In this continuing series, Utne Reader Art Director Stephanie Glaros explains the process behind an Utne Reader illustration.
The article “An A for Environmental Effort” talks about efforts by various schools to teach environmental literacy. When choosing an artist to illustrate it, I wanted someone who could take a serious topic and infuse it with child-like optimism. Not many illustrators have quite the versatility in their artwork as Gwenda Kaczor does. Her whimsical style lends itself well to both conceptual and decorative illustration (while most illustrators tend to lean one way than the other). She’s also one of the few illustrators I’ve worked with who provide color sketches, which is an added bonus. I thought all of her ideas were great, but couldn’t resist the unique shape and vibrant colors of the stacked blocks idea.
Since its inception in 1984, Utne Reader has relied on talented artists to create original images for stories that express powerful emotions, brilliant new ideas, and humorous storytelling. Browsing through back issues of Utne Reader is like a tour of “Who’s Who” in the illustration world. Artists like Gary Baseman, Brad Holland, Anita Kunz, Bill Plympton, and Seymour Chwast have graced our pages over the years, to name just a few.