KAREN LEON is a recognized freelance illustrator, cartoonist & animation character designer who works in the arenas of advertising, print, publishing, caricatures (corporate, political & celebrity) and children's books. For several years, Karen was also a political cartoonist for Crain's New York Business.

In addition to her cartoon and illustration work, among her projects was the design of the animated character of COL SANDERS for KFC's international TV and print campaign (1998-99). Karen's design was chosen over 100 competing designs and was featured in TIME Magazine's "The Great Logo Shifts of '98" with the following quote from KFC "So we could capture his spunky personality, his homespun humor and his folksy phrases."

She created and designed the mascot KODA, an animated child conductor for the American Symphony Orchestra League to help teach children about music. Underwritten by ABC-TV (which produced the TV spot), KODA was launched at a Boston Pops concert in its home city. Karen created the inner city kid DARRYL in conjunction with a Columbia University project to help young children coping with PSTD as a result of community violence. This 30+ illustration series has been used nationally and internationally to help traumatized children articulate their fears. Her cartoon series Roman Legions of Humor, which spoofed contemporary military scenarios set in the ancient world, ran in ARMY Magazine.
Karen has given of her time and talent to a number of organizations. She volunteered with the United War Veterans Council of New York and her comic strip SGT MAXIMUS AND COMPANY--originally titled "Private King and Company"-- got its first laughs as animated sequences she produced which were featured in the DVD "Thank You For Serving" edited by HBO at a benefit for Vietnam Veterans of America held at HBO's flagship headquarters in New York.

A cartoonist since childhood, Karen graduated with a B.A. in Fine Arts from Queens College, CUNY. She also attended the School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design where she studied with Jerry Robinson, who created the "JOKER" for Batman.

Karen also produces music videos on a range of subjects include Kal the Rescue Cat, the environment and American Composers.

updated: 3 years ago