Playful Futures: Illustrations from Croatia

Last month we published an open call for illustrations in Croatia on the topic:
"The future of Mediterranean coastal cities and their inhabitants".

The text of the call (translated from Croatian):
:earth_africa: Climate change is not tomorrow but today, the sea level is rising, slowly but surely. Cities that used to be flooded with tourists might become literally flooded, and even their inhabitants are leaving them…

Are we, as civilisation, prepared for the potential disasters of climate change? Can we adapt and save coastal cities or will they ultimately be lost forever? What will everyday life look like? Can we imagine a world map without destinations like Split, Venice, Barcelona? Without the culture of coastal cities, their heritage, tourist resorts? Is tourism an option in the world of climate change? What will happen to the local population of the Mediterranean?

:bulb: We are looking for your ideas and we accept all scenarios. Come up with an illustration and send it to us by e-mail along with the title of the work, a short description and a short biography: no later than November 17 with the indication “call for illustrators”.

:moneybag: The best illustrations will be rewarded with 1000 HRK. The works and their authors will be promoted locally and internationally.

:warning: Each author has the right to send only one solution. It is preferable that the dimensions of the work are in A3 format (pdf and jpg). For all additional questions, contact us by email.

The idea is to use the best illustrations as an engagement mechanism, to promote the project and reach potential participants of our online game.

As the call is closing in a couple of days, I will be posting here illustrations in order as we are receiving them, with the short description translated to English. If you are interested, help us select the best ones :slight_smile: We plan to reward between 3 and 6 illustrations.

@LucijaKla @matteo_uguzzoni @ivan @nadia


"What after the Sea Armageddon?"
Finding the last remnants of civilisation will be like forensics. Cutting-edge technology that could have helped is now becoming something that forensics scientists are looking for and asking, why?

Bio: Tomislav (1987.) was born in Zagreb. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2014. He is a member of HDLU (Croatian Society of Fine Artists). In addition to group exhibitions, he also had a number of solo exhibitions. He was the winner of the Rector’s Award for Excellence in 2013. He paints and creates mostly in acrylic, and the themes vary from solitude and isolation to the very human existence in the society he condemns…In 2016, he received the status of an independent artist.

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"First row to the sea"

The title of the work evokes the topic and brings into relation two burning Mediterranean concepts - tourism and climate change. While we are chasing tourism records, rising sea levels are catching up with us. Therefore, the well-known phrase “first row to the sea” could soon take on a much more negative meaning.

Bio: Dunja is a student of Visual Communications at the Design department, University of Zagreb. In addition to illustration, she is interested in interaction design, typography and branding. In her spare time she likes reading, playing the piano and doing crochet.


Real-estate agency Sea Legs

The illustration is intended as an advertisement for the fictional real estate agency Morske noge (Sea Legs) from the future, which offers its customers holiday homes in the sea. As the area of ​​the maritime property has increased over time, the laws have changed and people can finally afford what they have always wanted, not the first row to the sea but the key to a cottage that is literally in the sea.

The illustration is a continuation of my Longing Ind cycle. on which I worked from 2019 to 2021 and for which I created a special artistic alter ego in the form of the multinational company Longing Ind. It assumes a monopoly over world trade and resources in the future and offers a range of bizarre products and services. My motivation for that cycle as well as for this illustration was pop culture; primarily films, books, advertisements, the Internet, but also everyday life in which shabby dystopias constantly alternate with completely carefree topics.

The insistence on the red-orange and blue-green contrast as the strongest warm-cold contrast is there because of Hollywood and its film filters, which count on a strong psychological effect on the viewer, which is how advertising should be.

Bio: Marina (1985.) graduated from the teaching department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (2009) and received her doctorate from the Postgraduate Doctoral Study in Sculpture (2014) at the same institution…She has been a member of HDLU since 2009. She worked for a long time in elementary school as a teacher of Fine Arts, for a short time in high school and since 2017 she is an assistant professor at the Department for Teacher Training and Education of the University of Zadar.



The work was created in 2021, motivated by personal experience. During that year, a flood hit the town where I live and caused numerous problems for both my fellow citizens and myself. I had the need to translate this experience, which has a devastating effect on society but also on an individual, into a comic/illustration. What was the biggest driving force for the the work was the realization that precisely inaction or delayed reactions lead to the situation we are in today, which are disastrous for the world as a whole, and I tried to translate such a relationship and attitude into a visual sequence of drawings.

Bio: Mario (1972.), born in Osijek. Graduated in graphics in 2001 at the Arts Academy, Zagreb. He is expressing himself in different media, mainly in graphics, drawing, painting, illustration and animation.
His illustrations have been published in international magazines, such as “Post (Blank), volume 1” in 2016 and “Post (Blank), Post mortem” volume 2, 2017, Madgleam Press, a bilingual, French-American magazine for art and poetry. He received several awards for his work…Currently he is employed at the Academy of Arts in Osijek. He is a member of HDLU Osijek.



The idea behind this work is a personified angel of nature, who out of desperation bows down to industries which are destroying him, as this is his last chance to save at least a part of his beauty.

Bio: Antonija (1992) was born in Split. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rijeka and in 2018 she moved to Zagreb where she currently lives, creates and works as an illustrator.


"Water clock"

The illustration shows the possible consequences of the harmful effects of the greenhouse emissions, releasing harmful substances into the atmosphere and climate changes that are already occurring. The hourglass is a representation of the flow of time that we don’t have much anymore and a potential future where Mediterranean cities remain “trapped”. If we do not act now, they will be one of the first to be affected by the consequences of flooding, which is vividly shown through the melting of ice cubes, i.e. glaciers. The illustration somewhat ironically depicts us humans as an audience who observes all of this and even perceives it as a kind of tourist attraction to be visited. With this aspect, the aim is to criticize today’s society and us as individuals who still often wear “rose-colored glasses” and do not notice what is happening with nature and the future of our planet. This is additionally emphasised in the illustration as all the pollution takes place in the upper part of the illustration, away from our eyes.

Bio: Katarina obtained her Master’s degree in Visual Communication at the Design department, University of Zagreb, in 2011. She worked as a graphic designer and illustrator in agencies, and in 2018 she opened a business for design and illustration called Khei. She also launched a brand for the production of wallpapers for children, paper decoration and illustrated stories, Chicha Micha. She worked on several picture books, and she often uses illustration as a visual language and in design projects.


Air rib rib

I approach the topic of the future of Mediterranean coastal cities and their inhabitants with a touch of humour and irony. Given that I am not a scientist and I do not know what scenarios will come true due to climate change and sea level rise, in the illustration I apply a dark scenario as far as humanity is concerned - the sea level has risen so much that cities on the coast have become cities under water. However, people as inhabitants are replaced by fish that show their satisfaction with the new situation through a conversation in bubbles. Through this illustration, I also criticise mass tourism, which increasingly makes it impossible for the local population, for example, to find an apartment to rent or an affordable vacation.

Translation of the bubbles in the image: “Finally, a bigger aquarium”; “Yes! I’m so happy that we have more space for swimming”; “How lovely is this expanse of freedom”; “Summer without a bunch of tourists, we have been waiting for so long!”; “Perhaps now I could find an apartment to rent”; in the bottom right corner the famous sculpture in Split, tourists are touching the toe for luck: “Hmmm…will they finally stop touching my toe? First these weird foot fetish people and now the fish are biting it.”

Bio: Agata (1995) in her work she mostly uses drawing, illustration, graphics and ceramics. In addition to illustrating stories and texts, she finds inspiration for visual expression in her own environment. She graduated from the Department of Graphics at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2020. She has published two picture books so far and for one of them she was awarded with a special commendation from the jury at the 11th Supertoon – animation and comics festival in the comic album category. She is the author of several murals in Zagreb.



Once a man had already built a ship and put all the essentials in it. His name was Noah. The Earth was already flooded and submerged once. Every day there are various floods, within us as well, and we have to run away, take only the essential, and sometimes we don’t even manage to build a ship…but somehow I believe that as long as there is a memory of a story and a picture, music and dance in a person, as long as there is a person who has been touched by art, regardless of the floods, internal and external, I believe that a new world can first be imagined and then rebuilt. We carry everything we need within our hearts anyway, so let’s convert our shoes to ships and sail across. Together.

Bio: “I create, therefore I am!”. Margareta (1976). Born in Zagreb, finished some school, the life one is still in progress. I make dolls and little dresses for them, colour pictures and picture books, tell stories and fairy tales and in one of them I wash the dishes. I’m a member of Croatian Science Society, Society of Fine Artists, Association of Applied Artists, and I’m almost as free as a bird!


"The sunken Diocletian’s Palace"

As the sea level rises every day, Diocletian’s palace in Split will also be under water one day. In 1000 years, no one will talk about sunken Atlantis anymore but about the sunken palace of Diocletian.

Bio: Borna Kuruzović (2006). I come from Novska. I’m 16 years old and I’m a student at Novska Secondary School, general gymnasium. I like to draw and listen to music.

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"The birds are also fish now…"

About tourism? First we struggled with concrete constructions along the coast, now with rising sea levels. In the world of climate change, cultural heritage and historical monuments will be destroyed, people will be displaced… The future of tourism? It’s hard to imagine because we don’t have a plan for tomorrow.

Bio: Jadranka (1955). Graduated from the Faculty of Pedagogy in Rijeka. Worked in the Croatian Post Office. She paints as an amateur in the Community of Italians in Opatija. Participated in joint exhibitions across Croatia…

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"Where is it?"

Due to global warming, the accelerated sea level rise is getting closer to Split, a future that no one can imagine. Entire cultural heritage, centuries old and thousand-year-old architecture will disappear under the sea and become part of another world. I wonder if tourists will continue to visit the city and search the promised Palace in the city “under the sea”. What will replace the famous spots for drinking coffee?

Bio: Born and raised in Poreč, I attended primary and secondary school there. Until my university days I was doing modern dance and amateur photography. In 2013, I enrolled Professional study of computer science in Rijeka, where after two years of study I decided to try again to enroll in Visual Communication Design, but this time in Split. In 2015, I started studying at the Academy of Arts in there. During studies, I work as a freelancer as a photographer for various events and happenings. I participated in various workshops and exhibitions. In 2018, I enrolled in graduate studies at the Academy majoring in visual arts communication. I got to know more about illustration, which in the end led to my graduation thesis based on the incorporation of illustration in products. After graduating in 2021, I opened my graphic studio under the name “Studio Radiona” which still operates today, in the field of graphic design and illustration…



Man can be alienated from nature, Mother Earth, only when he is alienated from himself. Man is nature and the world we live in shows that the majority of the population is far from themselves to even feel the distance from Mother Earth. Social networks have brought content overload as well as deep alienation and loneliness in a time when the world seems to be more connected than ever. Without connecting to the Earth’s Wi-Fi and connecting to our internal social networks, we will not take the important step to embrace the planet we live on as a member of our family. “Disconnected” in blue shows the moment when it’s already late, when we will be obliged to the Earth’s Wi-fi, and to our inner Wi-fi. The blue color symbolises spirituality, wisdom, patience, truth and peace. It’s an intuition. “Disconnected” is also a sign of hope, which is illustrated by the tree growing from the palm of the statue of Gregory of Nin and the swallow as a symbol of light and love. It’s time to connect to the network we truly belong to.

Bio: Ana Salopek is an author and illustrator with many years of experience working in the cultural sector. She is the owner of the illustration business Gospodjica Ura. At the international scene, she is represented by Illo Agency and Yeon Agency. She illustrates books, magazines, walls, words and everything where illustration can be applied. In her illustrations, she deals with the topics of ecology, human values, tolerance, emotional expressions of everything that surrounds us, taking it literally and transferring the play of words into a picture, pushing the boundaries of reality…She won several awards for her illustrations and she exhibited at a number of group and solo exhibitions in Croatia and abroad.

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"Split second of Split in the not so near Future"

Illustration is a captured moment of tourists visiting the underwater city of Split. A few decades ago, we did not imagine that such an established tourist destination could encounter a problem. The ecological crisis is related to this very question. What if there is a limit after which the Doom awaits us? What if disasters are not so far from our areas? The potential climate change disaster in this case is sea level rise to an extent that popular destinations such as Split or Venice become lost Atlantis or Atlit Yam in Israel. Although this is a distant year of 2324, when we may not be there we must hope that our descendants will have a future. I hope with all my heart that this is just an alarm and a possibility for action and hope that we will avoid the punishment for our collective negligence.
Let’s consider this as a sign to stop the excessive consumption, capitalist driven dreams and desires of megalomaniacs. We can do better.

Bio: Paola was born in Pula where she currently lives and works in graphic design, photography,
writing, animation and illustration. She finished Graphic Studies in Zagreb in 2016. She graduated on the topic of Gastro photography for the purpose of promoting tourism. She is interested in 3D illustration which she considers a challenge, loves comics as a means of artistic expression and has
the tendency to escape into a world where we have a hero who saves the world from reality and everyday problems…

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"SOS for Mediterranean"

I have described the outlines of the Mediterranean countries with a rope and lifebuoys, and the buoys are in the place of cities located by the sea. Thus I wanted to warn about the danger of coastal cities and land disappearing in the future due to global warming and the gradual rise of the sea level, as well as the problem of emigration of people who live in these areas and who seek salvation by swimming in the sea and in boats, looking for help in the interior of the continents. The situation is alarming, I wanted to emphasize: Let’s save the cities and people of the Mediterranean!

Bio: I have a degree in graphic technology engineering, majoring in graphic design. I teach art in two primary schools. In addition, I design visual identities, illustrate and have a business for the artistic activities called Budica.

No title

The illustration shows the sunken Church of St. Donat, in Zadar, as a result of sea level rise caused by climate change. Due to the submergence of land areas, people had to move completely. They came to solve this problem by creating floating cities that are surrounded by a protective layer. This protects us from other problems, such as holes in the ozone layer, which have almost destroyed us in the past.

Bio: I come from Novska, where I finished elementary school and where I am currently attending high school. I am in the third grade, majoring in general high school, and I plan to continue my education. I have always been involved in drawing and other forms of creative expression, and for the last few years I am also doing digital illustration. I decided to try my hand at this challenge to see what level my digital drawing skills are at.

"Lullaby for Split"

I have imagined Split in melancholic mood, the sea is coming, there are two ships with one
man and one woman. The woman looks at Diocletian’s Palace, she feels sad, the man sings
for her and for Split too. He tries to comfort her, they finally leave town which is not easy to

Bio: my name is Chiara Arcadi, I’m Italian and I moved in Split in September 2022. I studied sensory disabilities and this has opened the doors to illustrated narration with the aim of bringing meaning to what cannot be heard or felt. I started to dedicate myself to illustrations four years ago. Today my purpose is to keep working on it, improve myself, to investigate the poetry of the world through dreams and fantasy, to share positive vibe.

"Lost at sea"

Climatic disasters and global warming prompted me to think more deeply about the great consequences it can have on us. Melting glaciers, higher temperatures, fires, earthquakes, floods, all of this is happening more and more often. Can we stop it before it’s too late? Can I stop it? Because first we need to start from ourselves. If we wait for others, it might be too late. So I asked myself, what will happen to the coastal cities? Do we want them to disappear or will we make an effort, make each other aware and finally save them? The number of inhabitants in those areas is not negligible, are we thinking about what will happen to them?

Bio: my name is Petra, I was born in Zagreb in 2005. I grew up and live in Novska, where I attended elementary and now high school. I am currently a student of the 3rd grade of the general gymnasium at the Novska Secondary School.

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"Dead Canal"

At the end of September 2022, Rijeka was hit by a strong downpour and suddenly the whole
center of the city was flooded. Inspired by that event, especially by the apocalyptic depictions of Rijeka under water that were spreading in the media, I tried to imagine some of the possible consequences of the sea level rise for the future of the coastal cities of the Kvarner Gulf. In this scenario, the river Rječina completely floods the area of ​​the Delta and Fiumara, and the whole city center becomes deserted except for the lofty dwellings on the hills surrounding the coast. Despite this, the former center is full of travelers, especially around the Partisan Monument of liberation, which now serves as a lighthouse and dock for barges and smaller ships. Thanks to the lack of permanent residents and the police around the “new” Dead Canal there are smugglers, pirates and fugitives and the former port and industrial city becomes a hub of the southern European black market. Multi-storey buildings such as Hotel Neboder are only functional as vertical red quarters. The reflectors placed on the monument serve as navigational tools, but also as signals for sailors and other passers-by who want to find narcotics, weapons, ammunition, but also basic necessities that in this world have become scarce and inaccessible to all but the elite and the criminal underground.

Bio: my name is Betty and I was born in 1996 in Rijeka. I’ve been doing drawing and illustration since childhood, but mostly as an amateur. I am officially a film studies student at Nagoya University in Japan, where I am researching Japanese cyberpunk animation (which at the same time serves as a leading inspiration in the creation of sci-fi, dystopian and post-apocalyptic narratives for comics and illustrations).


"Small ads"

Due to climate catastrophe, civilization is condemned to live in a bottle, unaware of what is happening around it. In the background, the fish comments that he will rent that same bottle to other fish in the summer, regardless of how it will affect human civilization. In short, the picture is a criticism of the unsustainable way of tourism, which only looks at profit, leaving catastrophic consequences for the environment. This is why the drawing was created with the help of a gel pen that evaporates under the strong influence of heat. So the paper can be reused for something else.

Bio: Marija was born in 1988 in Slavonski Brod and lives in Zagreb. She completed her studies in Croatian studies and sociology. She is the winner of the Prozak literary award for the best collection of stories. She is doing illustration as an amateur.