Monday, August 30, 2010


Our friends Emily and Sergio recently had a baby shower. As one of their gifts a couple of girls and I designed different iron transfers for the onesies. Knowing that Emily and Sergio always have been big Frida Kahlo fans, I decided that their baby must be a fan as well :) -m

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Šimo Ešić

Recently I was lucky enough to go back to Bosnia for a very short but sweet visit. Besides visiting family and friends, I also met someone who I greatly admire. Šimo Ešić is a children's book author whose books I read as a kid. He now owns his own publishing company and has done some very nice work indeed. Meeting him was very cool for me. I think I could have spent hours talking with him about children's books. The best part of it all is that he asked me to illustrate one of his books! I am super excited about it, and have already started in between finishing some other projects.

Of course, I can't show any of my progress until it's completed (and yes, it'll be a while since it's a 60 page book) ,but here is one example of his books- my favorite children's book right now. It's a "baby's firsts" book, and doesn't look like the typical pastel colored BORING baby book we're so used to. It was illustrated by Ljiljana Manzalovic i Mihailo Pisanjuk. I absolutely love their retro style and Šimo's writing is very fun,clever and still sophisticated.

The cover

This is a page for the baby's vaccines. Given the theme, this could not be more adorable.

This is a page for baby's first photo. I LOVE the camera illustration!

Interestingly enough there is a 'happy event' and 'sad event' page in this book. One of my favorite illustrations. Really a great solution for the situation.

Last but not least, the end pages with the little "bird-notes" :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


One of many reasons why I love working for Hallmark is that it truly feels like an extension of my art education. I still feel like a student. We're offered many amazing lectures, workshops, research days, and every so often (used to be much more common in the pre-sucky-economy-days) we get to go on a trip. A few months ago a friend of mine and I were asked if we wanted to attend the ICON6 conference in L.A. this July. Who would say no to that? This was my first time at ICON. We had a great time, saw many many lectures, and met some amazing artists and art directors. Since this was mainly a group of freelance artists, there were a few topics that seemed to come up time and time again:

illustration vs. animation
contract lingo
getting paid for what you do

It was evident very early on that a lot of clients now a days expect illustrators to have animation skills. This started a debate whether illustrators should expand their skill sets, or continue to illustrate while animators did the animation. In the end, Jesus de Francisco from Motion Theory said it best: Use whatever tool you personally like to tell a story in the best possible way. All movies start with drawings. I agree with him. No one should learn a skill set just because. If animation interests you, now is the perfect time to explore it. If not, there are many other ways to tell a story.

Discussions about contracts were very interesting to me. After hearing many examples and personal stories, I realized that everyone gets to hear the "Well, you're the first illustrator that has a problem with this part of the contract..." from at least one client. I have to say that after this conference I feel much more confident about pricing my work and asking for what I need in a contract to be spelled out in a simple language.

Another thing that illustrators experience on a regular basis is being asked to do work for free. Melinda Beck spoke on this subject. She read a very powerful letter that she had written to a big company who had asked her to do a piece for free because it would be great promotion for her and besides, other successful illustrators have already agreed to it as well... Her letter was so well written, and unlike many illustrators who have the need to blurt out the f word every few seconds, she did it very diplomatically and positively. I wish I had a copy of that letter. I'd frame it and put it in my studio, and I'd read it any time I needed a little confidence boost. There are times and reasons when pro-bono work is very appropriate and fun. But this is something everyone needs to figure out for themselves. However, no one should ever do free work for big corporations and companies.

And lastly, here's a great Q and A quote from the Wayne White presentation:

Audience:"Is the term illustrator outdated?"
Wayne: "Yes. You should be called creationists."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

HOW's Top 10

HOW magazine has listed us as one of their website’s "Top 10" sites to see for the month of August 2010! We are excited and humbled to be part of such a talented group. Thank you HOW!