About me

I was born in the town of Novo mesto, Slovenia in 1979. From early childhood, I always had a pencil on my hand. Or my mother’s eyeliner pencil or even shoe brush. Anything I could draw a line or a brush stroke with, actually. My route to becoming an illustrator was a circuitous one. After deciding to follow my inner voice, in 2011 I graduated in painting at the College of Visual Arts in Ljubljana, and then in 2016 completed a Masters in illustration at the Academy of Art and Design at the University of Ljubljana (diploma Summa Cum Laude). For my master’s thesis I received the Academy’s student award. For the book Kje si? (Miš Publishing, translated as Every Little Kindness in US,) that resulted from my master’s thesis, I have received awards at home and abroad.

I illustrate books for various Slovene publishers and my illustrations also appear in magazines for children (Ciciban, Cicido and Mavrica). I have participated in some important group exhibitions at home and abroad, as well as having several independent exhibitions. I live and work in the small town of Trebnje. I’m represented by the Stimola Literary Studio agency and my agent is Allison Hellegers.

Rights purchased abroad

Kje si? (Every Little Kindness), Marta Bartolj, Miš

  • 1001 Merak Publishing, Turkey
  • Metaixmio Publishing, Greece
  • Bookscape Publishing House, Thailand
  • 2023 Editions Les 400 coups, Montreal, Canada (for French-speaking countries)
  • 2023 Qinglin/Children’s Publications Co., Taipei, Taiwan
  • 2021 Terre di Mezzo Editore, Italy
  • 2021 Sowon Namu Publishing, Korea
  • 2021 Chronicle Books Publishing, USA (for English-speaking countries)
  • 2020 Kalimat Group, United Arab Emirates (for Arabic-speaking countries)
  • 2019 Baeschlin Verlag, Switzerland (for German-speaking countries)

A smo že tam? (Are We There Yet?), Marta Bartolj, Miš

  • 1001 Merak Publishing, Turkey
  • Metaixmio Publishing, Greece

Zebra v ogledalu (Zebra in the Mirror), Tina Arnuš Pupis, Marta Bartolj, Miš

  • Faria e Silva Editora, Brazil
  • 2023 Crocodile Books/Interlink Publishing, USA
  • 2023 CalmeMara Verlag, Germany

Vprašanje za babico (A Question for Grandma), Nina Mav Hrovat, Marta Bartolj, Miš

  • 2024 Acshe Verlag, Austria
International reviews of the US edition, Every Little Kindness, Chronicle

“In Bartolj’s wordless debut, first published in Slovenia, small acts of kindness have big effects. . . . The sweetness of the story is palpable without being cloying, and the message of care comes through without needing to be said. . . . A lesson by example in compassion for all ages.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Bartolj’s wordless picture book, originally published in Slovenia, beautifully illustrates the concept of paying it forward. . . . [T]his is a tale that begs for repeated viewings.” —Booklist Reviews
“A stunning example of wordless storytelling . . .”—Foreword Reviews, starred review


Awards and achievements for the book Kje si? (Miš) or Every Little Kindness (Chronicle)
  • 2022 The BRAW Amazing Bookshelf, Every Little Kindness, Chronicle Books (100 Amazing Books, Bologna Children’s Book Fair)
  • 2022 Ezra Jack Keats Illustrator Honor Winner, Every Little Kindness, Chronicle Books
  • 2021 People Magazine, Every Little Kindness, Chronicle Books, among the best ten books for children in 2021
  • 2021 Amazon, Every Little Kindness, Chronicle Books, Editors’ pick: book of the month and among the 20 best books for children in the age group 3–5
  • 2021 Finalist, Shortlist for the 55th Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators ExhibitionEvery Little Kindness, Chronicle Books
  • 2020 Finalist for the BIBF Ananas Illustration Award, Beijing International Book Fair and inclusion in the BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition, illustrations from Kje si?, Miš
  • 2019 Biennial IBBY Silent Books Collection 2019Final Destination Lampedusa, plus inclusion on the honor list , Kje si?, Miš
  • 2019 The White Ravens, Kje si?, Miš
  • 2019 Golden Pear quality label for the picture book Kje si?, Miš
  • 2018 Special prize for a wordless picture book at the Kristina Brenkova Awards, Kje si?, Miš
  • 2016 Student award for master’s thesis, Academy of Art and Design, University of Ljubljana
Other achievements
  • 2024 And then what happens?, Illustration Exhibition at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
  • 2024 The BRAW Amazing Bookshelf, A smo že tam?, Miš, (100 Amazing Books, Bologna Children’s Book Fair)
  • 2024 Finalist, Shortlist for the 58th Bologna Children’s Book Fair Illustrators Exhibition, A smo že tam?, Miš
  • 2023 Grand Prix for Book of the Year at the Slovenian Book Fair, Sto slovenskih ljudskih, Dušica Kunaver, Morfem, illustrated by 25 Slovenian illustrators
  • 2023 An Unexpected Abundance, Illustration Exhibition at the Frankfurt Book Fair
  • 2023 Zebra, Maus und Tuba. Bilderbuch-Illustrationen aus Slowenien, Struwwelpeter Museum, group illustration exhibition (Frankfurt Book Fair)
  • 2023 Biennial IBBY Silent Books Collection 2023, Final Destination LampedusaDogodivščina v žepu, Miš
  • 2023 Longlisted for BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition Beijing, illustrations from picture book Kot hiša velika žaba, Ana Duša, Zala
  • 2023 Golden Pear quality labelDogodivščina v žepu, Miš
  • 2023 Golden Pear quality labelČudoviti vrt, Andreja Borin, Miš
  • 2023 Golden Pear quality label, Kitajski miti in legende, Tina Ilgo et al., (eight illustrators), Miš
  • 2023 Golden Pear quality labelLuka lovi, Marko miži, Barbara Hanuš, (six illustrators), Mladinska knjiga
  • 2021 Nomination for the Kristina Brenkova Award, Ozimnica/Stores for the Winter, Nina Mav Hrovat, Zala
  • 2021 Golden Pear quality label, Vprašanje za babico/A Question for Grandma, Nina Mav Hrovat, Miš
  • 2021 Municipality of Trebnje Recognition Award for well-received artistic work
  • 2021 Inclusion in the permanent exhibition The Growing Book from the Trebnje and Mirna Valleys
  • 2020 Golden Pear quality label, Bo res vse v redu?/Will Everything Really Be Fine?, Cvetka Sokolov, Miš
  • 2020 The White Ravens, Bo res vse v redu?/Will Everything Really Be Fine?, Cvetka Sokolov, Miš
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