Category Archives: illustration

Drawn: Amanda & Will

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I was so happy when my friend Amanda (who blogs at Little Lady Little City), contacted me about making a family portrait for her home. Amanda and Will are a damn fine looking couple with adorable cats, so they were super fun to draw! :)

Amanda was pretty straight forward with what she wanted. Her only design request was that I try to incorporate the stone wall feature from their new home. It ended up making a really fun background texture that was a blast to work on.

Drawn: Girl Gang

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I’m sure the whole girl gang thing is quickly approaching “played out” status, but I still can’t seem to get enough. I love the idea of rowdy broads proudly banding together to have fun, cause mischief, and not give 2 fucks what any dude thinks. That’s what it means most to me.

This drawing I made a couple years ago continues to be popular and I wanted to make a kind of valentine card version of it. :)

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You can buy one on Etsy here! xo

Inktober 2014: Part 1

Inktober_05_600wEvery October, artists all over the world participate in Inktober, a drawing challenge that suggests you do one ink drawing a day for the entire month!

Illustrator Jake Parker started Inktober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits–kind of like my Big Book of Cats Project!

Although I often struggle staying on task with things like this, I’ve decided to give it a whirl this year. I always think daily/weekly challenges are a good thing since consistency is a constant struggle for me. I’m not necessarily a creature of habit, but drawing in ink is my favorite so that makes this extra fun and simple. :)

Make sure to check #inktober on twitter, instagram, and tumblr to see tons of awesome work! It’s my new favorite downtime activity to flick through the hashtag on instagram on my phone.

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I used one of Rebecca‘s photos as a reference for this one!

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100 Etsy Sales!

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This week I finally reached the exciting milestone of 100 sales on Etsy! To celebrate and say thanks to everyone who has ever bought anything from my little ol’ shop, you can use the code “YAY100″ through September for 25% off any order! :) Click here to shop!

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In 2008 I opened my Etsy shop with a single postcard on sale for $2. Haha, my shop stayed pretty vacant until 2012, but traffic and sales have been growing steadily over the past year. I’m really proud of my progress and it’s a goal of mine to really ramp up my activity on Etsy in 2015. I’ve never had more than 20 listings at one time and I have a few new prints that I just haven’t gotten around to photographing. Also, it can be difficult for me to stay organized enough to realize which pieces of jewelry I have listed and which I’ve already accidentally sold at a craft show. Oops!

Strangefolk Jamberry Nails Available Now!

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My friend Melissa and I have teamed up to make the coolest accessory ever in honor of Strange Folk Festival–custom nail wraps from Jamberry Nails!

Have you guys heard of Jamberry Nails before? They’re vinyl wraps that adhere to your nails with a combination of heat and pressure–no glue, stickyness, or top coats needed! They don’t chip, are non-toxic, won’t damage your natural nails and best of all, have no dry time. I’ve been trying them out for the past few months and really love them! I just use a blow dryer, cuticle pusher, and pair of small, curved scissors to apply and finish them and they always last at least a full week. Some people even get 2-3 weeks on fingers and 4-6 weeks on toes!

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Melissa is a certified Jamberry consultant and first fell in love with Jamberry Nails because she finally found a way to have cute nails that stood up to all her jewelry making and crafting wear-and-tear.

When I heard that you could design custom Jamberry wraps, I totally fell in love with the idea of putting my cute little Strangefolk characters on nails! Melissa helped me figure it all out and now you can order your own set here!

Here’s all the important info, straight from Melissa:

All orders AND payment for the Strange Folk nail design are due by Wednesday, Sept 3, 2014. Cost for each Strange Folk wrap will be $20 each via PayPal, no matter the quantity.

The order will be placed with Jamberry, Thursday, Sept 4, 2014, no exceptions. We need plenty of time to print & ship! Once we receive the wraps, they will then be shipped to YOU so you can wear them proudly at the Strange Folk Festival, happening Sept 27-28, 2014, in O’Fallon Community Park!

To find out more about Jamberry: http://melissavilladiego.jamberrynails.net

To order other custom Jamberry Nails by Melissa: http://www.pinterest.com/TwentyThree/jamberry-nails/

I had SO much fun designing (and obsessing) over each unique nail design. I think the colors look so bright and fun and can’t wait to see all the cute, matching fingers at Strange Folk! :)

How to Design Repeating Patterns

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I’ve never really done a “How to” or DIY post before, mostly because I just don’t feel like enough of an expert on anything to clog up the internet with yet another DIY. However, making patterns is something that differs enough artist-to-artist that I thought it would be fun to share my favorite technique and maybe inspire someone to try something new. :)

This is a pretty well-known technique for designing a seamless, repeating pattern. I remember how much it totally blew my mind the first time I learned it! In my opinion, this is the easiest way to design a really complicated pattern–although what I’m sharing today is pretty simple.

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Start out with a drawing or shape you want to use in your pattern.

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Once you have your starting image, you want to divide it in half horizontally and flip each half upside down. You can do this digitally or on a good old fashioned piece of paper. It’s important to make sure both halves touch the edge of your canvas exactly.

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Now we’re going to repeat that step, but vertically. So select each half and flip it vertically. If you’re working with paper, you’ll need to first tape together the pieces you cut in the previous step. Make sure you line up the edges exactly.

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Now you have this kind of scary looking, sliced up image. The next step is to just fill in that empty space with the rest of the drawings/designs you want. I love this technique because you can kind of make up a pattern as you go. Since you’re filling in blank space, you can kind of see where the drawing takes you and add things organically.

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I went with this simple, easy diamond pattern.

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Voila! You can save your pattern and tile it to see how it looks in action.

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I love that you can flip it in either direction. So fun!

If you’d like to see another artist apply this technique, check out this amazing tutorial on Design*Sponge by Julia Rothman! Hers is a great example of just how intense and detailed you can get.

Do you have a different method you like to use when designing patterns? I love seeing what others make!

Drawn: Strange Folk

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I was flattered and so happy when Autumn asked me to make the promo artwork for Strange Folk Festival this year! I finished this baby a few months ago but wasn’t sure when the best time to share it would be–also, it’s very horizontal, so I knew sharing it on the blog would be a bit wonky.

Strange Folk’s art theme is usually gnomes, so I knew I had to include some. Autumn said she was hoping for a whimsical foresty theme. When I think of SF I think of tons of activity, music, and happy people so I knew I wanted a lot of energy and thought playing with a bunch of different characters in almost a repeating pattern kind of way would be fun. Also, the illustration has to be flexible and able to work on a wide variety of promo materials–web ads, banners, print ads, and even a billboard(!!!)–so I thought going the pattern route would make sense.

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I don’t think I’ve really ever drawn gnomes before, but I liked to think of them as little fat bearded hipster dudes. 8)

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I liked the idea of gnomes and animals hanging out and partying together in the woods.

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Hehe, these guys are my favorites. I want to go dance with them!

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I know I sing its praises often–I’ve shared my experience visiting in 2012 and a video when I vended in 2013–but Strange Folk really is a fantastic event! Autumn is truly a wonder and has been running this shit for years and it’s a well-oiled machine. Two days of 100+ artists, crafters, artisans, food vendors, live music, and kid’s activities and the place is HOPPIN’. The crowd is always huge and enthusiastic and it’s definitely one of my yearly highlights.

Vendor applications are open until July 4th so if you’re an ambitious maker from the midwest, you should definitely think about applying! See you in September! xo

Drawn: Thirsty Thursday

Last week I was officially invited to join the STL Craft Mafia! The Craft Mafia is an organization of indie crafters and craftepreneurs who work together to support local artists and facilitate awesome local events. If you’re involved in the handmade STL community at all, you know the Craft Mafia as the coolest of the cool kids and I’m super honored to be included! :) 

A month or two ago, April emailed to ask if I’d be interested in making an illustration for the Craft Mafia to use for their Thirsty Thursday pop-up market at Urban Chestnut in August. I was hoping for a drawing of a girl with tattoos wearing sort of bavarian beer-wench clothes and with flowers and a crown of braids and holding a mug or stein of beer.” Umm, you came to right place, girl! Yes, of course I want to draw that!

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My first instincts were to parody a St. Pauli girl or maybe make some art nouveau inspired piece. April and I both loved the art nouveau direction.

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I think the final turned out really fun. I had a blast drawing all the details–tattoos, art nouveau frames, flowers… such a fun project! Here are a couple detail shots:

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Cats and cat-eye glasses are a must in my opinion! ;)

A Portrait for Kimmie

A while back, Kimmie contacted me about working with her on an updated portrait for her blog header. If you’ve never read That Girl in the Wheelchair, I highly recommend it! Kimmie is such a fun, funny, spunky lady and I really enjoy reading her thoughts and opinions about lifestyle topics and her nerdy passions. :) I was totally psyched to draw a portrait for such a bad ass chick.

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I wanted to make something bright and simple that communicated Kimmie’s personality but would be easy to integrate into her existing layout and color scheme. She could just slap her blog title on it however she wanted but it could also be flexible enough to use on a bio page or as her social media avatars.

She liked the composition of the second sketch better, but wanted to see more fun patterns like the first sketch. I mentioned in that one that I was trying to subtlely reference a wheelchair, but in true Kimmie fashion, she was like “Screw subtlety! How about an all-over pattern with cute little wheelchairs?” I love it!

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This is the final we ended up with and I think it ended up perfect for her! It looks great in action on her blog and I’m glad to contribute a little bit to Kimmie’s awesomeness. :)

A Portrait for Andrea

I have a pretty portrait commission to share with you guys today! :)

Andrea is a talented, beautiful hairstylist from Seattle–you can check out her work and learn more about her here! She’s ordered a few things from my Etsy shop and recently asked if I’d make a portrait illustration for her to use on business cards and other self promo.

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Andrea is fabulous to work with and knew pretty specifically what she was looking for. “I would want my face with maybe like flowers around it and incorporate scissors, combs, blow dryer, etc into it because I’m a hairdresser… Silly thing, but I love cats so i wanted to incorporate that somehow. I was thinking like a cat ear headband?”

For the two sketches, I interpreted her requests pretty literally. She also mentioned loving a pastel color palette, so I stuck to the same colors for each. The first features more realistically rendered flowers while the second has a more stylized oval frame of cartoony flowers. She liked the pink background on the second sketch and that the hair accessories were more subtle. We both loved the idea of the pearl cat ears and I thought a leopard print top would be another cute reference to being a cat lover. :)

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I had so much fun working on this one! Andrea was really fun to draw and our interests and tastes are so similar, it felt like something I would draw myself just for fun! I’m really pleased with the way this one turned out. xo