“I think I realized that I loved to draw from the moment I picked up a crayon and drew a line with it,” she said. “There is very little that I love more. But it took me many years before I considered making a living at it.”
After graduating from college, Wilson worked as a cartographer, which included a brief stint freelancing for National Geographic magazine before working as an animator for a graphic design company for many years. She was first inspired to try her hand at cartography by her father, a drafter.
“When I took cartography in school, it was before digital tools were being used, and we were taught to draw maps with rapidograph technical pens,” she said. “I swear, picking up one of those pens and beginning to draw with them was amazing to me. The points of the pens were so very fine that you could achieve an incredible level of detail. I loved working on topographic maps and drawing the texture of hills using little dots of ink.”
Texture is still an important part of Wilson’s work. When she works with pen and ink, she likes to use textured watercolor paper to mimic fur, feathers, and rough elephant skin.