Sarah Walsh


Kansas City (Fairway, KS)

Sarah Walsh is an internationally published illustrator whose projects span picture books, home goods, apparel, editorial and more. Select clients include PBS, The British Museum, Nosy Crow, Washington Post, Chronicle Books and, of course, Blue Q. She’s a mom of two humans and a dog. Music, plants, folk art, the '80s, thrifting, bold color, fashion, mid-century design, strong women, old picture books and mythology inform her work.

“Positivity and passion are contagious.”

What did you get in trouble for as a kid?

In first grade I got in trouble for spitting spit balls with my milk straw wrapper and the straw. A few days prior my uncle showed me how to do it while we were all out to eat. I thought it was amazing and wanted to show off my newfound skills. It didn't pan out as I had hoped.

What was your favorite thing to draw as a child? Why d
id that lodge in your head?

Horses and unicorns, 100%. They captured my imagination and provided an escape. When I drew them, I felt empowered. As a kid I was shy and I got picked on for my weight. Naturally, it made me feel insecure about myself. But when I drew horses or a badass Pegasus bursting through the clouds, I felt free and would channel my horse character’s awesomeness. Take that, mean kids!

Listen to music while you work? Anything special in your work space that unleashes your creative juices?

Yes, indeed. I'm all over the place with my music taste though and always looking for new fun jams. It's like a treasure hunt. I love almost anything ‘80s synth, Little Dragon, Beach House, Kid Cudi, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Jonelle Monae, Charlotte Gainsburg, Tokimonsta, Labrinth, Tame Impala, Arcade Fire, Interpol, The Strokes and Phantogram, to name a few.

Any person who really helped you in your awesome artistic journey?

Yes, indeed. A zillion years ago in my early adult life I was a single parent. I wanted to go back to school for graphic design, get a decent job and provide for my young daughter. My mom and grandmother stepped up and supported me in a zillion different ways while I got my degree. I could never have done it without them.

Have any special tricks or insights into how to connect with your audience and make ‘em respond?

Sounds cheesy but try to embrace yourself and all the things you love with everything you have. That kind of positivity and passion is contagious. Celebrate your individuality and the things you love through your art. You never know who's watching.