Local Illustrator Taia Morley Shares Her Passion For Children’s Book Publishing

Illustrator and designer Taia Morley plays with color and whimsical characters when creating beautiful illustrations for children.

When speaking with Taia Morley about her career as an illustrator and designer, it is clear that she has succeeded in blurring the lines between work and play.

In 1986, after graduating from Cornell University with a degree in product design, Morley left her home state of New York to move to Minnesota for a toy design job at Tonka Toys. The Stillwater resident has worked on a variety of projects in product design, branding art, packaging and animation for such clients as Hasbro and Fisher-Price.

During the past few years, Morley’s favorite part of her career—children’s book illustrating—has taken off. “It’s a labor of love,” she says. In addition to book projects, she creates illustrations for children’s magazines such as Highlights Magazine. Her artistic style involves a mix of traditional and digital design work. She also draws illustrations by hand and then digitally manipulates them.

Morley enjoys her children’s book work the most because of the collaborative nature of working with art directors on a project, particularly at the start of the creative process, which she refers to as the “honeymoon period.”

Morley has worked on such books as Anna’s Table by Eve Bunting and Math Fables Too: Making Science Count by Greg Tang.

“You’re really determining the look of the book and what it’s going to feel like,” Morley says of illustrating books. “It’s fun because it’s wide open, and you can explore and sketch and try different things.”

To view Taia Morley’s work, visit her website here. She and her daughter, Emma, also sell cards and other items including jewelry and wood prints on Etsy under the shop name, EmmaAugusta.