One of our external illustrator’s child, when asked in kindergarten about what his daddy does, said: “Nothing! He just draws all day long.” Let’s see how kids of AUDE graphic designers see their parents’ work.

I asked about this Marcin Rutkowski, creative director at AUDE, and Joasia Korolewska and Agnieszka Kowalska, graphic designers. They are the authors of many of our layouts for magazines, posters and brochures ordered by our customers. Do Marcin’s, Asia’s and Agnieszka’s kids know what their parents do at work? Did apples fall far from the tree?

Perspective is key

Whether the apples fell far or near, it’s important that they get the right color and perspective – this is what Agnieszka Kowalska is looking for when her kids, Iga (7) and Antek (10), make a poster, presentation or a maquette for school.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a presentation about dinosaurs or the Polish monarchy genealogical tree, it has to be well planned and splendid. Why make it on a small sheet if you can use a big one?” Agnieszka explains the attitude she is trying to engraft in her children. She can see it has already become a natural choice for them – more often than not they choose a bigger scale, interesting materials, they want to do more instead of just taking the line of least resistance. They ask how to draw an object so that it doesn’t look flat. They know they can show things in a way that attracts the viewer, they know that the form does matter. Antek is proud as a peacock when he tells about how he made an eco home maquette and was the only one in the class to get the highest grade. And he made it all by himself, while all the other kids were working in pairs. Agnieszka says that before he made the maquette, it took him very long to gather all the necessary materials. And that’s exactly what a graphic designer’s work is all about, isn’t it? 🙂

A graphic designer mom is useful

Agnieszka jokes that she plays a purely useful function for her kids: “They know very well that when they need to draw or design something I will help them and it will look great. I never do the job for them, but I give them hints and advice, so they always come to me with that sort of homework. Other than that, they don’t find my work exciting at all. I do something on a computer, it’s not entirely clear what it is. Sometimes they take a look at a magazine cover I designed and they are like: Ah, right, cool. And that’s it,” Agnieszka says. It’s only natural to them that their mom can make various things and that there are a lot of books with beautiful illustrations at home. Maybe that’s why Antek hangs infographics on his wall instead of a football poster… Iga is more into drawing, but apart from playing with Paint she’s not really interested in what mom is using the computer for.

 I wish you were a firefighter

Asia agrees that for her children – Karina (7) and Tomek (9) – her job is also nothing exceptional, and definitely not something to boast about. “They wish I was a nurse, a police officer or a doctor, or maybe even a firefighter! Everybody knows what they do and what such professions are for. And a graphic designer?” she laughs. “Nothing concrete. Nobody knows what it is.”

But is seem the genes do play a role. Karina has recently started to design… books (!). “She does what I do at work, only analog,” Asia explains. “She used to draw a lot, now she writes stories and illustrates them. She combines the elements. It’s funny ‘cos I used to do something similar when I was her age. My dad once brought color interior designing magazines from Sweden. There were no such magazines in Poland at that time. I cut out all the pictures of furniture that I liked and I stuck them into a copy book, arranging them my way,” Asia remembers. She had no idea this is what her work would look like in the future. Maybe Karina will also once remember her first illustrated books with sentiment? “She would be good at making projects for presentations,” Asia laughs, “because she starts, makes a few pages and leaves them, and the next project is about something completely different.”

My daughter is better than me

“Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence I became a graphic designer…” Asia wonders and adds: “Though I always thought it was a coincidence. After highschool I wasn’t sure which college to choose. It didn’t even come to my mind to become a graphic designer. During one random talk one girl spoke about a graphic designing school with so much enthusiasm that I decided to have a go… And suddenly it turned out I was doing something I liked and it was great… Only later did I realize that I used to play as a kid that I was a designer. When I watch Karina now, I see myself when I was her age, only she draws better than me,” Asia says. What does Karina think about it? When asked who she would like to become when she’s a grown up, she says without hesitation: a writer! Meanwhile Tomek finds colorful brochures and gadgets designed for AUDE customers more interesting than books and magazines. Sometimes he comes to mom’s work after school and watches her designing.

Asia has shown to her son how she works in Illustrator, but for now her work remains an abstract idea to Karina and Tomek. “No wonder, even adults who are not in the business find it hard to understand what I actually do. I can see that in their faces, when someone asks me about my job and I start to explain…” Asia sums up.

Daddy, your job is so cool!

Marcin’s job is surely less abstract, or in fact quite real, to his daughters – Zosia (7) and Marysia (10). “When the girls come to our office, they more often see me working on a computer than using the drawing tools,” says Marcin. “And when they do see me drawing they say: Daddy, you have such a cool job! Sometimes they ask how come this picture used to look like that and now it looks completely different. They want to know how much a picture can be transformed. They both are using modern technologies as easily as we used to draw with crayons, for instance an app for making videos with a phone. They are better at it than many adults…

“But when I can’t ride a kick scooter with them because I have to spend the tenth hour in a row finishing an important project and I can’t see the world around me, they no longer think what I do is so cool,” Marcin says. “So they associate the computer with something that draws the father away from the family life. Sometimes they mock me, they’re very good at mocking the faces I make when I try to focus really hard. They show my emotions, and of course my exhaustion… even though they wouldn’t know how to call it. How would you call all that effort of creating a new project for many hours?”

The magic of creation is the reward

Children can also see the effects and satisfaction from having completed something unique. There is hard work, but there’s also magic in it.

“Such as I felt when I was a kid watching my late dad Henryk Rutkowski at work,” Marcin adds. “He was a dancer and choreographer working e.g. for the Grand Theater and the no longer existing Warsaw operetta. It used to be in the prewar building of today’s “Roma” theater. I loved staying behind the scenes, watching the world which was inaccessible to an average mortal. I could see things that even the audience sitting in the first row wasn’t able to see. When you grow up in such creative atmosphere, surrounded by art in its every manifestation – not only the beautiful effect, but also the effort it takes – you gain esthetic sensitivity.

Maybe in 20 years the AUDE kids will mention on a blog – or whatever is going to be hip at that time – how they used to watch colorful projects at their mom’s or dad’s work, absorbing the creative atmosphere. This intellectual capital is no doubt going to influence their future life.