Katie Risor

Katie Risor – Designer

Professional illustrator and designer, specializing in whimsical, cozy art and expressive characters. ISO middle grade illustration clients.



**In 2024 I am NOT accepting picture books from self publishers. I am only open to middle-grade illustrations, covers, and book design!"

I’m a professional illustrator and author who loves all things weird, interesting, and whimsical. In my personal work, I’m all about creatures, hidden themes, and childhood adventures. I get a lot of inspiration from nature and animals, but I’m also kind of a history buff; I love to look at old books, architecture, and historical sights for unique inspiration. When I’m not painting or writing you can find me gardening, cooking, eating fancy cheese, going on walks, making specialized playlists, or looking for cool new restaurants to try. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas but I recently moved to Syracuse, New York with my partner and three cats. I'm currently working on my debut graphic novel with Andrews McMeel, tentatively set to release in 2025.

Professionally, I work on kidlit books, visual development, covers, advertising, product design, and book design. I also enjoy sharing and teaching the fun of creativity with others when I get the chance and geeking out about art supplies. You can see some of my tutorials on Tik Tok and Instagram.

Illustration Expertise:

Picture book and Middle Grade

Design Expertise:

Interior book formatting for KDP and Ingram etc

Picture book through YA

(I could format your interior file for an adult book, but please don't ask me to design a cover.)

Project Wishlist 2024

While I love picture books, I'm currently taking a break from indie picture books. Right now, I'd love to do more spot illustrations and covers for middle grade. I do not accept books with overtly religious themes or books that have a medical/hospital setting.

Fairy tale adaptations

Fantasy middle grade

Historical Middle grade

“weird” middle grade, similar in tone to A Series of Unfortunate Events

something like the Borrowers or The Doll People

Anything about Fairys, gnomes, goblins, etc, especially if it’s funny

books about trees or plants

books with a design-based “twist” a la Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

If Chris Grine needs help doing Animorphs…

Favorite picture books:

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Where the Wild Things Are

Little Witch Hazel

A Pizza With Everything On It

Thunder pug

Graphic novels, middle grade, animation, and other stuff:

The Moomin books and comics by Tove Jansson

This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews

Be Prepared! by Vera Brosgol

The work of Hayao Miyazaki

The work of Brian Froud

Jim Henson and the Muppets

The work of James Gurney

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones

Frog and Toad by Arnold Loebel

Coming of Age Middle Grade Middle Grade Fantasy Picture Books
  • Best Capstone - The University of Texas at Dallas 2018
  • SCBWI Member

Work experience


Dec, 2018 — Mar, 2020 (about 1 year)

Remote e-book designer.


Mar, 2018 — Present

I'm a freelance illustrator creating books, illustrations, and designs for clients and myself. Here are some of my books and projects:

Some books I've illustrated and designed on include:

Picture Books:
When Mommy Caught A Dragon
Red Ted the Magical Melon Man
There's an Alligator in the Elevator!
Casey's Kite
Mommy's Time

Middle Grade:
That's How it Was
Armstrong Adventures: Zoe's Purpose

Other clients:
Faygo - holiday add
Armed Forces Entertainment - illustrated booklet for Month of the Military Child
Little Lamb Books - book design for All God's Creatures


Mommy's Time

King Jaiven, Kristen

"Red Ted" is the story of Farmer Andy, a greedy melon farmer who thinks he knows it all. When his business is threatened, the only soul willing to help him is the mysterious and magical Red Ted who appears out of the dust on his tractor. Red Ted has a few tric... read more
Casey's Kite

Miller, Rick

There's An Alligator In The Elevator! Who would put that together with getting a shot? Well...this story does exactly that. JJ hates shots! When he finds out he has to get one the next day, his dream life explodes into a tale that will curl your hair. It's a f... read more
When Mommy Caught a Dragon is a delightful, child's interpretation of a dragon's intrusion into a magical family's home, which causes all sorts of mayhem. Chases ensue, spells are cast, cats are humbled, and children "assist" in wrangling the out of control dr... read more
You will find twenty-six stories in this book of almost one hundred human characters. In one sitting you will fondly embrace one story’s characters, setting, problem(s) and solution(s). You might find yourself liking some stories and disliking others. But by r... read more

Katie has 19 reviews





Zachary C.

Zachary C.

Jun, 2023

Great sketches!
Roberta G.

Roberta G.

Apr, 2023

Writing and publishing a children's chapter book comes with its challenges. Katie Risor stuck with the project to the end, turning out a beautiful book - inside and out - which I am very pleased with. I would highly recommend Katie.
Emil B.

Emil B.

Nov, 2022

Katie was very helpful and knowledgeable. I asked her to evaluate the design and she was able to perform a comprehensive review and identify all deficiencies. Great job!
Katie R.
Thanks, Emil! Glad I could help and I hope your book launch goes well!
Kristen K.

Kristen K.

Mar, 2022

Katie is creative, talented, and flexible. Katie's skill and beautiful illustrations brought my book to life. Katie provided both illustration and book/cover design services. I loved collaborating with Katie because she tackles her projects with patience - encouraging dialogue and open idea exchange to ensure we found the best options when we ran into design decisions to be made. This was my f...
Read more
Katie R.
Thank you Kristen!! Your book was a blast and is one of my favorites to date :)
Hazel R.

Hazel R.

Oct, 2021

This was my first book. Katie went over and beyond to help me through the process. Katie excels in talent, experience, and patience!
Katie R.
Thank you, Hazel!

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