You Should Know… Kate Kohn


Kate Kohn, a 22-year-old from Elkins Park, Pa., is just days away from finishing grad school at American University with a degree in political communications. She’s also a cartoon-loving, artsy Aquarius who wrote her own Haggadah.

I saw that you draw a lot. Can you tell me about that?

I actually almost went to art school. All throughout high school, I thought I was going to go and do animation. I thought I was going to get to draw for a living. And then I kind of said, “I don’t want to burn out on my hobby.”

So, I’ve always had very good grades, near the top of my class. It was a no-brainer that I could just go to
university for anything. I studied political science [in undergrad], because obviously I was that kid in class.
Everyone’s like, “You know everything and you know everything about politics.” Well, my parents just watch a lot of cable news.

So, I decided not to go to art school so that way I don’t hate drawing for the rest of my life. And then when I’m retired I can go back and do that as a hobby and not want to scream everyday like the same thing I do for a hobby is the same thing I do for work.

How did you become interested in drawing?

I don’t know. You read these articles with people and they’ll say, “I remember picking up a crayon when I
was 2 years old.”

I just remember being kind of OK in sixth grade and all my teachers were like, “Oh you’re doing art. Keep doing art.” So I don’t know when I started. I liked this, this was fun. Why would I stop doing the fun thing?

What’s your favorite cartoon?

Well, my favorite piece of animation is probably “ParaNorman.” I have a lot of respect for the people who
hand animated those puppets, ‘cause you still have to design every face. But I guess because it’s more moving parts, physical moving parts. That just blows my mind.

And cartoon cartoon?

I’ve been watching this show for kids called “Craig of the Creek.” It’s so cute. I love it so much.

It’s difficult to differentiate children’s cartoons from animation. They’re artwork, every single one of them. I hate it when they say cartoons are for kids anyway. They’re not.

Animation is a medium not a genre. There’s something very charming about the innocence of a lot of the shows on now, compared to the more edgy cartoons of the ‘90s. But [there’s] something about the devotion to keeping imagination and happiness alive [today], even if [cartoon characters] go through rough things. I think it’s much more valuable than, “How many times can we almost say a bad word in our cartoon?”

What do you particularly like to draw?

People mostly. But I’m really swamped down with a million other things, which kind of sucks. Cause there’s a nice zen to just sit down and draw something cute. I guess it’s severely ironic that I can’t go and chase that zen right now, when I’m so stressed.

Tell me about the Haggadah that you wrote.

I have a very lengthy “Fiddler on the Roof” analogy running throughout. It wasn’t bad [writing it] at all. I was at a brunch with two of my very close Jewish friends and then I came home and wrote the whole thing in like an hour and a half. It’s only 15 single-spaced-pages long but I’m not going for like, we’re going until midnight before you can eat kind of thing.

I wrote the whole thing in one go because I was feeling kind of inspired. Metaphors came through: we gotta talk spring, gotta talk about rebirth, we gotta talk about the number four a million times, we gotta talk about some plagues. So it didn’t feel as laborious as I thought it was going to be.

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