Caitlin Courtney is a recent graduate from The American Academy of Art (Chicago) with a BFA in Illustration. Pursuing a career in Museum Exhibit Design, she has taken a variety of classes that explore typography and graphic design, advertising and concept art, as well as technical classes that focus on perspective, life drawing, and environmental planning. Though Caitlin has always been interested in history, she could never fully appreciate it being taught from a textbook in school. She believes experiences are the best way to convey any set of information, and hopes to put her skills to use in a field that can reach multiple groups of people and uncover new ways of displaying information. Caitlin’s art is heavily influenced by her interests in movies and music.


As an Illustrator, I create art with the intention of making people feel happy or excited about a certain topic. My work, whether it be simple icon illustrations or full environments and exhibitions, tends to reflect my personal interests and represents the 1960’s/1970’s poster style that I admire. 

To achieve this style, I work mostly with geometric shapes and flat colors. I choose colors based on complementary palettes and try to create a good flow with them throughout the composition. Composition and spacing are fundamental parts of my process, but my first step is always making a written list of ideas and doing research on my topic. Keeping this list throughout the process is very helpful, and I often go back and add to it as I’m working. 

My environments and exhibits are mostly built digitally in SketchUp. The program allows me to quickly build three-dimensional structures in their actual size. I’m also able to insert materials, images, and text panels that I create and mock them up on different surfaces as they would be in real life.

As for my illustrative work, I’m very comfortable working digitally, both in Adobe Creative Suite software and in Procreate on the iPad, but I also like to work traditionally in pen, ink, and gouache. Pen allows me to do more sketchy and rendered images, while gouache imitates my digital work in producing opaque blocks of color. It’s also fun to combine the traditional and digital processes whenever I can.

My main goal is to make people excited about learning something new. To achieve this, my exhibits must be fully immersive experiences where visitors feel like they’re existing in the world they’re learning about.