Narrative and conceptual illustration for young people in pencil, ink and watercolor.


Visioning, collaborative concept development and illustration for print, digital and video.

Graphic Recording

Graphic recording, visual thinking, concept visioning and storytelling through real-time, hand-drawn pictures.

A little about me

Hi, my name is Darren Cools. I am a freelance illustrator, designer, graphic recorder and writer. I grew up in the farmland of eastern Washington State, where I spent too much time reading or riding my bike on dirt roads.

I wrote and illustrated my first children’s book at age 10 in a red, lined school notebook. Since then I have been a landscaper, car mechanic, winery laborer and brewery technician. After that, I was a designer for a college, a lumber company and a digital agency before going independent. I have illustrated and designed for Daimler Trucks, Portland Metro, Adidas, CLEAResult, Oregon Film, Intel, Multnomah County, and many others.

I live in Portland, Oregon with my wife Anna and our three children, where we like to ride bikes, hike, swim and spend too much time reading books.

We should talk. Coffee or beer?

Other places to find me

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