Throughout the past year, I had the privilege of working on The Journals of Mama Mae & Lee Lee  app with Alicia Keys and her incredibly inspiring and talented team! I’m so thrilled to finally share it with you! (be sure to watch the video below!)

Here’s a little behind the scenes of how it was created…

The team began by creating the imaginative stories of Mama Mae & Lee Lee…The story of a young girl and her relationship with her grandmother, which Alicia builds on in the video. After the stories were finished, they asked me to bring them to life! I illustrated each character, and characters within scenes to get an idea of how this world could look and feel visually. Once those were finalized, the team at BentoBox transformed the illustrations and stories into whimsical animations for the app… That right there is creative teamwork, my friends!

Beyond the visualizations, this app is so special. The stories are incredibly meaningful, and Alicia’s music is integrated in such a beautiful way… see the theme song video here.

You can see a few of my concept sketches here, then brought to life in the video below…

Original character sketch for Mama Mae.

Original character sketch for Lee Lee.

Original character sketch for Abey… from pencil to color.

Final character visuals.

Scene concept for Blue Moon.

Scene concept for Blue Moon in color.

I started working on this project back when I was still working my day job at Reebok, and about to move to Barcelona. Looking back, I have no clue how I managed to stay sane juggling all of those things at once… but I’m so glad I did. In some ways, this is the project that opened my eyes to what I could be doing as a career. It gave me the extra push I needed to quit my job, and go out on my own… and I’m eternally grateful to them for that!

I hope you guys love it as much as I do…and you just might spot a few of my original illustrations within the app itself! Download here.

Many thanks to DJ, Jessica, and Alicia for such an incredible experience!

  1. What a cool project! And your illustrations (as always) are gorgeous!

    On a totally different note, I purchased your “fall closet” iphone 5 case yesterday and can’t wait to get it – I haven’t even gotten my phone yet! lol

    Love your work 🙂

  2. Katie, I am absolutely blown away by your talent. Your Mom hinted to me that you were going to be part of something really big, and BIG this is! Congratulations!

  3. I follow your work everyday and share it with my nine year old daughter. This is a beautiful project and we are going to download the app as soon as she has finished her reading. (Ava–go read now instead of looking over my shoulder.)

  4. what an amazing opportunity to be a part of something like this! I had a lump in my throat watching the video, this is so inspiring for young girls.
    Congratulations, you are truly inspiring for those of us who also dream of one day leaving a full time job to do what they love.

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