On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a career as an artist and illustrator with my guest, Jennifer Judd-McGee.

Jennifer Judd-McGee is a full-time artist and mother living and working in Mount Desert Island, Maine. She describes herself as a nature lover, obsessive doodler, pathfinder, and appreciator of paper, fine point pens, and detailed patterns. Jennifer creates papercuts, illustrations, mixed media collage and monoprints that are reflective of her surroundings. She shows her work in galleries and licenses it to companies around the country.


Mapping a Course by Jennifer Judd-McGee, mixed media collage 2011

Jen talks about living with Multiple Sclerosis and how her work has changed, and blossomed since she was diagnosed. She also talks about the challenges of balancing motherhood and working as an artist.


From Here to There by Jennifer Judd-McGee, papercut 2011


Impervious by Jennifer Judd-McGee, illustration 2012

Jen has been selling on Etsy since 2007 and she’s still there. We talk about why she likes Etsy and what the marketplace has done for her and her career.

Recently Jen opened a brick-and-mortar shop called Swallowfield in Bar Harbor, Maine. She explains why she decided to make this move and how she’s approaching curating inventory for the store.


Jen’s work for Target.


Sheets Jen designed for Land of Nod.

For several years Jen was represented by an illustration agent and did commercial work for clients including Target and the Land of Nod. In our conversation, she explains what she learned about herself and her values during that period.

holiday ornament with bird by Jennifer Judd-McGee

Laser-etched holiday bird ornament available in Jen’s Etsy shop.

Several times over the course of the last decade Jen has invested in equipment to propel her artwork forward including buying large format printers and a laser cutter. We discuss how to know when it’s worth the financial risk to take these leaps.


Sailcloth flags Jen made and installed at College of the Atlantic in 2014.

During our conversation, we refer to this beautiful video that lives on Jen’s About page on her website. Hear how it came about and what effect it’s had on her business. Here’s the video if you’d like to see it:

Jen also mentions:

And, of course, I ask Jen to recommend great stuff she’s enjoying right now. Jen recommends:

Follow Jen on Instagram and on her blog to see new work. If you’re in Bar Harbor, Maine be sure to stop by Swallowfield to pick up a special, handcrafted gift and in the meantime, take a look at Jen’s work on Etsy.


Made by Rae

This episode is sponsored by Made By Rae. Made By Rae is an independent sewing pattern company specializing in simple, modern clothing designs for women and children. Designer Rae Hoekstra brings you sewing patterns that are easy to follow and learn from, with a focus on good fit. Whether you are just beginning to sew or have been sewing for years, you’ll love how approachable and versatile these patterns are. Use the special offer code WHILESHENAPS to get 10% off your next purchase in the Made by Rae shop. Offer expires December 31, 2016.


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