Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meet the Corespondents--Gay Kraeger

I grew up next to a redwood forest. I am very lucky to still live on the edge of that same forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains along California's central coast. As a child I loved to draw. I grew up and decided to go into art. I was going to study illustration in college but then a very inspiring professor changed my direction to graphic design.

After graduation I went into the design field and worked in advertising agencies as a production artist. Those were the days before computers, when everything printed was pasted together. I remained in the production field through the advent of the computer. On a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium bookstore I found Hannah Hinchman's book "A Life in Hand, the illuminated journal" in the bookstore. Wow, the book inspired me, but I was very intimated because I hadn't drawn in years. I bought more books (all those by Cathy Johnson and some by Claudia Nice and Claire Walker Leslie) Then a friend and co-worker, Christina Lopp, went to Paris and came home with an illustrated journal of her trip. Though not a professional artist, her drawings were so charming. I loved seeing Paris through her eyes. I went out and bought a watercolor kit and a cheap book and started keeping a journal. That was 12 years ago and I have been drawing and journaling ever since. Amazingly as I drew regularly my drawing skills improved.

Journaling has changed the direction of my life. Christina Lopp and I started teaching illustrated journaling in 1996. Now I combine my graphic design background with my new drawing skills to create wayside panels for State Parks in my interpretive design firm Wildways illustrated.


  1. I enjoyed reading more of your story here. I look forward to seeing your postings. Congratulations!

  2. I just love your work, Gay. I could look at it for hours! Especially your combinations of sketching and lettering--so rich. I look forward to getting to know you better.

  3. I love your cards--found them on your website when I was looking for your address to invite you to join our list of correspondents. BEAUTIFUL work...your calligraphy adds so much, too. So glad you found Hannah's book too...and that you were inspired by Christina! The world's a richer place for it...

  4. It is fun to read about how others got started. Sketchbook journaling is such a fun way to record and enjoy life! I look forward to seeing more of your work.


We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.