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shim 20x20
What I do

I draw and write for a living but for different types of work.

Currently, I am an engineering manager, a freelance illustrator and aspiring children’s book writer.

In my engineering role I rely on drawings and diagrams to communicate ideas, just like illustrators. In both cases I usually start with hand drawn images. For engineering work the final product will usually be completed with Microsoft Office tools or CAD software with the help of designers. But with illustration work, I complete the final art with traditional media, like ink and watercolor, digital tools, like Illustrator, Photoshop or ArtRage, or a combination of both.

For engineering I also rely on writing skills for specifications, reports, presentations and emails.  I like to use my technical drawings and diagrams to complement the writing.

As an aspiring children’s book writer, I use creative writing to tell a story that is complemented with illustrations.  I dabbled in comic books and comic strips, which taught me the difficulty of writing humor and of brevity.  I also write occasional cards and illustrated letters to friends and journal thoughts and poems in a sketchbook.

Thank you for visiting, and please contact me if you would like additional information.


I grew up in Green, Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree in mechanical engineering.  In college I fulfilled my creative urges by making cartoons for the campus newspaper, illustrations for a poetry publication and art and graphics for numerous T-shirts, flyers and newsletters for organizations I was involved in.

My formal art education outside of high school is a smattering of drawing, watercolor and graphics classes at the College for Creative Studies, Oakland Community College and the Birmingham Bloomfield Arts Center.  Informally my art education was and continues to be a lifetime of practice, reading, studying and experimenting.

 After graduation I moved to the metro Detroit area for work as an engineer in the automotive industry and have been freelancing as an illustrator since the mid 90's for numerous clients in southeast Michigan.

I recently joined the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators Michigan chapter to learn and develop my picture book craft. 

  • Thomson-Shore Publishing
  • University of Michigan - Spanish Department
  • Latino Health Communications
  • Beaumont Foundation
  • Global Design
  • Inner Circle Media 
  • Color Hive
  • Huron Pet Supply, Inc.
  • Patriots of the American Revolution Magazine
  • Biker Bob's Motown Harley-Davidson
  • Powerhaus Creative
  • Eventures - Adventures In Advertising
  • The Ann Arbor Ad Club
  • The Big Idea Magazine (now defunct)


What's with the "Big Tall" thing?
I'm 6'7" tall. Big Tall Ken was a fun nickname from a friend of mine.

How can I make your webpage bigger on my smartphone or tablet?
I have not learned how to make a responsive webpage yet and probably won't in the near future.  However you can use the finger gestures native to your smartphone or tablet to enlarge the page and images.  This works on my iPhone.

You’re an engineer? You should do a Dilbert comic strip! You can draw better than him!
Yes, I am an engineer and could create more dynamic or detailed artwork, but any attempt to do so on my part would come across as a pale imitation of Scott Adams’s work. He has a very specific world view, and his art complements it well.

I did try my hand at comic stripping by submitting a comic strip called “Arctic Circle” three times back in the mid to late ‘90’s and learned just how hard it is to write humor. To do so consistently daily for years on end is a feat and gave me an appreciation of the art form. If you’re interested in the comic strips, check out the documentary, “Stripped: A Revealing Look At the World's Greatest Comic Strips.”

Q: Why do you have so many sketches on your website?
I enjoy seeing sketches of other artists as insight into their process. Although doing so can be a bit like staring at the sun for too long. I can either become too enamored with them and be temporarily blind to my own ideas, or after looking at so many, they give me a headache.  

So, view my sketches sparingly.  Lookk at a few.  Move on, and come back later for a few more.  :)

Plus, it was fun to go back through my sketchbooks!   

Q: I don’t see you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Why?
As I wrote earlier, I only have so much time in the day. I blog sporadically and have recently created an Instagram account.

shim 20x20 © 2018 Ken Eaton ~ All rights reserved