Kat Tsai: Visible Woman

One of Kat Tsai's recent pieces

Her imagery invokes a magic conjured by hushed shades and bright pastels. There is a strong sense of colorful harmony to each one of her illustrations, to each panel of her self-produced comics.

One of Kat Tsai's recent pieces
One of Kat Tsai’s recent pieces

The palettes chosen for different themes, times of day, and character design have a symmetry to them that draws the eye into an enchanting story. This is the artwork of a promising illustrator from Virginia named Kat Tsai, and it has something special that she’s been cultivating for years. 

Katherine Tsai has loved dragons, manga, videogames, and art since the age of nine. It seems she has always appreciated a good story. A self-proclaimed nerd goblin and talented artist who is 90% Chipotle burritos, the freelance illustrator has rooted her works in classic stories and animation inspired by her own art heroes like Kenji Tsuruta. Tsai’s self-taught art is also driven by her Taiwanese-American heritage, and it shows in her detailed illustrations. When she’s not creating something beautiful or studying, she runs a blog that features Asian artists throughout the ages. Her eye for composition is clear, even in the pieces she curates for the Asian art blog.

An appreciation of detailed, exquisite art is not the only part of Tsai’s work that captures the hearts of her audience. Her comics are personal, contain real feelings and problems, and have a genuine quality to them. The way that she opens up her own life to share a meaningful story that possesses a tranquility and purity of heart, is charming.

One of Kat Tai's "Girl Gang" pages
One of Kat Tai’s “Girl Gang” pages

It is clear, throughout her work, that Tsai cares about how she is creating the story she is sharing. She’s not afraid to address racial issues she herself has experienced, or write a story about an insecurity that many others feel. Tsai’s work has the potential to be truly fearless and sweet.

Though she is presently pursuing an art degree at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Tsai has been doing freelance artwork and teaching art for over five years. She started by teaching art to children for the Sunshine Academy in Washington D.C., and later became a personal art tutor. She continued her educational work as a Teaching Assistant at CMU, helping with classes like Computing for Creative Practice in Fall of 2016. She also creates helpful art resources. Her freelance art work includes projects with clients like Tiny Monster Studios and Revolition Games.

These are only a few of the many reasons that Tsai found her way into Cartoon Network (CN) as an intern this summer. There, she is getting a chance to do things like create backgrounds for Steven Universe, work with the Mighty Magiswords team, and help start the new CN show Apple & Onion that’s slated for 2018. She even got to draw some Steven Universe fanart for Deedee Magno Hall, a Steven Universe voice actor.

Kat Tsai's Steven Universe fan art
Kat Tsai’s Steven Universe fan art

This may be the beginning of a long career in animation and visual development for Katherine Tsai, exactly the kind of career path she’s hoping for according to her Tumblr FAQ page. It seems to be not only ideal for Tsai’s future, but for fans of her artwork as well. No doubt her work at CN will add to her already strong following of 50,000 fans. Perhaps it will spur her to continue work with game development studios and comics.

Kat was one of the #VisibleWomen found on Twitter during the hashtag frenzy of gorgeous artwork. Tsai is happy to share the art advice that has spurred her onward, and brush styles she prefers. You can find these thoughts, and more of Tsai’s beautiful illustrations, on her Tumblr. You can watch out for more of Kat Tsai’s artwork for sale, follow her on Twitter or Tumblr, or contact her agent Roseanne Wells to book her for a project.

Corissa Haury

Corissa Haury

I am an avid fiction, fantasy and science fiction nerd who loves visual media. I love to read books in any form, be it comics, graphic novels, zines, anthologies, or traditional print. Let's talk about fun comic stuff together!