Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lovers Lane

I am so honored to have the rare opportunity to introduce you to a very special person today on Lovers Lane. Recently, you may have seen her work being circulated and buzzed about on hundreds of blogs from all around the world. Obviously, she is also a very busy lady; so when she took the time to connect with me, I was {and am} incredibly thankful. So without further ado . . .

Lovers Lane: Jillian Tamaki

Meet Jillian Tamaki: illustrator, published author, cartoonist, teacher, comics artist, and embroiderer extraordinaire. She is sought after by media powerhouses, including, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Canadian Broadcasting Company, EsquireO Magazine, National Geographic, TIME, and ESPN, for her signature, award winning illustrations, and timeless quality of detail.

I was first introduced to Jillian when I serendipitously came across her "Loggerhead" illustration that she did for The New Yorker. I will never forget the moment. It was the day of the tragic devastation in Japan; and I was at a complete lost for words. I found comfort, hope, and a dream for humanity and our planet, in her drawing. Jillian has a powerful way of bringing out profound emotion through her art. She opens up a world of re-invention; and she does this not only through her art, but also by her personal example of "taking a leap of faith."

Originally from Canada, Jillian Tamaki is currently a teacher at the School of Visual Arts in Brooklyn, New York. She is also a freelancer; who "carves out a decent living making illustrations for magazines, newspapers, websites, and books." But there is a whole lot more to this "cover story!" You see, Jillian Tamaki is also a very talented web comic, authoring/illustrating the popular comic: "SuperMutant Magic Academy." {A personal project of passion that has led her to many opportunities, including being chosen to design the poster for the Toronto Comics Art Festival.}

Recently, Jillian took another "leap of faith" when she "took up embroidery in a very enthusiastic, yet clumsy way." {and yet, another re-invention of herself, as an artist.} She completed her first embroidery project, which she refers to as the "Monster Quilt." After this project, Jillian said: "I wouldn’t take commissions in embroidery… unless Penguin called me for a Penguin Classics cover. Sometimes you get what you wish for (times three)."

Jillian has always Loved classic literature and book illustrations; so when Penguin called and asked this renown illustrator to create three book covers, she said "Yes!" thus landing her "dream project." But these were not going to be just any book cover illustration. They wanted them to be embroidered! It took only 2 months for Jillian to design and create the 3 book covers for Penguin: "The Secret Garden," "Emma," and "Black Beauty." 

The special edition, Penguin Threads Project, books will be available for sale October 2011. "They will not be individual, embroidered objects, but will be beautifully produced, printed with a sculptural-embossing technique that will emphasize the stitches. They will be tactile objects."

Jillian Tamaki is a true inspiration. It is through her re-inventions of herself as an artist, that she continually proves that taking "the leap of faith" in life is worth every challenge and fear of the unknown.

1. Where do you find your daily inspiration? The concept of fanciful inspiration is a fallacy and illusion. I am always working on deadline, so that's enough inspiration for me.

2. What is your most treasured item in your home? The art I've bought or been given, I suppose. Photographs.

3.What is your favorite comfort food? French Fries. 

4. When did you realize that you were an artist? I doubt many artists can pinpoint a specific moment. I was always told I was an artist since I was a child, because I was always drawing, and it's something I rebelled against. I suppose I had my own negative connotations about being an artist or an artist lifestyle... not smart enough to do something more intellectual, destined to a life of poverty. In my opinion there is a stark difference between having an artistic temperament and being an artist. Contrary to my initial preconceived notions, being an artist is hard work, not a life of whimsy.

5. Best advice you ever received? "When in doubt, block it out." If you can't draw it, put a table in front of it.

6. Your best advice to an aspiring artist? I have no blanket advice. There are too many routes to make a living in this world.

7. What is one thing people would not know about you? Um. I kind of hate colour.

8. Are you a Lover of Vintage? Not like I used to be. NYC killed it in me, maybe. I'm a lazy thrifter. I do like old things because they're typically better quality. We need to get back to that, but people unfortunately aren't willing to pay.

9. Where can we find you next? My embroidered Penguin Classics come out in October. But visit me online always.

10. What is your favorite thing to wear? Pajamas, because I'm a freelancer. I also have a killer jacket from Acne.


  1. so amaazing! i love love love her work and its so great to know more about the artist herself.

  2. i love her work!! keep up this great series :)

  3. Wow! She is just...amazing! Thank you for featuring her! xoxo

  4. she is so wildly talented!! so inspiring... thank you for sharing!!

  5. Jillian's work is so incredible-what an inspiration!

  6. Great interview! She's very inspiring for sure. xo

  7. Ah, such an interesting feature and interview. I enjoyed reading her answers - what a delightful insight into her personality - she's definitely creative, and I especially liked this: "When in doubt - block it out" - Have a nice day;-)

  8. So inspiring and such talent! Thanks for sharing...both of you.

  9. i've been seeing her work and it's lovely! hope you are well. xo

  10. What a fantastic post and inspiring interview. She is truly talented and I adore her work. Thanks, sweetie and have a fantastic Thursday morning


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