Art and writing have always been inseparable to me, and I’ve been doing both for as long as I can remember. I still have sketchbooks from when I was seven or eight years old, full of drawings of dragons and knights and Redwall mice, with paragraphs crammed into the margins explaining who this princess is and where she got her magic sword, or detailing this monster’s habitat and hunting tactics. I often tried to draw comic books, though I rarely managed more than a few consecutive pages. I finished my first “novel” in sixth grade: it filled nearly 200 sheets of notebook paper (double-spaced like I’d been taught in school, and with some pages dedicated to illustrations instead of words), and I was crestfallen to discover that when I typed it up, it was nowhere near novel length. But I kept trying: like every aspiring fantasy writer, I was determined to write — and illustrate — the next Lord of the Rings. Tolkien had beautiful diction and captivating stories, of course, but just as importantly, he illustrated all his own books with the most stunning colors and delightfully stylized shapes! I knew I needed to combine words and images like he did. So I gobbled up C.S. Lewis, Ursula LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, and Robin McKinley; I read and re-read the Iliad and the Morte d’Arthur and the Bible. I pored over the art of Alan Lee, Alphonse Mucha, Michael Whelan, and Giotto; I copied images from Hellboy and Dragonriders of Pern and the Bayeux Tapestry. It took me a long time to find my style, both with words and paints, and it’ll take me the rest of my life to refine that style, but I’m excited to bring you along on my continuing journey as I send out my paintings and my writings into the world.