Kali Ciesemier

Kali Ciesemier is a (living and working!) illustrator based in Los Angeles. She graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art. Since graduating, she has taught at Maryland Institute College of Art from 2009 – 2013, University of Arts in Philadelphia in 2015, and the School of Visual Arts from 2015 – 2016.

Her impressive client list includes Amtrak, Boston Globe, Cartoon Network, New Yorker, Google, Harper Collins, LA Times, New York Times, Scholastic, and United Way. She consistently does editorial illustrations for magazine articles, which she posts on her blog along with commentary about her process. Ciesemier also published a graphic novel titled I Am Princess X, about two young best friends whose imaginary princess creation goes viral years after one of the friends is killed in a car accident. Another work by Ciesemier is her contribution to the first issue of the Steven Universe Comic series, entitled, “Steven Chewniverse.” Right now, Ciesemier is working as a freelance illustrator, and is also the color designer for the show OK KO: Let’s Be Heroes!, at Cartoon Network.

I was personally drawn to Ciesemier’s work because of the color and beautiful use of digital mediums. She has an amazing handle on color theory and uses a variety of colors successfully in all her pieces. This is due to her process, she says that she completes a greyscale sketch first, in order to make sure the tones are correct, before going in with color. Her work feels loose, yet very finished, and is well suited to editorial illustration. I love the intentional amount of texture that she manages to fit into all her pieces, without them ever feeling over-worked. I would love to see a video of her drawing process! I love how she doesn’t use outlines in her drawings, they feel alive, and full of movement, yet very polished.

She also hashes out some serious tax and saving advice for illustrators on her blog – pretty cool.

Professional illustrators need references too!





Bruce Mau

Image result for bruce mau manifesto

Bruce Mau is an influential Canadian designer who has left a strong mark on the landscape of Canadian design in the past few decades. Growing up, he planned to become a scientist, but a one year arts program at Sudbury Secondary School helped introduce him to design. He had to take apart and refurbish a vintage, single color printer, which he then used to print a four color print, taking it apart again for each new color. His formal art education began at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), but he left before graduating to work at the design firm Fifty Fingers.

Image result for bruce mau
Mau’s rebrand of OCAD University

After a few years at Fifty Fingers, Mau spent a year at Pentagram in London. When he returned to Canada, he founded Public Good Design and Communications, which eventually led to the shoot-off Bruce Mau Design (BMD), which he ran for more than twenty years as creative director. Here, he expanded his practice, working with architecture, film, wayfinding, and various other avenues. One of Mau’s most famous projects was to design Zone 1/2, a massive book on urbanism from contemporary critical thinkers.

In 1998, Mau produced one of his most well known works, a 43 point long program called Manifesto for Growth, which aims to help creatives improve the way they think about and do their work. In 2003, Mau founded Institute Without Boundaries, a design program at George Brown University. In 2010 he founded the Massive Change Network, along with his wife, Bisi Williams. Since 2015, Mau has been working as the chief design officer at Freeman, a worldwide design company.

Image result for zone 3/4/5 bruce mau






Chris Ware

Image result for chris ware

Chris Ware was born on December 29, 1967, in Omaha, Nebraska. His illustration career began in the early 1980’s, when his first comics were published in The Daily Texan, the University of Texas’s student publication. His career really took off in his second year of university, when Art Spiegelman noticed his work and asked him to contribute to his magazine, Raw. The expose and confidence Ware gained from this helped give him momentum moving forward into his career.

Image result for chris ware

After graduating, Ware moved to Chicago, where he began contributing to The Chicago Reader and New City. He published a weekly science fiction serial in the paper Floyd Farland: Citizen of the Future. Eventually, all these comics were compiled and printed in a book. The book brought him much attention and acclaim, but today, he finds it severely embarrassing and tries to destroy all the copies he can find.

Image result for chris ware

Ware has been a regular contributor to the New Yorker. Since 1999, he has illustrated over 25 covers and and made many other contributions to the contents of the magazine. He has published many award winning graphic novels, which form the bulk of his career’s work. Some notable ones are Building Stories, which was named one of the Top Ten Fiction books of the year by both Time Magazine and the New York Times in 2012. His latest graphic novel, Monograph, was recently released.

Ware has also done some exciting and high-profile, non-graphic novel projects. He has done illustrations for This American Life, and a mural for 826 Valencia, a San Francisco literacy project, among others.

Ware’s work is linear and mathematical. His illustrations are precise and somewhat geometric, which makes them well suited to the panel format of graphic novels. His style is realistic, highly detailed, and vividly coloured. Perhaps the most enticing thing about Ware’s work, however, is not even his illustrations but the content – the stories he tells with his art. Like many illustrators, he possesses an uncanny knack for storytelling. Reading some of his comics, I found that his novels read like a screenplay. The dialogue is extremely convincing and the characters are fully realized. My favourite thing about Ware’s work is his insight and expression of the human experience. Some of his favourite topics include isolation, depression, and emotional torment.

Image result for chris ware






Michael Vanderbyl

Michael Vanderbyl
Related image

“When it comes to design, I like to do it all.”

Michael Vanderbyl is a multidisciplinary designer who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. His education came full circle, as he has now worked for 30 years, teaching at the California College of the Arts, where he graduated. Today, he serves as the Dean of Design at CCA.

His career has been influential because he helped to establish the San Francisco Bay area as a centre for the postmodernist movement during the 70s and 80s. Vanderbyl’s work spans many different disciplines, and his lasting legacy is his ability to merge different design forms through his work. In 1973 he founded Vanderbyl Design. Through his studio he’s done traditional graphic design, furniture design, product design, and interior design for showrooms and retail space. His work is varied and expressive, with a wide range of styles and applications.

Image result for michael vanderbyl interior design
AmericaOne, graphic identity, hull and apparel graphics for America’s Cup Challenge (St. Francis Yacht Club), 2000.

Vanderbyl’s work has been recognized countless times by various contests and organizations. Some of his most memorable awards are his AIGA Medal, awarded in 2000, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Interior Design Association in 2006. His work is displayed in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Denver Art Museum, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Library of Congress.

The Geography of Curiosity, poster for the Gravity Free Conference, 2007.






Vivienne Flesher

Image result for vivienne flesher

Vivienne Flesher was raised in Brooklyn, New York. She studied at Parsons, and after graduation, began trying to boost her portfolio by working at Atlantic Monthly and the soft porn magazine SWANK. One day at SWANK, she was looking for her editor to get an illustration approved. When he let her into his office, she found him with a fully naked woman, all the blinds drawn. After that incident, she decided her portfolio was more than ready and quit SWANK!

Image result for vivienne flesher

Flesher’s first big break was with the first American Illustration Annual, which featured more than a dozen of her pieces. After this, work came easily and her career set off. Although there is little information about her, Flesher is still living and working. Her list of clients is impressive and extensive and includes the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, O Magazine, Criterion Collective, and even a US postage stamp.

Image result for vivienne flesher stamp
Image result for vivienne flesher

She began her career working in pastels, enjoying the looseness and freedom of the medium. Later she switched to charcoals, to gain more control as well as a new approach. Now she works with a combination of digital and traditional medias, using photography in combination with her drawings. Her work is light, colourful, and alive. Her amazing sense of proportion, line quality, and deft handling of various mediums helps her blend realism and abstraction of portraits and figures to the perfect degree.

Flesher now lives with her husband, painter Ward Schumaker, in San Francisco. The two work closely together in their shared creative pursuits and have held shows internationally.





Paula Scher

“Master conjurer of the instantly familiar”

Paula Scher
Scher’s iconic typography work for the Public Theater

Paula Scher has cemented herself as one of the world’s most talented and influential graphic designers of all time. Her career began in high school, where she discovered a love for art and acted as the “Publicity Chairman,” creating posters and brochures for events and dances.

From her first job working at CBS records, to starting her own agency only a few years later, Scher’s career took off very quickly. Her most well known work has been done in the years since 1991, when she became a partner at Pentagram.

Her work at Pentagram has included many brand identities, like the famous one for the Public Theater, one of her ongoing clients. She’s also redesigned identities for the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Opera, and the New York City Ballet. Her redesign of the Citi logo took only a few seconds to create.

Scher’s work on the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre

Another, perhaps lesser known aspect of Scher’s work is her innovative use of supergraphics. Supergraphics in design are defined as large scale graphics, typography, and imagery on walls or other large surfaces. With a wide array of applications including way finding, education, and interior decoration, they are an exciting, if not extremely challenging media for designers to work in. Scher’s supergraphics works include the New Jersey Performing Arts Centre, for which she says she “redrew the building in typography.” She’s also done supergraphics for the PAVE Academy Charter School, which helped to establish a voice and brand for the school, while brightening the interior and inspiring students.

Supergraphics inside the PAVE Academy Charter School






George Hardie

I notice things and I get things noticed.

George Hardie

George Hardie was born in 1944. After attending St. Martins School of Art, he continued his education, getting a master’s degree at the Royal College of Art. While still in school, he was commissioned to create the cover of Led Zeppelin’s new record for $60. The record, of course went on to be immensely successful, and his cover was praised by many. Hardie, however, considered it one of his worst works, and didn’t even include it in his grad show, due to its lack of “original thought”.


After school he joined Nicholas Thirkell Associates (NTA), a design firm that operated under the Macmillan Publishing Company. Working with record cover company Hipgnosis, he did cover art for many famous bands including for Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, and Wings. Although these brought him much acclaim, he was never starstruck by the artists themselves. In fact, he didn’t even own a record player.

It’s essential that my images have some kind of function. I can’t get out of it by saying they’re surrealist dreams.

George Hardie

Hardie’s work is highly conceptual and playful. He often utilizes storytelling elements, creating visual puzzles to be solved by the viewer. His work is cheeky and witty, often tied to words or phrases. Hardie also works traditionally, never using a computer. Instead he uses rulers, French curves, a light box, and ellipse guides to create his precise, graphic illustrations.

He’s been teaching at the University of Brighton for 24 years, and has been a member of the AGI since 1994. In addition to his design work, he now acts as the AGI’s international secretary.

Related image
Image result for george hardie poster grad





Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer was born Jean-Thomas Ungerer on November 28, 1931. His father – to whom he attributes his artistic skill – was an artist, historian, and engineer, but died in 1935 when Ungerer was 3 1/2 years old. His childhood was marked by the deep divides of the region he was raised in and the scars of WWII, something he would later explore in his memoir, À la Guerre Comme À La Guerre (A Childhood Under the Nazis). During the war, Alsace was annexed by the Nazis, and French was banned in schools. From then on, until its liberation, the Nazis indoctrinated students every day with their teachings. Ungerer viewed the battles in 1945 that led to the eviction of the German armies from the region, and made drawings of these events.

© Tomi Ungerer
A childhood drawing

It was total, systematic brainwashing every day

Tomi Ungerer

Ungerer began studying at the Municipal School of Decorative Arts in Strasbourg, but after failing his baccalaureate exams, took time off to hitchhike his way around Europe. In 1956, he headed off to New York City with $60 and his drawings.

Image result for tomi ungerer children's books
Illustration from the Mellops series

Here his first children’s book, The Mellops Go Flying, was published by Ursula Nordstrom of Harper and Row (she would later go on to publish Shel Silverstein), and it met immediate success. This would begin a career of famous children’s books, including Critter, Adelaide, Emil, The Three Robbers, and Rufus. Ungerer also began doing advertising work for the prominent magazines in New York.

Image result for tomi ungerer fornicon
A drawing from Fornicon

The publication of two books aimed at the adult reader, The Underground Sketchbook of Tomi Ungerer and Fornicon, which both featured comical erotic illustrations, led to a change in the nature of his work. This was in part due to the fact that he was no longer considered desirable or appropriate to hire for children’s books, but also because the political climate of the time. The Vietnam war was breaking out, and Ungerer became increasingly invested in political work. A strong supporter of the Civil Rights movement as well as the anti-war movement, he created posters and satire illustrations for both.

Image result for tomi ungerer

Ungerer found himself, around this time, a sort of exile. Having been somewhat shunned from the illustration scene in America, he and his wife moved to Nova Scotia and then to Ireland. Europe, he found, was far more receptive and less sensitive to the erotic and shocking nature of his work.

Advertising work




Leonard Baskin

Not because I am so great, though I am, but because all the others are so dreadful.

Leonard Baskin

Leonard Baskin was born on August 15, 1922, into a Jewish family. His father, Samuel Baskin, was a Rabbi. When he was seven, the family moved to New York City. Baskin set his sights on becoming a sculptor at the age of fourteen when he saw a sculpture demonstration at Macy’s. From this moment, his career would only grow.

Baskin began studying sculpture at Manhattan’s Education Alliance, under Maurice Glickman, who would arrange his first solo show for him in 1939. Baskin went on to study at New York University’s School of Architecture and Allied Arts as well as Yale University. After three years in the United States Navy, he spent time traveling in France and Italy, studying art.

Image result for leonard baskin

During his time at Yale, Baskin developed an interest in printing, which would come to form an integral part of his long career. Inspired by William Blake, who worked as both a fine artist and a printer, Baskin founded Gehenna Press. The first book he printed was a selection of his own poems named On a Pyre of Withered Roses. Over 50 years, until Baskin’s death in 2000, Gehenna would produce about 100 extremely high-quality, elegant books. For a small, private printing company, the output and demand for products was outstanding, as well as its success.

Image result for gehenna press

Baskin’s career in a multitude of fine art medias is perhaps what he is best known for, however. The breadth and variety of his work is astounding. His massive sculptures are some of his more well known works, among them the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial sculpture, the Woodrow Wilson Memorial sculpture, and the Holocaust Memorial in Ann Arbor, MI. He also created huge, life-size woodcut prints, painted, and drew.

Related image
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial Sculpture

The female form is useful for some ideas, but the colossal male is better suited to the ghoulish ones I try to portray.

Leonard Baskin

In his work, Baskin was inspired often inspired by poetry. He worked closely with the British poet Ted Hughes, and even moved to England for nearly a decade to collaborate on books and art with him. In his work can be seen a sense of his religious upbringing, and a sensitivity to the chaos and upheaval that was the 21st century.

Image result for hosie's alphabet
Image result for hosie's alphabet

Baskin was able to work in nearly any medium he wished, with great success. In this respect, Leonard Baskin is quite a remarkable and unique artist. Not only was his fine art well received and influential, but he was a well-read and extremely educated man. He wrote, critiqued art, and taught printmaking and sculpture at Smith College and Hampshire College, both in Massachusetts. Baskin’s many awards include a Caldecott award for his children’s book illustration, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Gold Medal of the National Academy of Arts and Letters, and innumerable retrospective exhibits while he was still alive. Today his work is displayed in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of American Art, the Vatican Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Image result for leonard baskin







Waldemar Swierzy

Image result for waldemar swierzy

Waldemar Swierzy was born in Katowice, Poland, in 1931. His art career began early, as he was one of the youngest graduates of the Cracow Academy of Fine Art’s Faculty of Graphic Arts, where he started studying at the age of 15!

After completing his education he began working at the Arts and Graphic Arts Publishing House (WAG). This was an important centre for poster design. Here, Swierzy helped push the boundaries and rules of design. Besides becoming one of the most important Polish poster artists ever, he designed book illustrations, record jackets, calendars, and stamps. He was also tasked with designing the Polish pavilion for several international world fairs including New York, Beijing, Vienna, Poznan, and Casablanca.

In 1965, Swierzy began teaching at the National College of Fine Arts in Poznan. In 1987, he became a full professor. Throughout this time he gave guest lectures at foreign universities in Havana, Mexico, West Berlin, and Kassel. Swierzy became a member of the AGI in 1966. Today, his works can be found all over the world in museums like the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Kunstbibliothek (Berlin), Hermitage (St. Petersburg), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), National Museum (Poznan), and the Poster Museum (Wilanow).

Image result for waldemar swierzy

There is relatively little information about Swierzy’s personal life, aside from his career achievements. Due to this fact, I thought I would take a little extra space to explore his artistic style and my personal thoughts on it. A strong focus on portraiture was consistent throughout Swierzy’s career. His portraits are dynamic and full of movement. Never, static, he often used his expert handling of various medias to his advantage in creating portraits that seem to jump off the page. Like many other artists of his time, Swierzy loved bright, bold colours. Something I appreciate about Swierzy, is that unlike many other artists working in the 60’s, his art doesn’t seem to age. In my opinion, this is due to the strong understanding of design principles that he put to use in all his works.

Image result for waldemar swierzy
Image result for waldemar swierzy
Image result for waldemar swierzy