Pastry Princess by Lillian Duermeier

Pastry Princess by Lillian Duermeier


The Poor Patron is a project meant to loosen the everyday strictures of the client/artist relationship. The artist is welcomed to create work based on any MarninSaylor themes or imagery with no creative input, due within a "when it's done" deadline.

We are pleased to offer prints of our Poor Patron collaborations. This is the fifth in the series, titled Pastry Princess by Milwaukee illustrator Lillian Duermeier. This piece has wonderful references to pin-up art and kawaii culture cuteness.

This art is printed on high-quality, heavyweight, archival paper, and measures 13"x19". Sold unframed, shipped rolled. Half the proceeds from the sale of these prints will go directly to the artist. 

Be sure to read our interview with Lillian below.


It was a dark and stormy night. MarninSaylor's top P.I. (Pastry Investigator) was hunched over her phone, thumbs tapping. Her glasses glinted with each lightning strike. Her upturned collar obscured her widening smirk. She knew what she was looking for, and more so, she knew how to find it.

It was her job to find the many Mini Donut Cats of the internet and let them know they were still loved by their creators, and to make sure they were in a good home. She deftly queried with relevant metadata. To go deeper, she used common misspellings, transpositions, vaguery.

"I've got you now," she whispered, and tapped the heart icon under the picture.... then she found more... and more! This Mini Donut Cat was touring Vancouver and taking in the sights!

It didn't take her long to find out that this Mini Donut Cat's person was none other than the talented illustrator, Lillian Duermeier.

The poster you made for us has wonderful references to pin-up art and kawaii culture cuteness. She's like the lovely Willy Wonka of Pastry Pets! Where do these different influences come from?

I suppose my style and fascination with everything cute and macabre stems from an overexposure to 90's anime as a child. Thanks to older brothers, I watched a lot of things that were maybe a little too mature for my age group, but I was always fascinated by the bright hair colors and animation. Not to mention many of the shows featured some seriously babely but incredibly deep, strong female characters. I didn't see that as much in the shows I was watching and comics I was reading, so I took special interest in cartoons with female leads or main characters. This is something that remains close to my heart. Seriously - Sailor Moon's transformation sequence still gives me goosebumps, somehow.

Additionally, I pull a lot from old video games. 8bit music and those high chroma super saccharin graphics inspire a lot of my palettes and get me super psyched to sketch or make art.

We went to an Anamanaguchi concert last year and it seems like their aesthetics have been leading a wave of hyper-cute nostalgia. From what I understand, you are also a fan. Who are some other contemporary artists or musicians you have been admiring?

Ahhh, Anamanaguchi! THE BEST. Yes, I'm definitely a fan. I saw them in Chicago last year, and it was one of my favorite shows I've ever been to. I even got to hug the drummer! He was sweaty and shirtless, so I hope I didn't make him feel awkward when I told him he didn't have to put on a shirt for our photo together... eep.

As far as other musicians, I tend to lean more towards electronic and ambient music when working. It really depends on what kind of mood I'm in. Recently, I've been really into TychoCapsuleAnoiceGrimes, and Cocorosie. When I find an artist I enjoy, I tend to become obsessed with one of their songs or a particular album, and I replay it over and over while drawing. It helps me push through whatever projects I'm working on. Generally, I lean more towards instrumental when starting a project and avoid anything with vocals - they break my concentration. Otherwise, I'm just one step away of replaying episodes of Bob's Burgers and getting distracted...

Artists I admire? Oh man, where to start... there are so many talented people out there right now, and I admire something different in every one of them. Tara Mcpherson creates beautiful pastel palettes and I love her ladies. Audrey Kawasaki's attention to detail and beautiful lines still inspire me (I've been following her since the Livejournal days of high school...). There's also Miss Van, who originally created street art and now does gallery shows. James Jean (of the Fables comic book covers) utilizes texture to create such incredible atmosphere in his work, and his ability to manipulate paint and other traditional media always reminds me to get away from the computer and try different media. Yoskay Yamamoto's sculpture and mixed media is something that always catches me by surprise and makes me want to try more three-dimensional work. John Dyer Baizley's mix of art nouveau and the macabre... I should probably stop there - like I said, I can't pick just one! This is the short list.

Let's say a benignly mysterious benefactor gave you all of the resources need to do your dream project. What would you make/do?

That's a loaded question! It's difficult as an illustrator to not have any sort of direction when doing a project (I guess I credit that to the years of school and assignments that trained me to work for clients). I usually need a word or phrase or some sort of imagery to work off of. When someone just says "do whatever you want", I have a tendency to find myself at a loss. I get too many ideas and then my head gets too far in the clouds to get anything done.

That being said, if money and supplies were unlimited... I would love to use my time to learn knew skills. Installation work has been fascinating me for a long time, but I lack the 3-D skills to really create something like that. I have been admiring Yoskay Yamamoto's installation "Submerged", located in Hong Kong times square. They're so exquisitely stylized and still represent his painting/illustrations perfectly - you recognize they're his work immediately. I love the idea of playing with scale and making my illustrations 3-D in some way. If I could, I would transport an audience into a dreamscape styled after my work.

How has your work changed since you finished school? Do you make a conscious effort to evolve, or is it gradual and minute?

I have experienced a lot of push and pull with my art making since getting out of school. I love trying to push different palettes and styles now that I don't have to worry about homework and constant deadlines. My job also requires me to use Illustrator or Photoshop about 40 hours a week, which has led my workflow to change fairly drastically (in a good way!). Working to make mass art is completely different than doing it for yourself - outside of work, I try to take my own sketches and finished pieces in a much different direction.

So, I suppose it's a combination of both! When working with galleries or clients, I tend to try and push myself with color, style and technique - I enjoy doing it for myself, too. At the same time, there have been small changes to my style that have naturally occurred because I draw for eight hours a day.

Where do you think your Mini Donut Cat would like to visit the most?

The question is, where WOULDN'T Mini Donut want to go? People think he's pretty vanilla, but I know he has an avid interest in travel shows, notably Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations and Parts Unknown. He feels like he would be a good travel companion and reach an untapped demographic.

He also keeps mentioning Boone, Iowa, for some reason...

Lillian lives and works in Milwaukee. More of her work can be found here.


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