Marta Ignerska is a graphic designer and illustrator. Born in 1978, she is considered one of the most skilled graphic artists of her generation. She designs and illustrates books for children and adults and her work has garnered numerous prestigious awards. In 2012, Press magazine included her in their list of Poland’s eleven top press illustrators.
Ignerska completed her studies at the Faculty of Graphic Art at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. There she obtained her diploma (with rectorial distinction) in multimedia arts and book design. From 2006-2007 she worked as a graphic artist at the Zachęta National Art Gallery, and later as artistic director for an advertising agency (Koledzy Stategia & Kreacja). In 2009 she received a stipend from the Minister of Culture.
Ignerska has illustrated books for many publishers in Poland (Znak, W.A.B., Kultura Gniewu, Wytwórnia and LektorKlett), and for a number of foreign publishers: Media Vaca (Spain), Editions du Rouerque, Gallimard (France), Orecchio Acerbo (Italy) and Gylendal (Norway).
One of the most lauded books Ignerska has illustrated — Wszystko Gra (Playing Everything) — was published by Wytwórnia Press and the Frederic Chopin National Institute. The text was written by Anna Czerwińska-Rydel. Wszystko Gra was named "Book of the Year" by the Polish section of IBBY (the International Board on Books for Young People) and picked up a string of accolades, including the prestigious Bologna Regazzi Award for Non-Fiction, a competition which has been run for many years by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and an event of great significance for publishers. Some the of the most beautiful children’s books from all over the world are entered in this competition. An international jury assesses (above all) the graphic and editorial quality of a each publication.
By 2012 Marta Ignerska illustrations had appeared in over a thousand books for children in thirty-one countries. Wszystko Gra also went on to win the Must Have award at the Łódź Design Festival, the silver award at the European Design Awards and third prize at the Halina Skrobiszewska competition. And all of this in 2012. The book is the first in a series of educational music books for children, covering musicians, instruments and the ins and outs of the orchestra.
Almost none of the scores of books illustrated by Ignerska have gone unnoticed. For five years running (2006-2011), the artist received awards at the Book of the Year competition organised by the Polish section of IBBY. Winning books include: Różowy Prosiaczek (The Pink Piggy), Tuwim. Wiersze dla dzieci (Tuwim’s Poems for Children), Wielkie Marzenia (Great Dreams), Babcia robi na drutach (Grandma’s knitting), Fryderyk Chopin i jego muzyka (Frederic Chopin and his Music), Alfabet (The Alphabet), Wszystko gra (Playing Everything), Prawdziwa bajka ( The True Tale), Którędy do gwiazd? (Which Way to the Stars?).
Marta Ignerska’s projects are not only illustrations, but also forms. The book Wielkie Marzenia, with text by Przemysław Wechterowicz, takes the form of a newspaper. It is comprised of twenty-one boards containing the colourful dreams of Carpet, Fire, Elephant and Wishing Well, all drawn on grey wrapping paper. Wielkie Marzenia received special distinction at the Konkurs Książki Dziecięcej (Children’s Book Competition) and entered into the List of Treasures at the Museum of Children’s Books in Warsaw.
Marta Ignerska is also a member of the Association of Applied Graphic Designers (STGU). Her illustrations for Przemysław Wechterowicz’s book Alfabet won an award at the STGU’s Design of the Year competition in 2011. It is the only competition of its kind in Poland which focuses not only on the aesthetic layer of a work, but also puts emphasis on the social responsibility of design.
Besides children’s literature, Ignerska’s work can also be found in a number of Polish newspapers and magazines, including: Rzeczpospolita, Gazeta Wyborcza, Przekrój, Zwierciadło, Charaktery, Foyer, Gaga and Exclusive.
One will however find much more than just books and illustrations in her portfolio, her activities encompass a truly remarkably wide field, spanning from posters, visual identities, exhibition catalogues to calendars. She worked for Muzeum Utracone (The Lost Museum), supervising both its visual identity design and preparing a series of short animated movies. She took the core idea of the museum-a museum for lost artifacts, which got lost in different historical circumstances- and interpreted it in a witty way. She used a silhouette of a hen with its head cut off and a font with letters missing some parts and dissolving in the beackground. Playing with contrast, she juxtaposed a delicate soapy green color and thick black lettering.
Marta Ignerska also exhibits her work in Poland and abroad. In 2013, her work was featured at the Exhibitions of Polish Illustration in Berlin and Milan as part of the Must have from Poland exhibition. In 2008, Ignerska represented Polish illustration at an international exhibition in Paris entitled A trip around Europe in 27 children’s picture books. An individual exhibition of the artist’s work entitled Thanks. I’m just looking took place in 2010 at Krakow’s Academy of Fine Arts. A large number of Ignerska’s works have been purchased by the Małopolska Modern Art Foundation.
Author: Katarzyna Zacharska, updated AM, May 2016.
English translation: Garry Malloy
nomination for the Deutscher Jugendliteratur Preis for Wszystko gra (Playing Everything) | PICTURE BOOK AWARD 2014 for Wszystko gra (Playing Everything) for Wszystko gra (Playing Everything) | 2014; Design of the Year STGU, honourable mention for Prawdziwa bajka (The True Tale) | Illustration Triennale, Talin, honourable mention for Chopin i jego muzyka (Chopin and his music) |MEETING OF THE CREATORS OF CULTURE in the Presidential Palace | Invitation | 2013; IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People) – The Book of The Year Prize | 2012 | Wszystko gra; MUST HAVE / Łódź Design Festival | Prize | 2012 | Wszystko gra; ED–AWARDS, EUROPEAN DESIGN AWARDS 2012 | Silver Prize: Book and Editorial Illustration | 2012 | Wszystko gra; BOLOGNA RAGAZZI AWARD 2012 (category Non Fiction) | 2012 | Wszystko gra; MEETING OF THE CREATORS OF CULTURE in the Presidential Palace | Invitation | 2012; Included among of 11 the best polish illustrators by PRESS MAGAZINE | 2012; PROJECT OF THE YEAR – Polish graphic competition | 2011/2012 | Nomination in the cathegory of "Form" | Alfabet; BOLOGNA RAGAZZI AWARD 2008 (category Poetry) | 2008 | Tuwim. Poems for children (group work); IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People) | Special Mentions: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 | The Pink Piglet, Tuwim. Poems for children, Great Dreams, Granny knits, Fryderyk Chopin & his music, Alphabet ; PTWK (Polish Book Publishers Association) – The most beautiful book of the year | Special Mentions: 2006, 2008, 2012 | The Pink Piglet, Great Dreams, Wszystko Gra; Special Mention in the Competition of Children’s Book and place on the List of Treasures of the Museum of Children’s Book in Warsaw (Great Dreams, 2009); III Prize in Halina Skrobiszewska Competition (Wszystko Gra, 2012); Seoul International Book Arts Fair | Honourable Mentions 2009 | Tuwim. Poems for children (group work), Great Dreams; White Ravens | 2009, 2012 | Tuwim. Poems for children (group work), Great Dreams, Alphabet; BIB | Honourable Mentions 2009 | Tuwim. Poems for children (group work)
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