Allen and his wife Susan founded the design and illustration studio Plankton Art Co. in 1996. Their studio's most notable project to date is the collection of 400 species identification illustrations that are on permanent display at the American Museum of Natural History's Milstein Hall of Ocean Life in New York.
Allen's work has appeared in Society of Illustrators, 3x3, American Illustration, Communication Arts, Print, Type Directors Club, and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
Allen's latest book, Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself (Tin House Books [US], Jonathan Cape [UK]) is an illustrated, hand-lettered, 256-page edition of Walt Whitman's epic poem. It won Best of Show in 3×3 Magazine's International Illustration Show 2015, and a Gold Medal in Society of Illustrators 58.