The Chicago Reader has published a coloring book to raise funds for the paper and the artists who contributed drawings to the effort. The 52-page Reader Coloring Book is available in both PDF download and limited-edition print form.
More than 50 local artists contributed an amazing mix of illustrations, from legendary people (Gwendolyn Brooks, Frankie Knuckles, Svengoolie, Michael Jordan) to architecture (the Art Institute lions, South Shore, Pilsen, Music Box, Fireside Bowl, Hollywood Beach, downtown) to fun illustrations of everyday Chicagoans, pets, transit, and more. There are even dancing hot dogs.
The book is $30 as a PDF download, and $45 for a PDF plus printed book (limited edition, mailed).
Artists whose work is included in the book:
Instagram: @andybMix / Website: andybellomo.com
Andy Bellomo is a visual artist, public mural artist, stained-glass artist, teacher, and performer living and working in Chicago. She is a dynamic member of the arts and LGBTQ communities and a strong activist and advocate for social change and human rights. Original artwork design created by Andy Bellomo. Artwork inspired by the many stained-glass windows in the churches all around Chicago.
Anna White is an illustrator, writer, and musician. based in Chicago. As well as the Reader, she regularly contributes to publications such as Bandcamp, and serves as the Lead Graphic Designer/Illustrator at Chicago theater company Silencio.
Instagram: @ashleybedore / Website: ashleybedore.com
Ashley Bedore is an illustrator based in Chicago who works at the Lincoln Park Zoo as a graphic designer and illustrator, focusing on incorporating illustration into the brand identity and visual storytelling of the zoo. In her personal illustration practice, she strives to connect with others using humorous and playful drawings to tell stories.
“My name is August Abitang, I am from Little Village and I love to create. Please be kind to one another.” Title of work: Sentient Concha Storms the Arch.
Instagram: @the_binx / Twitter: @The_Binx / Website: the-binx.com
Binx is a polychromatic soul who drips rainbows wherever she goes. With a love for cartoons, music, and anime she creates funky girls in groovy environments.
Instagram: @Bobby_Sims_ / Website: bobbysims.site
Bobby Sims is an illustrator and animator currently living in Los Angeles. He enjoys bike rides, chili dogs, and a third thing—all of which are illegal in his new home of LA.
Carolyn Kassnoff, It’ll Glow On You Illustrations
Instagram: @itllglowonyou /
Twitter: @ItllGlowOnYou /
Carolyn Kassnoff graduated with a BFA from Alfred University in New York State, where she studied photography and neon bending. She currently resides in Chicago, and pets all the dogs in her free time.
Instagram: @chemaskandal / Twitter: @chemaskandal / Website: chemaskandal.org
CHema Skandal! is a graphic artist. His work reflects parallel universes and is often inspired by cartoons and music as well as social issues. His work is 99 percent hand-made and has been featured in a wide range of mediums from fanzines, newspapers, magazines, and gig posters to illustration catalogues and fine art exhibitions all around the globe.
Instagram: @Davidyanongbeltran / Website: feeltrip.co / www.fkacutler.com
David Beltran is an artist in Chicago. He works as a shop sweep at the independent record store FT-58 No Requests in the Avondale neighborhood. He also is part of the Chicago Artist Collective and Record Label Feeltrip Records.
Instagram: @emmettbaggettdraws Website: emmettbaggett.com
Emmett Baggett is a freelance illustrator focused on portraiture and printmaking, currently based out of Noble Square. He would love to work with you on your next gig poster, portrait, or personal commission.
Eric J. Garcia
Eric J. Garcia’s work can be seen throughout Chicago, in the pages of the South Side Weekly and Contratiempo Magazine, and also in the galleries of the National Museum of Mexican Art. Best known for his controversial political cartoon series El Machete Illustrated, Garcia’s work uses humorous satire to illuminate history.
Instagram: @eric_jimenez_ / Twitter: @eRocjimenez Website: ericjimenezart.com
Eric Jimenez is a freelance comic book illustrator and portrait artist, as well as a Chicago native. He lives in Logan Square with his wife, son, and two ridiculous pugs and is available for freelance and commission work.
Instagram: @frankokay / Website: frankokay.com
Frank Okay is a local artist, illustrator, and musician. Currently Frank is working on their “120 Free Posters” project in which they are designing free gig posters for local musicians.
Instagram: @grae.rosa / Website: graerosa.com
Grae Rosa (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary Latinx designer and self-taught illustrator, born and raised in Chicago. They’re currently working on Chicagotería, a Chicago version of the Mexican bingo game, lotería.
Instagram: @hbatsel / Website: hannahbatsel.com
Hannah Batsel is a book artist, illustrator, and thrift-store taxidermy enthusiast. Her first children’s book, A is for Another Rabbit, is coming out on April 7, just in time for Easter.
Instagram: @jessicamuellerart Website: jessicamuellerart.com
Jessica Mueller is an interdisciplinary artist and educator exploring domesticity, labor, and translation through her experiences of motherhood. She is a member of the Chicago ACT Collective and MotherArt: Revisited.
Instagram: @mrs.arnoldsartroom / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessie Arnold is a Chicago-based artist and art teacher. You can find more of her doodles and lettering on Instagram @mrs.arnoldsartroom.
José Rosa aka El Mowgli Tropicano
Instagram: @el_mowgli_tropicano / Website: joserosadesign.com
“I am a Puerto Rican Graphic Designer and community organizer who has been in Chicago for seven years where the QPOC community in the south side has made me feel right at home. As a designer I focused on the nuances of nonmainstream culture through typography, visual puns, and illustrations that is why I wanted to focus on Chicago snacks, ‘If you know, you know.’”
Instagram: @judithmayercreative / Website: judithmayer.com
Judith Mayer is an American lettering artist and illustrator—born and raised in the midwest and the daughter of an immigrant. Her work is influenced by her years as a designer and her love for mid-century modern and pop art.
Instagram: @justinsantora / Website: justinsantora.com
Justin Santora grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a degree in studio art and secondary education. Santora began working as a freelance illustrator and screen printer like some of Chicago’s well-known rock-poster artists. Justin has been producing screen-printed posters, art, paintings, and illustrations professionally since 2008.
“I am a local tattoo artist and freelance illustrator. I work at Great Lakes Tattoo on Grand Avenue. Originally from New England, tattooing has brought me around the country and I landed in Chicago about eight years ago. This city has treated me very well and I love it here.”
Instagram: @kpdawes / Twitter: kpdawes / Website: kpdawes.com
KP Dawes is a Chicago-based writer, editor, and illustrator. His illustrated sci-fi novel Kopper is available for purchase on Amazon.
Instagram: @thehottestdjinmiami / Website: lfinston.wixsite.com/lyafinston
Lya Finston is an artist and printmaker based in Chicago. You can often find Lya at Spudnik Press or Hoofprint, where she does screen printing and lithography.
Instagram: @macblackout / Website: macblackout.com
Mac Blackout is a Chicago-based muralist, multimedia visual artist, and musician. A figurehead in the midwest art and music scenes since 1993, Mac communicates in multiple disciplines, radiating presence, scrawling endlessly, transforming the world around us with unbridled energy and visionary creative passion.
Instagram: @mannafish / Website: madhuri.com
Florida-raised immigrant artist Madhuri Shukla applies her background in critical urban studies to visual art. She is focused on daily life experience as embedded in larger social and spatial systems. Caption for work: “Chicago is home to many people—from CTA conductors, to journalists, artists, and organizers. You might recognize some in these windows: Gwendolyn Brooks, Studs Terkel, and Mariame Kaba. Draw yourself in the final window!”
Melina Mejia Stock
Instagram: @melinaprintstudio / Website: melinaprintstudio.com
Melina Mejia Stock is a local illustrator and the sole proprietor of Melina Print Studio, a unique greeting card and gift company.
Instagram and Twitter: @Mike_centeno / Website: mikecenteno.com
Mike Centeno is a Venezuelan cartoonist who calls Chicago home since 2014. He loves his dog Rigby, and is constantly obsessing over what others are feeling.
Moon The Giant
“I’m a graphic, illustration, visual, and fashion designer, who has just recently moved to Chicago and is still exploring all of its ups and down. Garrett Popcorn was one of my first and fondest memories of Chicago, so I’d like to make this tribute to the brand.”
Instagram: @mrLLOYdstudio / Website: misterlloyd.com /
mrLLOYd is a Chicago artist/maker/musician and positiviteer! Support the spread of love and equality in your community by visiting misterlloyd.com.
Nancy Sánchez Tamayo Melgoza Villalpando
Instagram: @lamirapress and
Nancy Sánchez Tamayo Melgoza Villalpando is a Chicago Native community organizer and artist. Her work is based on dismantling cistemic violence created by necropolitics. Nuestrx existencia es resistencia.
Instagram: @ontheleft / Website: leftstudio.com / Email: email@example.com
Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen is a kind human being who likes to draw. Outside of work, he plays and coaches table tennis.
Twitter: @lavenderpopin / Instagram: lavenderpop / Website: etsy.com/shop/LavenderpopCards
Otis Richardson is a fine artist and illustrator based in Chicago. His freelance work has appeared in Sophisticate Black Hair Care magazine, Out and Proud in Chicago, Blacklines, Windy City Times, and for the Chicago Department of Public Health. His fine art has been exhibited in shows sponsored by Stone Art Supply, ETA Creative Arts, Hyde Park Art Center, Stony Island Arts Bank, Prairie Avenue Gallery, and “Black Creativity,” sponsored by the Museum of Science and Industry. He is the owner and creator of Lavenderpop Greeting Cards.
Instagram: @funarchitect / Website: architectureisfun.com
Peter Exley has established an internationally recognized practice of award-winning architecture for children, families, and communities, elevating the standards of design for learning and play environments. He is the cofounder, with Sharon Exley, of Architecture Is Fun, a Chicago-based architecture, design, and consulting firm and 2017–2018 AIA Chicago Firm of the Year. Peter has been elected to serve as the 97th president of the American Institute of Architects in 2021.
Instagram: @sickfisher / Website: sickfisherart.com / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sick Fisher (Nick Fisher) is a muralist and painter whose works can be found in many of Chicago’s westand north-side neighborhoods. Work is titled “Ditka Bear”
Instagram: @SICKNGROSS / Email: SICKNGROSS@gmail.com
Outer-space cave dweller, reformed slacker, art-school dropout.
Instagram: @RADillustrates / Website: rachalduggan.com
Rachal Duggan, also known by her moniker RADillustrates, is an illustrator from Illinois. Her work consists of simple yet whimsical black-and-white observations, portraits, and commentary on current events.
Instagram: @pallyrgirlfrnd / Email: email@example.com
Rachel Pallmeyer is a Chicago-based artist and illustrator. She loves the beach. Illustration is “of my favorite places in Chicago—Kathy Osterman Beach.”
Instagram: @renearceo59 / Facebook: rene.arceo.5 / Website: arceopress.com
A Chicago-based artist, Arceo specializes in printmaking, making linoleum and woodcut prints of people and issues related to or in connection with Chicago. He has exhibited extensively in group and solo exhibitions throughout the United States (including Puerto Rico), Mexico, France, Poland, Spain, Italy, Nicaragua, and Argentina.
Instagram and Twitter: @iamsamkirk / Website: iamsamkirk.com
Sam Kirk creates artwork to celebrate people and to inspire pride and recognition for underrepresented communities. Kirk was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and spent most of her childhood jumping from neighborhood to neighborhood with her family. Working-class communities continue to be her key ingredient of inspiration.
Instagram: @snbgdnv / Website: sonyabogdanova.com
Sonya Bogdanova (b. 1991, Moscow) is an MFA Candidate in Studio Arts (2021) at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute in 2012. She examines pernicious hierarchies in U.S. society, currently interrogating how classism, racism, and violence coexist in housing developments.
Steve Krakow aka Plastic Crimewave
Chicago-native Plastic Crimewave is known for being a “psychedelic guru” of sorts, and is the creator of the Galactic Zoo Dossier, a hand-drawn magazine published by Drag City since 2001. Crimewave also runs the Galactic Zoo Disk reissue label imprint that is manufactured/distributed by Drag City and roving label Galactic Archives, has drawn/written the biweekly Secret History of Chicago Music “info strip” for the Chicago Reader for more than a decade, founded and books the avant-psych festival Million Tongues featuring international musicians, has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and has drawn countless comics, posters, album covers, and branding art for Lush Cosmetics.
Teshika Silver is an illustrator, designer, teaching artist, and cultural worker spending time and living freely in Chicago. Her work is focused on Black liberation and the visibility of marginalized people.
Instagram: @soberrabbit / Twitter: @boozetornado / Website: thewhitneywasson.com
Whitney Wasson (she/they) is a Chicago-based stand-up comedian and writer, originally from Arkansas. Chicago credits include the Laugh Factory, Zanies, iO, Second City, Steppenwolf, the Annoyance, and the Cards Against Humanity Theater. She’s been featured at a dozen festivals across the country and was chosen as a headliner for the 2017 Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. She regularly performs throughout the Chicagoland area, and draws the weekly webcomic, Sober Rabbit.
Instagram: @wygrant / Website: wyattgrant.com
Wyatt Grant is an artist and musician based in Chicago. He loves doing murals, poster design, and art with his friends all around the Windy City.