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TOMSKI&POLANSKI illustration
10th Anniversary

Tomski&Polanski is a four-handed illustration studio. Ilona and Lukas adopted their new name ten years ago, when they decided to take on illustration as their way of life, work, and main source of income.


They met at the “Secret Wars” illustration battles, competing against each other–not that much of a surprise in the art world. Back then, Ilona had just finished her illustration studies in Plzen, and Lukas was still continuing with his animation studies in Zlin. After a few conversations with each other, they came to the conclusion that it would be nice to stop thinking of illustration as a fun hobby or a side job. They decided together that illustration could, and should, be their main occupation and source of income.


Step number one seemed like a no brainer. They created a series of fictional products and illustrations that nobody commissioned them to do. It was an attempt to define the type of projects they would love to work on with future clients. This is how their first online portfolio was born, on an international web platform. Well, the idea worked! They started receiving requests and commissions, at first from abroad. Imagine how shocked these young artists were to jump on a call with a production company in LA doing promos for Wes Anderson’s new movie.


After a while, they started getting emails from the Czech Republic. Funnily enough, they were all in English. The T&P name just sounded so international and fresh.. it made them seem hard to get. (Was this a private detective’s office? a law firm?..) Luke and Ila didn’t hesitate to write back in English, and in a way gained a certain level of respect and secured a spot in the international art community. Illustrations began rolling out, one after another.


In the beginning, the two artists would work together on every project. First came a sketch, which both of them would contribute to. Then, Ilona would make an illustration based on that. Afterward, Lukas would complete it using different software, and finalize the image. Thus emerged the unique visual language of the duo in digital illustration. Sometimes they would go analogue, and create pieces, including huge paintings, with pencils and paints. An impressive portfolio was borne out of these efforts, which laid the groundwork for meaningful, beautiful and long-term collaborations.


Then began the period when they started drawing for Reporter magazine, creating graphic visuals for Smilebox, and working with the prominent Czech publishing houses, Albatros and Leda. Some fantastic work came out... They even drew right onto a Festka bicycle frame, and completed an impressive, 5-storey high image for the Emblem hotel. They got to work with Nike, Adidas, Vodafone, O2, ČEZ and many other amazing brands.


In 2016, the studio opened an office in Prague 7, at 28 Veverkova Street. Lukas and Ilona would come here and draw, from morning until night. More exciting projects were realized, and soon great clients were becoming good friends. There was only one hitch–neither artist really felt like printing their pieces. Printing is a lot of work. But in 2017, they created a series of illustrated prints with a cycling theme for the designSUPERMARKET festival. Well, the series was a hit. They sold out within a weekend, and this was the moment when things started to change. People started stopping by the studio, wanting prints and posters. First, it would be a random visitor, then maybe two each day, then a wave of interest all at once. So the place ceased to be their studio/office where they would draw, and naturally became a showroom and store, and finally a printing studio as well. This is how Lukas became someone he never wanted to be–a print artist.


Around this time, the team’s workflow transformed, as commissions kept coming in, and the client list kept growing. Ilona and Lukas have since become two independent art directors who supervise their own projects, and help each other whenever needed. T&P has a store called illustrationshop where fans and clients can buy things, online or at the showroom. This has given the artists space for their own creative projects.


This is also how the duo added another team member, the fantastic Margaretka, Lukas’ wife, who started taking care of the online store and showroom (in her spare time from textile design). As for the actual workflow, Lukas and Ila had to make hard choices and cut the number of projects they could accept, and focus on the most meaningful ones. This approach paid off, and made way for amazing new projects. This includes a cooperation with the famous writer/traveler, Ladislav Zibura (now T&P have worked on 6 books for him, with more than 250 illustrations), and work with Eurosport and Culture Trip. Ila and Lukas started getting numerous requests for creating book covers and illustrated books from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. More and more of their fans asked for images of beautiful nature or architectural wonders from our countries, and T&P grabbed their pencils and got to work.


Today Tomski&Polanski is a powerhouse, a double threat. With 4 hands, both female and male perspectives, and 10 years of experience, Ilona and Lukas are experienced high-profile illustrators, art directors, and creatives with a one-of-a-kind style. Recently they have expanded their portfolio with projects for Google, Plzeňský Prazdroj, F.H.Prager , Alcron - Almanac, and Mixit, as well as Benefit Plus, with whom a special relationship formed, as they give the pair incredible freedom and so many great opportunities for their art.


New work is constantly being added to At home, in their spare time, Ila and Luke continue to draw on canvas. Both would like to give a huge thanks to you, the readers of these lines. It’s because of you–collectors, clients, fans, families, and other supporters that the duo has been able to pursue their passion. 


We have probably not mentioned absolutely everyone who has helped along the way, but you know, it’s not about words for us, it’s about images. The images we create for as long as we remember. We are looking forward to the next chapters of T&P, and want to thank you all so much for letting us do what we love–drawing. It’s beautiful and it fulfills us.

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