Julia Rothman’s illustrations have raw emotion embedded in them. Drawn somewhat loosely, her pieces focus on everyday life, in all its messiness. Having authored and illustrated over ten books, Rothman’s messy style is very much intentional; with versions of her illustrations printed on anything from wallpapers and bedding to billboards and subway posters.
But her artistic influence seems to be rooted in her childhood. “I grew up loving the Sweet Pickle book series,” she shared with Storey. “The 1970s stylized illustrations by Richard Hefter are made with lines and flat color. The characters and surroundings are so wonky. When I saw the books again recently, I realized how similar our styles are and wondered how much these might have influenced me. I have been slowly collecting the entire series again through eBay purchases and yard sales.”
“My personal art is much less restricted than when I am working for clients,” she added. “Working for someone else can be challenging — I am trying to please them, and sometimes I am forced to make artistic decisions I might not have preferred. Other times clients make very constructive criticisms that I might not have thought of, and my piece is improved!”
And when she isn’t creating, Rothman passes her knowledge to others, teaching Surface Design at the School of Visual Arts in New York and running Ladies Drawing Night, a female-only drink and draw.
Enter her playful worlds: