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A Thursday in the Life of Kristine Tague

Kristine Tague is a technical illustrator at Southwest Airlines in Dallas as well as the illustrator coordinator for the North Texas Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She lives in The Colony with her husband, Nick, a financial planning and analysis manager with Nationstar Mortgage, and their 2-year-old son, Jacob.

5AM My husband is my alarm clock — he wakes me up after his run with the dog. In my groggy state I glance at my phone, check weather and read through messages while getting ready. I feel lucky because most days I can go to work in a T-shirt and jeans.

5:50AM Time to wake up Jacob, but he has other ideas. He grumbles, pulls his blanket over his eyes and ignores me. I help him get out of his crib, brush his teeth and get him changed into a T-shirt and jeans for day care.

6:05AM My husband serves breakfast; today it’s sausage, eggs, croissant and — most important — some hot coffee with a splash of almond milk. I feed our Labrador, Cooper. He’s part of the family and eats when we do. We sit together, discuss our plans for the day and encourage our toddler to eat his breakfast.

6:15AM I rush out the door and tune my radio for the traffic update to make sure my route is clear. Time in the car is my refuge, so I turn on my audiobook as I drive to the office.

7AM My day at Southwest begins! First I grab a cup of coffee with my co-workers before checking my inbox for illustration requests or edits.

8AM Today I’m going back and forth with one of the tech writers — I have questions about some of the edit requests for an illustration, but we need to hear back from the technical pilot.

9AM Time to send the daily drawing prompt to my team members. I started this last year as a fun way to team-build and break up the day. Now we have quite a few participants who look forward to it every day.

10AM The tech pilot gets back to the writer on our questions and includes some additional reference photos for me to work from. Now that I’m sure about what they need for the illustration, I can get started. Once I’ve made all the edits, I submit the image to the other illustrator I work with to check for anything I might have missed before sending it back to the writer.

12PM Lunchtime. I check in on my toddler online to see what he’s been up to at day care. Then I head upstairs to our roof-deck patio to eat my lunch while watching the planes taking off and landing at Love Field. I text my hubby to see how his day has been going so far, and we discuss my parents’ upcoming visit and brainstorm places we should take them around town.

1PM One of our pilots is retiring today and he’s taking his final flight — these are really special events so everyone goes to the deck and lines the runway to wave as he takes off. The fire department has two trucks shooting their water canons over his plane. Even though he can’t hear us, people are clapping and cheering as he takes off.

2PM I get an email that we’ve got a new employee starting in the department so her team needs a welcome sign. Hospitality is part of living the Southwest way, so we welcome new team members by decorating their cubes.

3PM My workday is almost over, so I make sure I haven’t missed anything between sending back edits and changes. It’s also time to review the daily drawing prompt entries — today’s challenge was to draw a seahorse. Not everyone is an illustrator so we get all sorts of doodles.

4PM Home. The dog walkers have just brought Cooper back from an afternoon run. He’s happy to see me, and we play catch for a bit. I change quickly and grab my toddler’s stuff before heading to pick him up.

5PM I take Jacob to the local pool to splash around and cool off. We bounce between the pool and the splash pad and stop for snacks when we need a break. Between swim classes and pool time, he is getting a lot more comfortable in the water.

6PM We head home, and Jacob watches cartoons while I make pasta, veggies and chicken with cream sauce for dinner. Nick gets home and we all sit together for dinner, talking about what we did today. Jacob and I share all the fun we had at the pool.

7:30PM Bedtime for our kiddo. Nick has done story time for Jacob since the day he was born. Tonight we have two books: Jacob asks for Where the Wild Things Are, a current favorite, and Nick picks another book from the stack we borrowed from the library.

8PM As soon as Jacob’s in bed, Nick and I have work to do. Nick has gotten into woodworking, so he goes to his wood shop to put the finishing touches on some custom-order pens. Tonight I have to get some art finished for a conference for the children’s book writers and illustrators group I’m part of. I work in my studio and tweak the art before sending it off to the other leaders for final approval.

9PM Tonight is my night for running. I’ve been using the C25K app to get back into running regularly since I’ve signed myself up for a 5K. Cooper loves to run with me, so we head out for a few miles and I follow the cues of the app to walk or run, though I enjoy the walking breaks a bit more tonight.

10PM I wind down for the night by reading a few chapters of my book while my husband catches up on a show he’s recorded. We talk about how our creative projects went tonight and share a few last thoughts.