where are you from and how long have you been illustrating?
I'm from a town called Bellmore, on the south shore of Long Island, NY. I graduated from RISD in 2003 and tried being an illustrator right after school. I would get clients here and there, but my work was quite terrible. I interned at a bunch of places and freelanced at others just to make ends meet, but always wanted to get back into illustration.
After a few years doing graphic design, I started my illustration blog in February, 2008. So, if you don't count my early failures, I guess I've been illustrating for a year and a third.

hockey player huh, what position?

any chance you're a leafs fan?
cause - its a widely known fact that leafs are the best team in the NHL...

I'm actually a Colorado Avalanche fan... who are the other best team in the NHL.

did you collect hockey cards growing up? I had (and might still) a sergei fedorov rookie - by default i loved him!
Of course I did! I had a large Joe Sakic collection. I probably still have them somewhere.
so you have beautiful work - so simple - it seems like you've boiled your style down to the most essential graphic elements -
Graphic design really influenced my thinking. The whole "Less is More" thing really got me thinking about what elements are really important to communicating the message. Does it really need a foreground? Background? Does color need to play a role? Is this detail distracting? I think I'm struggling to find absolute consistency with my style right now, actually.

can you tell me about your influences / method of working?
Swiss graphic design and silk-screened event posters are the biggest influences. I think it was looking at a lot of painting that got me to this style too. Painters like Anthony Lister, Helio Oiticica, Michael Raedecker. Only recently have I discovered the designs of Otl Aicher. His posters for the '72 Munich Olympics are eerily similar. As per method: 98% of my assignments come to me by email. But i've found that by calling the AD and letting him/her talk about what they're thinking, it's a bit easier to focus my ideas during the sketching phase. Sketching is VERY loose, until I layout a few in Illustrator. The sketching/research process takes like 60% of the time, while the sketch-to-finish process takes 40%. Also, I give the AD a bunch of color options for the final (this is a major advantage with digital).

how are you finding these "hard times" for illustration?
I actually work full-time as a graphic designer. All of my illustration work is completed at night. So, I'm working everyday and (nearly) every night during the week. Being a designer all day and having meetings with co-workers and being a part of a team is so important to my stability. I am fortunate not be itching and scratching for work.
where do you see your work going?
Though all my work is digital, I can see it being silk-screened and printed some day. Also, a lot of my work is flat, and I think it needs to have more depth/sense of space. I need to find time to take it to the next level. Selling prints and the occasional threadless.com submission are possibilities too.

what are you loving about illustration right now?

Flipping the pages of some magazines and newspapers and finding my favorite illustrators just KILLING IT time and time again. Seeing brilliant editorial solutions never gets old. You've actually interviewed a couple of the illustrators I'm talking about. Alex Nabaum, Brian Cronin, Shout, Dan Bejar, GĂ©rard DuBois, Edel Rodriguez, Christoph Neimann to name a few. Seeing their work makes me quite humble too, they are real masters of communication. I almost take Christoph's work for granted, because his illustrations appear so simple and so clear. His financial page illustrations in the New Yorker continue to amaze.

what, in your opinion, needs to change about our industry to make it stronger for new / working illustrators?
Well, it's pretty clear that some magazines and newspapers will not exist in the future. And if they will exist in the future, you can bet the art budget in them will tumble. The same could be said for books and most publishing companies. Everything is changing quickly. It feels like illustrators need to be more than just illustrators to make a living. Most graphic designers I know do web design now. Heck, many of them do inter-active web design and animation too. A terrific example of what I'm thinking an illustrator could/should be is Jessica Hische. She's an amazing graphic designer, typographer AND illustrator. And her work could lend itself to so many other mediums, I mean, there are companies that could use her illustration and typographic work as their whole brand, and ad campaign, logo included. And all of it would be her own style, still. So, maybe we (editorial illustrators) just need to find other avenues that our work can exist in, besides printed/published media.

beautiful new work on your blog...thats not really a question...just wanted to let you know...
You're kind. I don't think my work is beautiful at all. It's a curious question though: Does illustration need to be beautiful?
what non illo stuff are you really into right now?
I take very long walks along 8th, 7th, 6th Avenues after work everyday, listening to my iPod. There is nothing better than walking around NY. Music tastes are electronic music and hip-hop. Autechre, Peanut-Butter Wolf, Junior Boys, Monolake to name a few. And i've really gotten into poutine.

any advice for new illustrators?
I live by this quote: "Diligence stands higher than talent" -Paul Klee. Try pulling some all-nighters if you havn't already, you'll probably have to at some point. Oh, and health insurance is kinda important too.

advice for older / established ones?
Oye, I wouldn't dare.

all images copyright Daniel Hertzberg. Super crazy well thought out work.


  1. Wow, gorgeous work, Daniel! Very clever ideas, too. I've instantly become a fan. I'm off to spend some quality time checking out your other illustrations! Thanks for interviewing him and making me aware of his work, Pete.

  2. well said Lena, yeah Daniels work is crazy good