Cool Girls with Tag: illustrator

Julz Nally

Sock It to Me Cool Girl Julz Nally.
Photo by Kim Nguyen

Name: Julz Nally
Age: 41
Location: Portland. Oregon
Occupation: Illustrator

At eleven years old, Julz Nally’s parents saw the way that their daughter had fallen in love with art and they enrolled her in watercolor lessons. It was that support and encouragement for creating that has led this Portland based illustrator to create Hummingbird Art Camp.

Sock It to Me Cool Girl Julz Nally Hummingbird Art Camp artwork.The idea for the camp came to her in the middle of working on an illustration project.

“I have over 20 years experience connecting with and teaching kids through art,” she explains, “So when the idea hit me that I could create my own art camp for girls, I ran with it immediately. I couldn’t think of a more joyful way to spend the summer than sharing my love for artful play and watching kids create in our own backyard.”

Julz decided to name the camp for the hummingbirds that visit her gardens and front porch throughout the year, as well as for the reminder that they provide to live a joyous, fulfilled, curious life. Providing a creative outlet for young girls during their downtime allows Julz to give back and foster a whole new generation of artists.

Her day to day life is also filled with artistry and inspiration; Julz is a self-employed illustrator after honing her wares out of college as a graphic designer, advertising art director, and apparel graphic designer.

Sock It to Me Cool Girl Julz Nally art for Hummingbird camp and graphics for clients side by side.

“I’ve been my own boss for the past 11 years now, starting with my a line of graphic jewelry that I used to create and sell as Handmade Julz, to now illustrating and designing for clients,” she says.

The collaborative process of working with clients allows Julz to create a final product while still allowing the clientele to have the freedom to dictate their vision and direct the project. Her solo work, however, is a very different animal.

Sock It to Me Cool Girl Julz Nally personal art: colored spoons with positive messaging.“The personal work that I create comes from my soul. Sometimes I make art inspired by what I’m eating which might become a pattern or something thought that comes to mind. When I’m just making art, it’s for me, and I will sometimes sell the original or a print if others are interested. I tend to ‘make art’ all day, in all aspects of life because that is the way my mind works. The world is full of magic and inspiration, it just takes slowing down to listen and take a closer look. Always keep a sketchbook and pencil nearby,” she advises.

That’s not to say that she lives her life cloistered away in her studio.

“I find that I’m happiest when I balance my week with time out of the house socializing, so I work that into my schedule in small ways. Currently, my typical day consists of figuring out our daily camp activities for Hummingbird Art Camp & designing and painting a piano for Piano. Push. Play. for summer 2018,” she says. (Piano. Push. Play. is a group that rescues pianos and puts them in several locations around Portland for the public to play and enjoy.)

In the future, Julz hopes to continue illustrating, both for clients as well as book publishers.

“I hope to collaborate with a friend on our own book one day filled with ideas for getting creative with nature and connecting with all of that magic within,” she says.

Sock It to Me Cool Girl Julz Nally and daughter Juniper
Photo by Jena Coray

Even more exciting, next year Julz and her family will be going to New Zealand for a family art residency. Her eight-year-old daughter, Juniper, will co-teach a few workshops with her mother while the family is there. “It’s an amazing thing to dream up an idea and work towards that goal, believing that anything is possible,” Julz says.

And what aspirational words does Julz have for other fledgling artists and whimsical girls?

“You are unique and beautiful. Your differences are what make you so special. Keep dreaming big because if you believe that you can, anything is possible. Love yourself and who you are becoming.”

For her loving and lovely vision of the world and the art to be made within it, we think that Julz Nally is a very Cool Girl!

A $200 donation was made to Children’s Healing Art Project (CHAP) on behalf of Julz. You can donate here.

Lucy Knisley

Lucy1Name: Lucy Knisley
Age: 31
Location: Chicago, IL
Occupation: Graphic novel artist and author

Author and artist Lucy Knisley has been at the drawing board since she was a kid. She began publishing comics in her college newspaper at the age of nineteen, and published her first graphic novel with Simon & Schuster at twenty-one years old! Employing a literary agent, and asking for advice from fellow comic artists more seasoned on the business end, she was able to navigate the publishing world with aplomb, putting out several books and contributing to many publications and anthologies. This past year she put out another work, called Something New, and her most recent edition…a baby! (Lucy and her husband John Hortsman welcomed their son to the world in June.)

“Everything in life is an opportunity to experience something new and to write about it and make artwork, so I’m hoping this one doesn’t totally wipe me out with exhaustion!” Lucy said, prior to the baby’s delivery. One thing is certain, motherhood is something – like travel, food, and marriage – that Lucy will lend her ink, wit, and wisdom to on the page and the web.

Lucy2At an early age, Lucy channeled the inspiration she gleaned from reading comic books into making her own, scribbling out her own fan comics related to the Archie series, and using her craft to interpret her experiences as she grew up.

After her education she continued to create, and this multi-talented lady didn’t decide to go the tres chic “starving artist” route of suffering for her craft. Lucy chose to structure her art as though it were a conventional job, and by creating a routine she was able to cultivate professional clout.

“I think the insecurity and doubt everyone faces early on in a profession is tough to overcome,” she explains. “In the arts, it’s impossible to feel confident about the future when you’re at the beginning, and it took me years of working and developing my practice to gain the confidence to feel secure in what I do. It’s helped considerably to make myself keep to a regular office schedule, and to treat drawing and writing as a career, rather than a passion. It’s important to me that I feel respect for my own work, and important for others to understand that it’s a respectable job,” Lucy explains.

RelishLucy’s work is reflective and autobiographical—be it about growing up with a chef mom in Relish, jet-setting around the world in An Age of License, family and a cruise vacation in Displacement, or the mayhem that becomes marriage in Something New, she uses her own experiences and perspective to weave touching, universal works of comic art.

When she’s asked to reflect on the part of the process that is the most dear to her, Lucy is able to come up with a decisive answer.

“The inking stage of a comic. That’s when the possibility of a blank page, ready to be filled by the developed idea, is particularly exciting, and I can watch the comic take shape,” she says.

Lucy3

As for advice for young people who are trying their hands at making art, she has some simple, common-sense gems to bestow.

“Just work at it until it gets a little bit easier. And hydrate! And remember to take breaks and eat and pay attention to your body’s needs, like getting outdoors or moving or sleeping. You’ll not benefit from neglecting your body – it’s the basic tool that you need to do your job!”

Moreover, she believes that asking your peers for guidance and support is what is really key to the process.

“Other girls and women in cool professions are the best and greatest resource you can possibly imagine. Hold up your fellow lady, and your fellow lady will hold you up! My editor, agent, and most successful colleagues are all women I love and believe in, and I’m always meeting more incredible women and girls who blow me away with their talent and generosity,” Lucy beams. “It can be a tough and unfair world sometimes, but knowing you’ve got an arsenal of great ladies at your back can make all the difference in dealing with the nonsense.”

Lucy Knisley is one creative Cool Girl! Congratulations, Lucy and John, on the birth of your son!