I mean, I definitely fought it with every inch of my being, being from them. Admitting that they are part of me. Even as they’re deep in the ground, made of the ground now really, that my skin is a patchwork of theirs. Thick, coarse, dark hair, European Jewish hair on my arms, my legs — prompting teasing from the older boys on the back of the bus in middle school before I could shave — mine from them.

Maybe I think of them now because grief reminds us of other grief.

Maybe I think of them now because grief…


Before I was prepped to leave to move across the country from NYC to LA, kicked off by a 10 day solo drive cross country, I wanted to have a plan. I had ideas for all sorts of projects that I wanted to pursue but I had this weird anxiety too. And none of the ideas could fully land.

I had dinner with a friend one night and he said to me that on the other side of my trip, I was going to be different. And that I should let that change happen before committing to any projects. I…


I have a form of PTSD that my therapist dubbed “Happiness PTSD.” I don’t talk about it directly often (although it inspires about 90% of my art), but it’s something I’ve been dealing with my entire life in various iterations. PTSD is characterized by intense fight-or-flight response (anxiety, hyper vigilance, etc.) in reaction to an event that triggers the original trauma. In my case, when I’m in moments of extreme happiness — for me, is deep, genuine human connection — it triggers something I call “The Void,” which are intense feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and rejection. I spiral into a…


If you build it, they will come…work for you.

Illustration by Jillian Adel

I am an art director and graphic designer by trade. In my industry, I often witness hiring managers at companies expressing a strong desire to diversify their teams. They want to hire more women, more people of color, more queer, trans and non-binary candidates, and those with diverse life experiences who can enrich their team’s voice, but they seem to always find this feat to be too daunting and fall short. They tweet. They post. They ask their friends. …


How I came to love being a maximalist in a minimalist world

Illustration: Jillian Adel

Staring out from behind my laptop perched atop a small table in the middle of my studio apartment, I can see most of my belongings. There are bookshelves containing stacks of books on pornography, feminism, and art. I see plants, candles, crystals, tarot cards, and art prints thoughtfully interwoven with these stacks. Below, on the table where I type, an overdue bill with the remnants of its torn envelope sits atop my great-grandmother’s crystal ashtray. Inside the ashtray, a mix of jewelry and pens shares space with a disposable camera and a half-smashed pack of cigarettes that clearly endured a…


It’s been almost 1 year since I had an experience at a design conference with a man who I felt acted incredibly sexually inappropriately to me. It was coincidentally the same exact weekend that Alyssa Milano had tweeted using the #MeToo hashtag and starting the popularization of the movement. Between both events, plus the events of last week, I’ve had a lot coming up — as many have. So I wrote this. And I recorded it. And I’m pretty terrified, but I think it’s a step in the right direction in terms of telling my story and the change I’d…


All photos by Samia Zaidi of Jillian Adel, Sensual L.A. — Do not repost or reuse without explicit permission of the owner.

I never thought I’d be a dance, or fitness, instructor or any kind.

As a kid, I always had my head in arts & crafts. From friendship bracelet-making and coloring as a younger child to beading, sewing and drawing song lyrics as a teenager and then eventually growing up into an art director, graphic designer, and letterer/illustrator as an adult… I was always an “indoors” kid. And what some might call “chubby.” My parents were always concerned with how much I was getting outside and being active. They would force me to come to the park with them and walk around while they ran. And I hated it.

I did dance (tap, jazz…


I woke up crying this morning. Crying with love of the support of my friends and community, partly, but also because I’m heavy and sad. I’m so deeply sad about the corners of the design community that center around toxic masculinity and misogyny. I forgot they existed. I’ve done so much work to find people and communities that stand for radical change and work hand in hand with femininity and all of the qualities typically associated with it. I forgot. But this is where I came from. …


Coming up in my early career in New York City meant design (and illustration/media/advertising) industry was infused into my bloodstream. Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club, AIGA, various co-working spaces, conferences, art schools, etc. were available to me as I “found myself” (or tried to) as a young designer (letterer/illustrator). Part of this was a blessing. I realized I wanted to draw typography for a living? I go spend my time at Type Directors Club and the Cooper Type program. I have tons around me who share the same interests and elevate my passion. Amazing. So grateful. However, this also…


I came across a Twitter thread that asked for people to name their top 5 most “valuable and important” women in design right now because a friend had nominated me for this category. Now, MOST people would look at this, feel warm and fuzzy, say thanks, maybe nominate a few women that came to mind for them, be happy that women in design were being raised up, and go eat a sandwich. It takes a certain kind of person to look at the rest of the thread, the conversations being had, and the trends of people being nominated, and then…

Jillian

designer | illustrator | artist | storyteller. i operate at the intersection of low art + high radicalism. & am loud about it. she/her http://jillianadel.com

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