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Work Happy Editorial Projects

Work Happy Editorial is dedicated to the amazing assignments with magazines and newspapers that made our artists happy in 2017.  Occasionally the story, the designer, and the artists’s concept all come together to create an inspired work of art. Each artist has written a caption explaining why they chose their happy image.   Check out these fantastic projects:

Stephanie Dalton Cowan

This illustration was one of three pieces created for Live Happy Magazine to accompany an article on how to create a happy life through design-thinking principles. I enjoyed the idea of creating imagery that combined the concepts of science, psychology and creativity. It was a complex yet uplifting story, and one of my favorite cerebral pieces for 2017.  Art Director: Kathryn Finney/ Live Happy Magazine / Jan-Feb 2017 Issue.


Gabriela Zurda

For me, it was the cover illustration for Vegas Seven about Labor Day. It made me very happy when it arrived by mail and I could see my work printed on the magazine. Living in Spain and working for the USA -that’s not something that happens every day!


Jeffrey Smith

The assignment was to create four illustrations for Michael Wolff’s New book, “Fire and Fury”, excerpted in the latest issue of New York magazine. I was like Bob Crachet, working long hours through Christmas and New Years, unable even to imbibe or make merry!!!! But I had my day in the sun when the story and my illustrations saw the light of day on social media and television news!!!! So great to be an illustrator in this brave new world.


Douglas Jones

This was my favorite assignment in 2017 – Art Director Eileen O’Donnell from the Wall Street Journal needed a full page cover for the annual  ‘Spring Books’ section. I love spring, it’s my favorite time of year, even if it rains. When combined with a really nice Art Director and a full page assignment in a prominent newspaper – hey, whats not to be happy about!

Jonathan Carlson

Here’s a piece I enjoyed doing in 2017 for the Wall St. Journal. It was fun for me to depict the sort of a Mad Men’s style office that the author described and was pining for. Those seemingly simpler, more relaxed days when one could luxuriate in their enclosed corner office, puffing and slugging away while shifting file folders around, waiting for the clock to indicate it was time to head home, or to the bar around the corner for more of the same. But without those pesky file folders.


John S Dykes

This illustration consists of many elements that I love creating: a portrait, lots of details drawn in ink, some humor, hand-lettering, an interesting layout, and space. The portrait is of a person who has a lot of passion for what he is trying so hard to do, which is to get into space. Something I would also love to do at some time. Client: The College of New Jersey.


Dan Page

This piece, completed for BYU’s alumni magazine for an article titled, “What’s Killing Journalism” makes me happy because what I love about illustration is working on current issues and visually contributing to the dialogue.


Eva Vazquez

I have done many interesting works this past year and I feel very lucky for it, it has been difficult to choose but this image excites me. It is the cover image for a book that collects the winning texts in a written science fiction literature contest by women. The level of the stories was very high and awards like this which give visibility to women’s work excites me. 2017 has been a year that has shown the power of women, its worth, I hope 2018 will follow that path until finally, one day in the not too distant future, we can stop talking about this issue because equality will be real.



Daniel Hertzberg

Nothing makes me happier than illustrating the exciting futures of science and technology. This one was for Barron’s, about a new fiber optics company.



This year we had the most fun creating our Ham vs Lamb illustration because of the fun and whimsy of the piece. Ham vs Lamb was a cover for the New York Times food section for a story about the popularity of ham versus lamb as the entree for Easter dinner. The illustration included sculptural pig and lamb figures covered in hand colored cut paper in a race to see who would finish first.




Nigel Buchanan

I was able to have Beck playing in the background while rendering his portrait. I really like his music and the title of his latest album “Colors” made the project straight forward. It all came together easily.


Taylor Callery

The majority of the subject matters I work with aren’t the most pleasant initially. However, what makes me most happy with assignments like this, is the fact that we as illustrators and artists have the opportunity to present a strong visual communication that brings light to such socially and politically charged subjects. It’s having an active visual voice or role in our culture that emits emotion on the human level that I find most fulfilling.


James O’Brien

This is an illustration for the New York Times about the apps kids are using. It’s a fun, cartoon-y style and not my usual style. I enjoyed making it and I like the expression on the parent’s faces!


Stuart Briers

This piece made me happiest in 2017 because not only did the image appear to me the moment I read the brief it also continued along an almost effortless path through to the final rendering. No redraws or color variants were required, it emerged fully-formed at the end exactly as I’d imagined – a rare occurrence for me, and a happy one!


Margaret Kimball

Hand lettering and illustration for Smithsonian Magazine, an amazing client. The piece makes me happy because I was able to learn about how and where Hannibal traveled (on elephants!) to battle the Romans. Plus, the Smithsonian team was a dream to work with.


Andy Ward

This is not for the largest assignment with the biggest budget, or even the most creatively rewarding piece but it offers a prime example of the joyful randomness of editorial commissioning. Never knowing how the day will pan out or what I will learn from absorbing editorial copy is a small pleasure it’s the main reason I do what I do. It’s thrilling, educational, and makes me very happy. Who knew there was a Begonia named after Darth Vader? There is! It’s called the Begonia darthvaderiana.


Robert Neubecker

I like this image of dipping into your 401K prematurely (NY Times.)


Phil Foster

Artists usually like their latest work, and there is often a “feel good” afterglow right after one completes a job that went well. This one went out yesterday for The Wall Street Journal… so I’m still feeling the glow. Topic behind this illustration is the author’s view that America has neglected maintaining its nuclear defense system, that we have an “eroding U.S. nuclear deterrent.”



Yao Xiao

This piece is commissioned by the School Library Journal about the importance of having global children’s literature in American school libraries. I am passionate about global culture and children’s literature, and the metaphor of breaking through a book wall to join the larger conversation makes me happy especially during the political climate of 2017.


Peter + Maria Hoey

This piece was done for the Washington Post and was our first printed piece of 2018. We like the optimistic, forward looking brightness of the colors and the circular advance of household tasks for the coming 12 months. May the new year be so sunny.


Hank Osuna

Creating colorful Microbial creatures in 2017 brought me to a happy place. I thought of each microbe as a unique set of individuals bursting with flavor and color, like a bowl of mixed hard candy. It’s all good! Yumm! (art direction: Anne Hubbard, Harvard School/Public Health)