Meet the Artist: Paper Puffin

It's raining cats and mushrooms! ☔😼🍄
Kayla Carlson's art was made for puzzles. Working under the name Paper Puffin, she draws all kinds of cartoon-style cats—mischievous cats, underwater cats, and flying moth cats, to name a few—looking cute as hell, even when they're up to no good. Obviously, we had to collaborate, so we turned one of her foraging feline scenes into Trippy Picnic, a puzzle for cat people everywhere. To celebrate the launch of our Kickstarter, Kayla gave us a peek at her process, and one thing is clear: It's Paper Puffin's world, we're just living in it.
Tell us about Paper Puffin! How long have you been drawing and what inspired you to create this fun, mischievous world through art?
The phrases "make your own myth” and "variations on a theme" have always stuck with me, and so has the joy that cats bring to us. I’ve always been into art making, and especially cats after we got our first one when I was a kid. Each cat I get to meet has a unique personality and surroundings. The name Paper Puffin was inspired by my late cat Puffin, a real boss who loved sitting on paper.

Besides cats, your art has a number of recurring themes—aquatic creatures, mushrooms, books, plants and flowers. Where do you get your ideas?
I like to combine cats with my other interests because it allows me to have fun imaging worlds together. I love being in all sorts of nature, and now I always imagine where a cat might fit into that. Cats with mushrooms, cats as mushrooms? Endless possibilities.

How would you describe what’s going on in Trippy Picnic to someone who’s never seen it?
Two adventurous and curious cat foragers exploring a magical woodland.
Are your dreams as fun as your drawings?
I wish! I usually don’t remember my dreams.

Do you puzzle?
Puffin was a big fan of sitting on anything put on a table, so it’s been a while since I’ve been able to do puzzles at home.
What do your cats think of your art? 😸
They’re curious, but I think would prefer I make cat toys instead.

What’s next for Paper Puffin in 2023?
I’d like to explore some new materials and printing processes. I hope to take part in more in-person events as well.
Want to be the first to get your hands on Trippy Picnic? Support our Kickstarter. For more Paper Puffin, keep up with Kayla on Instagram @paperpuffin.
Photos via Kayla Carlson.