KRISTINA SWARNER Illustrator/Painter Chicago, IL
I graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design. One of my professors used to say that an illustration could be a rebus rhyme, or it could be poetry.
The first real painting I remember working on was when I was about six. It was pineapple.
When a publisher told me that they wanted to publish my first book. I burst into tears and then went and looked at myself in the mirror, expecting that I had transformed somehow.
How do you get inspiration for your art? What inspires you the most
Seeing/reading/hearing something unexpectedly moving. Taking off my glasses and seeing mistaken things, like a sailboat in a tree that turns out to be a shopping bag. I get a lot of ideas when I'm lying awake in bed and not quite dreaming.
I love to go to the Art Institute and look at the Joseph Cornell boxes.
What makes you smile?
Kind people, surprises, the sound of orchestras tuning up.
Do you have any pets?
I have two cats, a dog, and a lizard.
What makes you cry?
Most recently it was because someone crashed into my ankles with a shopping cart.
I just finished some greeting cards, and have a book and some other projects coming up. I've been writing some stories and am planning to illustrate them, too.
What's most important for you being a professional illustrator?
Freedom and trust. Even though I'm working with other people and need their input, my favorite clients are the ones who trust my decisions. When I'm given that space, my ideas are truer and my work is stronger.
Where to find your paintings?
I sell prints of my work, and sometimes originals, in my Etsy shop.
Your favorite from Chidoriya
I bought the Eye Serum a few weeks ago because I fell in love with the drawing of the eyes on the label! I've already gone through most of the bottle because I use it all the time.