Alumni Spotlight: Anna Reishus

Anna Reishus

Anna is an illustrator and designer from Massachusetts.  She designs icons for the game company Multiverse and draws the all-ages webcomic Pumpkin and the Patch. Her work has been featured by The Women’s March, NewFounders, and Amplifier Art.

Anna does most of her work digitally, though she still loves to get her hands dirty with traditional drawings and the occasional print. She likes to keep her work light and whimsical in both color and theme.

In her free time Anna likes to crochet and play with her dog Spooky.

What is your artist name?
Anna Reishus will do!


Which city are you currently working from?
Iowa City


What is your education, professional experience, awards, etc.
I have a BA in Communication from Northwestern, double majoring in Film and Art. I went in as a film student and, after realizing I was too introverted to spend all day on a film set, I added the art major to pursue my other passion of drawing and illustration. Since then I’ve been freelancing as an illustrator and designer, and a few months ago started a long-term project working for the video game company One More Multiverse designing user interface icons.

As awards go – I’ve been selected in some open calls for art, one of which was a poster used by the Women’s March. I received a few departmental awards in college, but my proudest academic achievement had to be when I won the egg “catapult” contest in 8th grade for best engineering. Instead of using gravity for an egg drop, my school used an air cannon.


What is your personal creative background? (When did you start, what did you do? Where did it go from there?)
I suppose I started when I was old enough to hold a crayon. I used to draw as well as build things like little dioramas or toy cars out of random objects my dad would collect for me. I’ve always said I would have become an engineer or inventor if I didn’t hate math, so I became an artist instead. There is still sometimes too much math involved, but oh well!

I also did art camps every summer I can remember growing up. In high school I even took the same art class twice in because I had completed all the art classes available, but couldn’t stand going a year without it! I love trying new things, and I got really into printmaking on top of my love for drawing when I was in college. 

After college I started freelance illustration and graphic design while working other jobs, and I’ve slowly started getting more relevant work since then. I also started illustrating my webcomic called Pumpkin and the Patch written by my partner, which I do in my free time.


Who are your main influences?
Some comic artists like Faith Erin Hicks, Ngozi Ukazu, and John Allison inspire me. I also love Shell Silverstein for his poems and the accompanying illustrations. I think the colors of Wes Anderson movies have had some influence as well.


What type of artist would you call yourself primarily?

Mostly an illustrator. I also do a lot of design that is tangential to illustration. Even my standalone prints or other visual works feel more like illustration than fine art to me. I like that illustration is often more accessible than fine art, so it’s easier for me to enjoy.


What other types of art do you enjoy?
I love filmmaking and printmaking. Particularly screen printing when it comes to printmaking. I’ve recently gotten into crochet as well, and I like making my own designs. Not too long ago I started crocheting the characters of Pumpkin and the Patch. Since they are all stuffed animals in the stories, I thought it would be cool to have real life versions!


When you joined Art Office, what did your creative practice look like? (What were you working on, how often, how well?)
When I joined Art Office I was living in my mom’s guest room as part of a Covid quarantine spontaneous move, so my art practice at that time was strictly digital. It’s remained primarily digital since then, and only recently have I had the time and space to reincorporate some traditional techniques. 


I’ve never had a dedicated studio space, so my office also functions as my studio. Art Office helped me become more aware of how much – or little – time I dedicated to my personal art, which was mostly working on the webcomic. The time I did spend on it, I was very invested, but I often let things get in the way of dedicating the hours and hours needed to complete any comic project, and Art Office helped me rearrange my responsibilities sometimes to allow myself to prioritize my own art over other things.


What are some challenges and strengths that you had at that time?
One of my strengths has always been my determination and persistence. I’ve learned to balance this a little so that my impatience doesn’t lead to burnout. My weakness then – and still now – is that I am very introverted and meeting new people/networking does not come naturally to me. 


How did Art Office play a role in addressing those challenges and strengths?

Art Office was a built-in community where I had to talk to people! It gave me a place to meet new artists, while also having a group of people to hold me accountable for my goals. 


What was one thing that stood out in your time in the program, that helped you in some way or showed you a new way of thinking about something?

Art Office helped me reframe my personal art to give it more value in my life. I now sometimes prioritize my own art over chores or other responsibilities, and this has really helped me grow my practice both personally and professionally.


What was your final project/presentation?

My final project in the first Art Office was finishing the inks for an episode of Pumpkin and the Patch that I was working on. I went all grade-school with my presentation because I made a slide show and everything to explain my process. 


What tools has Art Office given you to apply to your daily practice outside the program?

Art Office has inspired me to sometimes push through feelings of not wanting to work on my own art. Sometimes I am legitimately too busy and will give myself a night off after a long day of work, but there are times when I might be tired, but I think I have it in me to do a little, and Art Office has inspired me in those moments to choose art over something else. 


Name one thing you would change about Art Office?

If there weren’t a pandemic, I would want there to be parts of Art Office in person. I don’t think I could move my whole computer set-up to a studio space or anything, but I’d add some events in person at least. Zoom is not the same ☹ 


What are you working on now?

Right now I’m mostly working on my “day job,” which I don’t mean in the typical boring sense! I design vector-based icons used in the UI of the video game One More Multiverse. This is somewhere in between graphic design and illustration because I’m using design software, but making very unique little pictures for things like magic spells or weapons.

I’m also currently working on a poster illustration for a group in Napa Valley that is running a campaign to try to get more people vaccinated.

In my free time I’m slowly making progress on the next episode of the webcomic.


What are your professional/creative goals?
I’m living my professional goals right now! And I hope they only continue to grow. My professional goal is to be able to support myself through artistic work. Eventually I would love that to include more illustration – possibly a graphic novel or some editorial illustration. The icons for Multiverse are so creative and fun, that I wouldn’t mind exploring vector graphics/illustration more in the future. And working for a video game company is pretty cool too. It’s a small company that feels very collaborative, so I would like to be able to continue working in similar environments in the future.


What is your dream project?

Maybe creating a graphic novel, but I also would love to be involved in some big way on a feature film if I could muster it! I don’t know if I would be a good director, but some of my ideas seem like they would be better for film than a graphic novel, and I’m not sure I want to have to draw a whole graphic novel… 


Any plugs? Social media, events, collaborations?

You can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @annareishus. You can also see my icons used in the One More Multiverse game, but it’s still in closed beta. (Go to multiverse.com for more info). If you like DnD or TTRPGs, it’s worth checking them out ☺


Where can people find you online?

On my social media or my portfolio at annareishus.com.


Where might people find you on a Sunday afternoon?

In the morning – probably out on a long walk with my dog Spooky and my partner. After that, I’m probably drawing at my desk or going out to eat somewhere with good coffee.