Our team of Illustrators is lead by Chief Creative Karen Light. Each Illustrator that comes on board is put through our rigorous Illustrator Apprenticeship Program to ensure professionalism and enjoyment on every level! Learn more about the team and see a portfolio of their work by clicking on their self-portraits below.

Karen light, chief creative and illustrator

My Vision: My vision is to nurture humanity through the magic of storytelling. I especially love to co-create Family Books with my clients. I call them Family Books because the content may be presented in a way that is attractive and understandable to children, but the message is meaningful for everyone who reads it.

My Inspiration: Color! Stories! Quotes! Nature! Young people! Old people! All people! Music! Collaborations! It’s everywhere…

My Materials: I used to think I would always use traditional art materials. I greatly enjoy mixing all kinds of media together to achieve saturated colors. I like using illustration markers, watercolors, acrylic paint, colored pencils, oil pastels and soft pastels. Then, I got a digital drawing pad and I fell in love all over again! So, now I am happy to do both hand-drawn and digital illustrations!

My Background: I have a BFA from Xavier University where I majored in sculpture. I was a mixed media painter for years. Then I illustrated my first book and found so much joy in the process. That was six years ago and I see no end in sight! I also have an MA in Cultural Management where I focused on organizations using arts for social change, I have been teaching for nearly two decades, and I am a Creativity Coach.

My Reason for Starting Studio Light: Studio Light Illustration really is the integration of all my passions! I am passionate about illustration and creativity in general. I love the creative collaborations with authors and being a part of their dreams coming true. Also, as a teacher and coach, I am passionate about helping others live the life of their dreams and this is happening through the Illustrator Apprenticeship program!

My Quirky Fact: Sometimes I think my life is one big quirky fact! The quirkiness of the moment is that I am obsessed with tiny houses. I plan to build one for my 40th birthday!

Christelle Liviero aracena, Apprentice illustrator

My Vision: I like creating unique and quirky art that makes both children and adults feel curious and fascinated with the world. I want to illustrate books for children. I also envision creating illustrations for Spanish textbooks.

My Inspiration: I am inspired by different things each time I make art. Sometimes I get inspired when I teach, or when I hung out with children and they ask me to draw something for them. I often get inspired by listening to the melody of some music or when I play games.

My Materials: Traditionally, pen and ink, pencil, watercolor and Copic markers. Digitally, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

My Background: I studied English Philology and Applied Linguistics and I have taught English and Spanish to all ages both in schools and as a private instructor. However, my mother loves crafting and experiment and I grew up making things. I consider myself a self-taught Illustrator.

My Reason for Being an Apprentice: I am a Studio Light Illustration Apprentice because I want to be part of an art community and learn from other illustrators.

My Quirky Fact: I still watch cartoons and I would like to learn how to dance disco or to Bhangra music!

kimberly manley, apprentice illustrator

My Vision: My vision as an illustrator and artist is to create artwork that communicates thoughtful ideas and experiences. I like to raise awareness of topics that are important to me and that many people can relate to. Some current themes within my artwork include expressing mental and physical health and the connection between humans and nature.

My Inspiration: My own experiences and events going on outside my life inspires my artwork. I create artwork that evokes a feeling or tells a story about those experiences. I am inspired by how art can connect people and get others to think about the world in different ways.

My Materials: I prefer to work with traditional mediums including colored pencil, watercolor, pen and ink and acrylic. I also create mixed media works and love to experiment with various mediums.

My Background: BFA in illustration from Northern Illinois University. I have experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign, and After Effects.

My Reason for Being an Apprentice: I joined the Apprenticeship Program, because Studio Light is about more than just illustrating and networking. Studio Light is about connecting with others and working on what is holding us back from truly being successful. It is providing, not only a great outward experience, but an internal experience that helps to prepare apprentices mentally and emotionally for our own personal journey.

My Quirky Fact: During my childhood I would create stories in my head as a way to escape reality when things were stressful or I was trying to fall asleep. I would daydream and play pretend about fairies, ghosts, my favorite TV shows, other realities, and romance. To this day I still catch myself daydreaming during the dull parts of my day.

AMANDA pletsch, apprentice illustrator

My Vision: I spark imagination with my illustrations. I like to let the subject and medium I am working in guide the flow of creation.

My Inspiration: Life inspires me to make art. Specifically, my children and my love for animals and nature.

My Materials: I love to use acrylics and Procreate! I also illustrate using watercolors, color pencils, and alcohol markers.  

My Background: BFA-Fine Arts North Park University (2007). Software experience: Photoshop and Procreate.

My Reason for Being an Apprentice: I have always been interested in illustrating children’s books. I just never knew where to start. I feel like this opportunity will take me closer to who I am becoming as an artist and what I am meant to do with my art.

My Quirky Fact: I will go to the bookstores and look at children’s books for illustrations, just for fun. I did this even before I had kids. I am a kid at heart.

Jade Ueji, Apprentice Illustrator

My Vision: My vision as an illustrator is to bring my own story and the stories of others to life, seeking to get to the heart of what is trying to be expressed. As an artist, I am fascinated by the ways in which mythology, philosophy, and psychology weave through narrative and storytelling.

My Inspiration: I am inspired by the strange imaginative thoughts and impulses that come out of exploring my inner topography. I’m endlessly intrigued by creating invented worlds and the opportunity to travel through them within my work.

My Materials: Graphite, pen, and ink are the perfect materials for the clean line work and textural illustrations I make.

My Background: I have a BFA in Studio Arts at University of Colorado Boulder and I am experienced in Photoshop and Procreate.

My Reason for Being an Apprentice: Being a Studio Light Illustration Apprentice is appealing to me primarily because I love to work collaboratively. I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of starting with someone else’s creative vision, building a connection with them, and then bringing forth a co-created work of art.  

My Quirky Fact: I was a very “martial” kid, teaching myself nun-chucks (without concussing myself!) and sword dancing at the age of 9 before moving on to formal study of Bushin Kan karate.

ALLE MARIN VOLZ, Apprentice Illustrator

My Vision: I want to use my art as a tool to help me bring light into people’s lives. 

My Inspiration: The people in this world have so many untold stories, misunderstood perspectives, and a hunger for love. My dream is to use my art to cultivate the imaginations of the young and the old, encourage empathy across people groups and empower the nations to be filled with hope. I may not save the world, but I can at least bring light to it.

My Materials: For illustration, I generally work with ink and watercolors, both traditional and digital media because I enjoy emphasizing line quality with splashes of color. Outside of illustration, I’ve worked with everything from steel to silver, oak to roving, and polyethylene to polystyrene. My love and curiosity for materials cannot be quelled.

My Background: In 2014, I graduated with a Bachelor of Industrial Design (B.I.D.) from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. Since then, I’ve worked as a Design Researcher, Freelance Designer/Illustrator, and Administrative & Production Assistant. The common thread between all of these roles is stories. I’m passionate about using stories and creativity as tools to bring light to this world. Whether through product design, theater, illustration, or some other artistic form of communication, I believe the people in this world need some love and this is how I would like to contribute.

My Reason for Being an Apprentice: I have a tendency to get excited about a lot of different forms of creativity and types of projects. I want to be intentional about focusing on illustration so I can give that part of my life a chance to grow. 

My Quirky Fact: I can talk to animals… but they don’t talk back.