Filtering by Category: illustration

Jen Mussari: Inspired in Brooklyn

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{ via My Life in Vogue video contest }

thank you!

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Thank you for all your orders and subscriptions this week! It looks like everyone is excited as we are about issue #21 and the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide! I've been receiving lots of exclamation-marked emails from the participants that got into the guide. Susse Linton even sent this little pup in her message:


I am thankful for ALL the submissions—even if I didn't select your particular entry—it was an abundance of great stuff and it was really a tough challenge to whittle it down to just 100. Stay tuned... I'll be posting a video about the guide and some of the things I learned after reviewing over 2,000 pattern designs!

Handmade Portraits: Sophie Blackall

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Kickstarter: Tatay's Gift

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Illustrator Brad Woodard (part of Work/Life 3) and his wife Krystal have a Kickstarter project underway to fund a children's book:

In Tatay’s Gift we get to join a young Filipino boy as he goes out to work each day with his Tatay (Tatay is the Tagalog word for dad). The boy and is Tatay do a different job each day of the week, from selling popsicles by the beach to driving a Jeepney through the city. As they work, he learns the lesson of serving and giving to others by watching his Tatay everyday. This vibrant, and colorfully illustrated book is based on stories from Brad’s time spent in the Philippines and the wonderful people he met there. Tatay’s Gift not only celebrates the hardworking, loving, kind, and giving attitudes of the Filipino people, but it also teaches the valuable lesson of giving back to to your community and helping those in need. 

I've put in my pledge!

Resending a telegram

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During our recent Open Pitch, illustrator Megan Eckman sent in the above illustration with an interesting note:

"I am an anti-hoarder. While most people who love ephemera have boxes overflowing with letters, postcards, and photographs, I love ephemera by turning it into art. Recently I've been playing with mundane telegrams. Telegrams themselves seem magical to us nowadays and yet, these flower orders from a wholesale florist to his supplier are at odds with that (unless some magic is boring). My most recent painting combines pen and ink and acrylic atop such a boring telegram. The merging of fantastical portraiture and realistic ephemera creates a tug for the viewer and urges them to see even boring paperwork in a new light."

Visit Megan's blog for more work.

illustrator Craig Frazier video

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love from Shelley Davies

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This eye-popping colour-themed collage arrived in my inbox — from the wonderfully creative Shelley Davies. (Visit Shelley's blog to view a post rounding up Valentine New Yorker covers.)

have a "happy happy" Valentine

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The Happy Happy Art Collective is a new group of artists who met, virtually, in Lilla Rogers' Make Art That Sells e-course last year. They decided to join forces to spread their "happy art all over the world."

The group is comprised of three Work/Life 3 artists: Denise Holmes, Tammie Bennett and Emily Balsley as well as Pauline "Muffin" Grayson, Jill Howarth and Lauren Minco. They've posted some cute Valentine downloads (for personal use) on their communal blog. 


Mundania Horvath documents the dwellings of Pittsburgh

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Lisa Toboz is a Pittsburgh writer, photographer, and curator of the Studio 5013 window installation series. Follow her adventures in art and travel at The Long Way Home Diaries.

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Artist Mundania Horvath didn’t call herself an illustrator until a few years ago: “I considered myself a designer who was good with computers and print design.” But as former office manager of Moss Architects, she’d watch coworkers doing draft sketches, wondering how she could incorporate traditional illustration into her graphic works.

Wanting a yearly project, Mundania created PGH/Digs (PGH is Pittsburgh’s affectionate acronym), an illustration series combining art and design with her admiration for Pittsburgh dwellings. 

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Pittsburgh’s various neighbourhoods are clustered with old, at-times unusual, solid brick homes that have survived decades of industrial history, and Mundania—who moved from Uniontown, Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh to attend the Art Institute—drives around the city’s one-way streets, taking photos of houses that she can draw, then fine-tine later in Illustrator and Photoshop.


The simple, clean lines of ’60s ranch-style, “311 S Dallas Ave, Point Breeze” (first in the series, above) appealed to her love of geometry and retro design. She pays attention to house details others may not notice: a slanted roof, or asymmetrical windows.

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While the house structures are characteristic of Pittsburgh, Mundania makes them universal through bold colour. Inspired by artist Lisa Congdon’s bright and playful colour schemes, Mundania experiments with changing the original house colours in her pieces to ones you may be reluctant to try in real life. “If you could paint your house any colour,” she says, “it might look like this.” 

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PGH/Digs has evolved into commissions—some clients want their houses replicated, while others give Mundania free reign with shape and colour. This year, she’s taking the project beyond city limits, illustrating well-known houses designed by famous architects, in addition to the Pittsburgh houses that continue to inspire. “This project has opened a lot of doors for me, connecting me to people throughout the city. It’s completely changed how I view myself as an artist.” 

Show and Tell: April V. Walters

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"Donuts of the Bay Area" is quite the best title I've seen for a calendar. Even better, it is filled with watercolour portraits of donuts (or doughnuts, if you prefer) spotted and, I assume, consumed in the San Francisco vicinity.

For more delectables, visit April V. Walter's Etsy shop, look through her website to get to know April and then read her entertaining illustrated blog post about 21 days served on jury duty. It's one of the best and original blog posts I've read in quite a while.

Show and Tell: Donie Odulio

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Donie Odulio presented a children's book concept based on his personal experience of immigrating to America from the Philippines at a very young age. The Frog Story tells the tale of a frog who learns that as much as he tries to change to fit in, the best thing to be is himself.


Show and Tell: Anna Conti

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Pretty amazing talent at the UPPERCASE Show and Tell at 3 Fish Studios last Thursday, don't you think? It was really a special event with an wonderful combination of people—different creative styles, different paths, but all with a common passion for their craft and the joy of sharing creativity with others.

Anna Conti brought in an original painting that is part of her Ship Spotting project. As she explained, there is so much activity and traffic happening out in the bay, but most people don't know what kind of boat it is or what its specific task may be. Anna aims to create a guide, similar to a bird-watching guide, but in this case it would be to identify the marine traffic on the San Francisco Bay. Get to know Anna and her work through this video portrait:


See more of Anna's paintings on Flickr.

Show and Tell: Iris Gottlieb

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From my notes on Iris Gottlieb's presentation, I wrote "an illustrator with tiny drawings, who aims to make illustration funny."


I'd say that's an accurate summary!

Check out Iris' extensive drawings cataloging the San Francisco Exploratorium Tinkering Studio tools and her Inventories/Observations sketches.


Show and Tell: Cleomade

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I was happy to meet Cleo Papanikolas in person: Cleo is one of the artists in Work/Life 3 and also created the great hat illustrations in our current issue. If you want to be astounded by her prolific creativity, spend some time on Cleo's blog: she has created a long list of intricately illustrated downloadable projects based around her paintings. Scroll through her Tiny Paintings Project, visit her Pinterest boards and purchase craft kits from her Etsy shop.


Show and Tell: Mike Kimball

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Mike Kimball creates these stylized images of cargo containers and cranes and outputs them digitally onto aluminum panels. The glossy metal finish really accentuates the subject matter. My son Finley was looking at these images while I prepared the post and he most definitely approves of the subject matter!


3 Fish Studios

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Located just steps from the beach, 3 Fish Studios is a welcoming storefront and working printmaking and painting studio.

Located just steps from the beach, 3 Fish Studios is a welcoming storefront and working printmaking and painting studio.

Annie Galvin chats with a guest.

Annie Galvin chats with a guest.

That's Annie's show-stopping large-scale print of a California bear hug. (Prints available in their online shop.)

That's Annie's show-stopping large-scale print of a California bear hug. (Prints available in their online shop.)

Robotic inspiration for Eric Rewitzer's linocuts.

Robotic inspiration for Eric Rewitzer's linocuts.

Eric Rewitzer

Eric Rewitzer

Annie's painting area, nestled on the second floor overlooking the shop.

Annie's painting area, nestled on the second floor overlooking the shop.


3 Fish Studios was the perfect venue for the UPPERCASE Show and Tell. Annie and Eric were generous hosts and their studio was amazing. Formerly a neighbourhood grocery store, and then a dance studio, now the main open area is their gallery and printing area. In the back is a small kitchen that leads out into a covetable garden space. Although it was too chilly to hang out in the backyard, with a large state of California-shaped table, it would be great for a gathering. Upstairs, Annie has a painting studio along with a computer office area and a table for preparing prints. There was a small window peering over the shop area which would have made for a great photo of the Show and Tell proceedings, but I was a little too busy with that to steal away for a picture. I took photos and notes of all our presenters and I'll share them on the blog throughout the week. Lots of great creativity to share!


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Yesterday afternoon I arrived in California. I'm here to help judge the Communication Arts Illustration Annual. This is a real honour and full-circle moment since it was Communication Arts magazine that introduced me to the world of graphic design back when I was a highschool student in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Shortly, the other judges and I are off to the Communication Arts office to start an epic day of reviewing entries.

Here are some views from the beautiful Stanford Park Hotel in Menlo Park.


the fear project

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Julie M. Elman is conquering fear, one phobia at a time. An associate professor at Ohio University's School of Visual Communication, the fears that she illustrates are not her own; they are visual interpretations of others' concerns. Though the genesis of the project came from a fear we all share—the trepidatious blank page and the pressure to be creative. "I teach courses in publication design, and in my classes, I talk a lot about moving beyond the fear of that scary blank page. ... The Fear Project sprang from my own fears, one of them being how to manage the creative process. I also watched my design students struggle with their own fears of creating and taking visual risks, and I wondered how to best encourage them to move past creative blocks."


Since February 2012, Julie has explored topics that range from the somewhat silly to the serious. "The specific fear themes run the gamut and include failure, losing a child, centipedes in the shower, the impulse to jump off high places, small holes, escalators, dying alone and needles." The statements of fear are gathered from family, colleagues and perfect strangers.

"During my process of illustrating other people's fears, I have become much more aware of just how pervasive fear really is. I'm starting to notice more and more how the topic of fear creeps into the collective conversation (interviews, articles, essays, everywhere) — and I started to think about how fear can be either crippling to people, or a driving force to motivate people to move past it."


"People often ask me if it’s depressing to work on these fear pieces. The short answer is no. It’s actually quite the opposite: Some people have expressed gratitude for giving them a chance to see their fear in a way that makes the fear less powerful in their own lives. Some tell me that they feel better knowing they are not alone with their particular fear struggles. I’ve discovered that this project has resonated strongly with people — simply because of how deeply embedded fear is in most of our everyday lives."


"I have come to learn that many people feel validated after seeing their fears visualized in an interpretive, yet non-judgmental way. They can come face to face whatever fears they have in a non-threatening way."

To read more of Julie's insights gained from this project, please spend some time on her website. Perhaps you'll see one of your own fears illustrated and its grip will become less powerful.

the UPPERCASE surface pattern design guide

Added on by Janine.
Sample page featuring the work of Jessica Nielsen, Nadia Hassan and Elizabeth Olwen.

Sample page featuring the work of Jessica Nielsen, Nadia Hassan and Elizabeth Olwen.

Announcing the UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide Call for Submissions

The UPPERCASE Surface Pattern Design Guide will feature the best in established and up-and-coming surface pattern designers. By being part of the guide, your work will be exposed to an engaged and active readership of art and design buyers, potential clients, collaborators and consumers. This spring issue of UPPERCASE will be distributed free of charge to media at Surtex, the famed surface pattern licensing show this May in New York City. It will also be made readily available as a free pdf download available online. (Last year's Stationery Guide has had over 84,000 impressions via Issuu.)