Creative Quarantine: Illustrator Mick Champayne

Mick Champayne, Photobooth Self Portrait | © Mick Champayne

1. How are you holding up?

Oooh, boy is that a tough question to answer! I often feel like I’m on a never-ending emotional rollercoaster 😂 On a micro level, I’m weirdly good? COVID-19 hasn’t impacted my life beyond feeling like I’ve been put in time-out. I have my health, my family and friends are all doing well, and my day job has been busy, stable, and even rewarding.

On a macro level, I feel like a possum—I feel so totally overwhelmed by everything that I just fall over in paralyzation. I’m an enthusiastically optimistic person by nature, but this pandemic has clouded my view of the future. There has been so much happening and changing that it’s definitely overloaded my brain. Life seems to change hour by hour, and we’re constantly trying to adjust. Just when I felt like I got my quarantine legs under me, adapting to working from home and practicing social distancing, the country erupted into protests after the murder of George Floyd, and we’re now in the midst of the biggest social justice movement in our history. 2020 feels R E L E N T L E S S. And we still have an election to get through! 😱

I’m an enthusiastically optimistic person by nature, but this pandemic has clouded my view of the future.

U.S. Ehhh | © Mick Champayne

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

Before Covid (unaffectionately referred to as B.C. 😂), I had a lot of plates spinning—lots of projects and people that constantly propelled me forward. I’m the type of person that is energized by new experiences, and I have an innate desire to continually learn all about others and their experiences. COVID-19 definitely has had a dampening effect on my work in that I can’t focus or spare energy on more than one thing at a time anymore. I read a psychology article explaining that our brain diverts all its creativity to “how do I avoid dying” while in a narrowed, fight-or-flight state, and I think that explains why I feel so creatively blocked.

Before COVID (unaffectionately referred to as B.C. 😂), I had a lot of plates spinning—lots of projects and people that constantly propelled me forward.

I See You See Me Scream For Ice Cream | © Mick Champayne

But just like with everything else, I’m slowly learning to adjust. For a long time, I couldn’t muster much motivation to create anything other than silly little Instagram stories. I just share pictures of my daily life: lots of pictures of flowers, the song I’m listening to on my runs/walks, probably too many face filters, MEMES—honestly pretty much anything that tickles me and makes me laugh. I’ve had so many people slide into my DMs to share how much they enjoy my stories, and while it’s no substitution for an in-person conversation, it means everything to me to make these little connections.


Have a Nice Dump | © Mick Champayne

As I’ve settled more into my new routines, and let’s be real, coming out of my denial of this new Post-COVID world, I’ve been diving back into illustration. My work has always relied on a lot of visual puns and humor (mostly bathroom 😂), and my brain’s synapses are finally firing again! I think it helps too to know that my little brainfarts are positively impacting someone’s day and offer a little levity in all of this weirdness. That’s helping propel me forward and give me a renewed motivation 🤗


Thicc Thighs, Full Farts, Can’t Lose | © Mick Champayne

My work has always relied on a lot of visual puns and humor (mostly bathroom 😂), and my brain’s synapses are finally firing again! I think it helps too to know that my little brainfarts are positively impacting someone’s day and offer a little levity in all of this weirdness.

Womanhood | © Mick Champayne

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

Hmmm, more soft skills than anything. I’m learning to exercise patience and compassion with myself as much as possible. Maybe I was juggling too much before, and focusing on one thing has its merits too! The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have made me take inventory of what’s actually important, and all of this has been a HUGE lesson in letting go of control 😂


Toilette Der Venus … In a Pandemic | © Mick Champayne

The pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement have made me take inventory of what’s actually important, and all of this has been a HUGE lesson in letting go of control 😂

4. Of the artists you follow, who is handling this particularly well?

Well, I think you could argue we all have different definitions of “handling it well” these days, but the artists who are being honest and real are the ones who resonate most with me. I’ll spare you the meme accounts 😎 but I really enjoy these other illustrators:


Quarantine Birthday | © Mick Champayne

The Little Trash Can That Could | © Mick Champayne

Well, I think you could argue we all have different definitions of “handling it well” these days, but the artists who are being honest and real are the ones who resonate most with me.

This Thing | © Mick Champayne

Doggy Door | © Mick Champayne

Mick Champayne is a visual designer by daylight and an illustrator by moonlight. Based in Chicago, she’s always scheming ways to inject a little sense of humor and personality to make illustration accessible—from light-hearted memes to serious social commentary. She’s happiest when her work can spark a conversation.

For an almost-uncomfortable uptick of butt drawings in your feed, you can follow her on Instagram.