Weekly Topic :: “Tribute” in Honor of IF’s Founder, Penelope Dullaghan

This week’s topic is:


Suggested by Thomas James

In honor of Illustration Friday’s founder, Penelope Dullaghan


“It’s been my honor and such a pleasure to have brought IF to life and to watch it grow into what it is today. But most of all, I have been incredibly inspired by all of you, and all the artwork that you guys have contributed. You all are amazing. I wish you all so very well, and I hope that you continue to make beautiful art every week.”Penny

10 years ago, illustrator Penelope Dullaghan started a weekly personal experiment as a way to explore and play with images and concepts outside the confines of commissioned projects.

She quickly discovered that other fellow artists wanted to participate too, and so she created Illustration Friday.

Although it started small, with about 10 or 15 people taking part in the weekly challenge, Illustration Friday grew quickly and organically into the thriving illustration community that many of us know and love today. With the addition of blog posts, artist interviews and resources for artists, it became one of the most popular online destinations for amateurs and professionals alike.

After 10 years, Penelope realized that the time had come to focus on other things, and handed the reigns over to Thomas James, illustrator and Creative Director of Illustration Age (that’s me).

Illustration Friday is here to stay, and rest assured that much more will stay the same than will change. I’ll be talking more about minor improvements and additions in the weeks to come, but for now I felt compelled to take a pause to honor everything that Penelope has done for so many artists by nurturing a sense of community and participation here at Illustration Friday, and invite you to do the same.


What has Illustration Friday meant to you?


Please leave Penelope a message in the comments below to let her know about your experience with Illustration Friday, and what effect it has had on your art, and your life. Then, be sure to participate in this week’s topic, TRIBUTE, in honor of Penny.

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Posted by Thomas James on 05/03/13 under celebrate,IF news update,illustrationfriday,news,weekly topics

  • susy

    Penny I have always been amazed at your energy and generosity by sharing and giving so much to the illustration community. You are a very talented artist and creator, I am a big fan of your work and you.Rock on!

  • http://profiles.google.com/tugandbuster Tom Davidson

    Penelope, thank you for starting and growing IF. Even when I don’t contribute, it’s a resource I can look to for inspiration on so many levels.

  • hensley46

    Thank you Penelope!!! Wishing you every happiness in your future endeavors!

  • Heather Dent

    Penelope, I am fairly new to Illustration Friday, in fact I am new to being an illustrator period. I just wanted to let you know that this website has prompted me to illustrate images that boosted my confidence greatly and helped me realize my potential. I am deeply grateful to you for starting this friendly community and I wish you every success in your future endeavors.

  • Stephane Lauzon

    Thanks a lot for all the creativity and the good energy you give us. I was one of the lucky to expose in the Open show and that was my first show ever, so IF has a very good place in my heart ! Thanks for everything Penelope ! I will continue to follow you for sure from your blog :)

  • AH

    You inspire me, Penelope! Best of luck to you!

  • NightengailArt

    I get excited every week to see the next IF topic, even if I can’t get to them every week. Thanks for all you’ve done over the years! This has been a lot of fun and creatively energizing. Good luck on you new projects!

  • cindi

    Thank you so much Penelope……for your gift of IF – Inspiration/Illustration Friday! With gratitude…cindi

  • Sally


    I am sure that you had no idea how many artists you would inspire over the years. IF is a place that gives us that fire beneath us to get work done. Without you giving us deadlines, many of us would not have completed the beautiful work that we have done. Many of us wake in the morning after posting to the site the night before and find interesting and encouraging words from artists from all over the globe. I don’t know if we can thank you enough. You have given us a home to share our creations with others. Let all the good wishes from those at IF fuel your sails. Smooth sailing to you!

    Thank you, Penelope. We are grateful to you.

  • http://twitter.com/Thomas_James Thomas James

    In addition to being a sometime participant on Illustration Friday when I have the time, I have always been inspired by Penelope’s talent (and interest) in building this community. It was a huge inspiration to me especially when I created the Escape from Illustration Island website and podcast, which was based largely in bringing people together to share resources and ideas. Thanks Penny!

  • SarahRyanDraws

    Thank you Penelope for Illustration Friday!!! I was in a drawing rut, and found IF. I started a blog, and my very first post was IF: Chicken :) . It really motivated me to continue drawing, and the illustration community on IF is super supportive. I was also really helped by Penelope’s personal blog; her illustration is inspiring, and her posts are full of wisdom!

  • Cynthia

    Thank you for IF! Know that you have created something wonderful in the world, for creativity is the essence of life.

    • Cynthia

      My iPad is wonky… Continued… I haven’t participated in a while as I’ve focused on other projects, but I enjoyed IF’s weekly challenges. IF also helped me discover the work of other artists. For all that I am grateful. Thank you Penelope!

  • Rose

    I love IF! I go through periods where I post more than other times, but I LOVE looking at all the art. It doesn’t matter what language people speak–I can immediately connect across the glob. And every piece so different. When I’m feeling down, I always go to IF. It’s like a visual box of pick-me-up chocolates every time. Thank you!

  • Steve Loya

    Thank you Penelope for IF! I remember how much it has helped me get back into drawing and art-making again when I first discovered it eight years ago. Also, without it, I would have never met my wife and my love, Kris, who also got back into creating again years ago. On occasion, I still participate and I frequently check the blog for inspiration. In the meantime, you and so many other folks have been a great inspiration along the way. Best wishes to you on all future endeavors!

    Sincerely, Steve

  • Jeannette

    I just discovered the site last week for the first time. It has been a portal into the most beautiful form of expression. I love seeing the work and different styles. Thanks for this place.

  • Joan Lansberry

    Thank you, Penelope, for the ten years of managing this fantastic and inspirational site. While I don’t participate often, I have participated for many years now. May your future be filled with lots of happy creative opportunities and much joy.

  • Christy Sheffield

    Thank you, Penelope, for starting this wonderful community. Every week I look forward to being challenged. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to play.

  • Brown Paper Bunny

    Penelope, thank you. No really, THANK YOU!!! I started following Illustration Friday because I’d always wanted to learn to draw, but I was too scared and didn’t know where to start. One day I just decided to start contributing…not matter how bad I thought my submissions were. A year later and I’m studying a Masters of Fine Art in Illustration at the Academy of Art in San Fran….and I wouldn’t have gotten started without you!

  • Penny

    thank you for following your heart and starting IF. It has kept me going when I thought i didn’t have any creativity left in me….just the word, whatever it was, got me going! Blessings on your new ventures and by the way I am a Penny too!

  • Sarah Nussbaumer

    Thank You, Penny. You have been a spirit of empowerment for me. I have learned so much from all of the participants, you and the featured artists. You and IF have rekindled my creative spirit. All the best with your future plans.

  • http://www.hedwigml.blogsot.com/ hedwigml

    Dear Penelope, thank you for IF! For me it was a big boost for my creativity. Still is. I was at a point of not knowing why and for whom I should draw. Of course it’s for myself, but to have a platform and an audience makes it so much better. The IFcommunity feels like a one big family.
    The word is just enough to get started. A week is short enough to keep going. It’s a rythm that fits me and I found friends that fit me.
    I wish you all the best!!!
    And now I have to work on the word Tribute…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003031123754 Facebook User

    Hi Penelope! While I never participated in an exercise on IF, I’ve been an avid fan of this site and your personal blog. I want to thank you for your generosity with your talent, time and your humble spirit. Your courage to seek out new ideas and ways of being gave the rest of us courage to step out in faith in our creative lives. And much like a nurturing parent, you have passed this site along to another creative person who will foster it in his own way with your blessings. Peace be with you as you start another journey. Kate Brennan Hall

  • Nelleke

    Thanks, Penelope, you did a great job by creating and developing
    Illustration Friday. It gave me lots of inspiration and joy. I’ve made a
    tribute to you on my blog:


    wish you all the best!
    greetings from Nelleke

  • momo

    Thank you Penelope for the keeping this wonderful idea going for so long. It has been such a pleasure responding to the weekly challenge and within such a welcoming community. Love stretching the creativity each week too, and just being inspired by the cool illustrations from the others. Best wishes for the ventures ahead!

  • http://twitter.com/nadyaslenders Nadya Slenders

    Hi Penelope,

    I fell in love with Illustration Friday when I accidentally stumbled upon it. I haven’t looked away since (*just got some coffee and sleep now and then)! I’m an illustrator from the Netherlands, and I think you already know that Illustration Friday is globalizing!

    Really nice job. Thank you for the opportunity to get in contact with other artists, to get a weekly dose of fresh inspiration and to practise my craft!

    Love, Nadya

  • Cindy D.

    Thank you, Penelope! Since finding IF I have tried to spread the good word. It’s not just the weekly topic but the community. I’ve discovered so many great art blogs and artists because of this site. It is a wonderful resource that has clearly meant a lot to many people. May you have an abundance of good fortune in your future endeavors.

  • paula mills

    Hi Penelope
    I owe you so many thank yous! I was in a slump a few years back as a frustrated creative with young kids at home, struggling with the demands of being a stay at home mum and redefining my identity. My sister suggested the IF site to me which got me drawing again. That led onto me starting my own small creative business as an illustrator. My three girls are all at school now and my little business as gone from strength to strength, this year I had to hire some one to help with the online orders! When I look back to where it all started, I know it was IF that got me back to my love of drawing. Thanks for that.
    Paula Mills – lovelysweetwilliam.etsy.com

  • http://twitter.com/Nataludica Natalí Sejuro Aliaga

    Thank you, Penelope!
    I’ve had so much fun and learned a lot with Illustration Friday. My first entry was on 2005, september 24th. 2005!!! Back then I worked as a corporate graphic designer with little illustration projects. Thanks to IF I got a decent portafolio. Now I work exclusively and happily as a Professional Illustrator.

    All my good vibes for all your new projects!

  • Moira Swiatkowski

    When in doubt, Illustration Friday. Thanks for being such an inspiration and springboard for so many.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SharonRWagner Sharon Wagner

    Thanks Penelope! I wish you the best M-F and Sat. and Sun. as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tim.musial.79 Tim Musial

    Great inspiration and very entertaining and informative. A real treat, each and every week. Good luck on future endeavors …

  • Marie Campbell

    It’s a bit late, but I’ve written a short blog post about how much Illustration Friday has helped me overcome creative block and find myself again. Thank you Illustration Friday xx http://www.thebohopress.co.uk/illustration-friday/thank-you-illustration-friday/

  • ceejay

    Five years ago, during a very sad and troubling time in my life, I stumbled on Illustration Friday through a collaborative art journal partner. I am a writer/photographer who dabbles with art/illustration, but when I contacted Penelope about the possibility of being included even though I wouldn’t post my work much, she joyously, open-heartedly welcomed and affirmed me and included me (very generously). The weekly prompts have been such a source of encouragement and inspiration (even though I usually run 12 – 20 BEHIND!!! argh!). From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Penelope! And thank you for continuing the project, Thomas James! It would be a gaping hole in my creative juices if this disappeared from my life! Be blessed! ;D

  • Julia C

    Somewhat of a neophyte at digital art, I participated in Illustration Friday for the first time in January 2007. It was a thrill to have a forum where others would actually see my creative efforts. Last year I made and kept a resolution to participate once a month, which I am attempting to do this year also. The topics are spur to creative thinking, and the deadline compels you to get it done. In addition to the gratification of showing my own work, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the various takes on each topic and discovering many interesting and inspiring illustrators. I also love the fact that anyone and everyone feels welcome to participate, whatever their level of skill. In fact, I LOVE Illustration Friday. Thank you, Penelope!

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