When Margaret Organ-Kean was fifteen years old, a family friend sent her mother a postcard with a Kay Nielsen illustration from East of the Sun, West of the Moon on it. It was love at first sight. She had always drawn pictures (usually horses), but now she knew what she would always find most important when she paints -- invoking the sense of magic on paper. A year later, Margaret won a major prize in a national poster contest. Even then, she still planned for a career as a lawyer. It wasn't until, encouraged by her high school art teacher, she began to sell her drawings and paintings at local art fairs, that she seriously thought about art as a career.
Her college career proved rather checkered, but even then she understood that deadlines are important. She went through three universities and three majors before settling down and getting a B.A. within the regulation four years, she says. It helped that all the majors were related to art. She would never have guessed when she started that her degree would be in art history. She slept through most of freshman art history -- they _would_ hold it at 8:00 am!
After college, she supported herself as a file clerk, then administrative assistant, and, finally, systems operator, all for the same insurance company. During this time, she started going to science fiction conventions and showing in the convention art shows. This led to work from Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, and also led to her see the Wizards of the Coast booth at the San Francisco WorldCon. She had heard of them before, and had intentions of sending them a portfolio -- but she was utterly astonished at their booth at ConFrancisco. She immediately showed them her portfolio.
Since then, she's worked for Wizards of the Coast, Cricket, Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, Shadowfist, and some other magazines and gaming companies. The amount of work doesn't leave her much time for her hobbies -- reading fantasy and science fiction, walking around Green Lake, stringing beads, and baking gingerbread -- but she doesn't mind. As long as she has time to play Magic, she won't quit the day job.