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The Happiness Project: Commissioned Work

We asked our artists to submit the image they created in 2017 that made them the most happy.  We received an outpouring of wonderful work and the following is a virtual gallery of commissioned images.  Fantastic illustrations from publishing, packaging, editorial, and toys.  Be sure to scroll down and see everything including the captions from the artists.

Kate Forrester

I loved working on this book cover from start to finish. The story is autobiographical, heart-breaking, beautiful, and the designer really gave me free reign to come up with something quite conceptual which is unusual in publishing.


Tom Froese

This was definitely the most fun project I worked on in 2017. I had pretty much free reign on this one, and they even insisted on putting my name right there on the bottle. Beer + illustration = Happy Place!

Caroline Attia

This year has been a very happy for me work wise, I worked on a lot of great projects, really, I got to develop two personal animated projects that are going to enter into production this summer, I illustrated several books, including one I wrote. But commission-wise, I was over the moon doing a project for Giverny Museum, so I will go with that one in terms of happiness: It was a very fun and interesting way to tell a thrilling story about the different jobs in the museum!


Mona Daly

I recently completed this piece for “Live Happy” magazine.  It makes me happy because it is for an article empowering women to find love in more mindful ways.

Robert Ball

Early in 2017, I was asked by ESPN’s The Undefeated to illustrate a series of inspirational African Americans from the world of politics to the arts, sport and music. It made me happy to be involved with a project that had socio-historical meaning, and the portrait with the biggest smile of all?  Serena Williams

Poked Studio / Jonathan Ball

I was really happy with how the furry plant turned out.

Kenny Kiernan

These bottle labels I created for a Russian soft drink company in ’17 really made me happy. I totally got into these fun characters, and the client’s request for a Pixar/Dreamworks animation style. I think the vibe really comes across!

Jim Talbot

These were a lot of fun to work on. I was given some silly names of customers who were part of the “Flies in the Food Truck” game that I worked on for Hasbro. And  I was given freedom to create the look of each character. That’s something that always makes me happy!

Sam Ward

I’ll pick this UltraDash kid image. I like to use as much action and as much color as I can get away with, and this UltraDash game cover comes close. Of course, the art direction talent on the other end also had a lot to do with it. Gary Hanke of “Play Monster” is terrific. I’ve worked for him before and he always supplies me with comprehensive direction up front and then turns me loose. His comments were insightful, creative and sometimes humorous.

Echo Chernik

The Hungry Fish Kite design is a reusable bag design for an Asian grocery store. I designed the bag to complement their existing designs, but to be something completely fun and unique.  They like sushi representing their store, so I decided to illustrate fun Japanese koinobori fish kites hungrily chasing sushi through a beautiful sky. It was one of the most enjoyable and relaxing illustrations, but kept me hungry for sushi rolls!

Katt Phatt

This image was the culmination of a style I pushed for the whole of 2017. The fact that I was briefed on such an important project using a style I’ve been trying to perfect made me really happy, and showed me that the style is getting attention and is also being appreciated.


I really like seeing this small image done with Art Director Jessica Sarro. It’s a little bit strange with a big smartphone at the center and characters in front of it. But I like the characters drawn. I’m attracted to this one anyway. Plus, I had a lot of fun during the creation, searching for it to be very impacting, colorful and simple! It was for an Adweek article about the KPI (key performance indicators) of the videos campaigns in marketing area.

T.M. Detwiler

This was a piece I did last month for Men’s Health magazine about grooming in a rush. I like the simplicity of this illustration, and the guy depicted seems happy even though he is in a hurry (presumably late for work.) For editorial illustration it’s always my goal to communicate the heartbeat of the story quickly and effectively and I feel it does just that.

Laura Barrett 

The Snow Queen, Hachette (UK) – Working on my first fully illustrated children’s book put the biggest smile on my face in 2017. I was thrilled to work so intricately; creating a laser cut pop-up castle and getting to design with foiling and metallic inks.

Lucy Davey

I loved researching the Alaskan wilderness for this cover, nothing makes me happier than getting absorbed in nature.

Heather Gatley

An illustrated map for Soho House focusing on a handful of special spots around London’s Soho district. The architecture in London is really magical and it made me happy to take an illustrated tour around a neighborhood I used to know so well when I lived in the city.

Aaron Sacco

In October, I was delighted to work with Random House on Nisha Sharma’s book, “My So Called Bollywood Life.”  Working closely with the AD Angela Carlino, we successfully captured the fun and buoyant protagonist – in a dynamic pose and with a bold color palette.

Debbie Powell

Working with the Natural History Museum was a dream come true! I loved visiting the museum as a child and now having children of my own who are just getting interested in dinosaurs makes this a really special project.

Dahl Taylor

Making funny drawings for a deck of 52 cards for a silly game was really a lot of fun. Why WOULDN’T that make me happy?


Agent Bob

I worked with CGI artist Martin Mayer to create the “Lost Crow Conspiracy” cover art for bestselling author Rosalyn Eves. We worked with highly talented designer, Ray Shappell, who was an absolute pleasure to work with. Ray kindly send me a bottle of Whiskey, which REALLY made me happy. I didn’t give Martin any though. Sorry Martin!

John Dismukes

I love working with other talented people that push the limits and working with the Art Directors at Harper Collins is a dream come true. They are always pushing us to do different and challenging art.

Julia Green

It made me happy to create this image because futuristic imagery and ideas are a fascinating subject, the future holds endless possibilities. This was created for the city of Sacramento, an appeal to Amazon to build their new headquarters there. The concept was called “Sacrazon.”

Skyscrapers in Sacramento next to a river

Amy DeVoogd

I’m submitting photos of the walls of the American Writer’s Museum which opened in Chicago in April 2017. I worked with Amaze Design to create dozens of silhouettes of people reading – both contemporary and historic – to adorn the walls of the Reading Room.

Jim Kopp

I was happy to do a new campus map for Carroll University that is both fun and accurate for their student body and visitors.

Tom Newsom

I kind of like this image I did for Kelsen, a fairly upbeat and happy one.

Sarah McMenemy

My happiest image from last year was the Bees in the City cover. This children’s book cover was a joy to work on. It celebrated Bees, the children that looked after them, and the beautiful city of Paris.

Chris Wormell

Here’s a picture that made me happy – Diablocertops. I love drawing dinosaurs and last year I got the chance to do a whole book full of them!