March 21, 2014

custom portraits update

Just a quick note today to announce a price increase on all my custom work starting Tuesday, April 1. I'm currently booking orders into July and don't want to fall too behind, so I've decided to raise my prices by $50 to meet the demand. I really appreciate all the support and am so excited to continue doing custom work for at least the rest of this year. There are so many really beautiful portraits coming up that I just can't wait to get to! Not to mention this warmer weather and sunshine in my studio windows is energizing and exciting me for the upcoming seasons and projects.

Hope you have a great weekend!
(click the images to visit my shop)

March 17, 2014


Spring is absolutely my favorite time of year! Included in my many sketchbook projects and plans for this exciting warmer weather, I've struck up a friendship with the amazing blogger and gardener Whitney Curtis and will be debuting one floral illustration on her blog every Monday during Spring. Each painting will be available in the new "floral prints" section of my shop. I'm wanting to design them all to match so they can be hung together on a wall or interspersed throughout a house to add a fresh, bold and bright design to your home. 

Check out Whitney's blog to see the final print and to learn how you can incorporate today's flower into your garden this Spring. And follow us on Instagram (here and here) and Facebook (here and here) for weekly updates.

March 6, 2014

5 sketchbook prompts

Now that you have your sketchbook and supplies, let's get started filling those pages with beautiful and fun illustrations that make you happy! Here are just a few tips to get you started in your sketchbook.

1. Keep a list of things that inspire you. Throughout the day pay attention to your surroundings and look for little moments of inspiration. Record what you feel, see, touch, experience in your sketchbook or create a Pinterest board of visual inspiration. I, for example, am naturally drawn to high contrast, bold design and pattern. So, I thought I'd incorporate my own patterns onto pots with bright flowers to add color.

2. Pick one thing that inspires you the most and draw it over and over again. I tend to come back to things like trees, dogs, flowers, etc. They make me happy and give me so much satisfaction to draw!

3. Practice painting patterns with a variety of brushes and lots of water. If you need some ideas for patterns to get you started, I'd recommend looking at textiles and textile designers. A few of my favorites are West Elm, Ashley Goldberg, and Lotta Jansdotter. This is when all of your practice with color will come in handy.

4. Simply observe nature for an endless amount of creative ideas! Draw a close-up of a leaf or flower or hang a bird feeder out your window and draw the birds that visit.

5. Observe your favorite manmade objects and draw them with a paint brush or felt tip pen. For inspiration look to Katt Frank whose simple line drawings of ordinary objects neatly arranged always make me swoon.

Happy sketching!

February 12, 2014

Tips for getting started in your sketchbook

Now that you've found that perfect sketchbook and gathered your supplies, I want to give you a few simple tips for getting started. 

First, you should get to know the colors in your palette and learn how to use your brushes. Start with a blank sheet of paper and pick a medium size brush to begin. Then, start laying in each color of your palette on the paper like I've done above. Wash your brush completely in between each use to keep the colors from mixing. 

Label each color swatch with a pen or pencil and continue until you've laid out each color individually (see example in photo 2). Now you can try mixing colors being sure to label each mixture with the colors you used. Try making different marks using the edges of your brush. For some of the color swatches use more water- for some use less, letting your brush go dry.

Play around with your colors and have fun using all the different brushes. Notice that some colors will be transparent (like yellow, purple, grey, and some blues) while others will be bolder with a little more opacity (like green, some blues, red, white). Blues tend to "separate" while they dry and typically colors will fade a bit when they're completely dry. Reds and oranges are stronger colors that want to dominate and grab your attention. When mixing red with other colors you'll notice how a tiny bit goes a long way.

Once all the colors have dried completely, go through each one and put a mark next to your favorite colors. This little exercise will help you "establish a palette" for future use. I tend to use greens, reds, browns, and blues the most (can you tell?).

Now celebrate because you've just completed your first sketchbook exercise! :)

February 6, 2014

6 Tips for buying sketchbook accessories

Now that you have the tips for buying a sketchbook, I thought today I'd share a little about the accessories and art supplies you might need to fill the pages of the sketchbook. Every artist uses different tools, pencils, paints, etc., and honestly it's really up to your personal preference what you'll choose from the list provided. Here are just a few tips for finding the art supplies that are right for you.

Tip #1: If you're buying for the first time, go to an actual art supply store if possible and look at the supplies in person. Make sure you read all the labels and buy water soluble paints and watercolor brushes. Set your budget and buy in small quantities. It's easy to get carried away, but just remember that one tiny tube of watercolor or ink will last you a very long time. I'd start with just 3-5 of your favorite colors and buy individual tubes or small paint sets to get you started.

Tip #2: Choose according to your preferences. I can't say this enough! Buy a palette that feels right to you- not too big or small. Since I use mine every day, I need the larger size. Maybe you'd want to start small? Also, pick paint colors that inspire and excite you. Buy a variety of brands and choose the ones you like the best after some experimentation. I use about 3 brands and have 20-25 colors in my palette.

Tip #3: Buy 3-5 brushes of varying sizes. I use liners and round brushes primarily, but if you aren't sure what kind of brushes make certain marks, do some research online before heading into the store.

Tip #4: Use pencils WITHOUT erasers. Buy the erasers separate. Pink erasers found on the end of most #2 pencils will leave marks on your paper that cannot be removed.

Tip #5: A small hand-held METAL pencil sharpener is the one you want. Don't buy a cheap plastic sharpener if you can help it. Those sharpeners tend to crack the wood and break the graphite. Electric sharpeners tend to eat your pencil, but a small metal sharpener will give you the most control.

Tip #6: Keep scrap papers, magazine cutouts, and inspiring photo references in a clear folder. I think mine came from Target or Wal-Mart. The clear folders with a button allow you to see what's inside without the contents spilling. They are super cheap and keep my sketchbooks from becoming scrapbooks.


Have fun shopping!

February 5, 2014

Sketchbook tips from across the web

There are simply too many good ideas about "How to Have an Awesome Sketchbook" than I can share on this blog. So, I created a Pinterest board for easy sharing. Follow along right here!

February 3, 2014

5 Tips for Buying a Sketchbook

If you've never had a sketchbook before, I can see how intimidating buying your first one can be. There are so many to choose from, how can you know which one is right for you?

TIP #1: Buy it in person. I'd highly recommend buying your first sketchbook in store, not online. Pick it up and hold it in your hands. Flip through the pages. Is it too heavy or too big for your tastes? Are the pages too thick or not thick enough? Is the paper smooth or rough? Does it feel like a good quality sketchbook?

TIP #2: Decide if you want to draw or paint. There are two types of sketchbooks I buy- one for drawing and writing notes and one for painting and color studies. If you want to use the sketchbook for painting, make sure you read the labels on the front first. It should say "watercolor" or "water media" indicating the uses for the paper inside. There are certain kinds of paper specifically for water media- it's impossible to paint (with watercolor) on anything else.

TIP #3: Choose a size that works for you. I obviously have many different sizes and kinds of sketchbooks on hand. I love to carry the small ones in my purse for quick notes and car sketches, and I keep the big ones for larger concept designs and color studies when I'm in the studio.

TIP #4: Have a budget. Art supplies are expensive, so before you ever walk into the store, determine how much you're willing to pay for your supplies. Prices range from $10 to about $30 for any standard sketchbook. I'd start out on the less expensive end until you figure out what you like. You may even want to buy 2-3 different cheap sketchbooks to get you started. 

TIP #5: Spiral bound or hard cover? Spiral bound sketchbooks tend to have paper or stiff board covers that tear and bend easily. That didn't bother me when I was first starting out, but now that my sketches are being shown to others and used for higher quality purposes, I need a hard cover to protect the pages. The advantage to spiral books is that they can be laid out flat or folded over. The disadvantage is that the spiral can get in the way of your hand as you lay it down to draw or paint.

I have so many more tips to share this month, but I hope this gives you a good start!

*This post is part of my "How to Have an Awesome Sketchbook" series that runs the entire month of February 2014. You can join the fun by posting your sketchbook photos on social media using the tag #myawesomesketchbook.

January 30, 2014

How to Have an Awesome Sketchbook

During the month of February I've decided to run a new series on this blog, my Tumblr page, and all my social media sites under the heading of "How to Have an Awesome Sketchbook." I've been keeping a pretty consistent sketchbook since I was barely old enough to hold a pencil. Sketching kept me quiet and busy on nights and weekends, so my parents supported my habit by keeping me stocked with cheap paper and pencils, folders and coloring books. I had large and small sketchbooks all throughout college that I'd carry to class to take notes in and into the studio to sketch out new ideas. 

Over the years I've collected countless sketchbooks of all kinds and acquired a knack for knowing just how to fill them. This habit has changed over the years from drawing pictures out of my coloring books to cutting and pasting pictures from my mom's magazines to writing stories and developing new ideas. Still to this day keeping a sketchbook is a daily practice.

So for the month of February I've decided to share a plethora of tips and techniques about how to keep an awesome sketchbook with you. Whether you're a beginner who's never used one before or a trained artist, I hope this series will help! I'll share my list of tools and supplies as well as links to resources and supply stores so you can start your own awesome sketchbook today!

Use this tag to play along: #myawesomesketchbook