Karen Dole is a freelance illustrator based in San Diego, California, who specializes in animal and wildlife illustrations.

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Animals and art have always been my two loves. As a kid I used to go to the pond down the street and poke around for hours finding creatures and investigating the ecosystem in and around the water. Then I’d go home and draw everything I saw. One time I got in trouble for something and my parents took away my markers and pens for a whole week for punishment — boy, did that hurt! Now, after years in the illustration industry, I still draw every day while cuddling with animals.  I’ve found tremendous creative inspiration from my work with the San Diego Humane Society and Project Wildlife, as well as from fostering newborn animals and tending to my non-profit turtle sanctuary. I believe my success in animal illustration comes from my innate bond with animals and the daily drawing practice that comes naturally to me. 


  • Disney
  • Sony
  • San Diego Humane Society
  • YMCA
  • American Cancer Society


What animal do you most relate to?
That changes almost every day, depending on what animals I’m hanging out with. It could be anything from a pygmy hippo to a newborn pigeon or eighty year old tortoise.

What animal is the most fun to draw?
I love drawing any and all animals.  I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite!

Which do you prefer; cats or dogs?
Cats AND dogs!! And gorillas, inchworms, capybaras, hummingbirds, gophers, llamas, penguins… 

Like what you see by KAREN DOLE?