Kate Bingaman-Burt

Illustration / Portland, OR

Kate Bingaman-Burt is an illustrator whose colorful line drawings and hand-lettering can be seen everywhere from Newsweek to Target.

She’s been creating daily drawings since early 2006 that document what she bought that day, which is now part of her book series. She also teaches graphic design at Portland State University and speaks at events all across the nation. Kate’s been a long-time Virb customer so we were grateful to get to know her a bit better.

katebingamanburt.com →

What was your childhood like?

I was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Missouri. I lived in a super tiny town called Vienna. My parents were weavers and they bought a cabin in a river valley, and that is where I lived until I was 18.

My house growing up was filled with Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson dance marathons with my mom and crazy science fair projects with my dad.

I was good at school, but I didn't like going to it. Fortunately, I liked hanging out with my parents. I was a weird kid—still am.

How did you get started being an illustrator and speaking?

Illustration was actually an accident. Freelance work came from people seeing my daily drawing project, and I didn't really draw that much prior to that. Before the daily drawing project, I worked more in photography, design, and installation. I started drawing because I didn't feel like I was good at it—and now I do it every day!

As for speaking, I have a loud voice, and my mom has forever told me that I am a "natural ham" so I was intensely involved in speech and drama and theater in high school. I’m now starting my 11th year of teaching, and having to get up in front of a classroom several times a week really helps out your public speaking chops as well. Speaking in front of people about design is a surprise perk of the profession for me. I thought I would be done with theater once I finished high school. I was so very, very wrong.

“I started drawing because I didn't feel like I was good at it—and now I do it every day!”

What inspires you?

These are things that currently make me happy: My new drawing table, which used to be my grandmother's (she was an illustrator all of her life), homemade gifts that end up in thrift stores, yard sale signs, things that are creepy and cute at the same time, Ed Ruscha artist books, fake money, and paper mache.

What do you do for fun?

Honestly, a lot of my work is fun. Outside of working on projects and teaching, I like to poorly play my ukulele and hang out with my dog. This summer I spent a week on a lake in Maine, and all I did was lay in the sun, drink, spend time with friends, and swim. I would like to do that again. 

How has your experience been with Virb?

Before Virb, updating my website used to seriously cause intense dread. Actually, I had a static page that pointed people to other pages (i.e.: Flickr, Tumblr, etc.) online. I just didn't have time to update my site, and it stressed me out to think about it.

Updating my site now is a pleasure. Incredible.

I actually keep making little tweaks every week because it’s so much fun to do.

Seriously, when I talk with other people about Virb, I always feel like such a dork because I end up sounding like a late night infomercial. But it is true! I wouldn't have a portfolio site right now if it wasn't
for Virb.