From a Window Seat

I took a bit of a break from drawing and designing recently. It wasn't intentional. The holidays came and went, my boyfriend and I were on the hunt for a new (bigger) apartment, and my mother became very ill. All of these things made me stressed and creatively blocked. I didn't feel like drawing much of anything. 

Then, after a long first year in New York without a trip home, I was on my second flight to see my parents in a month, and found inspiration in a sassy little cartoon of a woman who was my flight attendant on a GSP-JFK flight. Here's to you, lady. 

From a Window Seat

I've recently seemed to find my groove again, and I'm back to drawing daily. Should have some new things to share very soon!

Process Work

Sometimes I think that people see a drawing and imagine that the person who drew it just came up with it out of the blue and got it right the first time their pen touched the paper. Perhaps some artists are able to do that, but for me illustration is about a lot of trial and a lot of error. I recently added a new design to my shop called Night Owl. Here's the process that got me to the finished piece.

When I start an illustration, I like to draw some grid lines to keep my character style consistent.  Drawing these grids also help me to redraw the character in other poses, while maintaining the same proportions. I decide to draw an owl character but I don't have any reference so this is as much of an owl as I can draw from my imagination.

In order to draw this character from other angles, I'm going to have to do more research. I spend a while doing image searches of owls and try to sketch the character in as many poses as possible.

After I have them roughly sketched, I go back and refine each drawing, using the color palette I used in the original character design. I don't have a final composition in mind, but having a variety of poses to choose from will come in handy when I figure it out. You might recognize the bottom left owl as the basis for my Party Owl illustration.

I duplicated the previous page in Paper, and erased everything but the top two owls. These were my favorite and I thought it would be fun to do a night scene with one of these two owls as the subject. I really liked the contrast but something felt off about the composition. I wanted to give it something to ground the drawing. You can see on the right where I roughly sketched a thumbnail incorporating mountains into the drawing.

After some more tweaking, I added trees and then I felt like I had a good drawing.

The next step was to get the illustration cleaned up and in the correct file format. I used the app Inkpad to vectorize my drawing so that the resolution will be high quality and I can resize it to my heart's content. This allows me to upload the design to Society6 where I can add it to products, like the pillow below.

That's what my design process looked like for this particular product. What is your design process? Do you keep the process sketches & files?

Plus Size Models in Paper

I got an iPad specifically to draw on during my commute on the subway. I work in lower Manhattan and I commute from the end of the R line in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, so my travel time is about an hour in each direction. That's a lot of wasted time each day if all you do on the ride is listen to Spotify and avoid making eye contact with strangers.

I downloaded several drawing apps, but my favorite by far is Paper by fiftythree. If you've ever gone into the Apple store to play with the iPads, Paper is the drawing app that they have loaded onto all of their in-store models. Compared to other drawing apps like Sketchbook Pro by Autodesk and Procreate, which function like advanced drawing programs such as Photoshop or Illustrator, Paper is super simplified. You only have 5 tool choices (pen, pencil, thick or thin marker, paintbrush) and an eraser. That's it. It's basically just a digital sketchbook. It has done wonders for my creativity lately. Drawing makes the ride go by so quickly and I'm really proud of the work I've been creating. 

Using Paper, I've created art that I honestly don't think I would have been able to make otherwise. I get frustrated when I sketch with actual pencil and paper. I erase a lot and get discouraged when a drawing isn't coming along the way I imagined. There is something so liberating about digital sketching and being able to endlessly undo mistakes. Below are some of my favorite sketches so far, and their respective inspirations. I am endless inspired by plus size models Nadia Aboulhosn, Tess Munster, and GabiFresh. I love all three of these looks and wanted to practice drawing figures using a new set of proportions (big heads, nipped waists and hips for days). I am so pleased with the results and I can't wait to do more illustrations in this series.