Friday, July 1, 2016

Featured Illustrator Kara Marsee


This questionnaire goes back to a popular parlor game in the early 1900s. Marcel Proust filled it out twice. Some of our questions were altered from the original to gain more insight into the hearts and minds of our illustrators. We hope you enjoy this way of getting to know everybody.

1. Your present state of mind?
Woo-hoo! It’s summer! Pondering balance of play/work.

2. What do you do best?
Make lists - it helps release the chatter in my head of all the tasks at hand.
In illustration: depicting interaction between characters.

3. Where would you like to live?
Ann Arbor is a great place to live with all it’s amenities, events and culture. That said, I could use a few more trees and less people at times. As long as I’m near trees and access to a great library, I’m happy!

4. Your favorite color?
I love so many colors, but at the moment blue-green is tops, followed by burnt siena.

5. Three of your own illustrations:

6. Your music?
For illustration, something dancey-alternative or Latin (awesome on a winter day).
I also enjoy playing clarinet, and listening to classical for more pensive moments or writing.

7. Your biggest achievement?
Having a piece of artwork accepted into the Toledo Area Artists Exhibition, which hung at the Toledo Museum of Art.

8. Your biggest mistake?
Er, recently forgetting all the sleeping bags for our family camping trip. Oops.

9. Your favorite children's book when you were a child?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

10. Your main character trait?
Systematic in some ways, and spontaneous in others...does that make me a split personality?

11. What do you appreciate most in a friend?
A good listener, and honesty.

12. What mistakes are you most willing to forgive?
Ones that don’t involve cruelty.

13. Your favorite children's book hero?
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III – faced with incredible perils, bullies, and a challenging sidekick, he prevails and saves the day under inconceivable circumstances!
(By the way, if you only know him from the How to Train Your Dragon movie, you might be surprised at the major differences from the book.)

14. What moves you forward?
Seeing the work of other creatives, and a deadline on the calendar.
Thanks to my friends in our "Artist's Way" gatherings, and anyone who has offered a constructive critique.

15. What holds you back?
Over-thinking things and fear. I like Elizabeth Gilbert’s advice in Big Magic on inviting fear along for the ride, but never let it drive.

16. Your dream of happiness?
All the hatred in the world being replaced with positive energy.

17. The painter/illustrator you admire most?
There are so many!!!!
Eric Rohmann for his compositions,  Mercer Mayer for his characters, Stephen Gammell for his wild lines, and Denise Fleming for her brilliant colors. Jon Klassen for the subdued colors and use of space.
And recently I’m digging Patrice Barton for her squishable toddlers and textures, and Peter Brown for his patterns, and more, more, more!

18. What super power would you like to have?
Flying, or maybe even better...teleporting.

19. Your motto?
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t, you’re right.” - Henry Ford

20. Your social media?
My website has recently been updated. I’m taking the plunge with twitter, after an informative talk on social media for writers. It was held at the Ann Arbor District Library by Alex Kourvo ( and Bethany Neal (, as part of the Emerging Writer’s Workshop series. Thanks ladies!



  1. Wonderful Kara! Thank you for the sweet summertime banner above. It looks great on the blog. Let's talk about tesseracts sometime.

  2. Great to learn more about you, Kara! I love the little stories that this interview format leads to - forgetting the sleeping bags on your camping trip! I forgot the tent poles on a backpacking trip once. :)

    Thanks for giving the Mitten a new summer banner, and best of luck with your artwork.

  3. Loved the interview, the chance to peek at how your brain works, and the energy in your banner and art samples. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great interview Kara, lots of fun and I learned more about you! Your banner is adorable and so perfect for depicting a Michigan Great Lake summer day! :-)

  5. Great interview Kara, lots of fun and I learned more about you! Your banner is adorable and so perfect for depicting a Michigan Great Lake summer day! :-)