Harbinger Extra: Katie McDee – Interview with the Artist

Follow the Path! 24 incredible illustrators and artists have picked their favorite scenes and characters from HARBINGER to give you a taste of Faye’s world. Each week, in the gallery at the Holbrook Academy website, a new illustration will unlock…

This week’s art reveal is hosted by: Nova Ren Suma on Distraction No. 99


Family Five from Harbinger. Artwork by Katie McDee.

SWE: Hi Katie!

I love this illustration of Faye’s first dinner at Holbrook. Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose it?

Katie: There are so many Harbinger scenes with vivid imagery that it was hard to choose just one. But I went with Maya jumping up on the cafeteria table because it is not only a perfectly rebellious moment, but I selfishly wanted to depict all of Family 5 (unfortunately, Nami wasn’t there).

SWE: Well, I’m selfishly glad you did. This cafeteria scene was really fun to write, introducing all the misfit characters and you did such wonderful things with it. Thank you!

It really depends what I'm working on but I typically put my feet up, lean back in my desk chair and sketch on my lap. My most productive hours are 10pm-3am because my brain has had plenty of time to warm up, there are no distractions and there's that push to get stuff made before sleep takes you.

Have you always known you wanted to be an illustrator?

Katie: I always loved drawing growing up, but it wasn’t until college that I found a true passion for art and illustration. It’s been 7 years since I graduated and I’ve decided to be an illustrator every day since.

SWE: I know exactly what you mean by that. It’s the same way for me. Everyday I make a conscious choice to sit down and write. I think it’s one of those challenging things about doing a non-traditional job. No one but you will know if you don’t show up.

Do you have a favorite kid’s book?

Katie: I’m a category person, so I have lots of different favorites. But if have to choose one all time fav, It would be “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Need I explain why? :)

SWE: No. There is absolutely no need to explain!

Awesome T-Shirt by Katie McDee

What about your own work?

Katie: Most of my work is digital nowadays so I cherish those moments when I can get over to the drafting table and paint or make something with my hands. Lately, whenever I can steal time away from commissioned work, I enjoy painting geeky fan art, designing Tshirts to screen print or tinkering around trying to build robots out of found objects. One of these days I plan on opening an online store.

SWE: Wow! You’re doing so many different and awesome things! I can’t wait till you open shop too! And umm… building a robot? I can’t just let that slip by… can you tell me more about that?

Katie: There’s a lot of scrounging around antique shops and junk yards to find bits and pieces that could be transformed into robot arms or a torso or a funny face. I’ve got a nice assortment of clock gears going for what I hope to be a steam punky-like bot. It’s all still in the experimental stages but I have high aspirations!

SWE: Salty or Sweet?

Katie: I love everything delicious. gimmee.

Illustration for Highlights High Five by Katie McDee

SWE: What’s your favorite thing about illustration?

Katie: I love the possibilities with illustration. There’s always new opportunities on the horizon to look forward to and new ideas to explore. While sometimes the actual illustrating can be a bit of a battle – whether it’s the composition not coming together or artistic doubt – the creative process is always rewarding. Sure, it can feel like torture sometimes, but in my experience, it all comes together in the end and that is unbelievably satisfying.

SWE: What do you do when you need inspiration?

Katie: There’s a cliff overlooking the ocean I like to park at with my sketchbook sometimes. Also, driving on the freeway has been a good way to get my imagination going. I don’t know why, but a lot of my ideas often come on the freeway.

Harry Potter inspired illustration by Katie McDee

SWE: That works for me sometimes too, though I find it very inconvenient since it’s hard to write down ideas while driving! How about people who inspire you?

Katie: Countless artists. Too many to list, really. Also, my best friend, Anna. Every since I started this artistic journey, she’s been right there cheering me on and letting me bounce my crazy ideas off her brilliant brain.

SWE: Do you have any super powers?

Katie: Ever lose a sock in the dryer? Yeah, sorry. I took it.

SWE: Wonder Woman or Supergirl?

Katie: Supergirl because Wonder Woman’s briefs are so unflattering.

SWE: I resent that! And yet I agree. Sigh…

Well,  thanks anyway Katie! Make sure to check out Katie McDee’s website to see more of her work!



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