College for Creative Studies: Illustration


Kassandra Heller

Cartoon Network

Background Painter

The animation industry requires flexible artists who can adapt styles and keep up with a demanding schedule.  Kassandra Heller (‘10), has flexed her creative muscles as a background painter on MTV's “Good Vibes,” Disney's “Club Penguin,” “MAD TV” and now, for the Emmy-nominated “Clarence” on Cartoon Network.  

Most of Heller’s animation work focuses on those aspects of projects that “don’t move.” This includes backgrounds, characters, prop design and color styling. Along the way, she has also acquired animation skills, improved her Flash skills and assisted with cleaning up animation.

“I think illustrators are a bit like chameleons,” laughed Heller. “As an artist, I’m always open to growing and learning how to change or improve my artwork. I like that! I’m never bored. I’m never done. And I’ll take any challenge.”

In addition to her animation projects, Heller has worked with Lake Shore Learning, Hallmark, and Boom!Studios. Through Boom!Studios, she works on covers and short stories for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time comics; many were illustrated by fellow CCS graduate (and her husband), Chris Houghton (’10).

“BOOM! Studios just won an Eisner for their Adventure Time series,” announced Heller. “I've done a few covers for the book on my own including a SDCC exclusive. At conventions, you can find me at the BOOM! Studios booth signing books and drawing ‘Get-A-Sketch’ covers.

“I love how many careers paths there can be for an illustrator! In the near future, I'll be doing a six page Simpsons comic for Bongo studios, more gallery shows, and continue to color backgrounds for 'Clarence'… On the side, I've been invited to do gallery shows at some really cool galleries like QPop, Gallery Nucleus (both in LA), Mondo gallery (Austin), and Galerie Arludik (Paris). And Chris and I may have a few secret projects together, but it's too soon to say!”

For more of Heller’s work, visit .