Emily Balsley

June 06, 2018

Emily Balsley is an illustrator, designer, and maker living in Madison, Wisconsin. She does work for clients such as American Girl, Storey Publishing, and Mudpuppy, along with local businesses including Madison Chocolate Company, Pizza Brutta, Bloom Bake Shop, and The Fit.

Since Emily has a strong connection to Monroe Street Businesses, we asked her to hang some of her work in our office. We are proud to feature prints from one of The 100-Day Project (#the100dayproject). Enlarged prints are available for sale in the office.

From Emily:

The 100-Day Project is a social media challenge encouraging people to participate in 100 days of making. It is about the process; it's about showing up day after day; it's about accountability and the feeling you have at the end of the project when you can say, "I did that!".

In 2016 I embarked on my first 100-day challenge. When deciding on my focus, I knew I wanted it to be something I'd enjoy doing for 100 days. What did I like doing? Drawing. What did I like to draw? Animals. What would make my animals unique? What if I dressed them up? Hats! Are there 100 different types of hats? Believe it or not, there are! I finally had my focus - 100 animals wearing 100 different hats.

I wanted the pairing to be completely random, so I put 100 animals names in a jar and 100 hat names in a jar, and every day I drew one out of each. I wanted there to be some consistency between the animals, so I decided to focus on a bust portrait, surrounded by a simple line-drawn fame.

In lieu of drawing each animal, I wanted to challenge myself a bit more - so I ended up collaging each animal out of paper. I finished each collage with a bit of colored pencil and pen detail work. Each portrait was between 3.5 and 5".