Rhody Maker: Illustrator and Designer Olivia Chin Mueller
The Providence-based artist, who illustrates children's books for Scholastic and Golden Books, also designs uniquely adorable plush.
Rhode Island Monthly: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?
RIM: What did you study at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)? Were you always drawn to digital illustration over traditional sketching?
OCM: I studied illustration at RISD. At first I thought I wanted to major in animation, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. And yes, I got my first drawing tablet early on in high school, and basically never went back to paper after that. I like being able to fix my mistakes over and over and being able to zoom in forever to get things perfect!
RIM: Your animal illustrations are incredible. (Your book, Babies in the Forest, is a favorite.) Are you an animal lover?
RIM: You also have an accessories line, Lumichee. Could you tell me more about why you decided to launch this in addition to your illustration work? I love that it’s a collaboration with your mom.
OCM: Lumichee started out because I loved enamel pins. I always wanted to make my own, but it wasn’t until my mom said she would help out with ordering and shipping that we decided to take the plunge. Now we make clothes, plush and jewelry as well. It’s so much fun working with my mom, and we really balance each other out in terms of running a business. She’s very numbers oriented and organized, which you definitely need for a business, and I design and photograph the products.
RIM: Also, Mousemoth! How did you come up with the idea to merge a mouse and a moth in a plush?
OCM: It sounds silly, but I actually had a dream about Mousemoth! They looked different then, though. It was just a little white mouse wearing a moth cape. I drew it the next day and started making handmade needle felted versions of them soon after. So many people liked the design I decided to make plush.
RIM: What are some sources of inspiration for you?
RIM: Do you have a favorite book project? A favorite Lumichee product?
RIM: What’s next on the horizon for you?