Friday, July 24, 2015

Artist Spotlight - Jackie Decker


Editors note: I met Jackie at Surtex this year! - I am adding this quote - She used to give art lessons to Joan Rivers :-)

"Working with Jackie is a joy. It's rare that one finds someone with so much talent who is willing to share her knowledge and techniques with others. It’s that willingness to share that makes her illustrations accessible to both the young and the young at heart."

- Joan Rivers

Tell us a bit about yourself: Did you go to school for art? Are you self taught?
When I was 4 and opened the book “Little Bear” illustrated by Maurice Sendak my career path was determined. The idea that a bear could wear a cardboard box on his head and travel to the moon or befriend a mermaid was a world I wanted to be a part of. I was lucky enough to meet and study under
Dennis Nolan at the Hartford Art School and he put name to my dream career - illustration.

After art school I worked as a software designer and executive producer for Vivendi-Universal games. When my son was born I changed course and freelanced as a children’s book illustrator.  In 2007 I started the MFA in illustration program at the Hartford Art School under the direction of Murray Tinkelman. The next two years were AMAZING and life changing. I  learned from
masters in the field and took the leap into art licensing!

Do you work in just one medium? Several?
I work in a variety of mediums and because I teach I am always investigating new products. If I paint art traditionally its done in watercolor, gouache and graphite on Arches 140lb hot press wc paper. The art is designed modularly then scanned in and assembled in Photoshop. This allows me the most flexibility when designing.

As of late I have been working on collections using microns to do detailed line work then painting the art in Photoshop and adding textures from Corel Painter.

Prismacolor markers and colored pencils which allow for some bright dense colors get thrown in the
mix when designing garden flags.

Basically I'm a sucker for new art supplies so I have to limit my visits to Blicks!

What inspires you / where do you get inspiration from?
I am inspired by the people I share my life with.

First is my family.
I love researching traditions from my Hungarian and Lithuanian roots then finding ways  to incorporate them into my collections.

My son and I have shared a studio since he was three. Growing up surrounded by art, he is always willing to share ideas and critique work. Its fun to brainstorm with someone who doesn’t hold back or edit himself  - that’s when the fun ideas happen!

Our family vacations to the Adirondacks and Cape Cod are the experiences and memories that lead to new collections. Lodge has been an important category for me in licensing and I guess it’s not surprising to know it’s my favorite place to be.

Then you have my students. I have been privileged to teach at Hartford Art School and Tunxis Community College. I love bringing real world experience into the classroom and it’s allowed us to share in our successes together. Spending my days with enthusiastic creatives is a gift!

What are you working on now? 
This past year a big check mark was placed on my dream to-do list. My Merry! Merry! Merry! collection with Raz Imports was introduced featuring nutcrackers, ornaments, pillows, trays, etc!
The collection was inspired by my grandmother who gave me a nutcracker each Christmas and we continue this tradition with my son. Standing in that magical showroom I was beyond thrilled and could imagine Grammy Y giving me that enveloping hug she was known for.

On my drawing board this summer are poinsettias, a group of woodland characters, a few seas shells and always some lodge. It’s that crazy variety that makes licensing fun!

Anything else you would like to share with us?
My family and I live in the church I attended as a child. We restored it together evicting woodland critters as we did everything from rebuilding the catwalk to tiling countertops and laying down wood floors. Each holiday season I become the most understanding wife and mother in town as my guys bring in a giant Christmas tree. Last Christmas was the record at 21 feet high!

Do you work with an agent or do it on your own?

I realized early on that with my schedule I would need an agent. Jan Draheim of Painted Planet Licensing and I have been working together for 5 years now and being represented by her was a smart and lucky move! I'm grateful for the connections we have made and to be able to count our clients as friends. Having an agent who truly is a partner has allowed me to concentrate on what I do best knowing that I have support and back-up on the business side of things.

Are you an early riser? or night owl?
Like all moms I have been both at the same time but prefer being just a night owl. There’s something luxurious about working when I know the family is tucked in safe and sound while I paint into the wee hours with chocolate by my side!

What is your favorite food?
Hands down, my husband’s chicken burritos. Just thinking about the black beans and fresh cilantro is making my mouth water. Finish that meal with Lisa Conlin’s (best friend and fellow licensing artiste) chocolate chip cookies and you have just experienced a little slice of heaven!

You can find Jackie:


  1. This is a fun post. Love the quote and the art.

    1. Me too Madeline! I would love to see the home she had made in the church she grew up in <3

  2. I enjoyed reading this history on Jackie, a fun artist spotlighted by a fun artist!

    1. Thanks so much Julie! Really appreciate you stopping by the blog <3

  3. Thanks Julie and Madeline! And, of course, thank you Annie!


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