Dark Market 2023 Illustrator: Skellulite

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Dark Market 2023 Illustrator: Skellulite

Illustration, 2024

The Dark Market is a spooky collection of works by Columbia artists with an emphasis on the macabre. Enjoy a sampling of spooky items on display now in store and online through November 2, 2023.

Every year ShopColumbia commissions an original illustration to promote our The Dark Market. Get to know this year's illustrator: Skellulite!


Dark Market 2023 signature illustration by Skellulite

What inspired you to create this illustration?

My inspiration comes in many forms, but recently I've been especially inspired by the detail that's present in medieval illuminated manuscripts as well as bone oddities and decided to mash both together to create this almost gothic amalgamation that became the poster! I also have a pony skull in my room called Mr. No Name who was quite a helpful reference when drawing out my bone creature.

How have you benefited from designing the Dark Market illustration?
This opportunity really helped me consider the specifics when it comes to designing an image that will exist in poster form, as a window display, call for work cards, and more! I really needed to push my brain to come up with something that'll catch an onlooker's eye and draw them in. 

Seeing the ShopColumbia staff be just as excited as I was when sharing out my ideas was wonderful, and It really reinforce my confidence in my art as well as having a nice casual intro into the more commercial side of Illustration.

What is your favorite part of Halloween?

The costumes!!! I love seeing everyone dress up for Halloween. I myself am a special FX makeup nut and will find any excuse to use prosthetics, fake blood, colored contacts and crazy makeup to make myself look absolutely unrecognizable. Also, just the creativity that goes into making your own costumes is such a fun creative challenge, especially when it comes to interpreting the prompt, idea, or character you give yourself to explore.

Give us an update about recent projects/artistic life events; what's next for you?

Recently I've started selling my work at a lot of convention artist alleys! It's something I've wanted to do ever since I was fifteen years old so it's a bit crazy that something I've wanted to do for years is now finally becoming a reality. I'll be vending at Yollocalli arts market and Midwest Furfest 2023 to close off the year, but I do have a few applications pending for events that will be held in 2024!

Other than that, I'm working towards finishing my degree by spring 2024 and start looking for work in my field.

Artist Statement
Em Guczal is a Chicago based illustrator and pyrographer who takes inspiration from Illuminated manuscripts and folklore illustrations for their work. They've always been interested in fantastical creatures and beasts and enjoy creating work that includes their own spin on many folkloric themes as well as exploring everyday narratives in their more sequential work.

Shop some of Skellulite's work HERE with more work available in-store!