Her characters might be adorably playful, but Kinoko is a serious illustration powerhouse. She does way more than just put pen to paper. Kinoko teaches comics at PNCA and instructs at the IPRC. A constant stream of her work flows through Grasshut, Floating World and comic shows around the city. Her Etsy is always on fire. This year is her first time contributing a house to Put a Bird In It, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what she brings to the party.
MG: What attracted you to Put a Bird In It?
KE: The first year I volunteered. The party was really fun and I had a good time meeting the makers. I met a bunch of people from Laika and it was great to see their process. I mean, these are people that make miniature houses for a living. It’s their thing.
MG: How is your birdhouse coming along?
KE: I don’t know where it’s going yet. I drew a lot of different things. I like the idea of keeping it simple. But then people really go all out and I think people might be disappointed. I’m just sketching a lot of ideas but at this point I need to collect my thoughts and get into materials. Make sure it can happen.
MG: Are you drawing inspiration from anywhere in particular?
KE: Well, I started thinking, and came up with the character, a Female blue jay. The Character is for my process in what’s motivating me to work on it. The personality of it would be a city girl but someone who would still have a garden. I want to be progressive and a feminist but when I got into it she was like ‘No! I just want to have a house and kids.’ Birdhouses are for mamma birds and I guess their families, you know. She’s the decision maker. The dude in her life has to go along with her or he’s not going to hear the end of it for the rest of his life.
She’s realistic in thinking about the right house so I guess she’s still progressive. She’s already thinking about what schools to send her kids, you know if she moves into northwest they’ll have access to the Montessori school. She’s got to make the right move.
MG: Your illustrations already incorporate a lot of houses. Is that part of the narrative of your characters?
KE: I’ve always been a little obsessed with houses. I grew up in Philadelphia and when I left my parents house I rented out an attic and here was a garett window. You could look out and see a bunch of rooftops. When I saw the tops of houses I start thinking up stories. I thought about alley cats or robbers—not knowing to what’s really going on inside the houses and buildings. The outside perspective creates these narratives.
I also spent some time in Japan and got obsessed with rooftops. I wish I could get a rooftop-drawing grant. Japan has huge cities, really modern but then you have he suburbs with Japanese houses. Then there’s ton of ancient architecture in the middle of it. Integrates really well.
MG: Do you like switching it up and doing some sculptural projects?
KE: I have. But when you do something that isn’t your specialty you feel like an imposter. When you are in the arts people come up to you and friends are like ‘can you paint this boat’ just random stuff.
I’m doing a ceramics project and some mugs with my colleague. My friends recently asked me to make a wedding topper for them so I have been experimenting with that. I have the resources so I should be able to experiment. I should.