At home in their shared Sierra Madre, Calif., artist studio, Esther Pearl Watson ILLU ‘95 and Mark Todd ILLU ’93 look every bit the part of one of those tightly knit couples whose lives intertwine both personally and professionally. They finish each other’s sentences. They share a cell phone, a car, and, up until recently, an email account. They have completed eight books together, and their paintings are (at least sometimes) shown in the same exhibitions (currently the Sandra Lee Gallery in San Francisco). Since 2003, they have co-taught in Art Center’s Illustration Department. For them, collaboration is a way of life, having spent most of their respective careers working side by side on projects, pushing the boundaries of illustration —whether through books for children, teens and adults, zines or illustrations. Success has followed: their work on the cover of American Illustration and clients like McSweeney’s, Business Week and Country Music Television.
“We’re a support system for each other,” said Todd. Added Watson, “We trust each other’s advice and rely on each other’s strengths. I’m the cheerleader with lots of ideas, and I trust Mark when it comes to art directing or refining the design or layout. We rely on this cross pollination of ideas.” (more…)