As a child
I was born in Ottawa, Canada, but I grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Calgary is a medium-sized city on the Canadian plains but very close to mountains. I spent most of my childhood not making art but riding horses in the countryside. Sometimes it makes me sad that I’m not involved with horses anymore, since it was such a big part of my life growing up, but they take up a lot of time and you might break your arm if you fall off. I need it to draw!
As an adult
I studied illustration and design in my hometown of Calgary, but moved to New York when I was 25. New York has lots of magazines, book publishers, and art schools, so I always have a lot to do here. Sometimes the city is wonderful—there’s always so much to see and do, there are lots of different types of people, and, of course, all that shopping and eating! But sometimes it’s smelly and dirty and people can be very rude. All in all though, the city has been very good to me.
As an artist
I split my time between making comics and working on illustrations for magazines and newspapers. My studio is in my apartment, so sometimes I don’t leave the house all day. In my workspace, I have a desk for a computer, a desk for drawing, and a desk for my light-table. So a different area for each task. I share the computer desk with my studiomate, Gretel, who is a grey cat.
Things you didn't know about Jillian Tamaki
- I’ve walked under waterfalls in Iceland.
- I used to work at a videogame company.
- I quite dislike cantaloupe. It’s cloying.
- My grandmother was Egyptian.
- I would like to illustrate any or all of Charles Dickens’ novels.
- I haven’t eaten red meat since I was 17. But I can’t give up sushi.
- My favourite colour is yellow. It used to be green.
- I’m not really a fan of candy.
- I have no musical talent.
- I just learned how to hard-boil an egg last year.