This week’s contribution is by Kyle Fewell, an illustrator from New York who probably draws some of the best cats on the internet. 
His music choices make a nice contrast with the cavalcade of cute cats, girls and food illustrations in his portfolio.

Innumerable Forms - Frozen to Death EP
This is my go to album currently at work. Nice old school death metal sound. ‘Frozen to Death’ and ‘Contaminated’ are the best things on the album.


Listening to this today (of course).


This week’s contributor is the wildly talented Kris Mukai, who says that being locked away in her studio would be ‘no way to live’, so her list of five items would be: A lock picking kit, a toolbox, a sledgehammer, her computer, a gun.

Kavinsky - Nightcall
This album is first thing I listen to when I start working, and I’ll listen to it over and over and over and over and ∞ . It is immediately transporting and fascinating. 

Cocorosie - Werewolf (live)
The poetry in this song is fantastic. 

Ester Dean - Drop it Low
This song makes me feel tough. I love in the video when Ester says “CAN YOU PLEASE GO HOME?

Rye rye - Sunshine
Carefree summer memories.

Ninjasonik - Daylight Remix
Another carefree song that reminds me of my friends. 

M.I.A. - Bad Girls
Fucking cool right?

Azealia Banks - 212
If you can’t appreciate this song, I can’t appreciate you.

Daughn Gibson - A Young Girl’s World (off the album All Hell)
This is another album that I will listen to over and over again.

You can see more of Kris’ work here:
She tumblrs here: krismukai.tumblr and tweets over here:


the first contributor after this little break (illustrating books takes up a fair amount of time) is Andrew Kolb an illustrator from Ontario, Canada.
Andrew’s work is distinguished by a marked sense of playfulness, bold shapes and a deep love for (the geekier side of) pop culture.

If we were to lock him up in his studio, and he would prefer his studio if he did have to be shut in somewhere, these are his 8 choices to listen to.

Hoshi Neko by Yamantaka// Sonic Titan 

I admit I don’t know what is being sung about, but I think that’s the point.

Jolene by Dolly Parton

The story is as much in her voice as it is in the words.

I’m Waiting for the Day by the Beach Boys

These next two songs fall into a category I really like: sad songs that sound happy.

We’ve got a groovy thing goin’ by Simon & Garfunkel

See above.

My Girls by Animal Collective

This whole album just makes me feel like I’m living 10 minutes from now.

Headache by Metz

The roller coaster that starts at 1:30 is pretty great.

Rockers to Swallow by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

These last two fall into another category I’m fond of: the first 5 seconds make me believe I can do anything.  

Tell ‘em by Sleigh Bells

Absolutely anything.

Although he spends most of his time in his studio already, being locked in there would completely change his attitude towards being a recluse. 

But if given the choice, he would prefer his studio over any other room.
As long as he gets to take
the current Nintendo handheld gaming system (with games) to play, Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series to read, Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy to watch, and a McCain’s Deep ‘n Delicious chocolate cake for company. I think that’s only 4 so either the games will count as one or I’ll have another cake.”

You can find Andrew here:
here: and here:

My thanks to Andrew for participating!

No new post this week, as I’m busy (to use the parlance of our times; I am, in fact, working my balls off) finishing a picture book. Fortunately I have Michael Nyman spurring me on.

Britt Wilson

This week we’ll be getting our ‘content’ from the maddeningly talented Britt Wilson; a cartoonist and illustrator from Toronto. Although I would be remiss to mention her lettering skills.

And while she chose eight tunes to listen to in her studio-prison, she says that generally she prefers audiobook and podcasts while working.
She needs something with words to keep her mind occupied while she is drawing, painting, or inking. But that’s only after sketching and writing; a more delicate process, where anything with words or a story can be used as an excuse to stop working. 
(A familiar issue, if I may interject)

So here is a list of 8 songs that will not break your concentration.

Sigur Rós in general has been a band I’ve listened to while working since I was first introduced to them in high school, but this song is my current obsession.

Trevor Basset

This week our musical guest is Trevor Basset, a designer and illustrator from Seattle. You might also be aware of him from his side project, the Silver Screen Society, where illustrators share work inspired by films.

Here he shares his choices for 8 pieces of music to keep with him if he found himself locked away forever in his studio.

"Bowerbirds is a good go to to calm things down, peaceful and imaginative music."

A new year and a new contributor! (yes, it’s been 2014 for a little while now, but I think it still counts)
Kenard Pak is an illustrator and visual development artist living and working in San Francisco.

His first picture book is coming out soon from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and a few days ago he took some time out, of what I presume to be a busy schedule to share some of his favourite music.

My basic go to music is Stars of the Lid; where they put most to sleep, their music actually motivates me to work hard.

It’s been a bit quiet over here as I look for some new contributors, but here’s some music I’ve been listening to lately while I work on a book for next year’s holiday season (how very appropriate right now, don’t you think?).

In the mean time; if you’re an illustrator who isn’t hesitant about sharing what you like to listen to, do get in touch.

(the picture above is from my work for Marks & Spencer’s 2013 christmas products)

Just setting the mood here.

I play Sufjan Stevens’ christmas songs to death every winter, by which I mean; if I don’t stop playing them my wife generally wants to murder me to death after a while. However I can’t imagine christmas without his songs anymore, Sufjan gets something so right about the feeling of that period of the year. 

Phoebe Wahl

This week’s musical guest, as it were, is Phoebe Wahl; a recently graduated illustrator from the Pacific Northwest. Although, I thought at first she was from somewhere in Scandinavia or Germany. Her work, echoed, it seemed to the illustrations of classic Swedish illustrators like Ilon Wikland and Elsa Beskow, with its goodnatured domestic scenes, and woodsy settings. What distinguishes her work though is the heft and the presence of her materials. There’s no ethereal application of pastel and watercolour here, instead gouache, pencil and collage assert themselves almost forcefully. The way you feel the slathered on paint in a van Gogh painting.
It gives her work a sense of conviction and an earthiness that is singularly appealing.

You can also tell that it takes time to make such pieces. So it’s not surprising that she says that her studio is where she spends most of her time already. Having her bedroom in there though, she feels, is not entirely ideal. Spending the entire day in your bedroom working, doesn’t always feel like working. And it’s hard to take breaks when your work is staring you in the face.
However she does enjoy working at home, surrounded by her things.
Her work is intertwined with her life to a degree where, she thinks, she’d be uncomfortable to separate her work and living spaces.
So if she did find herself locked up in there, she only needs the following items to make life a bit more comfortable:

  1. I don’t know if a window can count. But I have to have a window. I have to have some reminder of nature and the outside world to space out through while working. Plus fresh air!
  2. Books. I like having lots of books around to look at if I’m stuck and need inspiration. Most of the books I own are children’s books…
  3. Slippers & hand warmers. Maybe I’m stingy or my house just doesn’t hold heat very efficiently…but my feet and hands are always cold. Even in the summer I wear slippers while working, and a lot of times fingerless gloves too.
  4. Tea. Earl Gray with milk and honey. Chamomile & Lavender after 9pm. I was vegan for a while and non-milky tea was the second saddest part. (No cheese was the first saddest of course.)
  5. Some sort of audio-device, a computer or iPod (although I could definitely still get down with a walkman… I love cassettes.) When I was little I would zone out for hours drawing and listening to audiobooks. I would listen to the same ones over and over. I’ve listened to Little Women and The Secret Garden about 30 times, I swear. I still love audiobooks, and revisit old favorites frequently…like Harry Potter!

Musically her choices would be:

I tend to listen to a lot of mellow folk music. Vashti’s songs is slightly fantastical, which is why I love listening to her while I work. It’s like fairy music. She traveled with her boyfriend by horse and cart from London to the outer Hebrides to live on a commune that Donovan started, which is where she began writing her first album Just Another Diamond Day (released in 1970). She holds a special place in my heart because I listed to a lot of her music when I traveled to the Isle of Erraid (part of the inner Hebrides) while I was doing a study abroad program at the Findhorn Ecovillage in northeast Scotland. She’s a great name to plug into Pandora you get a lot of early Joan Baez and Joni Mitchell, Carolyn Hester and Sibylle Baier. All good listens for a mellow rainy work day.