Dominic Bodden / How Illustration Changed My Life

Dominic Bodden

I’ve been drawing all my life. It’s an activity that has always brought me joy. I taught myself how to draw by sketching the faces of actors in old movie magazines. A Wizard of Oz picture book with images of Judy Garland was my first drawing “textbook” and by studying the faces of the actors and characters I was able to learn the basic principles of drawing. In fact, I can’t remember a time when art wasn’t the center of my attention.

My grandmother would often tell me that an artist sees the world in a special and unique way. This kind of support and reinforcement was always a source of inspiration to me, and I was lucky that my family has always been very encouraging of my art. We still laugh about the fact that I would draw on every paper surface in the house until there wasn’t a scrap left without a mark on it. I would draw on paper plates, napkins, notepads, and every piece of computer paper. My brother’s and I would create our own books with characters we invented. There would be epic sagas about kids on adventures encountering witches and monsters.

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had some amazing mentors and teachers in my life that have encouraged me to take risks and share my art with the world. As a teenager, I would often go to a local teen center where I had the opportunity to draw and socialize with a group of creative misfits. Together, we put on plays, wrote poetry, watched movies, and made illustrations. One counselor encouraged me to submit my art into a local competition for young artists and to my surprise I won an award in the competition. This experience made me aware that there was a real possibility of making a career out of the arts. With this discovery, there was no looking back


Working as an illustrator has allowed me to add a visual component to important conversations happening in our society. I love working with a team of journalists investigating issues that are important to me and being able to enhance the impact of the dialogue with a dynamic illustration. Working with ProPublica and The New York Times has been especially rewarding as I have been able to make illustrations about issues like the invisibility of Latino studies in the US educational system or how conservative law makers are targeting LGBTQ books to ban in Texas. Being able to create art about these issues feels empowering. I love knowing that an illustration I’ve made has the potential to activate someone into taking a stand against injustice.


Since joining Anna Goodson Illustration Agency, I feel like I’ve become a part of a family of artists that look out for each other and celebrate the diverse backgrounds of each person. This partnership has also opened doors to many new incredible opportunities. One special project that I was commissioned to illustrate recently was for the 2023 RAND calendar. Since 1962, The RAND corporation has selected one illustrator to create portrait illustrations for their annual calendar and I was honoured that they chose me to reimagine their calendar for their 75th anniversary edition.

With Illustration, I know I’ve found my purpose in life. It’s thrilling to know that every project as an illustrator is an opportunity to leave my mark on the world. I’m excited to see what happens next for me and I’m confident that the future is bright with many wonderful opportunities.