Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Maira Kalman

All images in this post unless otherwise specified are by Maira Kalman - for The Principles of Uncertainty column (The New York Times).

Maira Kalman is an illustrator, author and designer living in New York.

The more I read, the more things I like about her. These things include:

1) She's prolific, and her work is fantastically varied. (that's 2 things actually)

She's written and illustrated a number of children's books and other publications, designed and illustrated various covers for The New Yorker magazine, designed fabric for renowned NY fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, designed textiles and accessories for Kate Spade, designed sets for the Mark Morris Dance Group, and has also designed a range of clocks, umbrellas and other high-end accessories for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Phew.

3) There's something incredibly engaging about her painting style.

Maybe it's because each illustration tells a story. Thoughtful handwritten observations accompany her detailed, vibrant and slightly naive renderings of everyday life. She gives the most simple of subjects a life of their own... and she paints everything - portraits, landscapes, still lifes, and food. I really like the food pictures actually.

3) She looks friendly


During 2007, Maira Kalman was responsible for a fantastically popular illustrated column for The New York Times, entitled 'The Principles of Uncertainty'. You can view this brilliant collection of works here on Kalman's New York Times blog. It's so worth a browse. I love January for the words about the sun exploding ('Knowing that, how could anyone want a war? Or plastic surgery'?), November for the wonderful snippets of Paris, and please go all the way back to July for the old people who have difficulty walking. (Jess Leski are you reading? You would LOVE July.)

A selection of illustrations from this column have also been published in hardcover.

ALSO weirdly enough I was just hunting around for an interview with Maira and there's a great one here that was just posted this week! Fantastic.

'My secret for drawing is not a secret. It is sitting down and drawing. I do the best I can which means I try not to do it right but just to do it as I feel and as I see.' - Maira Kalman (via the newly bookmarked Inspiration Boards blog).


  1. I know why you love her.....she looks like your mum!


  2. john bought me a book she illustrated for my birthday. she is great. x

  3. Hi Amber.. :) reeally? I see vague similarities... I think she just looks friendly and fun in that photo. Aren't her illustrations lovely? Thanks so much for reading my blog! :)

    Jess.... ohhh trust John to buy such a perfect birthday present ;) I would love to see it (and you) sometime soon... :) love x

  4. thanks for linking to my interview with maira - what a thrill it was! :^)