7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #70: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Maris Wicks

h1 July 6th, 2008 by Eisha and Jules

Late-Sunday Addendum: Why don’t we leave our kicks post up on Monday? It was a holiday weekend, and some folks might not have been able to come kickin’ with us. So, if you didn’t, feel free to do so on Monday. Come on, you know your kicks-lists brighten our days.

Plus, we want to show Maris’ art work to more people.

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Jules: Well, happy holiday weekend to one and all on this Sunday with the kickin’ numerology goin’ on (“7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #70”). It’s the first of the month again when we here at 7-Imp highlight the work of student illustrators or those new to illustration. This week we welcome Maris Wicks, whose above illustration is a re-imagining of Wonder Woman. “I submitted this to an on-line contest (Project: Rooftop) that challenged artists to redesign Wonder Woman’s costume,” she told us. Maris, who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, has found herself drawn (excuse the unintentionally lame pun) to the world of comics, as she explains below.

Maris: “I did the cover {pictured below}, inside spot illustrations, and a 12-page story within the anthology Project: Romantic, published by Adhouse Books, 2006 . . .
{above is} one of the pages . . .”

Maris: “blogwave, a promotional image I use on postcards”

I always tell illustrators that they’re welcome to tell us a bit about themselves in these Sunday features. And, when they take us up on that, I’m always happy to hear from them and to share with our readers what they have to say about their art work, their process, themselves, their careers, their dreams and goals, whatever. Maris did that PLUS SOME. She told me to feel free to edit what she calls her “ridiculously long bio,” but I love it. I found it quite enjoyable, indeed. So, without further ado, here’s Maris:

As I was saying, my name is Maris. Maris Wicks, actually. A little bit about myself, you say? Well, all right. Here goes: I was born some time in the 1980s. I was a really fat little baby; my parents called me “blotto-baby.” I grew up on the edge of our town’s state forest, so I was often dirty and covered with leaves. Somehow, I made it through middle school, no longer a blotto-baby. I had now evolved into an angst-y, indie-comics-reading, punk-rock-listening, cheese-loving, semi-blotto (thanks mostly to the cheese) teenager. Another four years and I had made it through high school, though over those four years, I had figured out that I did not want to stay in the town I was born, even though it had a perfectly tasty Taco Bell. Instead, I opted for a life in the city of Providence, RI, while getting an education at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Another four years later, and after much sleep deprivation, I graduated with a BFA in Illustration. I immediately got a job in the field—or should I say fields—at a local farm. Over the next few years, I would have many jobs, all of them somewhat bizarre: orchard tour guide, canoe/sailing instructor, EMT (potentially — I completed and passed the course, but upon working on a real ambulance, I promptly pooped my metaphorical pants, and decided I should stick to other things), camp art director, Americorps volunteer (I’ve done 1,700 hours of community service, baby!), museum educator, pie baker, after-school teacher, you name it. Not that I wasn’t doing art, mind you. I picked up random illustration jobs here and there, made stuffed animals and mini-comics to sell at sales, and ended up doing a considerable amount of illustration work for the “real” jobs I worked at (hand-painted signs, logo design, museum exhibit design, and book/calendar design to name a few). The places I had been employed with—The Big Apple Orchard, Citizen Schools, Providence Children’s Museum, various summer camps—had given me a valuable insight concerning the diversity of the illustration world. Plus, I had realized that I was happier doing a bunch of different things (a blessing and a curse sometimes…), and that it made for a rather good time. In short, nothing was ever irrelevant or unnecessary; it all had a positive impact on my life (yes, even the time I learned how to drive a front-loading John Deere tractor).

But more about the art: post-college, I fell further in love with the medium of comics. I found myself drawing them way more often than single illustrations. I also found that the stuffed animals I made sold pretty well at art sales and small-press comics conventions (and who doesn’t like a little extra cash here and there?). {Pictured here is} me after thirty-six hours of no sleep (before a convention), surrounded by my wares. So, over the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve tried to focus mainly on drawing comics and making stuffed animals. Truthfully, I just really want arthritis.

Recently, I’ve been published by Adhouse Books (a small-press, “boutique” publisher), which has gotten my work out on the comics circuit. From there, I’ve drawn a number of short comics stories that have appeared/will appear in anthologies. And, more recently, I’ve signed on to illustrate a 128-page full color graphic novel (fancy word for “long comic book”) due out from First Second Books in the future (you’ll have to check my blog for more information).

Currently, I live outside of Boston and balance a life of both working part-time as an educator for the New England Aquarium and drawing comics. O.K. I think I have officially written too much. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast for showcasing my work (and letting me flap my metaphorical gums).

Maris: “What a typical table at a comics convention or art sale looks like
(minus the magenta explosion)”

Maris: “One of the ‘100 themes,’ an on-line drawing challenge. I used the characters from the Project: Romantic story (whom I have dubbed ‘Black’ and ‘White’…original, I know). All 100 themes are posted on my blog.”

We’d like to thank Maris for stopping by and showing us her art work and soft sculpture pieces. If you like what you see here, Maris’ blog, dots for eyes, is here. Or you can visit her LiveJournal, which has the same content, I believe. Thanks again, Maris, and we wish you all kinds of luck!

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As a reminder, our weekly 7 Kicks list is the meeting ground for listing Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week — whether book-related or not — that happened to you (as well as featuring new artists like Maris). You—yes, you reading now—are more than welcome to leave your kicks from the week, whether you’ve ever done so before or not.

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* * * Jules’ AND eisha’s kicks * * *

Eisha and I are joining forces on our kicks this week. Instead of seven, separate kicks, we have one big, simple, happyhappyjoyjoy kick: We got to visit one another this weekend! Eisha’s visiting family way down here in Tennessee, and so she stopped by the Danielson household to have lunch with us, too, and let us throw her an early birthday party. Here we are; my wee’est insisted on sitting in my lap. And I think, though I’m not entirely sure, that my four-year-old might have taken this picture:

What are your kicks this week? We hope folks are around this holiday weekend . . .

22 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #70: Featuring Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Maris Wicks”

  1. My kick this week is Maris — who is beyond cool, and who gives me hope that artists can make it even if we never have a job that our parents can look at with particular pride and say, Tad? Oh, she’s a ___. No. she’s a docent, a dishwasher, a house cleaner and a writer, but she gets paid, baby! (Parents: prepare yourselves to learn to say that!)

    My second kick is that I’m going to Estonia on Wednesday — never been to a Baltic country before — and I’m looking forward to just looking around, while D. works. (Heh.)

    I’m really pleased (third, fourth, and fifth kicks) with how much writing I got done this week, that I made a major plot decision, and yesterday came up — for the last time — with names I like. You would NOT believe how many times names change in my books!

    Sixth kick is a really nice letter from my BFF, Robin-the-awesome-Brande,

    And seventh kick is realizing I may, in fact, have lost five pounds without trying (just being away from the guacamole has worked wonders). Woot!

    Hugs to y’all in Tennessee. Hope great fun is had! Happy Week!

  2. Hi, TadMack! Thanks for stopping by with your kickin’ kix. Estonia? That’s exciting. Have fun, and travel safely.

    I second Maris’ all-around coolness and originality.

    Congrats on the writing, too. Excellent news to make such progress.

    It’s quiet here today. I was away a while, but when I returned, I saw your one, shining kicks list here, and it wants some company, so here I am. I might leave this post up-top tomorrow, since it’s a holiday weekend, and I want folks to see Maris.

    Have a good week, TadMack!

  3. P.S. I love that stuffed animal creature with the coffee cup on him (or her).

  4. I love love love that blogwave illustration! Wow! It’s both beautiful and shows the sometimes overwhelming feeling of too many blog posts to read. 🙂

    How lovely that you two got to visit each other in person! It’s such a great feeling when you get to spend time with people you like online.

    My kicks:
    I’ve had three agents all request my YA paranormal fantasy (2 full, 1 partial) within the span of a week, so I’m feeling hopeful about that.

    I’m seriously thinking about getting myself an e-ink ebook reader for my birthday (not til August) and it’s fun to think about.

    My little dog, as always. She’s been cuddling up with me more, which is lovely.

    Hey Jules, Eisha, I’ve tagged you two (or whoever wants to do it) for a Six Word Memoir meme. Hope you don’t mind–or that you have fun! It’s like a concise writing exercise. Or poetry. 🙂

  5. Thanks for reminding me it’s a holiday weekend in the US, Jules, I was wondering where everyone was the last few days! It’s great you and Eisha got to catch up in person, definitely kick-worthy.

    Those stuffed animals are really cute!

    Tadmack, Estonia seems like a great place to visit! Let us know about it when you get back (I’ve always hankered after a holiday to the Baltic states for some reason)


    My list:

    1. I have officially completed my PhD! It’s been a year since I submitted, and seeing as I barely changed anything in that time it feels a bit strange to be excited about this final step, but yay!
    2. This was a good excuse to try out dinner at a restaurant I’d had my eye on. It’s in an old country house, which of course lent it atmosphere, but the food and service was also great!
    3. We had lunch with two friends that we’ve been trying to catch up with for ages. It was great catching up!
    4. Today we went to a BBQ, and although it was held in a tent due to the cold weather and rain I did find out that I like the British summer drink of Pimm’s (it’s made up in a punch with fruit, yum)
    5. So I don’t only remember the cold days, some days this week have been lovely and sunny. One day we even enjoyed drinks after work in a cute pub’s garden!
    6. I’ve managed to speak to five different relatives in Australia in the last few days, which must be a record!
    7. I had naps both days this weekend

  6. OK I seem to have deleted out a sentence that came after Cheryl, saying “having a little dog cuddle up to you is great kick”!

  7. I like the blogwave, too, Cheryl. And I’m so glad that you guys got to spend time together, J&E. Congratulations on finishing your Ph.D, Emmaco. That’s a huge accomplishment. Let’s see, kicks…

    1. ALA last weekend was a big, huge,multi-level kick. I met a bunch of authors I had been wanting to meet, and snagged a bunch of books I had been wanting to read, and got to hang out with some of my kidlitosphere friends. It was a nice precursor to the Kidlitosphere conference, which will be REALLY fun.

    2. We could see fireworks from our balcony on the fourth. They were a bit small and far away, but it was still cool.

    3. Also on the fourth, we had some people over, and we had a wine keg, which is much cooler and tastier than it might sound. Plus people brought excellent desserts.

    4. My best friend sent me a great photo of her son (who I love to talk books with) reading The Lightning Thief. One of my favorite kids with one of my favorite books – bliss.

    5. Red Sox have been playing the Yankees all weekend, and are current ahead in the series as I write.

    6. I’m reading Inkdeath (conclusion of the Inkheart trilogy)!

    7. I talked to my brother today, and we had each independently had exactly the same idea about doing something. It’s so comforting to be on the same page with someone, even when you live three thousand miles apart.

    Less off a kick is that my blog is hopelessly behind because I’ve been plagued with the headache that wouldn’t quit, on the heels of ALA. But fortunately, not too many people seem to be reading this weekend anyway.

    Thanks for the chance to chat!

  8. My kicks were getting to see friends and family this week: 2 parents, 1 sister-in-law, 1 niece, and 1 good chum from out of town.

    Happy July, y’all. That’s a cute picture.

  9. I’ll be hoping to see more from Maris in the coming years. I want that Wonder Woman costume for my own.

    Jules and Eisha–TOGETHER! How fun! I wish we were all there with you. Or at least that I was.

    TadMack, But is being away from guacamole worth five pounds? I’d gladly sacrifice many things for guacamole.

    Jen, OOOO! Inkdeath! Can’t wait to hear what you think. I feel like I’ve been waiting FOREVER for it. Speaking of things I’ve waited forever for, I am finally listening to The Dead and the Gone, which I remember you read months ago. I want to go back and compare it more closely with Life as We Knew It, but it seems to me like such a strikingly different book–equally good, though.

    Okay, so my kicks:
    1. The caterpillars and butterflies at the library are doing really well, happy and healthy. I’ve never raised them before, and I’m just so glad I’m not inadvertently killing them.
    2. I finally got to wash and wax my car, which I’ve been wanting to do for WEEKS.
    3. I got to spend an evening with one of my really good friends, and it was just good. Just the right thing at the right time.
    4. Cherries are in season here, so, naturally, I bought an enormous bag of them.
    5. Because of the abundance of cherries in #4, I wound up combining this recipe I have for blueberry muffins and another one I have for coffee cake muffins, substituting cherries for the blueberries. The muffins didn’t last three hours. So, so good.
    6. The reason the muffins didn’t last three hours is because I made them this morning and people always drop by my house on Sundays, which is like a little gift–that they stop, that I get to feed them.
    7. Yesterday, I went to a party at a friend’s house, and when I pulled in the driveway, my friend’s middle-school-aged son went running into the back yard shouting, “MOM! MOM! SHE’S HERE! SHE’S HERE!” It’s always nice to know you’re wanted. 🙂 The party was way fun, too.

  10. Cheryl, that’s a very challenging tag, but I’ll think on it. I love that a visual can be included.

    And, wow, Cheryl, congrats on the agent news. That’s pretty awesome and very exciting! Keep us updated please.

    Emmaco, congrats on finishing your degree. Big cheers for you! That must feel great.

    And naps are, arguably, just as good. Hee.

    Jen, so glad you had fun at ALA and met all kinds of great people — and got to catch up with kidlitosphere folks.

    And I don’t think I would argue for one second that a wine keg doesn’t sound cool or tasty. Sounds like fun to me.

    I also am behind on blogging, Jen. I feel like I’m in a rut. And the holiday weekend didn’t help any. But I AM about to go check out your leg of the Gail blog tour, ’cause I’m behind on that.

    And that blog wave image resonates with me, too. There are days I feel like that. And, as I said last week, Susan had a great conversation about that (and other things) a few weeks ago.

    Susan, glad you had a good 4th, too, and got to see friends and family.

    Adrienne, The Dead and the Gone—as well as the book that preceded it—made me want to go count the canned goods in my pantry, though I’m sure that’s a normal response to the book.

    Those tasty treats you cooked, Adrienne, sound great. I picked up some cranberry scones today. Scones. Mmmm.

    Your kick #7 is particularly nice, too, Adrienne.

    Thanks for stopping by, everyone.

  11. Hurrah for your visit, Jules and Eisha! You lucky ducks. And a big congratulations to Emmaco for finishing the Ph.D. Oh yeah, and reading the dead and the gone sent me off on another “survival gear” scurry. Watching “I am Legend” didn’t help, either. I didn’t like the ending, though, and a quick search revealed that it deviated from the book in a significant way. I think “World War Z” will be better as a movie.

    My kicks this week:
    1) I have had more requests for storytime gigs than I have available time slots (though September is still open!).

    2) I’ve got a trip to Santa Fe to look forward to.

    3) Plus, I’ve got a mini-Kidlit dinner to look forward to (I’m cheating, because I’m skimming this from last week).

    4) I’m discovering an appreciation for Bob Dylan that I didn’t have before.

    5) I’m walking away from “24.” It’s a good show, we have it on DVD, but it’s too stressful. I’d put that in caps, but I wouldn’t want all caps to stress anyone else out.

    6) I finally watched “The Other Boleyn Girl,” and it was every bit as awful as I thought it would be– however, now I can stop wondering about what it’s like. I may have to revise my current stance that “Bad Tudor is better than no Tudor.” Oof, that sounded awfully negative for a kick, didn’t it? But really–the itch finally got scratched!

    7) I found peanut butter chips that were not made by Nestle. Yay! And yummers.

  12. Adrienne, glad that you’re enjoying the dead & the gone. I would like to listen to it on audio at some point – I listened to the first one, and I would like to see how they compare in the same medium (though of course with different narrators). Inkdeath is good so far (except for a couple of vague antecedents that have taken me out of the story, and that I hope they fix for the finished copy). It drops you right back in that Inkworld, and it’s great to be back with the characters.

    Jules, I wish you could have come and shared our wine keg. Perhaps one day… Sorry that you’re in a blogging rut. I’m not so much in a rut as just having trouble finding the time for everything that I want to do – the reviews are always what drops off for me, because they take so much concentration, even though I enjoy them. I loved that post of Susan’s about blogging, too.

  13. Alkelda, we watched the version of “I Am Legend” with the alternate, “controversial” ending about two weeks ago. It, according to my husband, is closer to the ending of the actual book (or story — I can’t remember if that is a book or novella or story, and my husband would be ashamed. In fact, he wants me to read it, so I should get that straight soon. And you called it “book,” so I’m goin’ with book.) It was MUCH DIFFERENT than the ending you didn’t like.

    I’ve never seen “24.” But I can kinda relate — I think I’m going to skip Season Two of “Dexter” for the same reason you’re dropping “24.” It was just….good. Not great. Plus, it was so violent (and sometimes ridiculous), and when the season finale was over, I realized I felt sick and my entire body was painfully tense. I watched it for the awesome Michael C. Hall, but I’m not sure even he can bring me back to Season Two. Plus, we’ve discovered “The Sopranos,” which rocks thus far, and I’m hooked for a while.

    Congrats on all your gigs! That is great news.

    Jen, I’m glad your reviews take so much concentration, though I’m sorry you’re feeling behind, ’cause your reviews are always so thoughtful and detailed. And I’ll get over my “rut” soon — I think it’s the holidays and a huge, new work project that is making me feel sluggish.

    So glad you all came to visit today.

  14. P.S. Alkelda, ever seen ‘ol Chuck in “The Omega Man”? And isn’t there one more movie adaptation of the Philip K. Dick story? Oh my, my husband would be shaking his head at me now for forgetting this.

  15. 1. My first kick is reading all these great things other people listed. It makes me happy to rememeber what simple things make us happy. Thanks for leaving this post up for Monday morning!
    2. Raspberries are in season and I’ve had them on cereal, in pancakes (+ maple syrup = to die for) with yogurt and straight off the bush.
    3.Photographing rain drops and lilies.
    4. My three year old is DONE with diapers. Dry all night!
    5. Read Shannon Hale and Adeline Yen Mah this week. Fabulous.
    6. Cleaned a large section of the attic. Baby gates, booster seats and potty going to the consignment shop. YAY! Less stuff!
    7. Been getting a full eight hours of sleep every night for weeks, plus naps. I am becoming myself again.

    I love the simplicity of Maris’s Black and White characters plus the stuffed creatures. Brilliant.

  16. The weekend got away from me so I missed kicks yesterday, but I enjoyed reading everyone’s great kicks today. I got totally mesmerized by the Wimbledon Men’s Finals, which went on forever. I don’t play, but do love watching tennis, Wimbledon, especially, because I met my husband there.

    I do think Maris is super groovy cool, and she has an LJ blog! Love the stuffed animals.

    Congrats to Emmaco on the Ph.D.! Wow.

    LOVE the photo of my favorite Imps in Tennessee with that cutie pie.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    And Huzzah! to Alkelda’s newfound appreciation for Dylan :)!

  17. Jama, yep, I thought of you when I read about Alkelda and Dylan.

    And I can understand getting wrapped up in tennis.

    cloudscome, your photographs are always lovely, but they’re breathtakingly lovely lately. And I need to follow your lead on the 8-hours of sleep thing. It’s hard for me to do when that’s when I get lots of stuff done (after wee ones are sleeping), but I suspect it would make a huge difference.

    Have a great week, all!

  18. Jules– According to the information on my library’s website, I Am Legend is 317 pages, so I am guessing that “novella” is accurate. I have not seen Omega Man. I’ve just placed a hold on it.

  19. Everyone has such wonderful kicks. I really love that you guys do this, here, Jules and Eisha. Yay!

    I love everyone’s kicks; there’s such nice stuff here.

    And thanks, Emmaco, for liking my cuddling with my dog. Dogs can give such unconditional love. I love siting there reading while she lies on me.

    Jen, I hope your headache has gone away. And what fun, getting a photo of a child you like reading a book you like.

    Jules, I’ll keep you posted. 🙂 I’m trying not to get too hopeful yet, because I’ve had agents rave about my manuscript and then realize their representing too many similar clients to take me on. But, we’ll see.

    Wait–Inkdeath is out??? What?? I missed it!! Oh my gosh, I have to go order it RIGHT NOW!! I love love love love love Inkheart, and the sequel was pretty good. How could I have missed that? (laughing) I’m so glad to know about it.

  20. Hm. Though I might buy Inkdeath for myself for my birthday, add to the specialness of the day. (I’ve already ordered myself a few children’s books I really wanted–but this will really make it special. That is, ahem, if I can wait. 🙂 )

  21. Oh, right, well. I have to wait. Can’t order it yet, and the Chicken House doesn’t send to me. But, hey, this is exciting to look forward to. Yay!

  22. That is, indeed, a Piper-pic, my love. Looks like her photo-composition skills are better than mine…

    Also, the author of “I Am Legend” is Richard Matheson. Not Phillip K. Dick. :p

    The first “I Am Legend” adaptation is from 1964, with *Vincent Price*. It’s called “The Last Man on Earth”, and it’s gone public domain. A copy can be downloaded here:

    We need to watch it. I loves me some zombocalypse.


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