“Jam on the Vine,” Tonya Engel’s Latest Book Cover

Tonya Engel took the time to swing by our offices this afternoon to celebrate the release of her latest project, “Jam on the Vine” – just in time for Black History Month!


And a detail of the painting:


From author LaShonda Katrice Barnett:

“”Jam on the Vine” is a new American classic: a dynamic tale of triumph against the odds and the compelling story of one woman’s struggle for equality that belongs alongside “Jazz” by Tony Morrison and “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker.

Ivoe Williams, the precocious daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith from central-east Texas, first ignites her lifelong obsession with journalism when she steals a newspaper from her mother’s white employer. Living in the segregated quarter of Little Tunis, Ivoe immerses herself in printed matter as an escape from her dour surroundings. She earns a scholarship to the prestigious Willetson College in Austin, only to return overqualified to the menial labor offered by her hometown’s racially biased employers.

Ivoe eventually flees the Jim Crow South with her family and settles in Kansas City, where she and her former teacher and lover, Ona, found the first female-run African American newspaper, Jam on the Vine. In the throes of the Red Summer—the 1919 outbreak of lynchings and race riots across the Midwest—Ivoe risks her freedom and her life to call attention to the atrocities of racism as witness in the disproportionate incarceration of black men.”

“Jam on the Vine” has been receiving incredible support and reviews from major publications since its release last week, and Tonya is honored to have been selected to create the dignified and emotive painting for its cover. We simply couldn’t be more proud.

We would like to extend a huge and heartfelt congratulations to Tonya – and, of course, her delightful assistant, Zoe.


(Don’t let that sweet smile fool you: this one is a real task master!)


A. Richard Allen and Victo Ngai are Joining the CA Party!

Ain’t no party like a Communication Arts party because a Communication Arts party don’t stop!

Today’s great news comes from both A. Richard Allen and Victo Ngai, who have also been selected by this terrific publication. We are simply delighted to have such an established presence in the upcoming issue!

Images by A. Richard Allen:

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All of the fabulous interior illustrations:arichard2

A detail of one of the interior illustrations:


Images by Victo Ngai:

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Congratulations, A. Richard and Victo!


Gaby D’Alessandro Accepted into Communication Arts

Gaby D’Alessandro’s lush portrait of Charles Darwin has garnered a lot of attention from clients – and we are thrilled to announce that the awards circuit is beginning to acknowledge this spectacular piece, as well:


Congratulations, Gaby, on your inclusion in the latest issue of Communication Arts!

News Roundup from Valeria Petrone

Valeria Petrone has been kicking off 2015 with quite a bang, and we are delighted to share a few of her most recent announcements with you.

First up, her adorable app for children, “Good Night Dadas,” has been selected as the “Editor’s Choice for Excellence in Design” from the Children’s Technology Review:

“Playful and responsive, this Italian app is part of a series that features small creatures called “dadas” that help children overcome their fears…in this case, the fear of the dark. The storyline follows the logic of “Where the Wild Things Are,” only with a trip into space. This app is extremely “crisp” and high in child control, so could work well as a child’s first app.”

Her charming characters definitely deserve the hat tip, and we are so happy to learn that these cute little dudes are doing such a nice service for children everywhere.


Valeria’s fine art is also off to a great start, and the talented artist is proud to announce that her latest show, “Where Did I Land,” has been met with great enthusiasm. If you happen to be in Rome, be sure to check it out before it closes – and please consider joining the artist for the closing party, slated for this Thursday, February 12th. We are certain that it won’t disappoint!

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Guest Blogger: Rick Tulka

We are super excited to introduce a new fixture to our blog here at Morgan Gaynin!

Inspired by some recent business correspondence, we were reminded that so many of our illustrators are not only amazing artists, but also clever writers. A very legitimate business exchange nearly reduced the blogmistress to tears, and after we put our heads together, something clicked – we needed to share these voices with you.

So it is with great enthusiasm that we share our first guest blogger with you. Take it away, Rick Tulka!

“I don’t fly well anymore. By the time I get to the airport, stand in a long, slow-moving line to check in, and strip down with hundreds of other weary travelers at security, I am usually totally stressed out. This, coupled with a claustrophobe’s anxiety of getting on an over-packed plane complete with crying babies and overweight smelly people, well…let’s just say that it has all the makings for a major panic attack!

I’ve changed all of that. Now, I draw on flights. I’ve been doing it for a number of years and it really calms my nerves and passes the time, especially on long overseas flights.

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I begin drawing the second I get to my seat. I draw everyone around me. Once in the air and once the service is over, I get up and walk around the cabin, drawing. I stand right in front of sleeping, drooling passengers and draw them. They have no clue. I never doze on planes so I find myself standing at 3 AM in the back galley and drawing the dark view up the aisle. It’s so much fun!

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The best part is that the crews love me. They always come over to see what I am doing and get a good laugh. My experience is much better when I can brighten the flight for the crew.

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I continue drawing until landing. Before I know it, I’ve reached my destination. However, once I debark I start worrying if my luggage did too!”

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Your Dreams My Nightmares LIVE!

Sam Weber’s widlly popular podcast “Your Dreams My Nightmares” is coming to the Society of Illustrators – and you, friend, are invited!

The event, which features Leah Goren (Illustrator/pattern designer), Josh Cochran (Illustrator), and Walter Green (Art Director, Lucky Peach), will “discuss defining one’s work in the age of the internet and social media.” It takes place on February 4th at 6:30 pm.

This will be a nice discussion, particularly for you luddites that question the importance of social media and online marketing.

Take a look here to learn more about this great event.

Image by Guido Scarabottolo:


Fun Doodles, Stellar Campaign – New Project from Victo Ngai

Victo Ngai’s kinetic lines and bustling scenes were put to tremendous use recently for Franke’s “Make it Wonderful” campaign. As the artist charmingly put it on her blog, “For those of you who have done intoxicated napkin drawings with me at a bar, you might have noticed that my free-hand drawing behaves like wild weeds. It starts at one corner and grow to fill the whole page.”

Images by Victo Ngai:

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I’m not sure about you, but I’m still trying to get my idiosyncrasies to work for me.

Thank you to the terrific Chrissy from Gyro for this awesome assignment!

In Need of Inspiration? The Guggenheim Released 109 Free Art Books Online!

Via Openculture:


“Back in January, 2012, we mentioned that the Guggenheim (the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed modern art museum in NYC) had put 65 art catalogues on the web, all free of charge.

We’re happy to report that, between then and now, the number of free texts has grown to 109. Published between 1937 and 1999, the art books/catalogues offer an intellectual and visual introduction to the work of Alexander Calder, Edvard Munch, Francis BaconGustav Klimt & Egon Schiele, Fernand Léger, and Kandinsky. Plus there are other texts (e.g., Masterpieces of Modern Art and Abstract Expressionists Imagists) that tackle meta movements and themes.”

What a wonderful gift the Guggenheim has given us – I’m not sure about you, but I know what rabbit hole I’ll be lost in this weekend!