Illustrator, painter, and surface designer Kate Pugsley is here to brighten up your day. Her illustrations, vibrant and uplifting, portray the simple joys of everyday life. Based in Chicago, Pugsley studied at RISD where she has earned a BFA in illustration. “I decided to go to art school because drawing and painting were always my favorite activities as a child and my focus in high school,” she explained in an interview with Freelance Wisdom.
“My understanding of adult life and work was really limited, but I couldn’t imagine doing anything else as a career,” she added. “Although I studied illustration at RISD, my early work after school was closer to fine art; I mostly worked with oil paint and presented work in some gallery shows. I had a few different day jobs while painting nights and weekends. I finally decided a few years after college that illustration was what I really wanted to do, so I made it happen.”
It was then that she started working with materials that translated better to illustration, like gouache and watercolor on paper. “Once I felt like I had some pieces I was happy with I put a portfolio together and started reaching out to art directors and sharing my work on social media. It’s not always an easy or secure job, but it can be very fun and rewarding,” she stressed. And with clients that include The New York Times, Bloomsbury Tiffany & Co., and Penguin Random House, it’s clear that she’s doing something right.
She also sells her paintings and prints on her online store, and runs a company called Formal Dept. alongside her husband, where the two sell lifestyle goods and housewares that combine her illustration and his product design work.
Take a look at some of our favorite illustrations of hers.