Hi, my name is Valerie McKeehan and I’m a hand-letterer and illustrator specializing in chalkboard art. I draw all of the designs for my shop, Lily & Val.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to create. Although I never pursued any formal drawing or art training, creativity was a big part of my childhood and was always encouraged. I attribute that to my very artistic mother. My father is an entrepreneur and I get my business side from him.
I graduated from college with a degree in marketing and pursued a career in advertising, but it wasn’t until the spring of 2012 that I discovered my true passion – drawing and illustrating in chalk. By that summer, with the prompting and encouragement of my husband and family, I opened my Etsy shop. After the holiday season that same year, I was able to make Lily & Val my full-time job. Six months later, my husband, Mak, joined me as the full-time business and wholesale manager. We make a great team.
I’m so inspired by the simplicity of chalk art. It’s literally just dust on a surface, but watching a beautiful design emerge from that dust is rewarding. I begin my designs with a very rough pencil sketch. I don’t like to get too detailed in my sketch since elements and details arise when you put chalk to slate. I never really know how the dustiness will shape the pieces, but this variety produces drawings with character.
I make art about things that truly speak to me, and I hope my customers feel that connection. To me, it’s the simple things that matter most. Knowing something I created plays a part in someone’s day, adds to their wedding decor, or provides the perfect gift is incredibly satisfying. My goal is to create artwork that brings joy and encouragement.
All photographs by Chasing Eden Photography.