Month: January 2011


Jenn Ski’s gift cards now in Target

Jenn writes:

“I was walking in Target the other day when I noticed a design I had made for their gift cards was finally available. My husband was with me and when I pointed to them he was screaming, lol.”

Wednesday: Two Great Artists at once


Rebecca Bradley’s Florid Floral Notelets by teNeues

Rebecca writes:

“Just out and on sale, notelets of some of my floral work. The design is great, and I am excited to see the product! Check it out here. Just in time for the Spring. Hurry Spring!!”


New work by John Coulter: Seattle Met: Agents of Chaos

John writes:

“Hi Lilla,
Here is the latest illustration I did for the Seattle Met. I’ve been using more textures and limited color with this work.”

Friday: Rebecca Bradley’s Florid Floral Notelets by teNeues


Suzy Ultman’s Birdies and Banjos gift wrap

Suzy Ultman writes:

“Here is the final artwork for the Madison Park Wrapping Papers. I think the birds & banjos found the perfect home. ”

Wednesday: New work by John Coulter: Seattle Met: Agents of Chaos


Get your Paint On! Online class with Mati McDonough & Lisa Congdon

Mati writes:

“Hi, Lilla!

I am so excited to share that I have teamed up with fellow artist Lisa Congdon to create an online painting course called, Get Your Paint On! We’ll be teaching this five week course (from January 31 to March 4, 2011). We will share what we have learned painting professionally along with our unique and colorful approach towards making art.

This class is designed to support both beginning painters and more experienced artists. We’ll cover materials, style, color, and composition. And what’s really fantastic, since the course is online, anyone around the world can take it, so you don’t need to be in San Francisco where we both live! It’s only $99 per person.

For more info and registration please visit:

{Lisa + Mati at their joint art show in 2009}

{Collaborative Painting by Lisa + Mati}

Suzy Ultman’s Birdies and Banjos gift wrap


A cool JOB OPPORTUNITY in the Boston area

The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University is looking for qualified artists and designers to teach a variety of fashion courses in Boston. “College Courses for High School Students” are offered in the Fall, Winter and Summer Sessions and are either 4-week long sessions or 7-week long sessions. Our students love learning about all aspects of Fashion. We need faculty for a February 19 start date: “Textile Print Design for Fashion” as well as the upcoming summer session: “Fashion Foundation” and more. Qualified applicants will have a BFA or MFA degree and have an interest in teaching young artists (high school age). Please send resume and portfolio to Diana Arcadipone at


Suzy Ultman’s road to “Happy Trails”

Suzy writes:

“Hi Lilla.
With a majority of my projects, the production path is a straight, predictable line. Every once in a while, someone decides to take a risk and try something new. It’s a process full of problem solving & hard work, but the payoff is fantastic.

For “Happy Trails”, we were entering new Chronicle Books territory, creating a journal made of felt & embroidery. I’ve included images from important points in the process: (1) My very own hand-sewn mock-up which was sent to the factory in China for reference. (2) The production file referencing thread weight & stitch type. and (3) Voila! It’s the final journal in all of it’s felty glory.

enjoy* suzy”

Friday: Get your Paint On! Online class with Mati McDonough & Lisa Congdon


A preview of Lisa Congdon’s A Collection a Day book

Lisa Congdon writes:

“Hi Ladies!
Just wanted to share…
You can see an image of my upcoming book cover here:
I am in the February issue of Martha Stewart Living which is in stores now!”

You can pre-order Lisa’s A Collection a Day book here.

The book comes packaged in a special collector’s tin!

Front Cover

Suzy Ultman’s road to “Happy Trails”


Doll hat inspired by Silvia Dekker’s stationery

Silvia writes:

“Hi Lilla,

I received an email from Adrianne Pouw, who makes beautiful crochet accessories for children and dolls. She told me she is inspired by my work and she sent me a picture of a wonderful Blythe doll hat inspired by stationery I designed for Dutch department store HEMA. I think it’s great when someone is inspired by my work! She has an Etsy store where she sells her accessories.”

A preview of Lisa Congdon’s A Collection a Day book


Mike Lowery’s updated bio

Mike Lowery’s updated bio.

Where do you live?

I’ve lived in Atlanta for a few years now.

Where have you lived?

TN, MD, back to TN, back to MD, VA, and then now Atlanta.

What medium do you use?

I mostly use pencil, print gocco, and photoshop.

How do you stay inspired?

My two biggest sources are illustration blogs and thrift stores. I am constantly making trips to thrift stores looking for old children’s books, and books with illustrations. I also really like books that have old scientific diagrams and educational images. My genius daughter, Allister, likes to go with me.

Where do you buy your art supplies?

Sam Flax in Atlanta and Haushalts-Fundgrube Neek in Bennigsen (though Neek is basically only good for pencil lead and ink!).

Do you work traditionally or digitally?

Both. I always work in two stages. The first stage is always traditional, either in a (moleskine) journal or on bristol, and the second stage is cleaning it up and coloring it in the computer. I rarely make a completed work without first starting out with a manual drawing.

What color combination are you most excited about right now?

Actually, I’m a big fan of a site called “” and I get color combination ideas from there a lot. But, my go-to colors are grayish blue and brown on off white paper.

What blog(s) do you read?, book by its cover, design sponge, swedesplease (scandinavian music blog), and illustrationmundo, and where the lovely things are.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?

a musician. Though, if I wanted to actually pay the bills I’d be a Dentist. I think I’d be good at that. More specifically, I’d be an ER dentist. “We need films of that crown on number 13 STAT!”

What illustration job would you love to get (your dream job)?

It would be great to see my characters turned into a cartoon someday.

Name something you do in your spare time.

Draw. I’m not kidding. I do that a lot. I also like to travel whenever I get breaks from teaching (I teach at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta). I’m currently using Rosetta Stone to learn German (because I spend the Summers working on my freelance projects there), but I’m still terrible at it, though! Entschuldigung! Wo ist der Flughafen? Ich muss eine Katze auf dem Markt kaufen.

What’s the strangest work experience you’ve ever had?

In 2006 I was invited to be in a gallery show in Beijing. I was the first non-Chinese person to show at this very prestigious gallery so I jumped at the chance, even though shipping was astronomical. Two weeks before the show went up, Chinese customs informed me that they were holding all of my art until I paid a (no joke) $40,000 (I forget what that equates to in RMB) fee. Needless to say, I just had them send it back. In the meantime, I rushed out to the embassy in DC and paid for an expedited visa and a week later I was on a plane.

What are you reading now?

I recently finished Hunger Games and City of Thieves and am currently ready Little Bee.

What recent book do you recommend for a good read?

Pyongyang by Guy Delisle is one of the best graphic novels I’ve ever read. The humor and style are perfect, and it offers a great glimpse into North Korea. I also recommend Dad Says he Saw you at the Mall by Ken Sparling.

Where would you like to travel to next?

My girlfriend and I have been hoping to go to Iceland at some point. Is it still super cheap over there after the big economic collapse? We’ve also been wanting to go to India and she’s never seen the Western coast of the US of A, so that’s on the list for sure.

What’s your favorite TV show?

My top shows of all time are: BBC’s The Office, 30 Rock, and Arrested Development. I just finished season 2 of Extras and liked it a lot.

What’s your favorite NPR show?

Culturetopia! It’s a podcast, not a show, but I’m hooked. I also listen to Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.

What movie have you seen several times?

Rushmore, Bottle Rocket, Empire of the Sun, and D.A.R.Y.L.

What is your favorite cheese?

Monterey Jack cheese. No joke, every time I smell it my mustache
explodes at the ends.

Do you wear shoes when you do art?

House shoes because it’s usually pretty cold in my studio.

What do you listen to while you work?

Mostly NPR podcasts, but lately I’ll have DVDs playing while I work.

What’s your middle name?

Michael (my first name is actually Thomas)

What do you wish your middle name was?

“Michael” I just think that would be cool.

If you could eat only one food, what would it be?

I would die. I’m not very picky about food, in fact I’m fairly adventurous, but I can’t eat the same dish back to back often. Though, okay, if it was ONE food I would say Indian food. It’s great. I also love frühstück mit brötchen which is a breakfast plate with bread and a variety of cheeses, meat, veggies, etc.

How do you stay in shape?

Not well.

How don’t you stay in shape?

Very well.

What is your current favorite font?

Hand draaaawn fonts.

How do you take your coffee?

Black. I use Trader Joe’s ethiopian or bolivian blend in a french press.

Whom would you like to meet?

The only person I’ve ever been starstruck over when I met him was Stefan Sagmeister. I ran into him at B&H in NYC. He gave a lecture in 98 or 99 in Chattanooga, TN about Design that I still think about all the time. Years later, when I ran into him he was very nice and actually carried the conversation, asking me about myself.

What recent illustration job have you enjoyed doing?

I recently did some drawing for a chinese crafts book. The company who put the book out did an interview with me that was translated into Chinese and then (for some reason) back into English from the Chinese translation. There were some great quotes. Here’s one of my favorites:

Foodoll: “I like all food from different places, but my mood affect my taste.”
Mike: “Oh, I’m a hungry man, if no food, I have no idea.”

What was your favorite illustration assignment?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to work on several really great projects. I did two sets of bilingual books (spanish/english) for a company out of Madrid, and I’ve just finished up a few children’s books that I’m really excited about.

Friday: Doll hat inspired by Silvia Dekker’s stationery