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June 1, 2011 / margikimball

Our New Site is Here!

Finally, finally! I’ve just put together a new site to house the next generation of the We Heart Illustration blog. I wanted to have more versatility in terms of design, fonts and curation, so moved us over to a custom URL and even designed a mark. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be transferring the information from this site over and so this blog will remain up until then.

Make sure to resubscribe to the new feed and enjoy!

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April 14, 2011 / margikimball

♥ Kelsey Oseid

I am happy to have found the work of Kelsey Oseid today on the excellent site, Share Some Candy. This up-and-comer from Minneapolis is finishing up her undergrad degree at Loyola and I really look forward to seeing her work grow.

Kelsey is interested in the handmade. Her work seeks relationships between the designed and evidence of the hand, of the human. And I think this is a growing trend, possibly of the new generation of designers emerging now. I mean, as we look at the modernists and even postmodernists before us (the Helvetica-users of the world), I think we’re looking for something more human, more process-oriented, more real. Anyway, I’m definitely keeping an eye out for Kelsey.

April 8, 2011 / margikimball

On Making

Here is a quote that I might start using at the beginning of my classes, said better than I could say it. But there’s something so true here: while making, whatever is in the mind at the time, during the process is transferred to the page. Whether it’s through the quality of the mark, the depth of inquiry. Something important to keep in mind.

[Found via Fred Lynch’s most excellent blog, Picture It. Typefaces are Elega Rounded and Museo…both open source.]

April 5, 2011 / margikimball

♥ :: Holly Wales

You’ve probably seen the work of Holly Wales. I had and didn’t know I had and am thrilled to have found her website, shop, blog and illustration studio. Holly is based in London and her work is stunning.

A good word for Holly’s work might be watery. She uses felt-tip marker/pens masterfully, allowing the images to show where marks have been laid and how. And every mark is intentional. Where the color leaves the line momentarily, where the marker fades or stops to show a curve: the result is a kind of gestural, alive feeling. Like the people are going to carry on in a moment, like the typewriter is going to type.

Holly’s work is fresh and refreshing. Her images for, say, the New York Times (like the typewriter) are quirky and smartly handled. And she makes personal projects like zines (see below) which are kind of wild and almost un-contained. I think what I’m trying to say is that she’s exploring the world in which she lives and showing it to us, which is beautiful.

Check out more of Holly’s work. It’s beautiful, moving, truly artistic in the way it thinks. Follow her on Twitter. She was just featured in CommArts and I hope to see more of her beautiful work, her pursuits soon.

As an aside, I am in the stormy center of wrapping up two MFA theses at the moment (a book and some drawings) and so my posts will be scattered through Mid-May, whereupon I’ll redesign the crap out of this site and over-post thereafter.

March 31, 2011 / margikimball

♥ Nicole J. Georges

Zinester, illustrator and super fly pet portraitist Nicole J. Georges lives and thinks and makes in Portland, Oregon. Her work is bold, funny, touching, masterfully rendered and frequently sequential. I love too the textures of her compositions and the subtlety of text, its understated nature. There’s a sweet, an intimate nature to the work that sort of makes my heart pound.

I’m drawn to the black and white palette of many of the illustrations. There’s something about balance and composition that is, I’d say, strengthened in setting this limitation. (Of course, using only black and white is practical in printing terms, cheaper and all, but it’s a different challenge, too.) I think the tools change in the use of this palette: textures, contrasts, words, expression, marks. In other words, the focus shifts to these techniques whereas in colorful pieces, the color becomes part of the message, part of what is received. If that makes sense.


There’s a sense too of the classic/vintage/hipster something…which is endearing. The shape of the glasses, the patterns of the tablecloths and wallpapers, some of the hairdos and outfits. I’m simultaneously reminded of my great grandmother and hipsters in Brooklyn. Either way, I am charmed.

Maybe we should note too the expressions of the characters. They’re kind of hilarious in the way the humans seem sort of unimpressed. Smiles are kind of subverted by the questioning eyes. At times they seem aware of us aware of them. Sometimes we or they are uncomfortable, like (above) why is that lady behind that guy and who does that hand belong to?! If this is tension (or if I’ve imagined it) it’s the kind of tension that draws us into the story behind the picture.

I found Nicole in a search for graphic nonfiction. She’s the author of two autobiographical, anthologized volumes called Invincible Summer. And at the moment, I’m happy to report that she’s working on a book to be released this year, called untitled. Check out her blog for some comics/zine excerpts. Nicole is one prolific illustrator and I can’t wait to read her new book. Check out more of her work here or, better yet, go to her Etsy Shop and buy a zine or a print!

March 30, 2011 / margikimball

♥ Ping Zhu, King of the Cosmos

And so here the gestural meets the controlled line, flat color mingles with texture and the abstract plays with the representative. Hello, Ping Zhu, we heart you. Ping borrows techniques from other mediums to create what I would say are beautifully dramatic images. In the image of the condor above, for instance, the creature is cropped a la a photograph and so we are immediately brought into the personal space of the creature, almost confronted by it (her? him?).

I’m also drawn to the gestures here, evidence of the brush, the hand. Like in the tail of the fox, Ping allows the paint to break but we read it as tail, as bushy tail. And so texture is created by the medium (of course) but also by the looseness of the mark. There’s something playful about this, smart, unconcerned, confident.


I’ll include one of Ping’s dinosaurs here because I like it, it’s funny, and also because I’ve been on a dinosaur kick for the past few months.

Anyway, Ping’s work helps us think about illustration differently, perhaps. Helps us think about how we might use the techniques and language of other disciplines to communicate our messages. Check her out. Hire her. Follow her tweets. She’s excellent.

March 29, 2011 / margikimball

♥ Jillian Tamaki

Yesterday in the glorious way of the internet, I happened upon the beautiful, the striking work of Jillian Tamaki, an illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like these images. This makes me happy.

While some of the marks seem to reference, say, Ralph Steadman or the old Japanese block prints, the combination of gestural and simple lines, flat colors and the various textures/washes rendered is breathtaking, no? An effective tension is created through perspective and the sheer intensity of the marks. And this is why I say breathtaking. See, for instance, the image below.

I want to talk here of design, of balance and color but maybe the best way is to just show the freaking work. So here we are.

Check out her blog, where you can see more of her work (my favorite: her new Penguin classics book covers…embroidered!). Illustration Friday also interviewed her. And see her site, too, with more work, more ideas, more loveliness.