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Life & Work with Christina Wald

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Wald.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I went to school at University of Cincinnati DAAP and studied Industrial Design.

When I got out of school, I really wanted to do comics but was too slow so I started out illustrating professionally for games including the Star Wars RPG, Middle Earth: Wizards, A Lord of the Rings collectible card game, Dragon Magazine, BattleTech, Dune and many others.

Around 2003, I started illustrating children’s books and magazines. Over the years, I have been fortunate to work on so many cool projects! Highlights include illustrating Paws, Hoofs, and Wings Animal Heroes of the San Diego Zoo by Sharyn Lyon, the official children’s book to celebrate the zoo’s 2016 centennial, Camas and Sage: A Story of Bison Life on the Prairie by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent (funded by the American Prairie Reserve and featured on HuffPost Books) which received a Skipping Stones Honor Award, and The Wild Life of Elk by Donna Love, (A joint venture between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Forest Service) which was a finalist for a 2012 Benjamin Franklin Award. Cao Chong Weighs an Elephant by author Songju Ma Daemicke recently was given an NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Award and included on the NSTA Best STEM Books list for 2018.

Other illustration highlights: Illustration/toy design for National Geographic, Encyclopedia Britannica, and Discovery Kids.

In 2020, I managed a team of local artists to put out a comic anthology called Cincinnati Cabinet of Curiosities. Each year, it highlights regional cryptids, weird history, hauntings, and urban legends. We just successfully Kickstarted Issue 2 and are planning Issue 3! We also put out a weekly companion podcast called Hometown Haunts hosted by me, Kat Klockow, and Jen Koehler.

I started a webcomic called Embrace the Crone in 2019.

My next book, Sloth’s Treehouse Inn from San Diego Zoo Global, will be out in 2022.

In 2012, I became passionate about urban sketching. I helped start the Cincinnati chapter, am an admin, and do social media for the international organization. I am obsessed with travel (it has been a long couple of years), and currently planning both a regional Ohio Urban sketching event and a sketching trip to Romania in the summer of 2022.

I also teach illustration and sequential storytelling and Northern Kentucky University.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I am so lucky to get to do what I love to do!

At the end of the 90s, a lot of game companies I regularly worked for went through extreme difficulties or went under. I took a job at an ad agency to refocus my portfolio. Then I stumbled into children’s books.

The biggest thing I am trying to do now is to develop my own intellectual properties. That is why I started the webcomic, to make myself write each week. I want to get my writing published in addition to my illustrations which is a very, very hard road.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
It is hard to say what work I am most known for. I still get cards to sign from the illustrations I did for Middle Earth, an official Tolkein CCG, back in the 90s!

Most of the books I illustrate are about animals although I did do a biography of Annie Jump Cannon!

I used to mostly paint traditionally in acrylic, but urban sketching ignited my love of watercolor. I am also dabbling in gouache.

For illustration, I am working digitally more and more although not for all projects. I also have been getting into animation. I love plating with Adobe After Effects and Character Animator.

I recently started a Patreon to make an artbook!

I feel so fortunate to have worked so long doing what I love. Each day is still new and different!

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Be persistent and always be up for anything.

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1 Comment

  1. Carole Gerber

    December 10, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Christina,
    You are so talented and also incredibly determined and persistent! I loved working with you on ANNIE JUMP CANNON, ASTRONOMER. Your illustrations perfectly fit my story and it was fun to do research with you on what she actually looked like. I recall you contacted Oxford to find out what color her robe would have been. Ditto on our little Little Red Bat book. You actually tracked down a man who rescued red bats and visited him.

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