Jessica Allen

I love to knit, even though I’m not very good at it. My kids have a lot of wonky winter hats.


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Where do you live?
Rhode Island

Where have you lived?
up and down the east coast; my father was in the Navy.

What medium do you use?
acrylic, gouache

How do you stay inspired?
words and stories have always inspired my imagination, ever since I was little. I think that’s why I love incorporating lettering and words into my art. For me both images and words interchangeably contribute to the narrative or the idea.

Where do you buy your art supplies?

Do you work traditionally or digitally?
mostly traditionally, with occasional tweaks in Photoshop

What color combination are you most excited about right now?
This sounds funny, but I’m painting in black and white for a job right now and I haven’t done that in years. It’s not limiting, rather I am enjoying thinking solely in terms of contrasts and texture.

What blog(s) do you read?
you might say I’m a blogoholic. i enjoy artists personal blogs, plus designsponge, dooce, housemartin, SFgirlbybay, dear ada, the sartorialist, a hundred others.

Why do you like being an illustrator in 10 words or less?
I get to make things.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
I always thought it would be fun to build miniature sets or characters, for a Tim Burton movie, for example.

Name something you do in your spare time.
Right now I’m planning a garden. It’s just in sketchbook stage, but I love learning about the plants..lovely names, colors, etc.

What are you reading now?
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art

What recent book do you recommend for a good read?
I recently finished the Time Traveler’s Wife. I found it to be very sad, but unusual and compelling. It’s the kind of book you continue to think about long after you’ve finished it.

Where would you like to travel to next?
Anywhere! If I had to choose one place I think it would be Sicily. I’ve heard the landscape is verdant and beautiful, the food is fabulous, and much of my family is originally from there.

What’s your favorite TV show?
I don’t really watch TV, but I confess I try not to miss an episode of Project Runway.

What’s your favorite NPR show?
Fresh Air, This American Life

What movie have you seen several times?
The Piano, Amelie, To Catch a Thief, Singing in the Rain

What is your favorite cheese?
If it’s cheese, it’s my favorite.

Do you wear shoes when you do art?
not always

What do you listen to while you work?
sometimes NPR, sometimes folk or jazz, sometimes nothing

What’s your middle name?

If you could eat only one food, what would it be?
freshly baked bread.

How do you stay in shape?
walking or jogging has always been the least complicated version of “being active”

How don’t you stay in shape?
I pretty much hate exercise with every fiber of my being, so that does a good job of counteracting the best of intentions

What is your current favorite font?

How do you take your coffee?
a little milk and a little sugar

Whom would you like to meet?
Maira Kalman

What question would you most like to be asked?
Could I see more pictures of your children?

What recent illustration job have you enjoyed doing?
I’m loving doing food illustrations for a cookbook right now.

What was your favorite illustration assignment?
I’d have to say the animal ABC for Crocodile Creek. I was so happy with the way it came together and the designer at Crocodile Creek, Michael Oberweiser, made it look even better.

American Medical News
Bon Appetit
Connecticut Cottages and Gardens
Crocodile Creek
Family Fun Magazine
Graphique de France
Harvard Business Review
Marcel Schurman Design
Northwestern Magazine
Philadelphia Magazine
Rockport Publishing
Running Press
Studio Avo
Town & Country Travel
Yoga Journal

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