Jillian Tamaki


Dec 21st, 2009

I’m heading back to the Arctic Tundra (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) for a bit of skiing and Vietnamese food. I’ll be back on Jan 3.

(Until then, I can’t take any jobs. Let’s work together next year!)

Readers, please have a safe and happy holiday.


National Geographic Animals

Dec 18th, 2009

This project was definitely one of my highlights of the year. It was completed back in September, but the issue is just out now (Jan2010).

The series was about Asian Wildlife trafficking. You can read the article (and view some very disturbing photographs) here.

Animals, along with Dance, are probably my favourite things to draw. I was very excited when the AD, David Whitmore, suggested a simpler, painterly approach similar to the guy in this post. Thanks, Blog!

This wash technique is a very different one from my typical method… more of a one-shot deal with very minimal digital manipulation. (I still sent pencil sketches, albeit very rough ones.) Some of animals were done a dozen times before I got a few that worked. I would send the AD several final versions to choose from. Here is a picture of (mostly) discards.

It was an exercise in a new way of thinking and a good lesson for me as I try to streamline my illustration work. I have discovered through teaching that the most important thing you develop in school is not technique but PROCESS: a way of working that allows you to operate within the confines of Art Direction but still leaves you psychologically free to create work that is fresh and stimulating.


Dec 14th, 2009

Sorry, England! Joel Benjamin informs me that the last post contained some errors. Namely THE ILLUSTRATIONS WERE NOT IN THE NEWSPAPER LAST WEEKEND! Whoops. They’ll be out next weekend, the 20th. Many apologies!

Independent UK

Dec 12th, 2009

I did a few things for this next weekend’s [of the 20th] Independent newspaper in the UK. I think it may be out on Sunday? I think it’s part of the magazine? I’m not sure the details, but if you’re over there, I’ll assume you know what I’m talking about.

There are more, but I like this one best. The illustrations accompany a Christmasy story by Louis de Bernieres.

(AD: Ben Brannan)

Speaking of Christmas, I was dropping some stuff off at the Society of Illustrators today and decided to drop in at Bloomie’s since I’m looking for boots. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say the shoe department was COMPLETE carnage and the first thing I thought of was “I wonder if this is what Baghdad looked like after they overthrew Saddam Hussein.” There is nothing like witnessing shopping-induced mayhem to make you feel ashamed to be a human being.

So many dead-eyed husbands.

Anyway. Apologies for the lack of sketchbooking lately. It’s always really crazy before the holidays.

Feminist Choice

Dec 7th, 2009

(click to enlarge)

Here’s a recent illustration for Smith Alumnae Quarterly. I like the colours in this one. They’re a bit of deviation from my usual palettes which are more restricted and complementary.

The article is about feminism giving women the freedom to define themselves as they wish.

I watched A League of Their Own when I made this picture. So good! Avoid the clap.

AD Ronn Campisi.

David Sedaris’ "The Loggerhead"

Dec 2nd, 2009

I recently had the honour of illustrating a David Sedaris piece for the New Yorker. Talk about pressure! The story is not online, so you’ll have to buy the magazine itself. The art ran a bit smaller than originally planned but hopefully it holds up. Thank you so much to Chris Curry for the opportunity. Here are some sketches: