Sometimes, you get stuck at a crossroads between two things you really love doing. For me, it’s being an illustrator and a musician. Years ago, I thought that I’d eventually have to drop one to wholeheartedly pursue the other. I was never able to decide what I loved more, because although different in myriad ways, my love for playing/creating music and my love for creating art are completely equal in nature.
Jillian Tamaki is a bit of a kindred spirit in this sense, although hers is a tug-of-war between illustration and cartooning. She’s been able to integrate both of these passions into an impressive creative career, having released two graphic novels with her cousin Mariko Tamaki and two books of personal work on her own–not to mention the plethora of illustration awards she’s achieved. Her ever-growing client list includes the likes of The New York Times, National Geographic, Penguin Books, The New Yorker, and WIRED.
Jillian grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and went on to study illustration at the Alberta College of Art & Design. While she originally intended to focus on design, she fell in love with illustration and began freelancing after a brief stint at Bioware, a Canada-based video game company. She works both digitally and physically, showcasing her general badass brushwork and drafting skills in addition to embroidery (!!!).
Her creative process is impressively flexible, shifting between rapid-fire deadlines and long-term projects.
This One Summer and Skim, while not necessarily limited to the teen reading section, exemplify the Tamaki cousins’ wish to expose more nuanced examples of teenage girls in literature (“not-slim, would-be Wiccan goth”) and graphic novels/comics. They don’t shy away from the heavy stuff–sexual identity, suicide, being a general loner. And perhaps there’s no better way to tell the stories of these painful experiences than through Jillian Tamaki’s gorgeous, expressive linework. Skim went on to win The New York Times’ award for Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2008.
Jillian’s exuberant, sarcastic personality is only complemented by her genuine desire to help others, especially in the creative community. She’s provided a wealth of advice on her website in the FAQ section, and also welcomes questions on her blog.
You can follow along with her at her website, Twitter, blog, and Tumblr. She also runs a webcomic at Mutant Magic, which will soon be published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2015. Jillian also teaches illustration at School of Visual Arts.
Kei Meguro was born in Japan but now lives and works in New York as a graphic designer and illustrator. She refined her techniques at the School of Visual arts receiving a BFA in graphic design. Her clients include Chanel, Nylon Magazine and Sony Music Entertainment to name a few.
Posted by Heather Ryerson
After studying graphic design and illustration, Catherine Lepage worked at an ad agency where she brainstormed quick and clever ideas and developed an efficient process of creating simple design solutions. She went on to co-found Montreal design studio Ping Pong Ping where she weaves illustration throughout her client work. Catherine Lepage continues to work as an editorial illustrator. See more of her work on her website.
Post by Natalie
Marijke Buurlage is a Dutch illustrator who lives in Alkmaar, the Netherlands. She graduated from Academie Minerva Groningen in 2013 and has been working as a freelance illustrator ever since. She loves illustrating children’s books, music related projects, screen printing, and drawing animals. She also runs the online shop Viktori featuring her own illustrated products.
See more of Marijke’s work on her website.
I recently discovered Leila Del Duca’s work on the excellent new comic Shutter, published by Image Comics. It’s exciting to see a young artist find the perfect project for their specific set of skills, and watch them tap into their potential month in, and month out.
Leila has been drawing comics since she earned her Bachelors degree in illustration from the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in Denver, CO back in 2007. She’s had a prolific career so far, drawing a number of comics including Escape From Terra, The Pantheon Project and Deadskins. She also served as Art Director for the Denver-based anthology Cellar Door in 2011.
She currently lives in Missoula, Montana, and you can follow her on her blog here.
For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com - Andy Yates
Post by Chloe
Nicholas Stevenson’s work is quirky, whimsical and full of character. He is an illustrator based in North London but once lived in the Seychelles. He is inspired by mystery, gauche paintings and his time abroad. Nicholas has worked for a broad range of clients including The New York Times, Urban Outfitters and Oh Comely.
If you would like to see more of Nicholas Stevenson’s work please visit his portfolio.
Though running your own creative business is an exciting venture finding a balance between life and what you love to do is sometimes hard to find. Sometimes its too easy to become engrossed in putting loads of time into your creative venture to start building things up from your portfolio to your website , however in your pursuit for quicker results this can often lead to becoming frustrated with what you draw and feeling things just aren’t panning out right (believe me I’ve been there). This is why balancing out your creative life is important, working too hard or intensely on your creative practice can wear down your idea’s and prevent you from creating things you are happy to shout about and share with others. So here are 3 tips to balancing out your own creative life;
1. Find time to do the other things you love
Finding time to do things you love that’s outside of the business is important, this can be anything from sport to other creative activities and though I know how much you may love to design , stitch , doodle and paint taking the time for yourself will just give you not only space to chill out but also gain new ideas and inspiration from other places.
2. Find time to do things to wind down the creative trail of thought
Repeat after me “I’m going to relax , slow down and put my feet up for a minute” , if like me you’re the biggest culprit for not relaxing then hopefully this tip will help quite a few of you . If your mind and body are active all the time you can easily wear yourself out both mentally, emotionally and physically. So for example yoga is a great activity to do on a daily basis to just really wind down your mind and body not to mention its good for your health , although if yoga’s not your thing there are other things you could try to chillax and wind down.
3. Socialising with people you know
Being creatives we love feeling cosy in our own personalised creative spaces, although there is one catch working from your home studio can be a little isolating unless of course you rent a studio space situated with other creatives . So it’s important to get a break away from your work even for a little while to share thoughts with other like minded people or close friends giving you food for thought or breathing space to recharge your batteries before getting back to work.
At the end of the day it’s important to remember that your creative business will only work at its best when you yourself are at your best aswell. The key thing is to just have fun with every project you do but also have fun outside of the business at the same time because finding your own personalised creative balance is sure to help it grow. Image by designer Vicky riley you can find more of her work here .
Post by Chloe
Nadia Taylor is a designer and print-maker based in London. She is a fan of the screen printing process and this is evident through the limited colour palettes, textures and dark lines. Recently she has been working with the restaurant chain, Zizzi, to create wonderful wall murals within their restaurants as part of their Fresh Talent Collective. Nadia Taylor has also worked greeting cards and wrapping paper designs. She is inspired by mid-century design and nature.
Katie Rodgers grew up in a small town outside of Atlanta. She received her first set of professional water-colours from her Aunt before she was seven years old sparking off her creativity. She created her blog Paper Fashion in 2009, to showcase her beautiful water colour illustrations. Her clients include Elle, Parker Pens, Valentino and Alicia Keys amongst many.
In the midst of a world grounded in digital technology, sometimes we need a reminder that good things can still be grounded in reality. This is why we still go visit galleries and museums to see artwork in person (a habit I’m still trying to get better at). This is why we still give each other greeting cards, or why our desks seem to collect countless post-its over time. It can be as simple as opening a letter or unwrapping a present–interacting with real material still matters.
On that note, I’d like to introduce you to Anna Bond, owner and creative director of Rifle Paper Co.–an inimitable force in the stationery field and beyond.
While Anna now lives and works in Winter Park, Florida, she has roots in New Jersey and received a degree in graphic design in Virginia. After working as an art director and freelance illustrator for a couple years, she discovered (or rekindled, rather) her love for stationery design while illustrating some wedding invitations. As mentioned in her feature on The Every Girl, stationery was the optimal combination of graphic design and illustration that she had been searching for, and so she pushed onwards.
While there’s something to be said for art directing at 21, I admire Anna’s honest and expressive way of dealing with her expectations, realities, and how to improve upon them. She’s spoken before about the first launch of Rifle Paper Co.’s website, detailing product disasters, website crashes, international shipping issues, and taking turns panicking with her husband. Without sounding cruel or spiteful, it’s incredibly comforting to know that someone as ambitious and driven as Anna has screwed up before. And to me, there’s no better way to recover than by succeeding.
Nearly all Rifle Paper Co. products feature Anna’s hand-painted illustrations, which are often nostalgic in style with a pastel palette.
Some of Rifle Paper Co.’s selected clients and collaborative partners: Anthropologie (their very first!), Kate Spade New York, Hygge & West, Chronicle Books, AMC Mad Men, and Penguin Books. I think it’s important to note that the variety of clients reflects Anna’s ability to design for both traditional and modern brands, which can be difficult depending on one’s personal style.
Follow along with Anna and her husband Nathan’s exciting ventures at Rifle Paper Co.’s website, and take a peek at Anna’s portfolio here. You can also find her on Twitter. I particularly enjoyed her Day in the Life feature on Design*Sponge as well.