Kari Vick, Ink.


I was raised as an artist by an artist. As an anniversary gift for my parents, my siblings and I decided to assemble an album of our memories. I drew mine. It never even occurred to me to use photographs.

I collect stories. Sometimes I find them, other times they find me. Working in my garden, sitting at a campfire, or foraging for blueberries… they wander into my life. Beit ancient mythology, local folklore, or my own eye witness account; the image of story is instantly manifest to me. As an artist and writer, I simply put it upon paper.


Kari's World

I’ve lived alongside the flora & fauna of Lake Superior’s north shore for over 30 years. We get along. Ravens nest nearby and their offspring fledge & play in my garden. My apple tree is owned by a glossy black bear. He was here first. Once, a regal timber wolf slipped on the ice and fell down, splat, right in front of me. He was so embarrassed. I pretended not to notice.

 Where inspiration...

Where inspiration...

 ...meets creation! Bear Necessities. 

...meets creation! Bear Necessities. 

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Home, family & friends are my values. The house where my husband, Jim and I raised our daughters, Kjersti & Solveig, was once the main lodge of a bygone resort. The last cabin still stands (barely).  Nowadays, the grand-dogs and my littlest neighbors are my favorite visitors.  I have such fond childhood memories of the sweet little old lady on the corner, Grace, who taught piano and let us visit her garden. That is who I want to be when I finish growing up.

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Spring: Morels, fiddlehead ferns, ramps, wild asparagus, maple syrup, walleye. Start seeds. Camp. Summer: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, oyster mushrooms, salmon, trout. Garden. Camp. Fall: Wild rice, Rowan berries, bog cranberries, Chanterelle mushrooms, venison, grouse, mallards. Harvest garden. Camp. Winter: Ski, eat, sigh contentedly. Plan camping. Repeat.

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I don’t have many personal rules, other than I don’t leave the north shore in September. It’s too beautiful. Other than that, we load up the camper and wander near & far. It’s a wonderful way to collect stories… and morels, which are rare around here. P.S. don’t tell our camp visitor that jar is canned venison for dinner.

Finding Trolls In The Wild

To do research for the illustrations in “Seven Ways to Trick a Troll,” (written by Lise Lunge Larsen/U of MN Press) we went troll hunting in Norway. Above is the first one I bagged with my camera in a tiny village north of the arctic circle. Trolls cannot swim, but they are so huge that they do sometimes wade between continents. Of course, everyone knows that sunlight turns them to stone, but the not-so-bright trolls forget. Clearly, this one lost track of time. I call it; “The Troll Who Almost Made It To Land.” His stone mouth frozen open on the beach, troll toes out in the water.


How the landscape inspires the art



Three Trolls Inspiration

Once you get your Troll-eyes on, they are everywhere! Look carefully at rocks, especially. They can be as small as pebbles or as large as mountains!


Three trolls Illustration detail

Pay attention to bramble and moss. Stone trolls have been stuck in the same spot for eons, they are sometimes hidden and overgrown.

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Three Trolls and Little Goose

To defeat a troll, you must draw on the very best of your humanity: you must have courage, patience, intelligence, kindness, the ability to work with others, and plenty of moxie.