De­signer and il­lus­tra­tor Jill Mars shares how a child­like sense of fun bright­ens up her stu­dio

Computer Arts - - Contents -

De­signer and il­lus­tra­tor Jill Mars shares how a sense of fun bright­ens up her Chicago stu­dio

Over the years, de­signer and il­lus­tra­tor Jill Mars has col­lected a di­verse ar­ray of ob­jects for her Chicago stu­dio. She de­scribes the city she works in as equally di­verse, and brim­ming with cul­ture, which both in­flu­ences and in­forms her work.

“My stu­dio is an ap­proach­able ar­ray and eclec­tic hodge­podge of every­thing I love en­cap­su­lated in nat­u­ral light and warmth,” says Mars. “The ob­jects in my stu­dio re­mind me to find beauty in the mo­not­o­nous and mun­dane, main­tain a sense of hu­mour no mat­ter the grav­ity of a sit­u­a­tion, not take every­thing so se­ri­ously all of the time and have some fun!”

Mars ad­mits to be­ing “like a kid in a candy store” when it comes to gum­ball ma­chines (1). “They cast an un­de­ni­able sense of nos­tal­gia that makes me smile with­out know­ing why. I’ve even adopted one as part of my per­sonal brand,” she says.

While in­tern­ing at Chicago Chil­dren’s Mu­seum, Mars was given this bus (2) by a se­nior de­signer. “It sym­bol­ised a right of pas­sage for me back then and serves as a con­stant re­minder of my jour­ney,” she ex­plains. “It sits proudly on my desk un­til it’s able to be passed down to some­body else who ad­mires it as much as I.”

Mars also finds in­spi­ra­tion in her “hov­er­ing art di­rec­tors”. (3) “When Bing Bong is not hold­ing my sty­lus he is as­sist­ing Helga Pataki with art di­rect­ing me,” she says. “I have an affin­ity for an­i­mated car­toon char­ac­ters with loads of per­son­al­ity and like to keep them close.”

Mars states that you never know when you’ll need some goo­gly eyes

(4), so she keeps a stash of them in case of a “goo­gly eye-mer­gency”. “Some peo­ple be­daz­zle their things with rhine­stones,” she shrugs, “some with goo­gly eyes.” Mars is the lat­ter. Mars’ Chicago flag Field Notes (5) rep­re­sent her love for her city. “I jump at any chance to show that love, so when I found th­ese bad boys I knew I had to have them.”

Jill Mars is an il­lus­tra­tor and graphic de­signer who lives and works in Chicago. www.jill­

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