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Kathryn Rathke

Kathryn Rathke's Profile Photo

Looking at one of Kathryn Rathke’s line-based illustrations can be a bit like working out a puzzle – was it created using one fluid and continuous line, or many? According to the Seattle-based artist she owes her drawing skills to family connections. Her grandmother taught her to draw and supplied her with books by Arthur Rackham, Maurice Sendak, and William Steig, while her father was president of an advertising agency and used to bring home reams of paper for her to practice on. She has lots of other creative interests too. She learned to make leather masks in Italy, enjoys German experimental theatre, and sometimes throws parties where her friends must act out vignettes found in a 1912 children’s book called Entertainments for All the Year.

Training

Kathryn did an MFA in Set Design at the University of Wisconsin but was always drawing on the side, sometimes accepting commissions from newspapers and magazines. Eventually she flipped things around and made her illustration work a full-time profession and set design became her hobby.

Approach

Kathryn does everything digitally in Photoshop and Illustrator using a Cintiq screen by Wacom. If she’s doing portraiture work, she draws her subject many times over from different angles. This way she learns about the most important features of their face and can draw it in a way that makes it instantly recognisable.

Style

The line is core to Kathryn’s style and her work is very fluid. Expressive and calligraphic, there’s a unique sense of gesture in her illustrations. She also uses crosshatching to develop surfaces in her images, using layers of lines of varying thickness to build up a texture.

Awards

AI-AP Award 2005 Communication Arts Award of Excellence 2010 AI-AP Award 2012

Client list

The Guardian The Economist Intelligent Life Wendy's Leo Burnett Warner Bros Newsweek Time Out The Boston Globe Vanity Fair The Evening Standard The Financial Times The New York Observer Food and Wine magazine USA Today Esquire Oprah magazine
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Rick Bayless
Kathryn Rathke produces an amusing portrait of American chef Rick Bayless for Chicago Magazine.
Rick Bayless
Refugee Entrepreneurs
Kathryn Rathke helps to celebrate refugee entrepreneurs at a recent London event.
Refugee Entrepreneurs
Sandra Cisneros
Kathryn Rathke creates one of her signature portraits for Chicago Magazine.
Sandra Cisneros
Tweedy and the Corn Cobs
Kathryn Rathke is thrilled to draw one of her favourite musicians for Chicago Magazine.
Tweedy and the Corn Cobs
ChrisTiana ObeySumner
City Arts Magazine commission Kathryn Rathke for one of her outstanding portraits
ChrisTiana ObeySumner
Sister Jean
Kathryn Rathke creates a portrait of a worthy local for Chicago Magazine.
Sister Jean
Community Radio
A portrait of Tony Benton is created by Kathryn Rathke for Seattle's City Arts Magazine.
Community Radio
Angela Garbes
Food critic Angela Garbes is drawn by Kathryn Rathke for Seattle's City Arts magazine to coincide with the release of her new book.
Angela Garbes
Sharp Women
A book celebrating the intellectual life of female writers in 20th century America is illustrated by the skilled Kathryn Rathke.
Sharp Women
A Striking Portrait
Kathryn Rathke draws Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for an event held in his honour.
A Striking Portrait
Rushdie's Review
The Guardian ask Kathryn Rathke for one of her distinctive portraits showing Salman Rushdie and the President of the USA.
Rushdie's Review
Sgt Rigsby and his Amazing Silhouettes
Seattle's City Art's Magazine commission Kathryn Rathke for her super portrait skills.
Sgt Rigsby and his Amazing Silhouettes
Artists of the Year
Kathryn Rathke draws portraits honouring Seattles's worthiest artists.
Artists of the Year
Nobel Prize Winner
Kathryn Rathke celebrates Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize with this fantastic portrait.
Nobel Prize Winner
The Spirit & Flair of Prince
Kathryn Rathke creates a portrait of Prince for Seattle's 'The Stranger'.
The Spirit & Flair of Prince
Audible Range
Illustrating for the 'Audible Range' editorial site, Kathryn Rathke visualises listening to Moby Dick for a feature on audiobooks.
Audible Range
Rocket
Kathryn Rathke works on a charity project for KEXP - a listener-sponsored radio station.
Rocket
Macron
Kathryn Rathke draws a portrait of France's Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron.
Macron
Seattle's Jody Hall
Kathryn Rathke's portrait skills are used again for Seattle's City Arts Magazine.
Seattle's Jody Hall
Illustrator Profile - Kathryn Rathke
Kathryn Rathke illustrates with fluid, expressive and calligraphic lines.
Illustrator Profile - Kathryn Rathke
A Wall of Wally
Kathryn Rathke takes part in the Wall of Wally project.
A Wall of Wally
T.S. Eliot
Kathryn Rathke produces an intense portrait of T.S. Eliot for The Guardian Review cover.
T.S. Eliot
World Cup Nicknames
World Cup Nicknames
All about Rathke
All about Rathke