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The Happiness Project: Personal Work

The second part of our Happiness Project, focuses on personal works.  The Mendola Artists were asked to reflect on 2017 with an illustration that brought them the most happiness.  Many of the artists submitted images of people and places that created happiness:  family, friends, sweethearts, and a favorite pub.  Others were a bit more mischievous such as Russell Benfanti’s “sinister” white walker.  Hugh Syme celebrated his long time client, the band RUSH.   There’s a lot of happiness in this post, make sure you scroll and see them all:

Jones & Company

This pic reminds me of how happy my family makes me and how precious life together is. Happiness is time with my family and friends.

Amanda Lima

This piece makes me happy because it was made after a very inspiring trip, and it includes everything I love to work with, like patterns, bright colors, and urban landscapes.


Russell Benfanti 

I try to see the goodness in everything. Even a “white walker” can bring me joy…

Eran Mendel

It’s just a simple happy moment – two sweethearts, a cat and a bird, nice weather. You can never have too many of those.

Ben the Illustrator

In 2017 I spent a month in my wife’s hometown Melbourne, Australia. I kept my sketchbook with me and drew at every cafe, restaurant or bar we went into. Drawing in a public space can be so empowering, plus you end up meeting people who want to check out your sketch or chat about art!  When I got back to the UK I color-artworked my favorite sketches. This particular illustration, from a cafe/bar called ‘Rupert on Rupert’ is happiness-inducing for me because the place is full of plants, it’s so mellow, full of solace and catches this nice little group of friends together.

Hugh Syme

For the happy image I’ve chosen the main image from the new RUSH 40th Anniversary “A Farewell to Kings” project. I’ve been the “artist in residence” for RUSH since the early years of the band.  Anything that takes the viewer to an improbable place… makes me happy.

Mick McGinty

I love this kind of work where I simplified images with a push in color. It reminds me of the Paper Moon illustrations I did in the ’80’s. It was also for an old friend that I worked for in the video game, packaging field, back in the day. He now owns Malibu Shirts.

James Shepherd

Goofy skeletons always make me smile. The skeleton is a character created for Halloween packaging. I changed the skeleton, bigger smile, pirate hat and jug for a self promotion image.

Dan Sipple

Here’s the image that made me happiest last year. This piece made me happy because style, subject matter, design and color all came together in this fun, happy, comforting little image. Every time I look at it I smile all over again.


I started to read books in a very early age, like 3-4 years, and I’ve got my first library card at 6 (usual age was 8)… So it illustrates my magical world of children stories where magical creatures can meet you anywhere. And this piece makes me happy with colors too.

Michael Crampton

This image evokes happiness to me because of its subject matter.  Who would not want to drive on the coast in a vintage Aston Martin DB5 sports car?

Matt Cook

A sketch of the George Inn, Somerset, which has served beer continuously since 1397. Some traditions are worth keeping. That makes me smile!

Mary Woodin

Fish and chips from the Golden Galleon to round off a summer’s day by the sea, at my local beach Aldeburgh!

Rachael Saunders

This illustration fills me with joy because I designed it for my boyfriend when we first started dating. He loves tennis and is called Teddy, thus the bear. We recently got engaged making this my happiest memory of 2017.

Rocco Baviera

It’s a celebration of peace and rejoicing during the holidays. The star symbolizing “hope” for the future…

Marisa Ware

I love working with intricate detail and patterns as well as drawing wildlife, so this piece was a joy to create. It also offered an intriguing visual puzzle for my brain to solve in how to express the form of the owl with such stylized ornamentation.

Lindsey Spinks

Happiness is color, patterns created by nature, seeing the bees at work, a returning squirrel passing my studio window, fresh flowers and home grown veggies.

Tim Boelaars

The piece is called Landscaping 03 and to me it shows the right direction I would like to take my work more in 2018. It shows a combination of geometry, abstraction and balance to illustrate landscapes and objects.

Daniel Ting Chong

This identity was created for an espresso and patisserie cafe in South Africa called, ‘Dear Maria.’ The client dedicated the cafe to his mother, hence the name ‘Dear Maria.’ The lockup shape of the stamp represents the client’s metaphoric letter to his mother. It is an earnest project that has a great story to tell and I was extremely happy with the results.

Kevin Rechin

This little drawing put a smile on my face because it encapsulates many of my favorite things. This is the month of October, the season of autumn, Halloween and last but not least Teddy Roosevelt. And I love drawing caricatures of him.

Lucy Rose

‘Orangutans’ was a self-initiated piece that I created as part of a series of animal illustrations. This piece makes me happy because it is humorous and vibrant. It also marks the start of my journey with children’s illustration, as soon after I created this piece I received my first Children’s book commission.