“Kawaii” is the first word that comes to mind when looking at Maya Kern’s illustrations. She tends to gravitate toward media that’s already on the cute side: Adventure Time, Homestuck, Pushing Daisies. Then she makes the eyes a little larger, the bodies a little rounder, and suddenly you just want to scoop up everything she draws and cuddle it into submission. But in her own comics work, even the cutest character can be terribly sad.
Kern sells buttons featuring some of her fanart on Etsy, but it’s her comics that offer the greatest glimpse into her artistic heart. In webcomics like her Fairyfail and Little Robot Girl, her sweet characters look for love, though they don’t always find it in the form they expected. Her current comic Monster Pop! features the world’s most adorable cyclops girl, who wants to look normal at least for one night. Kern’s characters are instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations. It’s impossible not to root for them even when you know they’re making the wrong choices.