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. 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 have been strengthened by my connection with the agency Stimola Literary Studio and my agent is Allison Hellegers.

Rights purchased abroad

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

  • 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)

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
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, at the exhibition 100 Amazing Books, Bologna Children’s Book Fair
  • 2022 Ezra Jack Keats Honor Award, 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 for the 55th exhibition of illustration at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair
  • 2020 Finalist for the BIBF Ananas Illustration Award, Beijng International Book Fair and inclusion in the BIBF Ananas International Illustration Exhibition, illustrations from Kje si?, Miš
  • 2019 Biennial IBBY Silent Books Collection 2019, plus inclusion on the honour 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
  • 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 Slovenian Illustration, An Unexpected Abundance, 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 (Lampedusa, Italy)Dogodivščina 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 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 Muncipality 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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