Our history

LittleLion Studio Inc. is a small business, a family run shop, a daring enterprise and a libertarian venture created by myself, Iara, and my husband, Leonardo Côrtes. As the years went by, we specialized in wall art and baby nursery décor, namely wall decals and art prints but if you read through, you will realize this hasn’t always been our focus and will not necessarily remain as the only one.

LittleLion Studio Inc. was established in early 2010 but it all started three years earlier, very naturally and spontaneously, I might add, when Leonardo and I were both bound by the rules of the Corporate world and even though I was working on an allegedly creative position, the oppressing realities of a continuous and highly strict art direction begged for a different adjective. In search of an outlet to our creative minds, an unbridled path between pen and paper (or as I should say, tablet), we turned to the incipient stock image industry to test our stylistic core in a fun, exciting and liberating adventure and thus LittleLion Studio was organically born. In the following years, as we constantly uploaded our work to stock image websites, our portfolio shaped up to a couple thousands of florals, seamless patterns and baby themed illustrations which were incredibly successful; a success we could measure by the growing number of licenses sold. We were amazed, flattered but also humbled by and grateful for the acceptance our work both by individuals and businesses and that was when all the commercial use of our designs began to hit us in a surreal and chaotic mixed bag of emotions. All of a sudden, we started to come across an avalanche of products featuring our illustrations, be it on the streets or online, countless bags, rugs, curtains, stationary, clothing and, needless to say, an infinity of baby products. We even spotted our designs on the silver screen! As I have mentioned, feelings were mixed though. On one end, seeing our creations in multiple products was an assurance of our work's popularity; on the other, realizing that our creations were being constantly abused by private licensees applying them commercially was very frustrating and not fun at all.

Amongst all such experiences of bumping into our designs in unexpected places, there was one, very personal, which I hold close to my heart. After several years living abroad and away from our families, we decided to return for a visit and I got the chance to meet with my beloved grandmother. I was greeted with her beautiful, wide smile and invited for tea. It was a meaningful moment for the both of us and she made sure to put her fanciest china, the one she reserved for special occasions, to good use and there it was, for my utmost surprise, a tea set featuring one of my very own designs! We got all emotional as I revealed the fact to her whom, unwittingly, had purchased and kept that tea set as her preferred china ever. This got me thinking about how we are all connected in one way or another and how our actions and reactions are intertwined beyond our comprehension.

A little later, Leonardo and I decided to pull all our work out of the image licensing business and to manufacture our own products with the same level of care and attention we applied to our drawings. LittleLion Studio Inc. was started based on themes surrounding the magical universe of babies and children and even though we still hold true to our original aesthetics of light-hearted, dreamy scapes, we strive to continuously create original artwork and extend our modern sensibility and exceptional product quality to environments beyond the nursery.

Iara Côrtes
LittleLion Studio Inc. co-founder