Olivia McLeod


student bio

Olivia McLeod is a Colorado native who has always had a passion for drawing and art. She attended Denver School of the Arts as a Visual Arts (VA) major for middle school, and was a part of the Pomona Arts and Humanities (PAH) program at Pomona High School. After that she attended University of Colorado Denver, where she received her BFA in Illustration. From the age of nine and through her sophomore year of high school she took private art lessons from Ken Walker, who along with her parents taught her to always chase what makes you happy.

Growing up she wanted to be a cowgirl, or an artist; although she has since changed her opinions on being a cowgirl, art and creativity has remained her main passion. As she got older, while still remaining young at heart, her passions turned to include childcare as well. She is currently on the path towards a Masters program to teach elementary art, as well as becoming a children's book illustrator.

artist statement

Play is an important part of childhood development, setting the foundation for healthy goals and relationships-- one of the many ways that play can be encouraged is through reading. For my thesis topic I focus on the world of childhood imagination through writing, illustrating, and the process required to propose my original children’s book to a publisher. Children of many ages go through a playful period, thinking of different careers to potentially pursue as adults.

I explore the ideas of imagination and play through my watercolor and colored pencil illustrations, lined with black ink, and the story itself; I specifically focus on the imaginative ways to connect reality with imagined worlds. This story pushes the limits of what may be commonly thought of as potential jobs- in particular for girls-to imagine. I am reminding readers that, regardless of gender, anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

While some of the professions children come up with are ridiculously outlandish, and some may be overly ambitious. In the illustrations, I avoid putting limits on young readers and what they can imagine themselves doing. I remind the adults reading along with the kids how important it is to be uniquely you.