Kristen Palana, illustrator

kristenpalana-1My goal in life is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

The reason Lori Leak resonates with me is that she is an ordinary girl going on extraordinary adventures.  I never got to travel as a child and yet always dreamed that I one day might get my very own passport and fill it up with stamps.

I’m thrilled for this opportunity to illustrate my first children’s book and hope that Lori’s spunk, enthusiasm, intelligence, and love of life come through in the illustrations, partially inspired by the vibrancy of stained glass windows and my favorite painters who worshiped the power of color as much as I do.  In many of the images I painted directly over collaged photos of Parisian landmarks to preserve the accuracy of actual locations while also trying to create a new hyper-reality that is charged with energy and has its own distinct look and feel.


Kristen Palana is the winner of the 2014 Cannes Short Film Festival Award for Best Animated Short Film. A multimedia artist and university educator based in Rome, Italy, she is a tenured, Associate Professor of Digital Media at The American University of Rome where she also runs its Film and Digital Media Program. Kristen is part of the extended team at the UN-mandated University For Peace in Costa Rica where she teaches an online course, Designing Your Life: Innovating From the Inside Out for its Centre for Executive Education. Kristen is a dual American/Portuguese citizen with an MFA from Pratt Institute in Computer Graphics and Interactive Media and a BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She lives in Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) with her German husband and two sons.

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