Masha = Watercolor Mischief

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Picture Books: A Fresh Start, Rooted in Beauty

While nature quietly breathes its sleepy winter sighs, we humans are experiencing a bit of an awakening. It’s the New Year, after all; a time for fresh starts and exciting beginnings.

Razzle-Dazzle Ruby pop-up book by Masha D’yans

Gazing Back at the Picture Books of 2017

The New York Times recently published its round-up of 2017’s best-rated picture books, and reading it has inspired and sparked remembrances of our own beginnings. From the honest, childlike wonder in Marc Martin’s A River, to the almost hauntingly whimsical imagery in On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna, it’s easy to see how children’s books sparked so much inspiration in a young Masha D’yans.

Children’s picture books represent infinitely more than a simple way to learn to read. We have loved them since we could first look and touch, and they have shaped the course of Masha’s  life and career. Picture books provide a way to enjoy both story and art in four dimensions — adding the element of time to the experience. Time to which you can be transported, and years through which you can hold on to a single story.

Looking Forward To Our Own

Masha D'yans Picture Books: A Fresh Start, Rooted in Beauty
sneak-peek of Polka Dot Parade

Now, in 2018, Masha has the pleasure of contributing the visual dimension to two vibrant picture books: Polka Dot Parade: A Book About Bill Cunningham by Deborah Blumenthal, and Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate with Animals by Sara Levine. We’re equally joyful about Color Me Enchanted, a collaboration with Masha’s mother, Gala Lazuli. Released in 2017, this intricate coloring book highlights fairy tales from around the world, allowing the owner to contribute to that visual element themselves.

pages from Color Me Enchanted by Masha D’yans + Gala Lazuli

As we look to the New Year, it’s important to remember those beginnings that shaped us so early in our lives, so that we may honor them and continue in what they started.

We wish a Happy New Year to you all, and hope that this year’s beginnings shape your life in the best ways possible.


National Stationery Show, let’s go!

As we get ready to attend the National Stationery Show next week, we thought we’d take a walk down memory lane (strewn with plenty of fleurs, of course). Please enjoy a look back at our last show.

Our booth was a light construction, hand-pinned with a myriad of salvaged silk flowers collected from all over and deconstructed by Masha and her mom.

It was a real labor of love and art to compose the blooms into lush compositions of color gradations on the walls. Masha’s idea for light shelving was to use feathers to hold up the cards. Alignment was difficult to achieve by hand but everyone loved the unique effect. Best of all, the cards were the heaviest thing about this booth design.

Lucky number 2345!

Silk petals served as flooring. It was a welcome zen activity to brush them back in place with a small broom after each busy day.

The lighting was a bit harsh for photos, but we spotted many a fake “selfie” being taken in order to photograph our booth design OTDL. That’s a compliment, right?

Let’s not forget about the fashion. All outfits were done by Masha and her incredible mom and incorporated artwork from the cards.

As well as the cards themselves (see hat).

Here’s Masha with friend (and fellow curly girl) Emily McDowell enjoying the show.

See you in NY!

Hello March

We’re excited to spot the first signs of spring coming all around, while working hard on the next collection of cards for you. What do you have planned for march?march apple blossoms watercolor by masha dyans

Color Us Enchanted: Fairytales everywhere

Siri, Siri on the phone, who’s the fairest of them all? This post is not about selfies, promise, we just couldn’t resist the pun. Instead we want to talk about fairytales and our collective obsession with them, especially in our age of high tech magic. This most dazzling, valiant and resilient of genres typically features: children or young maidens, magic, happiness (think fairytale ending), an occasional unicorn and the escapist notions of ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘Ever After.’ Naturally, fairytales have been aligned with the world of art, film and high fashion since well… once upon a time. Think about it: youth, fantasy, beauty, horror, love, heroic acts, history and elves. What’s not to love?!  

The well of folk stories remains bottomless for Hollywood, as evidenced this year by the lavish reinterpretation of Snow White in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and the enduring popularity of the serial fantasy Game of Thrones, to name a few. And hardly a season passes by without at least a few fairytale references in the fashion world. To celebrate this point, the museum at Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology hosted an exhibition highlighting the central role that clothing and style play in the telling of our favorite stories. According to Fairy Tale Fashion associate curator Colleen Hill, “In versions of numerous fairy tales by authors such as Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, it is evident that dress was often used to symbolize a character’s transformation, vanity, power, or privilege. The importance of Cinderella’s glass slippers is widely known, for example, yet these shoes represent only a fraction of the many references to clothing in fairy tales.

And speaking of references, Vogue had this to say about the Miu Miu Spring 2016 show: In their eccentrically layered outfits, the models at Miu Miu looked like they had unearthed the ultimate chest of dress-up clothes—you know, the ones that in fairy tales are discovered covered in dust in the attic next to a one-eyed wooden rocking horse and ribbon-tied bundles of letters—and piled treasure upon treasure (granny boots, Alice in Wonderland pinafores) in an attempt to realize all of their make-believe fantasies at once.

Dolce & Gabbana, never one to be outdone, couldn’t keep from joining in on the fairy tale fun during Milan Fashion Week. Their Fall 2016 show included references to Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White. Bellissima as ever.

If all this hasn’t satisfied your love of fashion and fairytales, you only have to wait for the stroke of midnight of this year’s end for ‘Color Me Enchanted,‘ an upcoming coloring book (for grown-ups and not so much) by Masha D’yans and Gala Lazuli. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, it features more than 90 pages of fashion-forward illustrations, inspired by… what else, fairytales from around the world! Get those magic coloring wands ready and watch this space for more sneak peeks.

fairytales fashion color me enchanted by masha d'yans

From top left:
1. Red Riding Hood by Comme des Garcons from Fairy Tale Fashion
2. A look from Comme des Garcons: Menswear SS17
3. Fairy Tale Fashion
4. A look from Miu Miu Spring 2016 show
5-6. Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2016 show
7. A spread to color from Color Me Enchanted by Masha D’yans and Gala Lazuli

Letter from New York

Dear You,

It’s been a while since we wrote. I’m choosing this moment in April – national letter-writing and poetry month – to send a few words from New York. I still consider it my home, and when Spring rolls around, there’s just no place like it. I admit to being somewhat reluctant about leaving warm & sunny Los angeles, but all was forgotten with the first sight of Central Park. A stroll through its tender, fresh blossoms, undamaged by the lingering cold, can cure any travel weariness!

Remember A Poem as Big as New York City, the book I illustrated? The words were written by little children from every corner of this infectious kaleidoscope of a city, and they seem most appropriate at a time like this. Because, along with the glories of Central Park, I also relish discovering new things in familiar corners. Each time I visit with favorite clients like MoMA and Saks, I find something different – who knew there was a space as magical as Mariani Fine Minerals on the Upper East Side? One specimen of their rare and exquisite crystals on display even matched the color palette of a Degas painting from the current MOMA show. You’d be blown away!

Further downtown in the West Village, I stumbled upon Calliope, another oasis of beautifully curated objects. It took a lot of will power not to bring all of them home. Another stop on my wander list was the new Whitney Museum, with its breathtaking panoramas of the city (and some fine American art, by the way). In the words of Charlie Parker, “Beautiful is the world, slow is one to take advantage.” 
Wish you were here. I’m sending you a few photos in the meantime.
Your girl,
(Write me)
Our Castle Monster at home on the Highline.

central park new york
Central Park

crystals new yorkcrystals new york
A few of the unbelievable specimens from Mariani Fine Minerals

calliope shop new york
Cozy Calliope – photo by Josh Rubin for CoolHunting

spring garbage new york
Even NYC garbage is pretty in the spring.

New Year New Cards part 1

Happiest wishes for 2016!
New Year = New Cards here in the studio. First fresh treat for you is a totally novel concept and a world premier (!) – collectible cards that together complete a fun fairyland scene (which also spells LOVE, just in time for the next holiday). Inspired by our customers’ habit of keeping Masha cards to frame as art, the LoveLand series lets one collect a whole grouping to display, or to send one by one until the recipient collects all 8. Or, simply use them individually as all-occasion cards. When we think outside the card, the possiblities art endless.
Our LoveLand series is precisely and artistically engineered to encourage delicious, on-going correspondence by enabling you (or your giftee) to send or give these cards one by one… over any length of time. Be a Cupid and spread the Love by keeping those intriguing flames going and the art of the written letter alive this February (hello V Day) and beyond! Available as singles or 8-card boxed sets.

But wait, there’s even more…
New Year New Cards Part 2 coming soon.

Halloween Fun

October is one of our best-loved months for so many reasons: the colors, the harvest, the romantic nip in the air, the opportunity to add creative layers to the wardrobe and, above all, Halloween! It’s up there on our list of favorite holidays — after our birthdays, of course. It’s a time when we can let our fashion freak flags fly in a way that might not be appropriate on most other days of the year. In this post we’re rounding up some of our favorite Masha Halloween looks for your viewing pleasure, and possible inspiration — leave your “I don’t know what to be for Halloween” excuses at home. Let the countdown to the dress-up parade begin!

Halloween fun - new kraft envelopes for Masha cards.
Our cards are suiting up too with brand new cozy Kraft envelopes that feel so right for the season. The warm neutral color lets the vibrant artwork pop. Find more Masha halloween mischief here.

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I love you mama

“I love you Mama” has been a leitmotif of Masha’s entire artistic career. She’s lucky to have been raised by uber-talented, creative, brave mom (you can read about Galina in Artists We Love) and grandma and she forever thanks them for the painting + fashion genes (and for toting her around in her extra chubby baby phase). Since this year is already zooming by, we thought we’d get ready for the mother of all card holidays ASAP with a small tribute to these incredible ladies and remind you to honor the super-women in your life. Let’s not forget, hand-writing a beautiful card for mother’s day, or any day, never goes out of style – we hope you enjoy our sentimental mix below.

I love you Mama


1. We were inspired by Dolce & Gabbana‘s mother-themed Fall 2015 collection and imagined our keepsakes spilling out of one of their whimsical “I Love You Mama” bags. You can preorder one at Neiman Marcus.

2. Photos from the Soviet era are certainly brightened by Masha’s mom’s and grandma’s beauty and handiwork – almost every outfit depicted was made by them.

3. Bring your mama a sweet and timeless surprise of gratitude with our Kangaroo Mom.

4. Celebrate the springy beauty of a mother-to-be with our Baby Bump.

5. Our new Monkey Hug celebrates parenthood and cuddles. Send your love along with this cozy pair nestled in exotic blooms and melt your recipient’s heart.

6. Our new and lavish Peonies Beautiful puts it simply: go with the floral and stop to smell the blooms. Like a fresh bouquet, this card will beautify your mama’s day.

View all our cards for mother’s day here.

Inspiration Couture

This week’s Inspiration Couture post is all about our slight (ahem) obsession with fashion. With one fashion week ending and another seemingly always beginning somewhere in the world (yay), we couldn’t help but find parallels between some of the gorgeously romantic details on the runways and our very our own painstakingly painted flights of fancy in greeting card form. Here are select pairings from the latest collections for your enjoyment. Because why not (isn’t that what internet’s for)?
Inspiration Couture Masha D'yans watercolor greeting card
Dolce & Gabbana gets opulence and killer femininity (that’s why they’re our all time faves)! In their Spring 2015 show, the designers took it to the max with crowns, flowers and gilded Spanish splendor. Masha’a Frida card shows off a similar full-blown reigning queen sensibility.

Inspiration Couture Masha D'yans watercolor greeting card
For your haute folk and Slavic fix go with Valentino Spring 2015 OR our Tractor Birthday card. Russian traditional ornament and style provide a leitmotif for both. Side note – we’re so excited that our friend, and quote en quote lil sisa, Valery Kaufman is modeling the show’s favorite look (she’s in all these shows, come to think of it). If you haven’t read an interview with this fierce kitten in our Fashion Crush you can do so here.

Inspiration Couture Masha D'yans watercolor greeting card
Dior was all irresistible lightness and soulfulness for Spring 2015. Kinda like our Lace Couple card – a perennial favorite for celebrating weddings.

Inspiration Couture Masha D'yans watercolor greeting card
Dolce & Gabbana celebrated Mamas in grand style for Fall 2015! No better subject exists as far as we’re concerned. Don’t forget our similarly outfitted Baby Bump for the fast approaching Mother’s Day (or any day) for a glowing mom-to-be.

Inspiration Couture Masha D'yans watercolor greeting card
Florals are going strong at Chanel Spring 2015 as well as other designers’ collections because they’re never not awesome. And how mind-blowing are the Chanel moving paper garden sets? It took six months to make the 300 flowers. Each of them had its own engine. We’re obsessed. Celebrate the enduring flower power with our Awesome Flowers card.

Haute Couture may be a mostly unattainable fantasy but you can get your paws on our fanciest cards any time in our shop. Truth.

All runway photos curtesy

Inspiration+process: flowering

Ever wonder how #watercolormischief comes about? Here’s a peek at the process as we work on our new spring collection going on press this week and coming soon to our shop! Our 12 Months cards have long been perennial best sellers especially the Cherry Tree Bird so we revisit our (and apparently our esteemed customers’) favorite subject of all time – flowering!magnolia-window-masha-dyans

It all starts with looking out the window. We’re lucky to be treated to endless floral fireworks of every variety year-round here in Los Angeles. The magnificent magnolia tree outside Masha’s studio does this indescribable perfect explosion every January/February and has already inspired last year’s Flowering Deer. It simply cannot be ignored so our vibrant pink tree happily makes it into the new collection in many forms.
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