Easter holidays are around the corner and what a better way to celebrate it with this new book hitting the shelves? I had the pleasure to work once again with the Auzou team in this exciting new project! More than 30 pages of super fun dot-to-dot and coloring activities... Such an ideal gift for the little ones! Grab a copy here!
There is no doubt why Angela Nickeas' illustrations have been commissioned by renown brands such as Target, Primark and Wallmart. Her illustrations are just stunning! Bright and cheerful, every piece she creates is a great source of inspiration, (not only for clients but also for other artists looking for high quality print trends) Let's have a talk with the creator of the amazing Hiccup Studio Designs:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Has illustration always been constant in your life?
A: My name is Angela Nickeas and I am a freelance surface pattern designer. My design life officially started 2000 when I gained a place on the prestigious BTEC Foundation Studies course in Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan University. From there I studied a BA (Hons) in Surface Pattern Design at Staffordshire University - a fantastic course with an emphasis on drawing skills which also allowed a lot of freedom due to its diversity. We could dip into glass, ceramics, paperwork and textiles. I specialized in printed textiles.
I exhibited at New Designers in London in 2003 and upon graduating I worked mainly in the home textile and furnishing market, designing patterns and styling ranges for a number of major UK retailers, manufacturers and international clients. I travelled a lot during this period, mainly to factories in the Far East which really gave me an insight and understanding into the manufacturing and printing process which I feel has enhanced my work on a commercial level.
I live in Manchester, England with my husband Oliver and three young children Lola, Theo and Otto.
Q: You are the owner of a successful illustration studio. Was it hard to make the decision of going freelance?
A: I set up my own studio - Hiccup Studio Designs in 2010 and began to undertake various design projects in the interior, stationery and giftware industries for a variety of UK retailers and manufacturers. I always knew that I wanted to set up my own business and after the birth of my daughter I came to the decision that a full time career was not the right path for my new family so it was a relatively easy choice.
I’ve been really fortunate with the success I’ve had and I’ve worked on some fabulous briefs for companies such as Primark, Brother and Belly Button. I am also represented by the amazing Pink Light Studio in America, and my work is available for licensing. I honestly don’t think that my freelance work would have happened if I hadn’t worked in-house first. The experience, knowledge and contacts I gained along the way were invaluable.
Q: What do you enjoy to draw most? What less?
A: I love to draw florals - my work is quite heavily decorative and feminine but my florals are mainly stylized and quirky in their appearance. I also feature birds and butterflies often within my designs and love for these to be filled with pattern. I’m not great at drawing people… faces in particularly. I’d love to take up some life drawing classes again in the future.
Q: Could you share your creative process?
A: My process generally begins with a concept or theme. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of a new collection doing research and gathering reference – this could be an inspirational colour palette or a single flower motif which may then spark a myriad of ideas. I love to have a vast source of visual inspiration to work from. I like to sketch layouts and motifs first freehand before turning to the computer where I use a combination of Illustrator and Photoshop to develop concepts and create repeats.
Q: What do you do when you have creative slumps?
A: If I feel a design isn’t working, sometimes I just stop, walk away and come back to it later which I find often helps. Most of the time though I generally go online and search for inspiration. There are so many amazing design blogs and websites out there and I love to delve in and get lost and I quite often feel invigorated and motivated after. It’s important to accept that these slumps or moments of ‘artists block’ will always happen but will pass eventually!
A new Look and Find illustration for Jardín de Genios' mag is out! And in this issue these cute friends are having tons of fun in the woods! Let me know if you can spot all the items listed below!
Tons of published books, a colorful portfolio and lovely licenses… there is no doubt why clients from all around the world are captivated by Natalie Marshall’s amazing work. (And I’m sure by now you will be a fan as well!) Her fascinating and bright illustrations look amazing everywhere! (I truly love her outstanding greeting cards! How about you?) Do you wanna know more about this talented children illustrator? Well, it’s your lucky day! I had prepared a little interview just for you:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started as an illustrator?
A: I studied graphic design at university, but my first love was always drawing. It sounds familiar but I did spend my childhood colouring and cutting, painting, sticking and drawing. My problem was that I could not see how I would be able to earn a living as an illustrator so I chose the next best path for me - graphic design, and I loved it.
After high school I spent a year doing a pure art course and building a portfolio of work so I could apply for a university - there were a very limited number of places in the degree so it was very competitive! After I finished my design degree I was selected to stay at uni for another year to complete an Honours Degree. During my Honours year I focused on producing illustration work in a variety of mediums, I also produced an illustrated magazine with a friend and wrote my thesis on illustration in design.
After I finished my Honours year I started work as a designer in Melbourne. After a few years I moved to New York and worked in a small studio that had very high-end clients in the financial sector. After almost four years in New York, I moved to London and freelanced through an agency for a year or so. Working in lots of different studios on a wide variety of projects was a nice break from the pressure of my old job in New York! I then took up a full-time senior design position in a studio in London which did a lot of community based work which I really enjoyed. Many of my clients did not have the budget for photography so I began to illustrate projects for them - which was great - seeing my illustrated posters on the streets of London was a huge thrill.
When I returned to Melbourne I decided to work for myself for a while and see if I could be successful on my own. It was really tough but I gave myself a year and started a little business illustrating personalized art for children's rooms. I then drew on my print and design background to start Little Red Owl, my greeting card business. Little Red Owl was hard work, long hours and a big leap of faith but I really loved it. A publisher saw my cards and offered me a book project which was a dream!
Q: Your art style is absolutely cute and unique. Has it changed a lot since your days at the uni?
A: My style has changed a lot since I was at uni. I have a very strong background in still life and life drawing and I especially love screen printing and painting but my many years as a designer meant working on a Mac and my style has evolved to suit that medium. When I first started woking on my own I spent A LOT of time drawing on the screen to really hone my skills. I can see a huge evolution in my illustration work over the last nine years.
Q: Could you share your typical work day?
A: Organize my kids for school, take our dog for a run. Then I work from home for the day while he sleeps under my desk. A couple of times a week I do an early morning run or an afternoon swim. My schedule is usually pretty packed - for instance I currently have twelve books on the go so I try to manage my stress with exercise! I usually do a few more hours at my desk after the kids are in bed.
Q: You have illustrated and also written tons of books. Do you find writing harder than creating art? Or is it the other way round?
A: I am always thinking about words and pictures. It is a constant thing that happens in my head no matter what I am doing, and I always think of them together. I think books are a partnership of words and illustrations and they have to work together and support each other. I sometimes get these bright lightbulb moments when an idea pops into my head - which is exactly what happened when I had the idea for my 'Happy Book'. I was out for a very early morning run, the sun was rising, and I was listening to the birds singing and they seemed so happy and full of joy that the idea for the 'Happy Book' popped into my head.
When I got home I scribbled down the words I was thinking of and then later refined them and I could already see the illustrations in my mind - so to me they tend to happen at the same time. I love creating books that teach children about the world and that is how my 'Millie-Mae' books were born. Millie-Mae is a child of the outside world, but in a small way that children can relate to - she builds sandcastles at the beach, flies her kite on windy days and makes lemonade from the lemon tree in her garden.
Q: How do you come up with new licensing ideas?
A: I do little sketches during my working week - sometimes they are specific sketches for a book I am working on but sometimes they are much more random - for instance I will think 'I would like to draw a crocodile with a hat... or an elephant... or a bear wearing a tutu' and I will experiment with the style of that sketch and then sometimes that little random sketch will become a card design. I love creating cards, they are a little mini story with a message.
Hey! Don't leave without checking out Natalie's wonderful web!
Hey guys! I've been working non-stop during the last few weeks (Too many amazing projects are coming together!) I can't show most of the stuff yet, but here is a little sneak peek of a personal project I've illustrated... A look and find coloring book! Yay!
If you are like me, there is a great chance that you love cute, cheerful and kawaii illustrations! (If you had said yes to this, you should definitely check out the amazing art by Squid&Pig) This successful Spanish studio (Created by Andrés Sanchis and Sonia Viu) has worked with major labels in the development of colorful, Japanese-inspired illustrations! Do you wanna know more about them? Well, don't worry! I've got you covered... Here is a little interview just for you:
Q: How did you come up with the idea to create Squid & Pig?
A: It all started as a free-time hobby. It was something in which both of us could work together (after our full-time jobs...) However, as we started to develop and create tons of projects (for different clients), we decided to focus on our own studio. We finally gave up our jobs and dedicate ourselves 100% to illustrate!
Q: What inspires you?
A: Animals, plants, even a pencil... All is a good source of inspiration! e love to image all those things with little round eyes and happy smiles! We truly enjoy to develop a cute and charming character from an inanimate object!
Q: How is your creative process? Do you always work together r there is chance for some alone-time project?
A: I think that none of our projects belongs 100% to one of us. Every piece is worked as a team (we even change tasks during the process!) Sometimes it is hard to tell who has created a certain piece!
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? And what less?
A: What truly enjoy is working on the development of a character. We love to imagine his/her personality! (It's always great fun to think some stories for him/her, too!) What we certainly don't enjoy is all administrative-related (billing, contracts... you know what I mean) However, we know that it is an important part of our work and we should do it!!! (No matter how boring it could be!)
Q: You have created illustrations for apps, books, magazines and even figures. Is there any pending project you would love to work in?
A: Our major dream is to work for Disney!!! We would also love to have our own merchandising as well as a cartoon show! Hey, you know what they say... Dream it possible!
Ready to check out more kawaii stuff? Here is Squid&Pig amazing website!
Si son grandes fans de las ilustraciones cute, llenas de color y sobre todo, muy pero muy kawaii seguramente estén familiarizados con el trabajo de Squid&Pig. Este estudio de ilustración y diseño español (creado por Andrés Sanchis y Sonia Viu) ha logrado exitosamente hacer del kawaii su sello distintivo. ¿Quieren saber un poco más sobre ellos? Pues aquí debajo encontrarán una pequeña entrevista:
P: ¿Cómo surgió la idea de crear Squid & Pig?
R: Pues al principio fue como un hobby al que le dedicábamos nuestro tiempo libre. Era algo que podíamos hacer juntos al salir de nuestros respectivos trabajos. Pero conforme fueron llegando proyectos, la ilusión fue creciendo y también el tiempo que le dedicábamos. Finalmente decidimos dejar nuestros trabajos para dedicarnos 100% a nuestro amor por la ilustración.
P: ¿Qué los inspira?
R: Nosotros nos sentimos inspirados por los animales, las plantas y hasta por un simple lápiz, sólo que nos gusta imaginárnoslos con pequeños ojos redondos y sonrisas animadas. Nos encanta hacer de algo común e inanimado, un personaje lleno de personalidad y simpático a la vista.
P: ¿Cómo es su proceso creativo? ¿Recurren a la división de tareas o todo los proyectos se realizan en conjunto?
R: Es posible que no tengamos ningún trabajo que sea 100% de uno de los dos y tampoco hay una tarea de la que se encargue el mismo siempre. Cada proyecto pasa por las manos de ambos en un estadio u otro. Incluso muchas veces no sabemos quién de los dos ha hecho un determinado dibujo xD
P: ¿Qué es lo que más le apasiona de su trabajo? ¿Y lo que menos disfrutan?
R: Lo que más nos gusta del trabajo de ilustrador es el momento del diseño inicial de un personaje. Solemos inventar incluso una personalidad para cada uno, de esta forma, prácticamente se dibujan solos y es muy divertido pensar que hay una historia detrás de los personajes. Quizás el trabajo que menos nos gusta es el administrativo, la facturación y los contratos, pero somos conscientes de que es necesario por más pereza que nos dé xD
P: ¿Han creado ilustraciones para apps, libros, revistas y muñecos! ¿Les queda algún proyecto pendiente en el cual les gustaría trabajar?
R: Nuestro sueño es y ha sido siempre, el poder trabajar para Disney. Y por nuestra cuenta, sería genial tener una linea de merchandising o una serie de dibujos animados. Por soñar, que no quede ;D
¿Se han quedado con ganas de más? Pues aquí les dejo el link a la web oficial de Squid&Pig. De nada. :D
There are tons and tons of cute little characters to look and find in this new issue of Bien Escondidos! (Part of Jardín de Genios Magazine!) What theme do you think the the next drawing should be?
A new book is out! I had the pleasure to work with Auzou publishing in an exciting new project for the little ones. This fun winter-themed activity book offers tons of coloring games with different complexity levels! Tiago Americo has also illustrated some pages which you should definitely check out! (His artwork is just amazing!) Get it here.
I first found Courtney’s work on Instagram… and damn boy, it was an instant crush! Her fun and cheerful illustrations are truly eye-catching and will certainly look amazing in almost everything (I would definitely love to have some pillows with her lovely big-eyed-girls printed on them… And well… I bet you want them too! ) She has done tons of freelance work, specially for educational publishings. I’m sure by now you will definitely want to know more about Courtney! (And don’t worry, I got you covered!) Here are some Q&A with this talented artist:
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you first get into illustration?
A: I'm Courtney Godbey, an illustrator from South Carolina. I've enjoyed drawing since I was very little and it's always been one of my favorite ways to spend my time. My older brother is also an artist so growing up our Mom always had a huge array of art supplies for us to play around with. I majored in 2D Studio Art in college and at the same time I started working at a local small publisher doing illustration work. I've been doing illustration full time for about 9 years now.
Q: Which is the best part of your job? And the less fun?
A: I love the initial start of projects. Receiving the requests and brainstorming through the sketch and working out the composition is so fun to me. I've always preferred the drawing aspect of art over painting or coloring, so doing sketches and cleaning up the drawings once the sketches are approved is my favorite. The least fun part is probably the scheduling and trying not to over book myself! I'm still working at getting a good healthy balance when it comes to personal time and work.
Q: What inspires you?
A: I have so many things that inspired me! I grew up with cartoons, video games, and comics and those things have always remained a part of me and my work. In particular Disney and Ghibli films had been a huge inspiration and I'm always trying to capture that kind of beauty and emotion in what I do.
I've always been an avid reader so children's picture books and chapter books were a huge part of my life and I loved studying the illustrations in them. In college I studied the Golden Age illustrators and starting trying to incorporate some of their techniques into my work. But I've also always loved cute kitsch art such as the Big Eyes movement, as well as manga from all decades, and super cute things like Sanrio. So I think all of those inspirations have kind of combined into how my brain thinks and draws now!
Q: Do you have a creative process?
A: When I'm doing original work, it normally starts with an idea sparked by either a story I read or perhaps an image I run across. And I know saying this goes against a lot of art teaching, but I don't often do thumbnails for my work. I've never enjoyed them and only do them if they're specifically requested. So when I'm starting a piece I'll usually be thinking about it and planning it out in my head for a few days while I'm working on other things. Once I feel comfortable with the idea, I'll then lightly sketch it out and just continue to build darker layers over it until I get the drawing how I want it. Then, if working digitally, I'll do a new clean line layer over it, or, if I'm doing traditional work, transfer it to the final paper. I've never been as comfortable with the coloring stage, so recently I've been looking up color palettes to use for my pieces, and I feel like that's been helping a lot!
Q: Any illustration tips you would like to share with us?
A: Practice as much as you can, but don't be afraid to give yourself time to rest and recharge. Taking in new information, through books or the world around you, and studying art that inspires you can be just as important as building up your drawing abilities! Don't feel pressured to fit into a certain mold of artist because you think it will give you more attention or work. If you draw what you love and have a passion for, people will notice and they will resonate more with the audience.
Hungry for more? Check out Courtney's amazing website!
A new project is done and these cute stickers will hit the shelves briefly! Who say drawing cars isn't fun?
Fun, unique and creative... Those three adjectives perfectly describe Namaka, the new children’s magazine created by Sara Molina and Helena Ortiz. Packed with cheerful illustrations and catching stories, Namaka helps kids to develop their learning and reading skills in a fun and original way. Wanna know more about this brand new project? Here are some Q&A with their amazing creators:
Q: How did the idea of creating Namaka come-up?
A: Namaka was created due to personal and professional needs. Helena and I (Sara) where eagerly looking for a project that could not only fulfill ourselves but also let us develop a business. We finally mixed together three of our passions: kids, publishing and illustration. All these three “ingredients” helped us to develop Namaka: The funniest Catalan magazine. We knew that a brand new publication should be made, (A good design and interesting content was a must) Namaka had to be unique!
Q: What do you enjoy most of creating content for kids?
A: What we really love is the final piece! We really enjoy to see kids reading the magazine. They loooove to share their thoughts with us (and we eagerly follow their tips! It’s fantastic!) Some kids even tell us that they love the farts’ jokes and texts! We truly seek to amaze the little ones!
Q: What inspires you?
A: Well… Almost everything! Movies, anecdotes, memories… We are constantly catching-up with all the news in the editorial world! (We also go to bookstores and library all the time!) Our nephews are a great source of inspirations as well! They always shares their ideas with us!
Q: Which is the hardest part of creating a children's publication?
A: Creating a magazine is a truly complex process, but maybe the hardest part is to make it public and reach a great number of people. It takes us a lot of time and effort, but we are sure of two things: trusting your own project and creating an excellent quality publication will raise up the sales!!
Q: Can you share a little bit of the next Namaka's issue?
A: We can tell that our new and fun issue will let the kids to become publishers, illustrators and even editors! Stay tuned for more!
Divertida, original e innovadora. Así es Namaka, la revista infantil de Haumea Ediciones creada por Sara Molina y Helena Ortiz! Llena de ilustraciones y textos atrapantes, Namaka propone acercar la lectura y el aprendizaje a los más chicos! ¿Les gustaría saber más sobre este gran proyecto? Pues a continuación encontrarán una pequeña entrevista con sus creadoras:
P: ¿Cómo surgió la idea de crear Namaka?
R: La idea de crear una revista infantil nació de una necesidad personal y profesional. Tanto Helena como yo (Sara) buscábamos un trabajo que nos llenara personalmente y en el que nos pudiésemos desarrollar profesionalmente. Unimos algunas de nuestras pasiones: niños, el mundo editorial y la ilustración. Todos estos ingredientes nos ayudaron a crear Namaka, la revista infantil en catalán más divertida y salvaje. Sabíamos que teníamos que ofrecer una publicación realmente diferente, muy cuidada a nivel de contenido y diseño. Teníamos muy claro que Namaka tenía que ser distinta, no debía parecerse a ninguna de las revistas que ya existen.
P: ¿Qué es lo que más disfrutan de generar contenido para niños?
R: Lo que más disfrutamos es el resultado final, aquel momento mágico en el que el niño o la niña tiene su ejemplar de Namaka entre las manos, te cuenta sus impresiones y te explica lo que más le ha gustado. Trabajamos para los más pequeños de la casa y sus observaciones nos ayudan a saber si vamos por el buen camino. Hay niños que se reconocen en las historias o en una ilustración. ¡Es algo fantástico! Otros te comentan, con cara de asombro, que en la revista se habla de pedos. Buscamos, constantemente, sorprender a los más pequeños y cuando compruebas que lo estás consiguiendo la alegría es total.
P: ¿Qué las inspira?
A: Te diría que casi cualquier cosa, una película, una anécdota, un recuerdo... Intentamos estar al día de las novedades editoriales infantiles, las visitas a las librerías y bibliotecas son constantes. Instagram es, sin duda, una lluvia de ideas constante. Por otro lado una fuente inagotable de inspiración son nuestros sobrinos. ¡Siempre están aportando ideas y nosotras las cazamos al vuelo".
P: ¿Cuáles han sido las mayores dificultades al crear la revista?
R: Editar una revista es un proyecto muy complejo y quizá la mayor dificultad radica en dar a conocer la publicación. De nada sirve tener un buen producto si nadie lo conoce. La labor comercial de la revista es necesaria e implica muchas horas de trabajo pero la experiencia nos dice que la constancia, la confianza en la publicación y una revista bien hecha ayudan a cerrar ventas.
P: ¿Pueden compartir algún adelanto sobre la próxima edición de Namaka?
R: Lo que podemos desvelar es que seguimos con la idea de ofrecer una revista en construcción para que nuestros niños namakianos se conviertan, también, en editores de la misma y puedan ponerse en la piel de un ilustrador o un redactor. ;)
A new month is here and a new issue of Jardín de Genios is already out! I had the pleasure to illustrate this cute little mermaid for a kids game! How fun is that?
These past few weeks have been truly crazy! I've been working non-stop on some incredible projects! Unfortunately, I can not show you the final pieces yet... But, for the time being, here is a little sneak peek of an upcoming illustration! Yay!
A little bit late, but here is last month's Look and Find illustration for Jardín de Genios' mag! What can I say? I had a wonderful time creating this Christmas-inspired piece!
Happy new year everyone! 2018 is here and it's already rocking! Tons of amazing projects are coming together!!! (Yay!) Here is a little sneak peek of a new project I had the pleasure to work in!
The holiday season is around the corner, so here is a little illustration to celebrate! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Christmas is around the corner and here is a little sneak peek of the latest Look and Find illustration for Jardín de Genios!!! Hope it will get you festive! Yay!
A new project is coming together! Here is a sneak peek of a super cute coloring book!
A new Look and Find illustration for Jardín de Genios is out! Yay! I guess now I can say prehistory was way too cute!!!
A new book for Catapulta Editores is out! Las Mascotas features 5 cute pets with incredible textures and cool sounds! It's the perfect gift for the little curious to learn while having fun! Be sure to grab a copy!