Sweet & Dainty Ink Drawings by Mai Ly Degnan

Sweet & Dainty Ink Drawings by Mai Ly Degnan

I came across Miss Degnan on a late night tumblr search for all-things “Moonrise Kingdom”. I eventually made it all the way to her Etsy (US) page and website portfolio. Her small-scale drawings of peoples and puppies and mermaids are sweet, abstract and covered in teeny, weeny details. Let’s find out a little more about her personal plans and creative process…


Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where are you meow?

My name is Mai Ly Degnan, and I am a freelance illustrator originally from a tiny town in Florida, and now currently living in Baltimore, MD. Much of my work is inspired by humor, relationships, childhood nostalgia, and awkwardness. I enjoy finding ways to create humorous illustrations using overly angsty stylized characters in everyday situations.

MaiLy Illustration

When did you start building a business from your illustrations? What inspired that?

My business is a constant growing process. I guess it started during undergrad, where I studied illustration at the Savannah College of Art and Design. A few years later, I was accepted into the MFA Illustration Practice program at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Being accepted into this program was a godsend and it was here especially that I began to find a focus within my work. The way the program was structured allowed for a lot of self analysis which in turn, lead me into thinking of new ways to apply my illustration and build my work as a brand.  Within the past two years, aside from freelancing, much of my focus has now been on greeting card and illustrated gift design.   

MaiLy Illustration
What’s your studio space like? 

My studio space is located in a nook in my apartment that is occasionally organized…but for the most part, pretty all over the place. Amongst the chaos, my studio consists of a large desk, a computer, a scanner for hand drawings, and a printer for greeting cards and individual prints.

MaiLy Illustration

MaiLy Illustration

MaiLy Illustration


What are your favorite art supplies?

I feel strangely accomplished when drawing something really small, tedious, and overly patterned. Thus, my favorite art supply would have to be a .005 micron pen and pencil. It’s the only tool I draw with.  

MaiLy Illustration
Are you working towards any new goals for your art?

A long term dream would be to one day have an actual store front and studio creating illustrated goods. My more immediate goals would to write and publish a children’s book, do a pattern line, and to get my greeting cards and prints into as many stores as I can. I’ve recently started reaching out to a number of stockists this year and so far, much of the feedback has been really positive.

MaiLy Illustration
What gets you in the groove to create? Do you make a drink, do some stretches, listen to a Ricky Martin CD, etc.?

MaiLy Illustration

I work best caffeinated and with bad television. I really enjoy meaningless background noise when I work, so the trashier the tv show, the better. When I am in a serious rut, I put on a movie that I’ve seen a million times. My go to is usually Buffalo 66.  

MaiLy Illustration MaiLy Illustration MaiLy Illustration
Have you ever considered collaborating with anyone? Who would be your dream collaboration?

I absolutely love collaborating. Red Cap Cards would be a dream collaboration for sure. Their company showcases some of my favorite illustrators, and their card designs are always so thoughtful and clever. They are always the greeting cards I gravitate towards first when in a store.  

MaiLy Illustration

What makes you happiest in life?

The feeling of coming back home after a long bout of travel is always the best. Pugs also make me incredibly happy.   

MaiLy Illustration

MaiLy Illustration


Shop: Mai Ly Degnan Illustrates on Etsy.com
Stalk: Mai Ly Degnan Tumblr or Mai Ly Degnan Instagram
Admire: MaiLydegnan.com

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7 thoughts on “Sweet & Dainty Ink Drawings by Mai Ly Degnan

  1. Aileen Adalid says:

    What an interesting interview! I am a frustrated artist myself (well, in a sense that I really am not doing as much art pieces as I would want to haha) so it’s great to take a peak into the mind of someone who is. I also really like the style of the drawings!

  2. Jaime Nicole says:

    What interesting drawings these are! I can’t draw at all, so I really admire those who can create works of art like these. I express my artistic notions through the camera lens when I can. Love the dog prints – I have several friends who would love those. Great interview!

  3. Jaclyn Anne says:

    Such details – I absolutely love her work. The cat lady and pug illustrations are my faves but I really love them all. I think that her style would be perfect for a children’s book as she mentioned. I will keep an eye out for it!

  4. rochkirstin says:

    Her drawings look like they have emotions. I love her way of illustration and coloring as well. Having a gallery of these artworks will be great. Publishing children’s books also sounds awesome!

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