Growing up, I was always attracted to children’s books that contained a little bit of science behind them; imaginative creatures with enough facts to teach me something interesting about nature. My illustrations primarily focus on animals and insects. These animals are not realistic in a photographic sense; I allow them to be playful and whimsical, while still making sure to emphasize anything biologically unique. As a child, I was always far more interested in the animals that I wasn’t exposed to every day – what sound does the nine-banded armadillo make? I am countering the way that children are only shown basic domestic animals by introducing a whole planet full of interesting, real creatures. Lately, I have been favoring the biological order Anura: frogs and toads. Many fascinating species of these amphibians exist in the world, with thousands of peculiar features – some carry eggs on their back, some have see-through skin. They can be so much more complex than a typical illustration of your average green frog. Recently, I’ve started to include another of my interests – food. I began experimenting with combining food and animals, displaying how both can share similar colors, textures, and shapes. This irony can be taken a step further when combining a food that is generally accepted as appetizing, such as a cupcake, with an animal that is generally accepted as unappetizing, such as a warty toad. In doing so, these illustrations fuse two opposing sensations of appetite and disgust. Watercolor is my material of choice because of its self-blending capabilities and its variety; it can be smooth as frosting or as spongy as a brownie. I also choose watercolor because of its unpredictability; it can be tricky to judge how the pigment will dry, which adds to the life of each piece. To combat the freedom of the watercolor, I contain it within outlines of walnut ink to tie the illustration together. I leave these lines jittering and unplanned, spontaneity being the key to movement and life of the animals in my work.