Canadian illustrator Kaley McKean shares with us the joys of working on children’s books and the fast pace of editorial.
I’m an illustrator and designer living in Toronto with my husband and fellow illustrator Nolan Pelletier.
I grew up on the prairies of southern Alberta in a city called Lethbridge. I had long planned to pursue illustration and so moved out to Toronto a little over 10 years ago to attend the Ontario College of Art and Design. In 2012, I received my Bachelor of Design in Illustration and have since been working as a freelancer.
Most of the work I do tends to be for magazines and newspapers, including clients such as Smithsonian, The New York Times, and Variety.
I’ve also just finished up a children’s book, my first, with Storey Publishing. That’s been my largest project to date, taking over a year to complete, and also one of the most rewarding.
The fast pace of editorial work is exciting and it’s fun seeing the work in print weeks or sometimes days later. However, being able to take the time to focus on developing the book was a really interesting change for me, and I learned a lot. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to work on more books in the near future. That being said, after having my hands full for so long it’s so nice to take time for a bit of personal work. Recently, I’ve been developing new print promos and experimenting with patterns.
My work is inspired by the natural world, folklore and history. I like to use a bright, minimal palette, of usually three to five colours. Though I work primarily in Photoshop, I also aim to incorporate a lot of hand-drawn shapes and textures in my work. My favourite non-digital mediums to work with are graphite and watercolour.
You can find me online at kaleymckean.com and on Instagram.
Look for Howl Like a Wolf!, an educational and creative play book all about animals and their behaviours by Kathleen Yale, out Spring 2018 from Storey Publishing.