Suzy Ultman

I find inspiration scouring flea markets, hiking in the woods, walking down quirky city streets and doodling on sticky notes.


Where do you live?
I live in Columbus, Ohio (gem of the midwest).

Where have you lived?
I was raised in central Pennsylvania, playing in the woods and collecting stickers. I lived north of LA while attending grad school and moved on to Portland OR. Later, I lived in Amsterdam the Netherlands and then, Newburyport, MA. You can find traces of these places sprinkled throughout my work.

How do you stay inspired?
I collect ephemera, treasure hunt at antique shops and flea markets, spend time in nature, walk down quirky city streets and doodle on post-its. If you visit my studio, there will always be something Dutch gracing my inspiration board

What medium do you use?
I’m a pen and ink girl.

Do you work traditionally or digitally?
I combine traditional with digital. I am constantly drawing in my good ol’ sketchbook. Then, I render the art in the computer.

Where do you buy your art supplies?
I heart Dick Blick (and Staples for office pens).

What color combination are you most excited about right now?
I love the intensity of white-out on cardboard or kraft paper.

Why do you like being an illustrator in 10 words or less?
I get to put a little piece of me out into the world.

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be?
I would be a professional organizer

What illustration job would you love to get (your dream job)?
A children’s book

Name something you do in your spare time.
I’m a crafty girl so I love to bake, sew and build. I keep my center with yoga and birdwatching.

Where would you like to travel to next?
I would love to travel to Stockholm and India.

What’s your favorite TV show?
Flight of the Conchords

What’s your favorite NPR show?
Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me

What movie have you seen several times?
Amelie, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Sound of Music

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

What is your favorite cheese?
Young Dutch Kaas

Do you wear shoes when you do art?
Yes. I’ve been wearing my Jack Purcell’s since college (not the same pair, but almost).

What do you listen to while you work?
I catch-up on my NPR podcasts: Fresh Air, Wait Wait, Morning Becomes Eclectic.

What’s your middle name?

What do you wish your middle name was?

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

How do you stay in shape?
I chase my 2 energetic sons

What is your current favorite font?
I collect old type books and enjoy a rugged woodcut font.

How do you take your coffee?
Black with 2 sugar cubes

Whom would you like to meet?
Charles Schultz. When I was in the 4th grade, we had an “interest” fair, and my booth was a homage to Charles Schultz. I had lovingly bound scrapbooks of Peanuts clippings, drawn original poster-sized renditions of the gang, and collected all of my Peanuts ephemera and dolls. The piece-de-resistance was a hand signed letter from Charles Schultz, thanking me for writing to him. It was one of the best days of my life. His work touched me then, and continues to inspire me today.

What was your favorite illustration assignment?
PAPER DOLL PARADE holds a special place in my heart. Each character is based on someone dear in my life and the girls were in good hands with Chronicle Books. It was our first project together: my connection with the client was instant and the proposed format was perfect. The stationery set’s charming, whimsical, colorful personality is a reflection of a fun, supportive collaboration with Chronicle.

Chronicle Books
The Land of Nod
Crate & Barrel
Robert Kaufman Fabrics
Jonathan Adler
Madison Park Greetings
Papyrus Greeting Cards
Oopsy Daisy
Quarry Books
Usborne Books
Abrams Books
Flow Magazine

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