Karla Sanders


Welcome to my site of illustrated stories. 

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.
— Rachel Carson


Hi, my name is Karla, welcome to my little space on the web. I’m a graphic designer turned illustrator specializing in editorial work, with a passion for environmental and social advocacy. My work captures vibrant perspectives of our world and brings complex topics to life, emphasizing the emotion of a story or place to draw out what is felt between the lines. I do this through the use of unexpected juxtapositions, metaphor, dynamic color schemes, and richly layered compositions.

My goal is to inspire questioning and genuine curiosity about topics depicted, and by doing so, plant seeds of ideas with my audience.

I approach each story like a puzzle and compose with joy; taking delight in weaving the tale in a rhythmic way to invite you in.


The bond between humans and nature fascinates me, particularly how connection with nature can heal societal and personal wounds. I’m interested in land ethics, instilling stewardship, ending our reliance on fossil fuels and developing ways of living that mimic the cycles of nature.

This journey began with fine art training and master’s degrees in environmental studies and graphic design, but really it began with my German mother who read me old fairytales and my outdoorsy American dad who took us camping and encouraged me to get outside.

My process often begins with long periods of thought and reflection through poetry, writing, photography, and working and hiking outdoors. Constant exploration is vital, which is why I have traveled extensively and currently reside in Cyprus. Playing piano, soaking in all types of art, volunteering on farms, learning Turkish and going on unexpected adventures like long sunrise runs are some of the other activities that inspire my work.


After working several years as a graphic designer, I left my Ohio office job in 2016 to travel and camp through 30 national parks of America for one year. This incredible journey brought me to a crossroads to focus on my passion for illustration. A pivotal moment came after meeting the bison of Yellowstone. Experiences while living in the US, Germany, Italy, Colombia and Cyprus continue to make an impact.