Hello!
I am Devan, the artist, and this is my story.
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I have had a love for art since I was young and still learning to hold a pencil. Art for me has always been an escape. A world I create where all the problems of life cannot bother me. As someone with anxiety and depression this is my mental happy place and a way to cope with the stress I carry.

I always knew I would grow up and become an artist someday. While in school I took a few art classes and found a passion for cartooning. In high school I won a few awards for some poster designs I made. During my years of being in school I taught myself how to draw over 30 animals. After graduating high school, I started taking commissions, mostly for friends and family.

At this time, I started realizing this was my purpose and that being an artist was a part of who I am. At this moment I decided I was a professional and started to think of this as a career. I took a few college courses and ended up dropping out due to anxiety issues, but during all the ups and downs of this newfound adventure into adulthood I found my favorite medium: markers.

This is where my journey as a professional artist truly began.

 

2012-2013:

At 20 years old I created my first Art by Devan Zazzle shop.

The first draft of Astro Cow and Sir Bacon was drawn out on paper.

I mastered editing art using a computer. While also mastering fitting hand drawn art on products.

Mastered 15 different textures using Sharpies.

Learned how to draw another 70 plus animals.

Over this time, I also created a large body of work that is the birthplace of my signature style.

 

2014-2016:

At the age of 22 I ended up taking a break from my art, I stopped creating for the purpose of my career and lost a little of my passion. For 2 years I really did not create much, this gap is why I tell people a range of time when explaining the length of my career. This gap was a hard time for me, and I really was not sure I wanted to be an artist anymore. Then when I turned 24, I got back into my art, and I had a serious moment of harsh truths with myself. I asked myself do you want to be an artist? Is this really what you want from life? If you were not an artist, what would you be? I realized that this is what I wanted to do with my life, being an artist is my purpose and passion.

Once I faced my fears and made the decision to not give up and everything changed. I got an amazing day job where I could work on art while at work. I took this opportunity to really try and get my art out in the world. I started to challenge myself, teaching myself new things and forcing myself to grow.

 

2017:

At 25 years old I went out of my comfort zone, facing my anxiety head on, and I started to apply for shows.

My first art show was 4th Fridays at the Starline Factory in October. 

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30 new pieces were created between 2017 and 2018.

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2018:

Accepted into two more 4th Friday shows at The Starline Factory.

Started created art pieces you still see today at shows, I call these my signature pieces.

 

2019:

Accepted into 4th Fridays for a fourth time.

I set a simple goal of doing 6 shows before the end of the year, but what happened next changed everything.

RAW show at the Metro, my first show in Chicago.

Joined the ArtBar.

I got a house with a home studio too; it became my physical happy place.

I also started networking and building a name in the Aurora area.

I was doing 2 or 3 shows a month, far surpassing my goal before the summer.

Art by Devan .com was created.

Color Me Happy was released.

25 art pieces were turned into prints.

The first version of “color your own” postcards were printed, packaged, and sold. My first art plus product.

Punkin the comic was released in June.

July was the start of “The Bear Book”; it was self-published in November.

During this time, “SHE-nanigans” was also released.

RAW show at the RAVE in Milwaukee, my first out of state show.

Stencils were made for the Born Learning Trail.

The Art & Music Series was started.

Prisma Markers were added to my collection and my existing textures were mastered using them.

Numerous new textures were mastered with both sets of markers during this year.

Just days after “The Bear Book” was released, I got hired by Sarah Sommer to illustrate “Animals at the Office”.

By the end of the year, I was in 25 shows throughout 2019 alone.

 

2020:

I manage to get a few shows in before the pandemic hit.

During the start of the chaos, I had filled half the Overland Gallery in my favorite place The Starline Factory. The show was cancelled.

Then life and art as I knew it changed and I was home with nothing but my art and Punkin.

4 more textures were mastered.

Joined the Alzheimer’s live art auction that ended up being an online event.

I joined online craft shows for the first time.

My first radio interview on WNIJ. Click here to listen.

Hours of me live creating were posted to YouTube.

Built a mini gallery in my living room and did a live stream home art show from the "Couch Gallery". Click here to view the video.

“Animals at the Office” was completed, and Sarah Sommer released it.

In June I accomplished a life achievement and filled Gary Brown Gallery with 30 plus pieces of art. My first solo gallery show amid a pandemic, it survived the riots too.

During the show we did a live stream to talk about my art. Click here to view the video.

Live interview on Good Morning Aurora, taking my stance as a beacon of hope for people with mental illness. Click here to view the video.

My art joined the amazing collection of creatives at the Cotton Seed Creative Exchange.

Joined the Peace Pole Project for El Jardin Community Park.

Pre-recorded interview with Sarah Sommer on Good Morning Aurora, filmed in

Earth Wise Pets and includes real dogs. Click here to view the video.

The Art & Music Series has 10 pieces.

Music & Mandalas was released.

Featured in the Chicago Tribune, interviewed during

Alley Art Fest. Click here to view the article.

Created art for the Sugar Skull City art project.

Interviewed for Fox Valley Art Beat. Click here to view the article.

Created the coloring page for Downtown Aurora’s Cocoa Non-Crawl.

Punkin’s Purrrsonal Favorites is completed by Christmas.

43 art shows in total by the end of the year.

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The end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 I started my biggest project to date:

Writing and illustrating 3 books at once.

Punkin hits 100 episodes over the holidays.

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2021:

Live coloring demo on WGN news at the Cotton Seed

Creative Exchange. Click here to view the video.

The next piece in part two of The Art & Music Series has been started.

Due to a shoulder injury one of the 3 books has been put on hold temporarily and both comics are running bi-weekly.

The Art by Devan Pop-Up Shop made it on WGN at

Water Street Studios. Click here to view the video.

“No Probllama!” is completed in March.

Double Stuffed Book Release in May, the official release of “Punkin’s Purrrsonal Favorites” and “No Probllama!”.

Over 50 shows completed in less than 4 years and still counting. My goal is to be at 60 before the end of October.

A 3rd appearance on Good Morning Aurora to

live read “No Probllama!” Click here to view the video.

 

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Devan at her first show in Chicago.

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The photo of Punkin and Devan that is a well known image and has been used as a head shot for many art shows.

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"Punkin's Purrrsonal Favorites" and "No Probllama!" 2 books released at once in 2021. This is book 3 and 4 illustrated by Devan in less than 2 years.

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Devan's 41st art show and the first time selling "The Bear Book!" dressed as a bear.

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Devan's drawing table and wall of show flyers in her home studio.

Photo credit: Kim Sowa