Right out of high school, I started working in a historical museum and was there for 10 happy years as the curator’s assistant. I learned nomenclature, built dioramas, catalogued old photographs, and spent hours researching and identifying curious old objects. My favorite items in the museum were the intricately beaded Anishinaabe moccasins, bandolier bags and porcupine quill baskets.
I studied graphic design and illustration in college, but ended up pursuing my Master’s in English after a stint in the Peace Corps. I taught English in Botswana–out in a small village in the Kalahari–and after that, bounced around a bit trying to figure out what I really wanted to do. I’ve worked in restaurants; lived in my car for a summer while collecting data on birds and bird habitat; taught computer courses; built websites; taught composition at two different universities as an adjunct and later full time instructor; served as Department Chair; became Director of a Writing Across the Curriculum program (which oversaw our composition department and writing center); presented research from California to Paris; co-authored and edited several books (on composition, critical thinking, and innovation); and did plenty of marketing and graphic design along the way, too.
I’ve always been drawn to lines. I understood why my art professors hounded me to explore shape and texture instead of focusing on lines, but I was obsessed with them. Especially curvy lines. Circles and spirals. Lines inspired by the natural world and lines that intersected and created patterns. I now know what to do with those lines: illustrate books for coloring enthusiasts to work their own magic.
My first book, Ruby Charm: 25 Artful Illustrations for Coloring Enthusiasts, was completed in July of 2017. I also self-published a “Black Magic” coloring book (which was printed entirely on black card stock, sported a hand embossed cover, and is now completely sold out). I am currently working on a new coloring book (which will feature fantastical insects) and I am working toward self-publishing my original book in a less expensive format. I also continue to add to my collection of downloadable digital coloring pages available at RubyCharmColors on Etsy.
I then started designing home goods and accessories (like notebooks, journals, coffee mugs, pillows, throws and tote bags) based on my illustrations as well as my acrylic paintings in September. They can be found in my Threadless Artist Shop and my Society6 Shop. My most recent project (January of 2018) is the development of a “Color Your Own” line of tote bags and spiral notebooks. The bags can be painted or colored with ink, while colored pencils or markers can be used to color the notebooks.
Currently, I edit books, illustrate, and come up with products based on my art. And take care of my family, two German shepherds, and two sassy parakeets.
My favorite social media platform is my Instagram account. I am there checking in with other artists and coloring fanatics and posting updates more than anywhere else, but if you are on Facebook you can check out my RubyCharmColors page and join the RubyCharmColors Community to share your colorings of Ruby Charm illustrations, ask questions, share techniques and more. I also throw in a few surprise give-away illustrations now and then!
For inquiries, you can reach me at my old-school email address (does anyone else still use hotmail?)