Once upon a time, a young kiddo discovered that she could successfully grasp a crayon in her tiny hand, and with this delightful stick of wax, could make colorful things happen on paper. She never once looked back. This kid, ZJ Bickel, grew up to be a non-starving artist who really enjoys not starving. It’s probably her favorite thing, aside from actually being an artist, which is super fun.

Based in Indianapolis, ZJ spends her days designing, illustrating, and writing original comics. After eight years of private training and a minor in Digital Illustration from Butler University, her experience in both traditional and digital art spans multiple media and styles. When not wishing she could live in art museums (or 18th century France, in her more fanciful moods), ZJ creates made-to-order commissions for clients. This might (and does) encompass logos, typography, portraits of clients’ grandchildren or pets, children’s book illustrations, promotional graphics for websites, and more. And when not doing that, or her own illustrative work, ZJ creates fan costumes and cosplays at conventions around the Midwest.

Above all, ZJ aspires to follow the advice of an old writing professor: Don’t be boring. She strives to make her work interesting, if not entertaining, and it seems to have worked. ZJ’s art has been featured on billboards, newspapers, commercial websites, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as in the books Pharmacy & Me, The Jade Dragon, and Social, Civil, and Savvy.