98% of the time when I start drawing, my go-to subject is a cute girl–duh–but lately I’ve been itching to create some spaces and environments and have been doodling places. I’ve been collecting some photos of inspirational places and just interpreting them pretty literally for practice.
I came across this photo on tumblr (original source) ages ago. I’m always drawn to images with strong, contrasting warm/cool color palettes. I liked the idea of challenging myself to simplify a space with such complicated details.
This is the sketch I started with on paper. I knew if I didn’t try to block out some of the shadowy shapes, I’d get a little lost when coloring, so I tried to map it out beforehand. I’m really happy with the final result. I often don’t finish pieces I start just to try and learn a technique or build confidence rendering something specific, but I think my little forest turned out nicely. Definitely a fun exercise. :)
I finally made time yesterday to update my Etsy shop for the first time in ages. You can purchase one of my HHH posters, all sorts of hand-painted brooches (although both pizza ones are purchased already! Yikes! Thanks, guys!! <3), the usual candy heart rings, and the candy heart earrings are finally available! They’re super cute and tiny and kinda make me wish my ears weren’t gauged. Haha. xo
Rachelle Abellar is a kick-ass individual. A few months ago, she organized, compiled, and produced the Self Care Zine I contributed to–currently available for purchase as a PDF download here. Besides being a talented graphic designer and illustrator, she’s a bad-ass blogger who is passionate about intersectional feminism and making a difference in her communities.
She recently founded PNW Fattitude, a fat-positive group/community in the Seattle area. When she contacted me about making some artwork for the poster for their inaugural event–A Plus Size Clothing Swap–I absolutely jumped at the chance!
Rachelle didn’t have many guidelines or restrictions, other than conveying “a fun get-together with a bunch of fat girlfriends”. Um, I’m pretty sure drawing a bunch of diverse, stylish, fat babes is my dream job!
I tried to keep my sketches energetic and bright. I worked in black and white on the first one because I wanted to make sure I was working with a good value scale in mind. I do this because color is often a weakness of mine. I end up fiddling with the colors a lot after I make a drawing! The first sketch is pretty literal, with a big group of all kinds of ladies just hanging out and being happy. For the second, I was thinking of a slightly retro, midcentury illustration feel with the final styling.
We decided on the first sketch since it was so fun to see all the different kinds of people. Above is my final illustration. The poster design was done by Rachelle and I think it turned out super cute! :)
I had so much fun developing the characters and working on all the details. Here’s a few cropped shots of some of my favorite bits.
If any of you guys are plus size and live around the Seattle area, you should definitely check out the event! It sounds like so much fun and I know Rachelle has been working really hard to host an A+ afternoon.
Facebook | Tumblr | Plus Size Clothing Swap & Meet Up
2013 has been a pretty awesome year, guys. Thanks for spending at least a tiny part of it with me. Party hard tonight and have a wonderful 2014! xo
I hope you guys are all having a lovely holiday and enjoy some rest and relaxation at the very least! Love you guys! xo
I was approached by the lovely Jess from ALIVE Magazine to collaborate on some artwork for the first Handmade Happy Hour of 2014. Originally a series of handmade markets organized by the equally lovely Lindsay, HHH has joined forces with ALIVE to return bigger and better than ever! I couldn’t be more pleased. :)
I laid out my sketches in the poster template they provided since that would be the largest format the artwork would be printed in. ALIVE wanted to make sure I had a lot of creative freedom and left my options pretty open-ended. Their only guideline was the theme “sweetheart”. I decided to make something I personally felt was really strong and would be a good addition to my portfolio.
For the first sketch, I wanted to focus on creating a surreal environment–something I rarely do in my work since I seem to mostly do portrait compositions. One of my recent goals is to work on making an atmosphere and really tell a story. For the second sketch, I focused on a bright, simple color palette and a cute concept that reinforced the idea of handmade.
Feedback ended up being that they were hoping not to focus too much on a traditional couple because it could never represent the diversity they would like to. I totally respect that and honestly appreciated the challenge. My first instinct is to always draw people, so it was healthy to shake it up a bit.
My third and fourth sketches stuck with simple, striking colors that weren’t too Valentine-y. I thought there was a lot of fun design potential creating all the little icon-like drawings in the third. The fourth feels more like a love letter to St. Louis and really ambiguously represents a couple.
They ended up choosing the fourth sketch and this is the final that I ended up with! I’m really happy with the result and glad to have gotten such a fun assignment. We had a really fast turn-around and it felt good to flex my creative muscles. I’m excited to see it pop up around town on ads, postcards, and posters! :) You can see the first ad in the January issue of ALIVE (available online here)!
The Sweetheart Edition of Handmade Happy Hour is January 31st at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis! Make sure to come check it out if you’re in the area! ALIVE always knows how to throw a great party. :)
Hi guys! Long time no see! December is a crazy month for all of us, so I’ve had to re-prioritize a bit and focus on work a lot lately. I probably won’t get back in the swing of regular updates until January, but I’ll always post when I have something I want to blog about! :)
Happily, this means I’m going to have a lot of illustration work to share with you guys!
Maren contacted me about making a portrait for her quirky little family to use on her upcoming wedding materials. She wanted something similar to the one I made for Kate and I was excited to make one for her!
Maren gave tons of photo and personality reference and knew exactly what she wanted, so the sketch process was super easy! We just tweaked some colors and were ready for the final!
The more I do illustration work for clients, the more I’m learning to value and invest a lot of time into the sketching process. It can feel frustrating sometimes to work so long and hard on sketches and worry that it doesn’t show because it’s so loose looking, but the more developed a sketch is, the faster and more confidently I can work on the final piece. I struggle with finding the perfect color combinations and do a lot of reference and editing on my finals, but having that sketch to experiment with and nail down my colors and value scale really helps!
I learned a lot about fine-tuning my process and being more confident with my sketches from Kali Ciesemier. I was lucky enough to see her presentations in person, but she gives tons of awesome, valuable, interesting tips on her blog.
You guys, I promise The Big Book of Cats isn’t dead. I’m just taking a little break to get my schedule back in order and get back on track. There will be a proper update next week!
In the mean time, I just wanted to pop in and let you all know that I’ve added some new listings to the Etsy shop! New prints, hand-painted brooches, and rings are available, so check ‘em out!
I’m so excited to announce the official release of the Kitschy Digitals Holiday Gift Guide and the cover illustration I made for it!
I adore Kitschy Digitals and am a huge fan of creator, Danielle Thompson, and her amazing blog. She’s so talented and I really respect and admire her work and overall aesthetic. She created Kitschy Digitals to make a one-stop online shopping experience for all things creative and digital. She saw a demand for quality digital designs and printables and decided to make a marketplace where designers from a variety of backgrounds could come together and sell their digital wares.
She approached me a few weeks ago about illustrating the cover for the gift guide and I was really thrilled! I’ve been hoping to work with Danielle for ages and think our tastes and styles suit each other so well! When I heard the deadline, I wanted to cry a little because I knew how busy I would be during Strange Folk, but I had to make it work! With a job this fun, a tight deadline is totally worth it!
You can download a PDF of the Gift Guide here or view it online on Issuu here! For more info, read Danielle’s blog post!
Since life is nuts this week and I’m running around like a headless, priority-less something-or-other, in lieu of a Big Book of Cats post today, I thought I’d share one of the new prints I’ll be debuting at Strange Folk this weekend! Man, you guys are gonna be so glad when that’s over, aren’t you? I can’t help but talk about it every 5 minutes. I really can’t.
“Dang, girl! You look fine as hell!” That’s the message I’d like everyone who sees this print to get loud and clear every time they look at it. Hang this sassy little magic mirror next to your actual mirror to remind yourself on the daily that you are fantastic.
You’ll be able to buy this print and other shiny new goodies in my Etsy shop next week! I’ll post about it when it’s official. :) xo