artist (Colour)

Click through to the big versions on my website for the really good stuff.

The original, non-digital artwork represents about 70-80 hours of active work time, almost evenly split between the brush outlines and crow quill texturing. It is currently available in my Etsy shop, where you can also see some macro shots of the pen work. I will have prints of both versions available eventually, when business returns to normalish. (Whatever that means.) I spent another 10-12 hours on the digital clean-up of the inks, and digital colouring.

My mind has a lot of time to wander with the monotonous process of inking, and given the current situation, I started to wonder about the state of many of the elderly people I cared for last year. I was surprised that, given a little concentration, I was able to recall almost all of their names — first and last. I worked at two different facilities, so there were many. With more reflection, I was able to recall some of their medications — even dosages and scheduled times. I operated under the assumption for much of my life that I had a poor memory, but I have gradually discovered that is really not the case. Instead, there seems to be certain periods I remember little from, probably because I wanted to forget. At least now I am especially vigilant against those who tell me about things I cannot remember, or recall even after being prompted.

Searching local obituaries, I found only one of my residents had passed (and another I already knew about.) Probably not COVID-19 related. So far, the Twin Cities area has been spared the worst, thanks to good governance. On my supply trip this week, I noticed a much greater number of people out and about, and also a much lower percentage of people wearing masks. I always mask up myself and exercise caution, but it makes me concerned.

I posted a more detailed update about my schedule behind the pay-wall for patrons, but I am hoping with careful budgeting to stretch my LOA through at least the end of this year. I have several illustrations lined up, in addition to working on my books. My creative process is slow, but I am making progress, and getting faster. I just do not feel safe returning to healthcare soon.

The more often I work on art, the easier it comes, and perpetuates itself.

I feel like I’ve made some leaps in quality and want to continue that.

For now, here’s a bonus quarantine-edition TikTok.

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