Kate IsenbergI'm an illustrator living in Los Angeles. I began establishing my "cartoon existentialism" style around age 5, drawing a series of "worker" bees going to the office with briefcases. At age 7, I decided I'd drawn all that existed in the world, so everything since has been a big surprise.

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, I learned my favorite books by both writer and illustrator. (The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame and Michael Hague; the Grey Rabbit books, by Alison Uttley and Margaret Tempest; Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White and Garth Williams.) From these inspirations, I learned that unforgettable characters spring to life from perfectly chosen details. I soon discovered New Yorker writer-illustrators James Thurber and William Steig, whose youthful style of cartoon people and animals convey sophisticated insights into the tragicomedies of adult life.

Like these artists, I base my own work in observation of character, through the prism of both words and images. While studying English literature at Harvard, I spent summers studying illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. Afterward, on the editorial staff of The New Republic magazine, I contributed both reporting and illustrations.

I've found a particularly happy meeting of words and images in creating an ongoing comic strip, "Stewball," about an earnest soul with an existential dilemma (who happens to be a bipedal, city-dwelling horse). Speaking of existential dilemmas, I'm also a singer-songwriter. I've released two albums (The Time Comes on Humming Tracks, 2007; Gold Rush Town, 2010).

I am currently a graduate student in animation at the Animation Workshop at UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television. My specialty is character animation and sound design for 2D animated narratives. Drawn by hand, my work is informed equally by great books and news cycles. The result combines a naive aesthetic with a literary imagination and a satirical edge. I continue searching for what matters and stumbling on laughter.

I am currently at work on an animated short film called Dear Death. The film features Stewball, the bipedal horse with an existential dilemma.

— Kate Isenberg