Caroline Mills sees her cartoon-filled marker pen drawings as a “diary of sorts”
Reflecting on the iconography of childhood, the Philadelphia-based illustrator pays homage to the likes and interests of her younger self.
- Olivia Hingley
- 14 June 2023
If Caroline Mills’ illustrations were not so carefully curated and technically astute, you could easily mistake them for the treasured drawings of a child. For the artist, this is the intended effect, as she explains that her works “reflect on the iconography from childhood that made me who I am today”.
Filled with a collage of cartoon characters, collectible toys, mythical creatures and pop-culture references, flicking through them feels like a trip down memory lane. You’ll come across Pingu, Dumbo and Pokemon, while in Endless Cycle, Caroline recreates the covers of the Animorphs book series, the imagery of which seems seared into the memories of every 90s baby. Then, all of Caroline’s works are finished with colourful marker pens, giving them a distinctly whimsical, childlike feel.
The artist’s creative practice also provides her with a vital “outlet” and a means for processing life’s difficulties. “Most of my work is a tie between childhood nostalgia and growing up as a person processing trauma and mental illness,” she says. “It sort of feels like a diary of sorts, a way to express my feelings and thoughts.”
Caroline Mills: One Kiss (Copyright © Caroline Mills, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.