Author & Artist Corner: Artist

Ingrid Kallick

Picture of Artist Ingrid Kallick

My interest in art began around age three, when I drew pictures of deer on the inside covers of the Compton’s Encyclopedia, Volume 5. Drawing on encyclopedias seems to be a bit of a tradition for budding Cricket artists.

In school, I found it easier to concentrate on my favorite subjects, like science and English, if I could doodle in the margins of my notebooks. For some reason, my teachers didn’t think I was paying attention, but I was! I loved school. Most of the artists I know got in trouble for drawing in class, at least once.

I was always daydreaming, making up stories and pretending. Costumes are a family tradition.

Ingrid as a Sami, Dragon and her son dressed a crow

My grandmother made the Sami outfit for me. My mother made the dragon costume for my brother, sister, and me. I made the crow costume for my son.

We lived in the country, so I was able to wander through the woods with a field guide and sketchbook. I loved to draw birds, animals, trees, mythological people and creatures, and designs from folk art.

At age 13 I had my first published illustration, a pen and ink drawing of a deer running through a forest, in American Girl magazine, A few years later I landed my first summer job, painting endangered animals on the sides of an eighteen-wheeler truck.

I studied sculpture and graphic design at the University of Illinois. Combining my love of art and science, I worked in scientific visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications.

Since then I’ve done many art-related jobs: graphic design, set painting, murals, illustration, and creative writing. My illustrations have appeared in Communication Arts, Scientific American, the cover of Science, and, of course, Cricket.

Cricket September issue cover art

My cover for the September 2011 issue of Cricket won the Magazine Merit Award for best magazine illustration of the year from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Indgrid's Studio

Like a lot of artists today, I combine traditional media with digital illustration. I like to make a pencil sketch first, scan it into the computer, fix it up and print it on watercolor paper. I color the sketch with acrylic paint

I prefer to mix my colors from primaries. Red, yellow and blue pigments are all a bit different, so I have a couple of each, as you can see. I also use two browns: burnt sienna and raw umber, and white, but not black. For shadows, I mix dark greens or purples with brown. I try to use the best brushes whenever possible. You can find more of my art at

Art is fun, and so are stories, but they are so much more. Pictures and stories help us communicate and make people happy. What could be more fun than that?

Ingrid's pet cat HudsonI live in Wisconsin with my children, ages 13 and 15, my husband, one fish, a corn snake, and our fearless leader, a cat named Hudson.

I can’t wait to hear what questions Cricket readers might ask!



Hudson, tired from plotting world domination.

Dear Ingrid,

I loved the cover you drew of the library for the September 2011 issue—the one shown above that won the award. I enjoy nothing more than reading in my library in Cricket Coutry. It's a peaceful place for thinking my own thoughts--even when the younger bugs come to visit. The window seat in your library looked so cozy.

Do you have a library like the one you drew? How did you know what to draw?  

submitted by Old Cricket, age Old-ish, My library
(November 5, 2012 - 12:29 pm)

Thanks, Old Cricket!

I have always wanted a library like this, so I painted it. I have also written a story to go with it, about a little girl learning to read. Do you remember when you first learned to read? I do. It was like a whole new world opened up for me.

When I started the drawing, I looked at pictures of grand old libraries and the sorts of things that could go in them like antique books, maps, paintings, carvings and scientific instruments. It's always a good idea to look at photos of whatever you draw.

Thank you for writing, and happy reading!


submitted by Ingrid Kallick, age parental
(November 5, 2012 - 3:09 pm)

I love your cover and illistrations for Cricket magazine.I liked the story Golden Windows, but it was the illustrations that caught my eye. Your drawings seem to be magical. How do you get your ideas? Wherever you get them, they are wonderful. I hope to see some more of your artwork soon.

submitted by True S.
(November 6, 2012 - 8:01 pm)

Hi, True!

Thank you so much! My ideas come from everywhere. Just looking at the world around you can give you ideas. But when I read a story, I see it in my mind's eye and I make small sketches until I get something that looks like what I imagined. After that I do research to find details that make the sketch more authentic. I particularly enjoyed doing the research for this story, because I didn't know how Jerusalem would have looked in the early 1900s. Doing research is like expanding the story.

You can see more of my illustrations in the next two sections of the story.



submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(November 7, 2012 - 2:11 pm)

Yes, research is very fun! I would rather write than illustrate, but I do like to draw as well.

My favorite Cricket story is Fryfaxi, so I was very suprised to find that you illustrated it! Now,when I look at the illustrations, they do look similar to the ones in Golden Windows.

You mentioned that you did some creative writing, so I was wondering, what kind of creative writing do you like to write? Poetry, stories, compositions?



submitted by True S.
(November 10, 2012 - 6:18 pm)

Hi True,

What a great name you have! I'm sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was at an illustration conference and didn't bring my computer. I think that the creative process behind writing and drawing is basically the same.

Part of my family was from Norway, so working on Freyfaxi was great fun. The grandmother in the story looks a bit like my own grandmother.

I really started writing in 7th grade, when we had a unit on poetry. That was what I wrote, mostly, until I took a fiction writing class in college. I've also written some academic papers, but now I mainly write fiction. Sometimes a picture inspires a story, sometimes it's the other way around. Some pictures are a story by themselves. 

What do you like to write?


submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(November 15, 2012 - 3:44 pm)

Dear Ingrid,

Yeah, my parents like to give us interestung names. I have a sister named Emie (e-m-ee-eh) but we call her Emi. My youngest sister has a more regular name. Once, I looked up my name, for fun (I obviously know what my name means). I found that it is commonly a boy's name! (I am a girl.)

I like to write poetry and  childeren's fiction, mostly fantasy and historicl fiction.

Who are those faces in the wall above the windows in your September 2011 cover for Cricket ? I see letters but can't read them.


submitted by True S.
(November 15, 2012 - 6:31 pm)

Hi, True.

I had a wonderful time choosing the faces on the wall. After much research (of course!) I narrowed it down to a group of people who contributed to books, libraries, music and science.

From left to right: Mary Anning, self-made paleoentologist; Scott Joplin, composer & musician; Marie Curie, scientist; Johannes Gutenberg, who introduced movable type to Europe; Murasaki Shikibu, considered the first novelist; Cai Lun, who standardized and perfected papermaking; Hypatia, philosopher and librarian of Alexandria; Oliver Heaviside, scientist.

On the contents page, not pictured here, I included Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel laureate author; Homer, author of the Iliad & Odyssey; and Edmonia Lewis, sculptor.

I had to leave out a lot of possible names. In my dream library, the wall goes on and on.

I love fantasy and historical fiction. Keep up the good work!


submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(November 16, 2012 - 8:00 pm)

I LOVED your cover for September 2011! It was great! That was the first issue of Cricket I ever got, & it totally helped inspire me to want to continue getting the magazine! I draw some, considering illustrating my own books, because writing is really my passion. Any tips?

submitted by Blonde Heroines Rule
(November 18, 2012 - 3:40 pm)

Hi Blonde Heroines Rule,

Well, I guess my tips for writing and drawing are the ones that work best for me.

Pay close attention to everything around you. Eventually, you'll be inspired by a book, an image, a sound or smell, the feel of the wind, or whatever makes your story take off. To keep improving your skills, draw or write whenever you can. Challenge yourself by drawing things that are not easy for you, or writing from unfamilar points of view. Most of all, enjoy yourself! That will come through in your work.




submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(November 19, 2012 - 1:15 pm)

Hello, Ingrid,

The picture you created for Cricket really is amazing.  I love how the story is really coming alive for the children reading in the right corner.  Where do you think this library would be? 

I also have to say, I love the crow costume.  It's really cool.


submitted by Kyra B., age 14, New England
(November 18, 2012 - 5:26 pm)

Thank you, Kyra!

In my mind, the library would be in the children's aunt's house. Magically, it seems larger on the inside than the entire house is on the outside. When the chidren visit, they spend most of their time there.

The first library I designed was when I was about your age. That one was circular, with shelves that went up two stories with a stained glass dome at the top. I wish I still had that drawing!

I'm glad you like the crow costume. Crows are smart and curious, and their feathers are beautiful.



submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(November 19, 2012 - 1:42 pm)

What is your favorite medium to work with?

submitted by Teresa, age 13, Michigan
(January 12, 2013 - 10:49 am)

Hi Teresa,

I have more than one favorite medium, though I usually paint with soft body acrylic, which is a kind of thinner acrylic paint. It works like watercolor, but can also be used as opaque color. Pencil is my favorite medium for drawing, though I will use a digital tablet & stylus if I'm in a hurry. I also use digital for trying out colors before  paint, or for fixing sketches.

For finished art to hang in a gallery I sometimes use oil paint as a wash or glaze to add depth of color. I think the subject and look of a painting can call for a particular medium. 

What do you like to use?


submitted by Ingrid Kallick
(January 19, 2013 - 4:17 pm)

I like using chalk and pastels, but I don't actually own any. (I usually can work with some during art class, or borrow some from my friends.) Otherwise, I mostly use pencil and crayons.

I also like to use clay. My parents had gotten me a pottery wheel for Christmas a couple years ago, so I've made some bowls with it. 

submitted by Teresa, age 13, Michigan
(January 20, 2013 - 1:57 pm)