Creative Mind Podcast Episode 25: Suzy Ultman – Illustrator, Toy Maker, Artist

“Anybody whose work continues to resonate with people, it’s because they’re working from their truest self. And for me, I love working from my kids’ space. My audience are the young and the young at heart.”

Suzy Ultman has been creating toys and books for family and friends since childhood. A born storyteller, Suzy is an illustrator, product designer, toy creator, and bookmaker of sophisticated and simple objects that inspire and delight young and old alike. Her career began as a graphic designer working with big names, but it was the appeal of creating her own world that led her to change directions.

“As a graphic designer, your voice is secondary to the client. And as an illustrator, they’re coming to you for your look.”

Suzy Ultman

Suzy grew up in Pennsylvania but her life and work have taken her around the world both as a visitor and a resident. From living in Los Angeles to Portland, across the sea to Amsterdam and back to Boston, Suzy’s exploration and immersion into these places influences her work even today. Whether gracing your bookshelf or decorating a nursery, Suzy’s signature products tell a story of connection, community and finding your place within our global family. 

“We’re all part of a global community and wherever you go, everybody wants the same thing and making sure we all stay connected in that way,” Suzy says. Some of her first book projects are centered on having home with you as a result of years of travel and living overseas.

Making Long-Lasting Impressions

Suzy is also careful to create products that are made to last, “I do work with people that use recycled materials, but the next step is to make sure that when the product hits the hands of my customer, that they want to keep it around for a long time.” This is also key as a child’s toy can take a special place in the home, she is looking to create a product that, “you keep on the shelf and you take it down and you all play with it. And then you put it back up there and it’s like an heirloom thing and maybe you pass it down to their kids and like it’s something very special.”

When she isn’t in her studio folding paper, designing textiles, or creating toys, she can be found strolling through antique shops, finding treasures at flea markets, and communing with nature. She’s nested with her husband and three sons in their cozy home in Ohio.


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