Whew, coming around the bend on another amazing spring of shows in NYC! I am just now catching my breath and have added some of our latest products to our portfolio. Take a minute to check out oodles of new JNA products today!
Our own Kelly Angelovic answers your questions about creating art for surface design. We asked the artist to select three questions pertaining to her art career. These are her fascinating answers.
Q. How do you integrate your art time into your daily routine?
A. I’m grateful every day that I get to do work that lights me up. As the mother of two high-octane little ones (ages 6 & 3), my schedule involves a lot of moving parts. In lieu of balance (is there really such a thing?), I strive for inspiration and joy. Some weeks are filled to the brim with exciting creative work and some weeks, motherhood takes center stage. There are also times when everyone is sick and deadlines are looming – weeks when my joy heads for the hills (as I watch, wishing with the whole of my being that I could run for cover too). My life is blessedly full, and following a heart-centered creative path isn’t always easy, but I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Q. Do you prefer working digitally or using conventional art media?
A. My background is in graphic design so I’ve always been a digital girl. Lately though, I’ve been playing with gouache. Mixing colors, smelling the paint, feeling the way different brushes move across the paper – it’s a sensual experience. Whenever I feel uninspired or stuck in a rut, exploring a new technique or medium is a surefire way to get my creative juices flowing. There is such delight (and frustration) in becoming a beginner again, especially when I’m able to completely surrender the outcome. This is the work I do for personal enjoyment. I believe that the key to a wonder-filled life is to keep learning and trying new things. My kids, who are filled to the brim with joy and never-ending curiosity, remind me of this everyday.
Q. Did you always want to be an artist?
A. My mom was a graphic designer, so I grew up in a household where creativity was encouraged. Despite my early leanings though, I strayed from a creative path for many years, initially pursuing a degree in marketing. A few years after graduating, finally heeding my own creative call, I went back to school for graphic design. I didn’t discover my path as an illustrator until my daughter was born though. The intensity of motherhood took me by surprise and in search of a new creative outlet, I started drawing while she slept. Illustrating lit me up, it fed my soul – and made me a better mom. I haven’t looked back since.
Earlier this year Jennifer contacted me with news of an interesting new project: Would I like to design some "Artsy Emojis" for a project being developed by the lovely Barbara Rucci and her design studio?
As a Graphic Designer by training I jumped at the chance. How cool! I've never had the opportunity to work on an App before and as a mum to two boys addicted to messaging on their iPhones and iPods, I was hoping to win a bit of credibility there too!
Barbara had a very clear idea of the kind of images she wanted to incorporate into her App so we rigged up a shared page on Pinterest where she could show me in quite specific detail the look she was after. This made my job much easier because I could see right from the outset the approach she desired: fun, quirky and colorful. I was excited to begin.
We started in the usual way with me responding to her list of subject matter with a series of simple black and white sketches. In total we worked on around 100 drawings for the App which we tackled in groups of 20 or so at a time. Once Barbara had approved these, the sketches went on to be made into vector shapes in Illustrator and then color was added.
This is what Barbara has to say about the app and how it all came to be: "I started designing all of the emojis myself, but then realized I would never get this app done on my own. So I hired this crazy-talented illustrator named Bee Brown to draw about 100 of the emojis. I drew about 30 myself. Bee is really good at animals and faces, something that is not particularly my strength. I am very grateful to Bee for creating these drawings that are so whimsical and beguiling and F.U.N.! They are exactly what I was imagining."
"The emojis cover all types of categories, not just art supplies. There are flower and feather emojis, nature and beach emojis, food and dessert emojis, transportation and holiday emojis, and party emojis. They really are all so beautiful, I can’t wait for you to see them!"
A little while ago, I received such a wonderful sample in the mail. And I finally got around to making photos so I could share it with you.
Demdaco produced a super lovely and soft scarf with one of my designs that I licensed last year. I am so happy with the quality.
Personally, I think it also works very well as a shawl, because of its size (24″w x 72.5″long)
The artwork is a mixture of line art and painted elements.
Beautiful florals, combined with acrobatic swallows and dragonflies, adorn the textured sky-blue background. The backside of the scarf is a periwinkle blue.
When I first picked up the scarf, I noticed how soft it feels. It’s made of a combination of polyester and rayon, which gives it a bit of a silky appearance. But it’s also slightly fluffy like fleece. Knowing nothing about types of fabric, I find it rather difficult to explain, haha.
Anyway, I wanted to share this with you. It’s so lovely seeing your artwork appearing on actual products! I always feel like such a lucky girl when I receive these samples at home.
After some research, I found a website that is currently selling the scarf, along with a beautiful line of other designers.
Please browse through the gallery below for more images.
Wishing you a great day!
Hello! I’m very excited to share with you this super duper fun project that I worked on last year. The mailman delivered me two big boxes with samples from French Publisher Auzou.
I illustrated a 54 pieces puzzle called ‘Mon puzzle des contes du monde’. It contains a small selection of (fairy)tales from different countries. Some of them where new to me, but I was happy I could introduce some stories as well.
As a kid I really liked the story of the boy who drew cats. It was a story from Japan about a boy that had trouble to find his place in society because all he really wanted to do was draw cats. He was looked upon by his family who feared he would never learn anything. His parents sent him to the village temple to become a priest. But even the priest didn’t want the boy, because the boy didn’t want to study. All he wanted to do was draw cats. He was sent away again. Ashamed of himself, the boy didn’t want to go home and decided to go to a temple in another village.
He arrives at night, and finds an empty temple. He is tired and decides to stay the night in one of the rooms that was filled with big rice-paper panels. The boy can’t resist, and starts drawing cats on them. Then he finds himself a small place to sleep in. That night he wakes up, hearing scary sounds, and he keeps very quiet. The following morning he finds a big dead rat monster and a trail of cat footprints leading to the rice panels. The drawn cats are positioned differently. They came to life at night and protected the boy’s life!
You’ll understand why I loved that story so much. And Auzou let me use it for the puzzl Of course there are more stories hidden in this scene. Do you think you can find them all?
Here is a list:
The Jade Rabbit
The boy who drew cats
Hansel and Gretel
Jack and the beanstalk
The Ugly Duckling
Puss in Boots
The Wizard of Oz, Alladin
The Snow Queen
The Frog Prince
Alice in Wonderland
I hope you are as enthusiastic about the puzzle as I am. The colors turned out great and both the box and the puzzle are of a really lovely quality. Maybe you’ll see them pop up in the toy stores too soon. Wishing you all a great day! - Miriam
Hello! Kelly here. You may know that last summer, I launched my own line of soulful paper goods. The journey of creating this collection was the realization of a long held dream--and so much FUN! Recently, I doubled the size of my line, and I'm over the moon to share my latest designs with you.
Whenever I start something new, I start with a pencil and paper. Once I'm happy with my sketches, I scan them in and start to add color, typically in Illustrator. From there, I take everything into Photoshop to add texture and depth.
I love being an artist, and as I follow the whispers of my heart, my biggest dream is to inspire you to do the same. Rise and shine. The world needs YOUR light, now more than ever.
My cards are all printed on a heavy, uncoated (100% recycled) card stock. I'm so proud to be in 8 stores, with several talks in progress for more. You can find my cards here!
Thanks so much for joining me on this journey! - Kelly
Wow, I'm so happy to show some interior pages of my new book out with Klutz, My Super Sweet Scented Sketchbook!
This was an absolute dream project and I couldn't be happier with how the finished product came out. Klutz was an AMAZING client to work with and their design team took my art to a whole new level! BONUS: it comes with scented markers that have faces and even EARS. How cute is that? Enjoy! — Lauren
I received a great little package in my mailbox today!
My copy of "First Stories – Peter Pan" arrived, and I am so exited to share it with you. The book has little mechanisms hidden inside which make it especially fun for toddlers.
Peter Pan was really a lovely topic to illustrate for a younger audience. And I’d LOVE to illustrate it for an older audience as well some day.
When I was a child I enjoyed the story of Peter Pan and Wendy and the adventures with the Lost Boys. While working on the illustrations I listened to the audio book and had quite a chuckle at the typical British humour and way of storytelling. I loved the character of Wendy’s dad too. He usually doesn’t get much attention in the stories. For the little ones, this book is a great introduction to a boy named Peter Pan, who didn’t want to grow up. It was a fun challenge to try and capture the characters and part of the storyline in four spreads only. My favourite illustration to work on was the children’s bedroom with all the old-fashioned toys and furniture.
The book is available at Amazon and possibly in your local book store too! Please enjoy the little movie below.
Wishing you a great and magical day! “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.” - Miriam
Hello there! I feel so fortunate to have attended Quilt Market in Houston this past weekend. I had a spectacular time and I’d love to share it with you!
Quilters, sewers, shop owners, pattern writers and fabric manufacturers come together from around the world twice a year for this amazing trade show. I’ve been designing fabric for Dear Stella Design, a Timeless Treasures company, for a year and a half, so it was time to attend the show and finally meet many partners and friends - some face-to-face for the first time!
This is one of my newest collections “Into the Reef.” The lovely quilt was designed and made by Sew Many Creations. Jessica from SMC worked in the booth with us, and it was fabulous finally meeting her in person, learning about her process, and seeing her impressive quilting wizardry!
I was also very excited to meet Denniele from Louanna Mary Quilt Design in person! She’s designed quilts for several of my Dear Stella collections, including this "Late Night Lanterns" quilt, using my “Night Garden” collection. I’m so amazed by the talent of these makers, and it’s truly surreal seeing these gorgeous projects with my art on them. I’m very grateful to work with such outstanding people at Dear Stella!
It a super short trip, but luckily I got out to see a bit of downtown Houston. The historic district and Market Square Park were especially lovely. I must say, Houston does a great job with green-space downtown. Halloween weekend wouldn’t be complete without some inspiring spooky trees and old buildings! - Rae
In January, we will celebrate two years in the business - these are the cards we currently have out in the marketplace. Enjoy!
The heART Journal Magazine, a print and digital magazine dedicated to mixed media techniques for art journals, mentioned Jennifer's Draw Every Day Draw Every Way in their Sept/Oct "Things We Like" column.
Last year I was so fortunate to work on a super lovely project with French publisher Auzou. I got to illustrate a card game with cats and dogs, called "Mistigri, de chats et chiens."
I has been such a cute project to work on, and it was a great pleasure and experience to be working with this client too. In English the game is also known as "Old Maid" and in the Netherlands it used to be called "Zwarte Piet." The game contains playing cards with pairs of dogs and cats.
This is how it works: The cards are equally distributed to each player. The moment a player makes a pair in their hands, they discard them immediately onto the table. Each player is trying to get rid of his or her cards as fast as possible. In the end there is only one player left, holding the unmatched card (the Old Maid). That player has lost the game and is the "old maid."
Of course you can also turn the rules around, making the one who ends up with the odd card the winner. The whole experience of the game will change that way.
I am a cat lover, rather than a dog lover. But if I would ever have a dog I think it would be a long curly haired dachshund. I've always loved these little pretty doggies. They are my favorite. A childhood friend of mine used to have two (one of them long haired), and I was crazy about them. I really couldn't leave this doggy out of the game, so the dachshund became part of the card deck, and I gave her a pencil and sketchbook to draw butterflies with.
Later when the art director was naming the animals, she asked me if she had permission to name the dachshund after me, because she thought it would suit the character. I felt very flattered and agreed. So now the dachshund is called Miriam.
Here are some photos that I made of the game. The quality is so nice. And the box itself is really special too. I was thrilled when I opened the package. You can pull out the inside box from the lid if you pull the ribbon. And the colors of the cards are vibrant and pretty.
If you'd like to see more illustrations you can also visit my portfolio page.
One of our favorite clients (and likely one of your favorite reads) is FLOW Magazine. Every assignment is so very clever and creative and their products are just THE best! Of course, we think they pick the very best artists too! Watch this charming little video to get an overview of FLOW's Vakantieboek (Vacation Book) 2016!
FLOW's Vakantieboek (Vacation Book) 2016 is out now! Jennifer's paper doll delights me and readers around the world as we slide in summer relaxation mode!
You can purchase the book here! Happy Swimming! - Jennifer
There’s something ironic about writing a blog explaining how you’re too busy to write a blog. So be it!
The past few months have been ridiculously busy here. And that’s a good thing! But I miss having the time to chat with our clients and artists friends.
December is a busy month for most people, with holidays and shopping and family. For us, it’s even busier as we exhibited at our first trade show: Blue Print NYC. We had a great time being in New York City, meeting people in person we had only spoken with on the phone, and doing quite a bit of business right there at the show. Our wonderful artist Jennifer Orkin Lewis brought her watercolors and was painting portraits of attendees live and in-person. Such a cool experience! We broadcast some of it live on Periscope while posting photos to Instagram and Facebook right from the event.
In January we were back in NYC for Printsource. Once again we had a booth and enjoyed meeting and greeting both artists and art buyers in a sometimes hectic but always friendly atmosphere. If you didn’t make it this time we’ll be back again in August. Send a note to say you’re coming so we can plan to meet there. It’s a terrific show for the surface texture industry.
We barely had time to catch our breath before we had to be in the air for a trip to Atlanta. (Less than 24 hours between getting home from Printsource and boarding a flight to Georgia. Yes, I managed to squeeze in a shower.) I met our amazing artist, Lauren Lowen there. The Atlanta Gift & Home Show is not only a wonderful show, but Atlanta is my home town. That meant spending quality time with my folks in between doing business at the show. It was fun, but exhausting. The very cool thing is that last year (the week before we hung out our shingle) - Lauren and I first met at this very show. JNA had no products, of course.... well, this year we are so pleased to say we have over 50!
With all that travel behind me, I have been working like mad on the mountain of follow-up. There are still calls and emails to return, and literally hundreds of inquiries to answer. But I’m not complaining! I love to be busy and I love my job.
I’ll blog again when I get a break. Meanwhile, feel free to get in touch when you need illustration for whatever project you have. I’m sure we can make you happy. – Jennifer
We are doing something a little different this week on the blog! We are celebrating our very first product out on the shelves with a giveaway! Enter for a chance to win Audrey Shulman's tasty book, Sitting in Bars with Cakes - beautifully illustrated by our very own, Jennifer Orkin Lewis. I am calling it "Pin to Win" - so do just that, add this image to your Pinterest and link back to us and I will randomly select a winner on April 21st!
You can have even more chances to win if you share this with others on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! The more I see, the happier I'll be! So, happy birthday to me - you CAN have your cake and eat it too! - Jennifer
I was working in a coffee shop in the summer trying to make the perfect latte. I think the boss of that little shop wouldn't mind being called insane. He really was. It was like being in a surreal sitcom. I loved it. And the people that bought the coffee became little gems in my world.
At the same time as I worked there I got commissioned by the amazing eeBoo to make an ice cream game. Today I the finished product was delivered. The quality is fantastic and both my kids immediately bagsied the strawberry ice cream one whilst I really favour the lime one. I feel truly lucky to work with such lovely people. Will do a lucky dip giveaway soon, so keep your eyes peeled! -Monika
Although I grew up in Atlanta, I never worked there professionally (went straight to NYC for school and then kept moving my way up the east coast until I landed in Boston!). This was my first time visiting the Atlanta Gift Show. Wow! Wow and truly, WOW!
I met, our own brilliant, Lauren Lowen and we walked the miles and miles of the show until we could take in no more! We chatted all the while about all the things we can do together!
We saw thousands of products representing 100s of 1000s of hours of illustration work. The GREAT news is that art licensing business is alive and well in the gift market (and it means I see my parents more often)! We even had a quick sighting of Monika's work amazing work!
I can already imagine the artists' work on such products as: aprons, stationery, guided (or not so guided) journals, beach blankets, ornaments, sweet little girl's dresses, candy tins, bolt fabric, lunch boxes. You too? Call me, 781-643-2002 and let's make it happen! - Jennifer