Get to Know Lily Williams
Lily Williams describes falling into writing and illustration "sideways" while pursuing a career in animation.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Dec 7, 2021
Originally from the Bay Area of California, Visual Arts Lecturer Lily Williams is an author, illustrator, and storyteller. A career path in illustration opened up to her "sideways" when, in her senior year of college, an infographic she created went viral. An editor at Macmillan Publishing reached out to Williams which led to the publishing of the award-winning If Animals Disappeared book series for children. Graduating with a degree in Animation, Williams headed to Los Angeles to pursue that burgeoning side of her skillset. Eventually, though, she shifted to freelance work mostly in the area of children’s publishing as an author and illustrator. Her work covers a wide variety of topics, including menstrual equity and mental health. Williams has lectured students from preschool to college age and enjoys every minute of being in the classroom. What she appreciates about the College of Arts & Media at CU Denver is the cross-over classes the college provides, which allow students to learn from a wide variety of creative disciplines to hone their artistic voices.
1. Much of your work conveys information or teaches a concept. What would you say is the purpose that informs or inspires the art you create?
Education is a passion I am always trying to express in art. Sometimes it is more directly obvious when the art I am creating is educational (like in an infographic), and other times it is more subtle. Regardless of how it's executed, this is the wonderful thing about storytelling, you can infuse education into art in a variety of ways!
2. What do you hope to teach your students in CAM? What is something you have been surprised to learn from your students?
I believe so passionately in the power that individuality holds in an art practice. I am always encouraging my students to find their own creative voice and daily practice that suits their unique and individual strengths. My students have constantly taught me to reserve judgment and to listen, for there is so much we don't know about each other and so much we all can learn from each other.
3. What is something you know now, as a professional, that you wished you had learned while you were still in school?
I wish I had been encouraged to understand what makes me different is not a fault, but a strength, and that I can use these differences to better my craft. I try to infuse all my classes with the belief that our unique and individual differences make us stronger creatives.
4. What role does storytelling play in illustration and how have you personally honed your storytelling abilities?
Whether it be in animation or illustration, storytelling is a huge part of my creative process and something I am always constantly trying to hone. Like any skill it is one that I am still working on perfecting, and I hope it's not perfect yet because I know I have a lot to learn.
5. How do you get into a creative state of mind? Are there are any rituals or rhythms you use to prepare yourself for creating?
Being active and having non-art related hobbies are a huge part of my creative process and Colorado really makes it easy to enjoy nature, because we are so lucky that it's right in our backyards!