Work/Life 2: Renata Liwska

Renata Liwska is going to be one of those children's book illustrators whose work stands the test of time! Her style is timeless, sweet, soft with just the right touch of mischief. She has two recent books out. The Loud Book is a companion to The Quiet Book, and debuted at #10 on the New York Times list for picture books. Red Wagon is Renata's second book that she has authored as well as illustrated.

Calgarians can enjoy both books this Saturday when Renata reads at Monkeyshines! She will also will be giving away some mini posters and there will be a draw for a signed print from Red Wagon.

Saturday April 30th, 2pm
Monkeyshines Children's Books
#113 - 2215 - 33rd Ave SW, Calgary

Renata is featured in Work/Life and Work/Life 2. (As well as the free app!)

Vintage swatches

{ via The Daily Heller }


Work/Life 2: Jason Neil (Don't forget to VOTE!)

Jason Neil's illustration portfolio is defined by its amount of Canadian content. "I have always been involved in current affairs and things of a political nature, which along with my love for travel have been a great influence in my work. I'm fascinated with Canada, it's history and you will see aspects of this patriotism in my work as well." If you need any illustrations of the current federal election in Canada, then Jason's your man!

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I'm not a very political person, but with Canada having its fourth federal election in seven years, it is time to elect a government that will last—and make some lasting changes. Jack Layton has had my vote from the beginning of the campaign and his positive conduct throughout has only reinforced that decision. I hope the current momentum for the NDP continues over the next few days and we see some exciting results on Monday. I'm not one to post a sign on my front lawn, but I think social media can really have a positive effect, at the very least to encourage people who would normally ignore elections to become engaged.

Allow me to indulge in posting this sign on my virtual lawn:

Whatever your political leanings, fellow Canadians, please don't forget to vote on Monday, May 2!

Walls of Art and Commerce

Supermarket Sarah is a interesting concept for a webstore. Sarah and other collaborating artists create walls—large-scale still life arrangements—of products for sale. You click on the item that interests you to purchase. The wall above features work by Manchester-based artist Tasha Whittle.


"Sarah's "walls" started in her living room but have now spread into public spaces; galleries, shop fronts, bars, receptions and most recently Sarah curated a 30ft high wall at Selfridges London Concept Store.

The walls have taken on collaborative formats and so far Sarah has worked with brilliant designers including Fred Butler, Patternity, Donna Wilson, Tatty Devine and many more, forming a super network of young talent. Supermarket Sarah has become the place to go for inspirational delights and is regularly featured in media across the board from Style Bubble to the BBC news."

Type Tuesday: Typewriter Tins

A few tins I noticed on ebay this week.

Work/Life 2: Marc Martin

Australian illustrator/designer Marc Martin has created a tour-de-force illustrated alphabet of animals. Prints and a book are available in his shop. Explore more of Marc's work in his portfolio and get to know him in Work/Life 2.

Here's is Marc's piece featured in the book (I have to say that it is one of my personal favourites!):

Camp Firebelly

Here's a really great idea for recent design grads looking for adventure! A design camp hosted by Chicago's Firebelly Design.

Camp Firebelly offers the next crop of socially-minded designers the chance to use their talent and creativity to make a difference, experiencing what professional life is like Firebelly-style. For 10 days, 10 campers live and work with us to craft a strategic design solution for a non-profit client, from initial research to final implementation.

Nick Adam writes, "Camp is a time where Firebelly stops all client work and closes the studio for 2 weeks. We bring 10 young designers into the studio and connect them with several nonprofits that are in great need of proper design. We house, feed, direct, and teach the designers to solve all the problems, and develop tangible artifacts within ten days. This is Firebelly's 4th year of camp, we are very excited for our next group of campers."

View images from last year's camp on Flickr. Applications are due April 29, click here to download.

Lisa Congdon + A Collection a Day in Portland

This Friday at Land, Portland.

A note about A Collection a Day preorders: due to a situation beyond our control, the mass mailout of preordered books has been delayed. Things will be in the postal system as soon as possible. The situation has also affected the mailing of Issue 9, but that is now back on track as well. Thanks for your patience.

Jill Bliss

Jill Bliss has a simple way of drawing that makes you want to pick up a pen and start doodling. With her new journal published by Chronicle Books, you can learn how to translate the natural world into pretty drawings. You could even take a workshop with Jill, drawing the flora of her Portland-area neighbourhoods and parks.

I have a copy of Jill Bliss' new journal to give away to a lucky reader. Please leave a comment and let us know your favourite place to draw in nature. We will draw a winner on April 26. Thanks to Chronicle Books for asking me to be part of the blog tour. The tour continues:

April 15     Craft
April 18     AOL Shelterpop
April 19     Creature Comforts
April 20     Mint
April 21     UPPERCASE
April 22     Pikaland
April 25     The Little House in the City
April 27     Wit + Delight

The Elegant Cockroach visits Vancouver

The Elegant Cockroach artwork will be on display at Collage Collage in Vancouver opening this Thursday!

April 21 - June 2, 2011

Opening Reception April 21 from 7-9pm with writer Deidre Anne Martin in attendance.

The Elegant Cockroach has been nominated for  the Writers Guild of Alberta's Annett Award for Children's Literature for writing by Ms. Martin, and Ms. Augustine's illustrations have been recognized by Communication Arts' best of illustration Annual.


Collage Collage is a bookstore, studio and workshop that strives to uphold the tremendous creative abilities that children have, in surroundings that adults find equally stimulating, provoking and above all, inspiring. The gallery wall rotates on a regular basis, with openings and special workshops to accompany and support in store programming. Collage Collage is located at 621 Kingsway at 15th and Fraser Street, Vancouver. Click here for directions.

There's an app for that!

We are pleased to announce that the Work/Life 2 iPhone app is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD in iTunes!

The Work/Life 2 app is a companion to Work/Life 2: The UPPERCASE Directory of Illustration, a 224-page book featuring the art of 100 illustrators from around the globe. The app allows for some features that go beyond the book: search the participants by region and style, contact the artists directly, and follow news from the UPPERCASE blog.

Both the book and app include a range of talents, some fresh from school, some returning back into the work groove after raising families, and some hardworking creatives whose career already span a few decades. The common trait with each participant is their enthusiasm for their craft and their sincerity in presenting their best work.

Everyone's illustrations look stellar on the iPhone... here are some samples below. Download your free Work/Life app today and discover your new favourite illustrator.

Big thank you to Glen for creating the app!

We hope that you will enjoy perusing the app! If you want to learn about the artists in greater detail, each person is profiled in the book with images of their studios, sketchbooks and creative inspirations.

Work/Life 2: Julia Minimata

Julia Minimata is featured in both Work/Life (2008) and Work/Life 2 (2011). It speaks to the success of the first edition that many participants wanted to be part of Work/Life 2 as well. Julia's illustrations are of particular interest, especially when you realize that she uses silkscreen as her medium! She talks about the time management involved in using silkscreened prints for illustration in the latest book.

Julia is a graduate of Sheridan College and currently lives in Toronto. On her blog, Julia shares an anecdote about the illustration published in Work/Life 2 (involving fellow Work/Life 2 participant — and one of my former ACAD instructors — Rick Sealock).

"I was so excited to be given the opportunity to participate in this project for the second time," Julia writes. "I wanted to create a dreamy feeling, that dazed feeling of lying out in a field in the late summertime, staring at the sky."

The original silkscreen prints of this image and others are available on the Jullia Minamata Etsy Shop.

Work/Life 2: Sean Alzetta

Sean Alzetta
is a hybrid designer, illustrator and photographer. As he states on his website, "Sean Alzetta Does Everything". The image above is Sean's contribution to Work/Life 2. (Perhaps we are turning into zombie computer brains searching for an authentic brain experience?)

The images below are from a student assignment. "The goal was to use visual metaphor to create three illustrations for a corporate brochure. I selected Toyota as my company. At the time, the company had to recall many vehicles because of brake problems. I developed metaphors based on regaining the trust and confidence of the consumer."

Visit Sean's website to see more of his design and photography work.

Work/Life 2: Jessica Phillips

These illustrations of scientists by ACAD illustration grad Jessica Phillips would be Bill and Ted approved! Jessica also has a sweet collage style:

Below is Jessica's illustration from Work/Life 2:

Work/Life 2: Jenn Kitagawa

Jenn Kitagawa's graduating portfolio is a mix of design and illustration, both accomplished with a fashionable palette and sense of style. I'm particularly fond of her lettering, so that is what I'll feature here:

See more on Jenn's website and blog.

Work/Life 2: Jacqui Lee

Last Thursday's ACAD portfolio show presented some really top-notch work by soon-to-be grads. This week I'd like to introduce you to some of the fresh talent who are also featured in Work/Lfe 2.

First up is Jacqui Lee, whose work has a lovely balance of child-like wonder with a very sophisticated execution.

For a class project, she illustrated the story of the Bombardier family (some images below, see more on her site):

She also has a lovely lettering style and playful/retro colour palettes:

Here is the illustration included in Work/Life 2:

Jacqui is certainly poised for an excellent career in illustration. To commission Jacqui, please visit her site. To see her current projects, follow along on her blog.

Participate in the next issue!

Call for submissions: Mess is More!

We want to see your messy studio, your creative catastrophe, your wonky workspace... In contrast to all the styled and edited studio shots we're used to seeing on blogs and lifestyle magazines, we'd like to see REAL MESS. What does it take to get the job done? Is your studio a disaster area and that's how you like it? Are papers piled sky high? Paint splatters, thread lint, fabric bits decorate your floor like confetti? Awesome! Let's see it! Photos should be at least 6 inches wide at 300dpi and uploaded here. Name the photo with your last name and please include your contact information.


Call for submissions: pet portraits

We love our furry companions and often they inspire our creativity. Please submit illustrations, drawing, paintings and art portraits of your pets! (no photographs) Files should be at least 6 inches wide at 300dpi and labelled with your last name. Please upload them here by May 15 and include a note with your full name, contact info and website url if applicable.


Work/Life 2: Reception Pictures

Thank you for a very nice First Thursday and launch of Work/Life 2! Large pics on flickr...

My big spring cleaning and reconfiguration of the UPPERCASE studio is feeling good! Still quite a bit of baby-proofing to do, but it is nice to have more open space and I can't believe it took six years to get a couch in here.

Work/Life 2: with SPD at NYC

The primary goal of the Work/Life series is to promote the illustration talents profiled to potential clients. To that end, the book has been mailed out to a long list of designers, publishers and advertisers. Much of the list was compiled by participants listing their top ten dream clients; we researched their submissions and found contacts and addresses whenever possible. The book was also sent to major design firms and magazine / book art directors.

This Friday, Work/Life 2 will be available FREE to members of the Society of Publication Designers attending their Spring Fling in New York City. I hope that the book will make a positive impression and garner new contacts and commissions for the 100 amazing people featured in the book.

The book is designed and written to be entertaining, informative and inspiring—unique qualities when it comes to the usual illustration annual or compilation which are usually just images and contact info with not much heart and soul. Readers—whether art directors or aspiring illustrators or people interested in the creative spirit—will get to know our Work/Life illustrators on a more personal level.

Work/Life 2: book reception tonight!

Please join us tonight from 5-9pm in celebrating the release of Work/Life 2, the UPPERCASE directory of illustration.

This international edition features the creative lives of 100 illustrators. From as close to home as here in Calgary, across the nation and to our American neighbours south of the border and farther afield to Australia, Scandinavia, Israel, Western Europe and the UK, Work/Life 2 has a lovely and diverse mix. Local artists will be in attendance and available to sign your books.

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Local designers, art directors and media buyers as well as ACAD Visual Communications students are eligible for a free copy of the book—please bring your credentials or business card.
(Oh, and there'll be Crave cupcakes, too.)

Other First Thursday fun you'll enjoy:

Also in Art Central a few doors down from me, our friends from Burnt Toast Studio have a new exhibition up. You can also bring in a tshirt or hoodie and they will silkscreen designs on it or you can learn how to customize your own design.
The folks at Studio C in the lower level have an exhibition of sculpture made from found objects. Studio Todorovic has a show of prints from Vancouver Island artists as well as great art supplies and Nation is having a sale. Read more about First Thursday here.