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Vendor Highlight: Jamie Tablason

Beatrix Whipple
Feb 16 5 minutes read


An Illustrator and Artist in All Things Fun.

By Lindsey Goodrow

Calm ocean waves, playful sea creatures, smiling children, the colors turquoise and hot pink, and California landscapes - these are some of the recurring elements in Jamie Tablason’s body of work. She is the artist behind the Whipple Group postcards, masterfully capturing the magnificence of Long Beach’s historical buildings. She also illustrates children's books and teaches upper-division art courses at CSULB. Self-described as having a finger in every pie, Jamie Tablason brings a magical touch to all the work she takes on.

“I like to draw cute stuff!” 

she explains with great fervor. It's not surprising, then, that her artistic journey led her to illustrate children's books: creating entire worlds for them to imagine while they read. Her journey is as animated as one of the stories she helps bring to life, beginning with the objects and colors that inspire her each day

Jamie has always been drawn to California landscapes - endless stretches of arid desert, the sudden peak and cascade of a mountain range, and the golden light that catches every cactus needle, tree leaf, and mountain peak. Imagine taking all of this scenery in while driving with the windows down in a 1967 Chevy Nova and you have Jamie’s well of inspiration. Tablason spent her childhood vacations in the Eastern Sierra and around Tahoe, driving up and down the 395 highway. Hours upon hours were spent in the backseat of the family car, gazing out the cool-glass window, soaking up this classic California landscape; from Mount Whitney to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, this side of the sierra is awe-inspiring.

Jamie Tablason grew up, like most children in her generation, watching Disney films. She was so mesmerized by their intricate and colorful stories that she decided to become an animator. She hoped to learn how to create the magical worlds that she saw play out on the big screen. However, while she earned her BFA and MFA at California State University, Long Beach, her education led her to illustration. 

“The stuff I did in college was very narrative-based. I enjoy telling stories, so I started to stray away from being an animator. With some connections I made through teachers, I got to work on my first children’s book”. 

One project led to another, and eventually, her portfolio was full of children’s reading and educational books. 

The first book she worked on is called Santa Claus and the Molokai Mules, which was
well-received and eventually garnered the interest of Beach Ocean Press, a publishing house specializing in Hawaiian books for kids, including picture books, board books, and activity books. Reminiscent of the playfulness in the Lilo and Stitch movies, the images, characters, and backdrops Tablason illustrates for this publisher are vibrant and whimsical. Her work lends itself to young children AND the young-at-heart (as she said, she enjoys drawing the cute stuff). 

While she's creating memorable characters and beautiful scenery in picture books, she's also teaching as a professor in Illustration and Color Theory at her alma mater, helping other creatives broaden their skills and grow their portfolios. Her work is incredibly rewarding: not only does she create imaginative worlds for children but she teaches others that they have a certain kind of magic in them as well. Jamie’s students paint using gouache, which happens to be the style she uses for the historical buildings of Long Beach for The Whipple Group.

The Whipple Group discovered the magic of Jamie’s art through a PleinArt competition on social media called PleinAirpril, wherein the artist has to create a Plein air piece every day during April. Plein air means outdoors in French and refers to the practice of completing a painting outside. She uses a limited color palette with gouache, which is an opaque watercolor. The process involves staining the paper first with an “obnoxious neon pink” and then she paints the historical building in its scene on top of that. The neon happily glimmers through. Her favorite part of this process is saving the sky to complete last, which brings the final touch of magic to the painting.

Jamie finds that creating work for Whipple has been a breath of fresh air from children-themed illustrating - allowing her to delve into interests she doesn’t usually get to explore. Her love of vintage, kitsch, and Americana shines through in the small details and pops of color in all of her work, however, no matter the subject, and we can't wait to see what she does next.

You can visit Jamie Tablason’s website here.

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