About the Illustrator

Hi there!

So glad you're here. My name is Lauren Kunkle. I am currently based out of New Freedom, PA (a wee tiny town just over the border from Maryland). My husband, three boys and I relocated here from Colorado Springs in March 2020 for his job. We have since added a little girl to our tribe (born April 2021--she's a peach)  and are still getting used to our new surroundings, as it's been quite the switch from ginormous, glorious mountains to rolling hills and farmland! We miss our mountains, but appreciate the beauty that surrounds us here at Summit Grove Camp and Conference Center--come visit if you're in the area!


I started Willow Branch Studio in 2015 after the birth of my second son when I realized I was itching to throw myself into creative endeavors! I have a degree in Entrepreneurship from Grove City College (class of '09) and spent nearly four years living in China post graduation (got married and had a honeymoon baby in there too!) Once back in Colorado Springs, I found that I loved creating things out of wood, paint, paper etc. and starting selling rustic world map wall hangings along with wooden Colorado Flags of all sizes. This morphed into dabbling with painting, where I finally found my true love. 



Though I grew up sketching with pencils (for hours at a time) for some reason I was always too scared to try other mediums. I finally had the courage to try once I realized that 1) it was okay to make mistakes 2) it's okay for others to see my "in process" work, however messy that may be! That inner freedom translated to lots and lots of paintings being created over the next several years! You can check some of them out HERE (where I blog about creativity, among other things) and you can purchase my colorful prints on my Etsy Shop.

My dear friend and business partner, Mary Ann, is actually the one who birthed the idea of the "You Are Loved" board book after seeing a sketch I had done titled "I See You".

We found that our skill sets jived really well and as we began to chat about other book ideas, we decided to join forces and launch Willow Branch Books LLC. Our second book is currently in the works, and there are many more to (hopefully!) come down the pipeline! Get to know a bit about Mary Ann HERE.