7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #404: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Olivia Chin Mueller

h1 November 2nd, 2014 by jules


It’s the first Sunday of the month, which means I welcome a student or brand-new illustrator to 7-Imp. Today I welcome Olivia Chin Mueller, who grew up in Connecticut but now lives in California. She recently graduated, as you’ll read below, from Rhode Island School of Design.

You’ll see I had trouble picking which illustration to feature at the very tip-top of this post. The first one, called Beware of the Bird, seemed fitting, since it’s Halloween weekend. But the one under it is called All Summer in a Day, and that’s the title of my very favorite Ray Bradbury short story (which, incidentally, HAUNTED me when I was a child). So, I thought I’d just put both up there.

Olivia is here to introduce herself. She sent me two pieces of art (Haze and the first Perrin piece of art), and she told me I had free reign of the art at her website to share here in this post. So, I chose all the rest you see here. I made sure to include pieces that would be considered more picture book-friendly, but I couldn’t help but also pick some of the other types of images too.

Here’s Olivia, and I thank her for visiting.

Olivia: Hello, everyone! My name is Olivia Chin Mueller, and I am a recent graduate of RISD’s illustration program — and aspiring children’s book illustrator!




I always knew I wanted to be an illustrator, but it took me until senior year of college to realize that I wanted to do kids’ books. I took a really great class taught by my teacher, Judy Sue Goodwin Sturges, and since then I knew that was what I wanted to do.

Before then, I didn’t really know where my work fit in. I was making very different stuff then. I still love making those illustrations—like my piece, Haze (pictured below)—but it definitely wasn’t nearly as fun for me.



I found myself over-rendering and getting lost for hours in the details. I would come away with pieces I loved visually — but also with a giant headache. When I started doing children’s book stuff, I found that I really loved the process. I could be looser with my work and still love the outcome.

The first book I wrote and illustrated was in that senior year class. It was called Perrin and the Peculiar Poppy Pod. I made a book dummy and three finished illustrations. I’m hoping one day someone will like it enough to publish it!

Here is a small excerpt from the book:

“Perrin poked it gingerly, and with a ‘Ping’ the flower pod popped out of the ground and landed by Perrin’s paw. He picked it it up, and one of the purple seeds pattering about inside fell out onto the sandy dirt.”


Cover concept


I guess I should also talk about how I make my work. Sometimes people can’t tell, but my work is all done digitally. Most people usually think its done with gouache or watercolor, which I guess is a good thing. However, its all done from sketch to finish on Photoshop.



Right now, I am working on building my portfolio and looking for jobs. I’m hoping soon I will be lucky enough to support myself solely on illustration. But right now I’m relying on income from my Etsy shop and commissions. I’ve also been on the hunt for an artist rep, and things are looking good. I am crossing my fingers things keep on the right track.

So, that’s about it! Thank you so much for featuring my work and letting me ramble on a bit.


(Click to enlarge)


(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

All artwork is used by permission of Olivia Chin Mueller.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on 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. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

My kicks this week are when brand-spankin’-new illustrators, like Olivia, visit the site. (And I wish her the best of luck in her career.)

AND that, after a long day of school-type chores with my girls, we have a brand-new book to read together. So, please forgive me while I go do that with them—instead of listing seven, separate kicks—’cause it’s chilly and windy out, and that would really be the most kickin’ thing of all right now. Cuddling up to read. Ahh.

But I’m countin’ on you all to tell me your kicks, because I always enjoy reading them.

25 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #404: Featuring
Up-and-Coming Illustrator, Olivia Chin Mueller”

  1. Hi All,

    It has been way too long since I have visited. I have been popping in to read but not comment as I have been feeling super overwhelmed with too many volunteer commitments which leads me to my first kick.

    1. I am finally feeling better about my time management and have time to visit here today.
    2. In addition, I have had more time over the past few weeks to visit some of my favorite blogs and find some wonderful books to read with our girls.
    3. The fall leaves.
    4. That Halloween was a happy one- with a new middle school girl, the drama leading up to the holiday was immense. It passed with lots of laughter- phew!
    5. Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
    6. A new warm coat on this cold and blustery day.
    7. Macintosh apples.

  2. Good morning Jules and Olivia! I think my favorite picture is your illustration for Out of the Dust WOW! It really captures how the book felt to me. I wish you well.

    Jules: Reading with your girls on a blustery fall day is simply the best.
    Stacey: Macintosh apples are really good. I love baked apples too.

    My kicks:
    1. High winds which blew a lot of my leaves into the next township
    2. Snowflakes on Xena’s fur
    3. Picture Book Month
    4. Getting to write an article for Picture Book Idea Month
    5. Giving out books to trick or treaters and seeing their delight
    6. Having my older students come back to get books even though they are in middle school
    7. Wonderful walks with Xena

    Have a great week everyone.

  3. Hi, Stacey! Always good to hear from you. I know what you mean about blog time-management. There are so many good ones. It’s hard to keep up. Glad you’re feeling like general time management is easier too. Hope you all are staying warm!

    Margie: I LOVE KICK #6. You rock. And thanks for the reminder about Picture Book Month. What a beautiful thing it is.

  4. Hello there, Olivia’s first piece caused me think of The Raven by Poe. And her Out of the Dust is stunning. Good luck to you, Olivia.
    Jules, I am with you to snuggle in and read on a whippity windy night. How lucky for the girls. Which book?
    Stacey, so glad to see you back. Fall leaves are spectacular.
    Margie, snowflakes on Xena, ahh.
    My kicks:
    1. Writing poems.
    2. Watching my husband pass out the Halloween candy and the kids were thrilled to be able to take three pieces.
    3. Listening to The Little House in the Big Woods.
    4. Making time to visit blogs and comment.
    5. Generosity.
    6. Superhero Day at school.
    7. Rainy streets and fall leaves.
    Have a great week.

  5. Margie, I love that you gave out books!

  6. Jone, we started The Iron Trial, which a friend had recommended. My oldest, in particular, loves fantasy somethin’ fierce, and thus far it’s a fun read. We are reading, as usual (which might be a horrible habit), about four others books at the same time.

    Superhero Day! Did you dress up too?

  7. Jules, I love spiders. So in the era of we can’t dress up for Halloween, I wear spider items to promote the goodness of spiders. This year I found a spider cape.
    If we do it next year I want to create “Book Woman” and her super power is reading.

  8. Dear Olivia Chin Mueller: Your artwork is gorgeous. I’m drawn to the eyes and the expressions. The cats and Perrin are particularly adorable, and your self-portrait is striking. Thank you for sharing. May you have a wonderfully successful career.

    Good morning, Imps! Happy November! For those celebrating DST, I hope you enjoyed your “extra” hour of time today.

    Jules: Stay warm and enjoy the new book!

    Stacey: Welcome back! Apples are delicious. Glad that the middle school drama has calmed down for you all.

    Margie: Congrats on the article. Thank you for giving out books on Halloween. That’s excellent! Hugs to Xena, Warrior Puppy.

    Jone: Write on. The write stuff. Et cetera. 🙂

    My kicks for the past week:
    1) Acceptance
    2) Auditions
    3) Checking in
    4) Dressing up
    5) Reading
    6) Returning
    7) Laughing

  9. Jone, get a picture! Get a picture! (When you dress up as Book Woman — in fact, I think you should just randomly do it on a non-Halloweeny day.)

    My youngest had a green cape this year (she was Zita the Spacegirl), so she’s soooo happy to have a green cape to play with now.

    Little Willow: It occurred to just now that, since YOU are a super hero who operates on little sleep, that this extra hour is especially great for you. I mean, like, I’ll be all, I GET AN EXTRA HOUR OF SLEEP, and you probably think, I GET AN EXTRA HOUR TO GET MORE STUFF DONE. You rock that way. … Break a leg, as always, on kick #2.

  10. I think she is going to be one of the Next Big Things in children’s books. Stunning work, both the romantic fantasy art and looser children’s book stuff.

    My kicks:

    1.Started a new verse novel called The Poacher’s Girl
    2. realized I had enough poems for a new adult poetry book called CONVERSATIONS WITH…
    3. Surgeon told me he rarely sees anyone’s bones recovery, heal, new growth that quickly (had seven hour back surgery three months ago)
    4. Planning new Picture Book Boot Camp for published picture book writers and illustrators in March

  11. Beautiful artwork! Thanks for sharing Olivia! I love all of it, bust especially the monsters and fantasy ones, such as “favorite worst nightmare” and the boy with the wolves….

    Jules – reading inside when its so cold and blustery is one of life’s best simple pleasures.

    Stacey – peanut butter cups – yum! And hooray for the successful middle school Halloween.

    Margie – how wonderful to give out books! And snowflakes on Xena’s fur sounds so lovely. (Daisy is a shorthair and needs a coat!)

    Jone – superhero day sounds so fun! We’ve had lots of rainy streets lately.

    LW – acceptance is a good kick! So is laughing! Break a leg as always!

    Jane – hooray for a speedy recovery!

    My kicks this week:
    1) The FugGirls recaps of How To Get Away With Murder – the show is so awful (and infuriating for lawyers because they get EVERYTHING wrong about criminal defense trial work), and the recaps are laugh out loud funny!
    2) Last Sunday’s soccer game – a friend came up from Bend and played with us, and we shut out the other team 4-0! (And had beer afterwards.)
    3) Halloween puppy party with Daisy and her buddy Otis, with dinner and wine for the humans. Dressed them up as a football player and cheerleader, but no good pics. They love each other so much that they get too excited and cannot hold still for pics.
    4) Costume & birthday party last night – I went as Katniss – fun, timely, & most importantly – warm!
    5) Saw the movie Winter’s Tale. It got a lot of flack, but I actually liked the movie better than the book.
    6) Giants winning the World Series! It was a great, competitive, well-played series by both teams.
    7) Fire in the fireplace, football on the tv, book lined up for later – perfect fall day!

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  12. Jane: Picture Book Boot Camp. I love this idea already. Congrats on a speedy recovery on that surgery.

    Rachel: Those Fug girls make me laugh too. I love each and every post they do about Helen Mirren, who is, indeed, a total babe. … I gotta read that Hunger Game series already. Can you believe I haven’t? … What a good week you had. I need to get as much exercise as you do!

  13. Olivia’s work is fantastic. I never had the pleasure of having her as a student, but would ALWAYS see her in the illustration building and computer lab, hard at work. I’d love to see the Perrin book completed and published.

  14. Rachel, so glad I didn’t start watching HTGAWM…will have to see the fig girls. Your Sunday sounds perfect.
    Jane, continued healing.
    LW, love dressing up and laughing.

  15. Jules: Yes, you got that right! I love it when there are 25 hours in the day. 🙂 Say hello to Zita for me.

    Jane: That’s great news. Sending you another round of healthy vibes. Best of luck with your works-in-progress.

    Thanks, Rachel! Hello to Daisy and Otis. High-five for costumes On Halloween, I dressed up as Anna from Frozen.

    This week is going to be amazing, y’all. Let’s do this.

  16. LW: I am glad someone dressed up as Anna!

  17. Olivia, your work is stunning! I want to live in the worlds you’ve created. I mean, really! Even the girl sitting in the mouth of the giant beast seems at home. Thank you for so generously sharing your work with us!

    I’m a first time 7 Kicks-er, so here goes nothing.

    1. We found out we’re having a baby girl. (March 19, 2015).
    2. Our 4-yr-old mancub has decided her name will be “Clicker”.
    3. I installed new insulation in our incredibly-tough-to-get-at attic crawlspace.
    4. Did not die of fiberglass-inhalation-related deaths.
    5. Had a blog post published for pre-PiBoIdMo
    6. Recipient of a virtual hug on air from the talented Mr. Scott Campbell. Warm fuzzies all over. Maybe my favoritest moment of the #LGBpodcast so far.
    7. Completed a manuscript revision on for a picture book that I think might be ready to submit to editors. (Eeep!!!)

  18. Welcome, Matthew! Hello to your family, including the Clicker and the Namer. Good luck with your manuscript.

    Jone: Thanks! It was fun. Freckles, blond streak, and all.

  19. Hi, Antoine. It’s thanks to Kelly this post is happening, so please than her again for me.

    Matt! I saw that about “Clicker” on Facebook and laughed so hard. Congrats to you all! Also, your last kick is super exciting. GOOD LUCK.

  20. It’s been far too long since I’ve shared any kicks or taken the time to truly appreciate the art you share here on Sundays — and boy, howdy, did I pick a great time to give things a good look. Olivia’s art is marvelous, and I know we’ll be seeing a lot more from her. (I especially love the expression o nthe standing-upright black cat.)

    So, my kicks:

    1) My mom and stepdad were in town for a visit…
    2) and we checked out the new-ish boardwalk along Austin’s Lady Bird Lake…
    3) and ate well, and frequently…
    4) and enjoyed spending time with lots of other family and friends…
    5) and got to see, for free, a fascinating museum exhibit on the discovery and preservation of the wrecked French ship LaBelle…
    6) and had our most successful class yet with our dog, Ernie, since he graduated to Agility 4…
    7) and the weather. Oh, the weather — the sort of clear, cool, beautiful days that make the Texas summer worth suffering through.

    Have a great week, everyone!

  21. Hi, Chris! Your kicks are pretty good. You’re livin’ well. I GOTTA MAKE IT TO AUSTIN ONE DAY. I’m yelling this, because it’s a damn shame I’ve never been there.

  22. Well, there’s TLA here next April, and the Texas Book Festival(s) here next October — either of which would be a fine time to visit. SO COME ON, WHY DON’T YOU?

  23. Hi! I miss reading Seven Imp. The artwork and interviews and weekly kicks are the best. My main kick is that I’m a little over a month from an M.S. in library science from the University of Illinois. In addition, it’s great to see that your blog is still going strong. Best!

  24. Thanks, Amy! Good luck on the last month of school!

    Chris, I do hope the Austin visit happens sooner, rather than later.

  25. […] Impossible Things Before Breakfast hosts an Interview with Olivia Chin Mueller (up-and-comer illustrator). “Right now, I am working on building my […]

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