She Can Really Lay It Down


An original book featuring fifty illustrated portraits and short-form biographies of trailblazing musicians from the last 120 years.



She Can Really Lay It Down is my first book with Chronicle Books, celebrating 50 women who have redefined the world's musical canon for the better. I illustrated fifty graphite-drawn and digitally-colored portraits (some of which are sampled here) and wrote fifty biographical essays for the collection. Select headers were also hand-lettered by me, and I collaborated with the super talented design team over at Chronicle Books on the layout and design approach. The book was internationally released in fall of 2019, and you can purchase the book through IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, your local bookstore, or Amazon (if you must).

Selected spreads from the book.

The genesis of this project stems back to late 2014, during a eureka moment of frustration at how few resources existed for woman-identifying musicians and enthusiasts interested in a more accurate representation of music history. In my selection process, I focused not only on talent and innovation, but on artists who consistently embodied activism on behalf of social justice and progressive change.

The initial form of this project first took shape as a zine I created during my 2017 art residency at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson, New York.

Selected illustrations, from left to right: Amy WInehouse, Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, Carol Kaye, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Cotten, Janet Weiss, Laura Jane Grace, Nina Simone.

Me gifting a copy to Janet Weiss at Revival Drum Shop here in Portland.
Amanda Petrusich's cat Carl seemed to enjoy the book too (pictured second from the top).


Thank you to Allison Weiner and Alma Kamal for bringing such a thoughtful design approach to this project (including the idea to expose the spine, which looks just like the frets of a guitar!) and to Bridget Watson Payne, Natalie Butterfield, and Christina Loff for their editorial guidance.

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