Kit Gray is an environmental educator turned animal artist who – with colored pencils, pastels, or oils – captures both pets and wildlife in breathtaking lifelike realism, either as special commissions or as part of a wildlife series available in prints. She was named among 2019’s “20 On The Rise”, an initiative by Honeybook and Rising Tide to curate a list of creative entrepreneurs they believe are making an impact.
Interestingly, Kit discovered her illustrative talents fairly recently – in 2015, when she was gifted a large box set of colored pencils from her mom for the holidays. Her systemic lupus had become life-threatening, and she was forced to stop the work she loved as a park ranger and educator in order to focus on the necessary work of stabilizing her health (including drastic measures like chemotherapy). Always a driven, creative individual and at something of a loose end, drawing gave her an outlet and sense of direction she’d been lacking and desperately desired.
After posting a few early animal sketches on her Facebook, the response was almost immediate: Would you do that for mine?? From that box of colored pencils – and some assistance from her local Small Business Development Center in Ft. Collins, CO – a thriving business was born: one that gives her the freedom to care for her health, and allows her to continue to engage with her passion for nature and animals in a less taxing way.
Her first horse illustration was also her first experiment with pastels – an original that has since been sold, but has been followed by additional commissions such as Windsor and Bullwinkle. The experience of working in pastels led to her newest venture in working with oil paints; she likes the looser freedom available in those media, even as she loves the captivating detail she can achieve with the precision of colored pencils.
Keep up with Kit, her dogs, and her work on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or her blog. Individual commissions are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis, prints and notecards are available in her online shop, and interested storeowners can obtain notecards for resale!