About the Work
Kate started their creative career writing short fiction, having studied at Denison University and Lesley University. They taught college English and Creative Writing at Lesley and Emmanuel College for five years before swapping their keyboard and serious fiction for a pencil and tablet in 2016. For the next five years at Clear Ballot Group, they illustrated technical documentation and educational materials, produced marketing collateral and web content, and even created a gull character for conference branding materials.
Today, in addition to managing Kestrop Studio, Kate sits on the Board of the Directors for the Bisexual Resource Center, where they design outreach materials and punny merchandise. They also do insect surveys for Earthwise Aware, a local nonprofit that seeks to monitor biodiversity and educate the population about its importance. You can see what Kate’s found on iNaturalist.
When Kate isn’t working, taking the creatures of the studio on the road to markets and popups, drawing, or taking pictures of bugs, they’re spending time with human loved ones and black cats, Max and Puck.
When it’s really quiet, some people can close their eyes and hear the ocean. Some hear static, like the vast nothingness between radio stations. Kate, however, hears the beautiful, screaming chorus of Neotibicen pruinosus pruinosus: Scissor Grinder Cicadas. These buzzing cries announced several months of blissful summer freedom in Central Illinois where Kate grew up. Even before they ever saw one up close (some thirty years later), Kate knew cicadas were something special.
The cicada pictured, however, is a Magicicada septendecim, or Pharaoh Cicada. But most people know it by its family name better: Brood X. Kate met a very small contingent of the 17-year periodical brood in June 2021, and although standing in the middle of several hundred flying, screaming insects is probably not everyone’s (okay most people’s) idea of a good time, it ranked in the top ten on Kate’s Awesome List of Cool Stuff in Life. So it made sense that a cicada made its way into the logo for Kate’s creative business, Kestrop Studio, in 2021.