Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Maker Series: The Dapper Jackalope

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today I would like to introduce to you a wonderful person whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the last few weeks. Kate from the Dapper Jackalope is such a sweetheart and her work is so lovely. I love her style so much and the Dinosaur Alphabet print is a favorite of mine. I don't want to give too much away as I want you to hear it from her and not me, but I am forever thankful to her friend who gave her a "kick in the butt." Her story is so inspiring and I hope you all enjoy.
Hi all! I’m Kate, an illustrator in Boise, Idaho. The title “illustrator” sounds so professional, but it’s only been a year since I started trying it on for size. The only art classes I’ve ever taken were a cartooning class when I was 10 and a standard art class in high school. I actually have a background in teaching and graduated with my Master’s in Literature in 2013 (despite the fact that my notebooks were filled with drawings of dinosaurs). The year after graduation was one of the worst of my life—I was dirt poor and working a series of jobs I hated.
But I’ve always drawn things. Mostly animals. A lot of cartoons, but some more serious work as well. Drawing always made sense to me; even though everyone told me I’d be a writer when I was growing up, different ways to get a message across through visual art just kept popping into my head. I’d spend my free time making beautiful hand-drawn gifts for my friends, and then turn right around and go out the door to jobs I couldn’t stand. It’s so strange to think back on it, but I never considered being an illustrator professionally; it didn’t even occur to me. Deep down, maybe a part of me thought my style was too cartoony to be professional. 
Finally, we had some folks over for brunch one day and a friend and I were standing in the room in our house I’d taken over as a study of sorts, looking at some work I’d hung on the wall. He turned to me, handed me a twenty dollar bill, and said, “Well, if this is what it’s going to take to get you to do this, I want prints of that one and that one, and I want them within one week.” It was just the kick in the butt I needed. Something clicked, and I met that deadline.
I took some pieces to a local fine art printer and had my first prints made in April of 2014. Soon, I had them up on Etsy (I already had a shop selling sewing projects—and I hate sewing, and it was ridiculous, and it’s another thing I look back on and think, “What was I thinking?!” Ah, the many ways we say no to our dreams!). I started an Instagram account for my illustration business shortly thereafter. I joined a local artists’ cooperative with a retail storefront, and had my first retail presence in Boise. I did my first craft fair in November of that year, which then lead to me getting my work in two more stores in Boise. Now, I’m about to sell at my first fair outside Idaho, I’m close to finalizing my first out-of-state wholesale order, and I have almost 4,000 followers on Instagram.
Most importantly, perhaps, I feel so much happier and more in touch with who I want to be; maybe even more self-actualized. The choice to be an artist allowed me to reclaim agency in my life. In this economy, it’s hard to not feel powerless in the face of the job market. As a new graduate, if you’re lucky, you get to choose from a set of options presented to you. Creating my own path instead of boxing myself into a pre made option has done wonders for me. By starting a small business based on a part of who you are, you’re saying yes to your own power to choose how you spend your time, your own ability to earn a living based on your skills, and giving proper credit to those skills themselves as a way to earn your livelihood. Saying yes to those things has been one of the best choices I have ever made. 
A year later, I work part-time instead of full-time (at a job I love!) and hustle every day to make this crazy dream happen. My current goal is to get my business to the point where it’s generating a slightly higher percentage of my income, then launch into the world of children’s book illustration. I’m filled with enthusiasm for the future and so much gratitude for everything that’s happened over the past year. As my boyfriend can attest, I keep coming up with new ideas (“Oh! Oh! A mountain goat yodeling! In a sweater!”) and though I’d need more hours in the day to make them all happen as quickly as I want them to, I can’t wait to share them with you all soon! On the horizon currently is a coloring book idea I am really, really excited about. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to the lovely Emily for this opportunity to tell my story. If it’s resonated with you, you can find me on Instagram at or drop me a line at Cheers, and whatever “it” is for you, go get it!
Another thank you to the wonderful Kate. Isn't her story incredible? I love what she says about how she created her own job rather than stay contained in pre made option. I find that so inspiring. It is so hard to feel satisfaction in a job that isn't designed for me. Of course it is hard work and the wish for longer days is uttered more than cared to admit, however, as Kate can attest, she is the happiest she has ever been. I think that is so worth it, don't you? 

Please "run" over to the Dapper Jackalope on Instagram or send her some love by email. She is amazing and such a sweetheart.  

If you would like to be a part of the Maker Series or if you know of someone who is creative and should show of their talents, please email me at knotted home (at) hotmail (dot) com. The Maker Series is a place of inspiration, encouragement, and support to those who want to craft, create, or live a homemade lifestyle. This series is all about creating a comfortable and inspiration place in which we can show-off our talents and inspire anyone who has ever dreamed to start something new. Thank you so much for reading. Have a lovely day. xo.


  1. Caitlin Hofmeister22 April 2015 at 11:30

    Ah! I love this! Kate, you're amazing!