In the presence of nature,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay, “Nature,” “a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” Losing oneself (and one’s cell phone service) in the company of nature can be a blissful experience. At the very least, stepping into the wilderness helps wash away the worries of everyday life—a feeling that’s well known to this month’s cover artist.
“I love nature and love the calm it brings,” Jaime Anderson says. “I think I focus on the outdoors in my illustrations because it creates a nice little escape; they are all places and little scenes I’d like to jump into.” These micro-scenes in her work are what she enjoys most: people, beer, nature, biking, and camping. “I’m one of those people who enjoys pulling out my camping gear and organizing it even if I’m not going anywhere.”
Before Jaime jumped into her role as a full-time illustrator—with clients such as the Star Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, American Express, and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, to name a few—her artistic journey had the most ordinary of beginnings. “I can’t remember any pivotal moment that inspired me to become an artist,” she reflects, “but I can say that there was nothing more exciting or more wonderful than a fresh 64-pack of Crayola crayons,” Jaime reflects.
She illustrated her first “book” at age eight, featuring sketches of her childhood fears—“starting school,” “eating fish that are attacking you,” “the world coming to an end”—and calling the compilation “Scary is…” Using pictures to tell a story spoke to Jaime. “I always wanted to be an illustrator, even before I knew what that meant. And as a doodler, I could not be stopped.”
And she truly hasn’t stopped since. Jaime drew her way to the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, graduating in 2001 with a degree in art and an emphasis in illustration. She then worked in various print shops, undertaking prepress and graphic design projects, but felt a strong tug to focus on illustration full time. She earned a master’s degree in illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009, acknowledging that her time in Georgia “gave me the wonderful opportunity to sharpen my conceptual skills, strengthen my technique, and discover my style.”
Jaime hasn’t trailed too far from the college scene, but this time, she’s the professor—currently teaching illustration as a full-time visiting faculty member at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. “It is a highly energized and creative environment, which continues to inspire me,” says Jaime. “I feel lucky to be working with such talented students, and it is exciting to see them develop their voices as illustrators.”
Wearing many hats as an illustrator—a commercial artist, designer, educator—art takes up a large chunk of her life. But does she ever grow tired of it? “Though it presents its challenges, I love working as an artist,” Jaime says. “My main passion and driving force in life will always be illustration. I can’t imagine any other path.”
And whether Jaime is hiking deep through the woods or illustrating a deeply hued campfire scene, comparable wild delights run through her. “What I love about art is that it gives you a really special and unique voice,” says Jaime. “It can be loud, strong, subtle, or beautifully quiet. It allows you to reach out to a wide audience and, at times, has the power to make a stronger visual and emotional impact than words can. It can be universal, approachable, and cleverly used as a way to address a wide range of subject matter (from camping to deeply heated political issues). It’s a truly powerful medium.”