The colorful art of Willow Bascom

Photograph of Willow Bascom drawing
Willow Bascom

Willow Bascom grew up in Saudi Arabia and Panama.  She was hugely influenced by the varying cultures to which she was introduced .  She became a passionate fan of tribal art.  Later on in her life she developed lupus and was in so much pain that it was all she could do to get up, out of bed and dressed.

Because of the good fortune she had with healthcare, the lupus went into remission.  It was after this period of time that she started to draw.  The influence of tribal art can be felt throughout her colorful art work.

She is also the author of the nonfiction children’s book called Paisley, Pig and Friends, regarding art, geography and culture.  It is Willow’s alphabet book, a unique alphabet learning experience that captivates the child’s imagination while exposing them to international art styles.

As stated on the website, “Willow’s alphabet book is much more than meets the eye.  As animals and art styles for each letter leap off the page.  Maps and brief lessons describe where each style originated and how it has spread across the world”.  Willow explains, “I wanted to do my bit to increase map literacy while introducing children to the many beautiful ways people have found to express themselves through the natural resources in their environment.”  She discusses the way in which art styles native in one part of the world have spread and been adapted in other parts of the world.

An example of her communicating the movement of art amongst cultures is illustrated for the letter P.  There is a paisley shawl and a wrapping paper book of paisley patterns.  She discusses the origin of paisley in India.  It is a symbol of life there.  It was brought back to Great Britain and became a commonly produced textile in Paisley, Scotland.  She teaches the true origin of the textile art and its introduction into mainstream culture, where it received its name.  She is mostly concerned with demonstrating the multi-cultural cross pollinating that has been a part of human development for a long time.

Willow also provides an insider perspective about overcoming adversity and bringing one’s dreams to fruition.  Due to lupus, she has had to deal with fatigue that prevents her from working outside of her home.  Also, the ligaments in her fingers have loosened and her ability to draw has been effected.  She’s found alternative ways to overcome and continue on with her work.

Once she lost the ability to grip the colored pencils she had gotten used to, she picked up colorful Sharpies and changed her working process.  She now draws the basic outlines of each piece by hand, then digitally scans the images and uses Photoshop to provide the color.  She is on a continuum of change when it comes to her abilities and how it affects her process.  She considers this her quest to discover new ways to achieve her goals.  To view her tribal infused, bright and colorful drawings, and to read more about her challenges or purchase her work, visit

Photograph from

I am a BFA Photography major at Seattle University. I champion for civil rights from the perspective of one with disabilities that give me the abilities to do so. I am a passionate, educated and informed advocate of the arts in all aspects.