Dylan B. Caleho’s Superpowers:
The ability to befriend animals
Harnessing the power of vibrant colors
Taking daily naps
Dylan B. Caleho ’19 is an Illustration alum, a freelance illustrator and a marketing assistant/illustrator for Rodriguez, an engineering firm. Before they even graduated, Caleho’s career as a freelance illustrator kicked off when Moore Illustration professor Rich Harrington introduced them to graphic novelist, illustrator and art director Eric Battle at MoCCA Arts Fest, New York’s largest independent comics and cartoon festival.
Battle, a notable Philadelphia-based artist, who’s worked with both DC and Marvel Comics, was impressed with Dylan’s comic work, and asked them to be a contributing illustrator for the comic-based anthology, Philadelphia Jazz Stories Illustrated, Vol One. Published in 2019, the book offers a rich collection of jazz scene memories and historical accounts of key jazz figures from Philadelphia.
“When I met Eric Battle and started freelancing in 2019, I almost felt like I wasn’t ready,” Caleho says. Luckily, they had gained so much from their educational and professional preparation at Moore. “Senior studio at Moore prepares you for freelance work as an illustrator,” notes Caleho. “Professors allow you to choose your thesis and you have to figure out how to create the work and produce it.”
From there, Caleho’s career as an illustrator took off. Immediately after the Philly jazz project, Battle asked Dylan to be a part of a graphic novel project called Black Lives Always Mattered! (BLAM!), featuring the profiles of 14 prominent Black Philadelphians throughout history. Five thousand copies were distributed to students within Philadelphia’s public schools. As one of the featured illustrators, Caleho created a comic depicting the life of Crystal Bird Fauset, the first Black female state legislator elected in the United States. In 2021, Caleho completed 37 illustrations for a Fairmount Waterworks’ project entitled Pool: A Social History of Segregation, a 4,700-square-foot museum exhibition that explored “the nation’s handling of race as it relates to public pools.” Most recently, they wrapped up a children’s picture book entitled Letters to Solomon in April 2022. Caleho worked with author Mary Shaw to create illustrations for the story, which depicts a letter-writing relationship between a grandmother and her grandson during quarantine.
In addition to their many freelance projects, Caleho also works full-time for an engineering company, Rodriguez, as their marketing assistant/illustrator, working on illustrations, graphic design and social media marketing projects.
Reflecting back on their time at Moore, Caleho’s advice for students is: “Don’t take yourself too seriously. I put myself in a box, thinking I would only do comics for the rest of my life, and it tripped me up when I realized I wasn’t working on comics all the time. I didn’t think I’d be illustrating for an engineering firm. [Being] an illustrator encompasses so many different things. It’s ok to change your dreams, branch out and find other things you like, and you can grow that way!”