About stephanie

I love to draw, and using drawings to tell stories.

Chinese Elements for the Rawlings Conservatory

This weekend, the Rawlings Conservatory of Baltimore begins their annual Mum Show, and they needed some decorative banners for this year’s theme: The Dragon’s Garden: Elements of the Chrysanthemum. (On display now through November 11!)

Chinese Elements

If you’re in Baltimore, it’s always worth stopping by the Rawlings Conservatory with their beautiful gardens and historic palm room. It’s like a tiny (and free!) version of the more famous nearby Longwood Gardens.

This ended up being more of a design project than just illustration, but I wanted to be sure to include plants from the gardens to tie the theme together. And that meant new drawings! I didn’t have time to do anything more elaborate, but I’m pretty happy with how they worked out.

Ink Drawing of Bamboo

Ink Drawing of Wormwood (Artemisia)

Ink Drawing of Chrysanthemum

The plants were all drawing on bristol with ink, scanned in, and layered with textured files. Some of the photos came from my personal collection, and others came from sources on http://www.sxc.hu/: Bamboo forest background, , Fire background, Metal background , and the paper strip

A little something different: cartoons for science!

I haven’t had much time lately for personal work, and that’s because I’ve been working on more client work than usual, including this project which was finally released last month. This was a pretty large animation project for which I created all of the artwork as well as the animation. Because it was being animated, I had to use a much simpler art style than my usual ink drawings, and make something more in keeping with my infographics work. But it still needed to have some personality and playfulness.

As big a challenge as the animation was, working to simplify the subject matter while keeping it accurate and entertaining was even bigger. Fortunately, I had a great team to work with. We did a TON of iterations in both text and storyboard form, and I drew many, many pictures along the way. I’ll be posting some of the work-in-progress with a little more info about how it was made over the next week, but now, with no further delay:

I’m still playing catch-up from my busy summer and client work, but I’ll be posting more updates soon. Up next: some early sketches from this project.

More DoodleCards – Fantasy People continued

Here are a few more of the “doodles” from my “Fantasy People” set of trading cards. These were all just quick little drawings — warm-up exercises, really — rather than finished artwork to share with some of my artist friends. Maybe I’ll turn them into something more, or maybe they were just a fun practice project. In either case, I hope you enjoy them too!

#6 Fairy — Fantasy People series

#5 Dryad — Fantasy People series

#7 Gnome — Fantasy People series

More Trading Cards

I finally have some new art to share, once again thanks to the DoodleSwap!

#1 Elf — Fantasy People series

#2 Fairy — Fantasy People series

This time around I had a new toy to play with: Copic Markers. These are refillable alcohol-based art markers which are a dream to color with. I only used a handful of colors to make these cards, but you can bet that I’ll be adding more to my set before long.

#3 Imp — Fantasy People series

#8 Dwarf — Fantasy People series

I’ll post the rest soon!


Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #1

I’ve finally gotten around to posting the Artist Trading Cards I drew for the last Doodle Swap I participated in. For those who don’t know, Artist Trading Cards are 3.5 x 2.5 inch mini artworks. The Doodle Swap Project lets creative-type folks sign up, draw a batch of cards however they like, send them out, and get some back in return.

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #4

This time around I kept it simple: dragons. Well, little bitty dragons at least. They’re sketchier than usual since I had to rush through them to get them in the mail in time. And after all, they’re just “doodles,” right?

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #5

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #2

I don’t know why I’ve been drawing little bitty mythical creatures lately. I guess it’s a palate-cleanser from the more formal client work I’ve been doing. Or I’m just doing warm ups for some more big dragon art that’s waiting in the wings. Either way, these guys just make me happy, I hope they do the same for the people who found them in their mailboxes.

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #7

Sketchbook Project 2012

Sketchbook Project 2012: cover

This year for the first time I joined Art House Co-Op’s Sketchbook Project. They collect sketchbooks from all the participants and send them on the road for a tour before permanently archiving them in the Brooklyn Art Library for anyone to see. When I signed up I chose the topic “Encyclopedia of…” and took it from there.

Sketchbook Project 2012: Peculiar Snails and Slugs

I tried to use this as an opportunity to do something quick without overthinking it, as close to my real sketchbooks as possible. It’s actually quite a bit cleaner than that; my real sketchbooks are full of false starts and piles of scribbles where I’m trying to perfect an idea. This time I wasn’t aiming for perfection, even though I was inspired by incredibly detailed books like Rien Poortvliet and Wil Huygen’s classic Gnomes and Brian Froud’s Faeries

Sketchbook Project 2012: House Gryphons

 I wish I could have spent more time on these, but it was a very busy fall/winter. Still, you can see where I first pulled together the idea for my little house-gryphons and it also sparked a few other ideas that I may develop further.

Sketchbook Project 2012: Strange Insects

The show is now on the road, making its way across the country and around the world before returning to the library in Brooklyn, NY. Check the tour schedule to see when it will be near you! Soon the entire book will be available for viewing online, I’ll be posting the link when it’s available.

And in the meantime, The Sketchbook Project 2013 is open for participants… I’ll be sending for my sketchbook, will you?

Happy Mother’s Day

 Celebrate the Seasons: Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love, support, and encouragement of my own mother. Love you, mom!

In honor of the day, here’s another client piece from the holiday series I’m drawing for Cactus. I don’t know if they actually made banners like that in Victorian times, but the client wanted it. 🙂

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Celebrate the Seasons: Cinco de Mayo

Wow, I thought I’d updated this blog at least once since the new year. All the more reason for a little fiesta to kick things off again! And on Cinco de Mayo, one of those holidays which has outgrown its origins, but what better excuse for a party?

This is another client piece I produced for Cactus to promote scratch-off tickets for the Colorado Lottery. I’ve missed posting a few of the holidays, so I’ll be playing a bit of catch-up. The project is almost done and I confess I’ll miss it. This was a fun one.

The Cinco de Mayo art is a bit brighter and more colorful than the rest, partly keying off of the traditional costumes and decor, and partly because it’s one of the few holidays on my list that doesn’t come from the Victorian visual tradition the rest of them do. We played around with the idea of making this art in a more graphic style reminiscent of Mexican poster art, but ultimately decided on greater consistency with the rest of the series.

More artwork to come soon, I promise!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous New Year!

Holiday Mischief

Ordinarily I try to wait and post my holiday card artwork after they’ve all been received, but a welcome overload of freelance work meant they were printed late and those heading to recipients are either in transit or being hand-delivered this weekend.  Because of this you can probably tell from the caption, I’m sort of thinking of them as “New Years’ cards.”

This year’s artwork is a bit sillier and self-indulgent than usual: a portrait of our older cat Tinkerbell and our new “teenager” cat Simon. The only meaningful difference between this picture and the daily situation at our house is how static and quiet it is. In reality, this tableau would be immediately followed by yowling and a pair of furry projectiles rocketing through the house. The two cats are actually getting along rather well after two-and-a-half months, except when Simon really, really wants to play… whether Tink does or not.

Holiday Mischief, detail

This artwork was drawn with Micron ink pens on bristol paper and colored digitally.

Here’s wishing everyone out there a wonderful holiday season!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone out there is having a great Thanksgiving, able to spend some time with family and/or friends to appreciate all of the good things in their lives. Personally, I’m very grateful for having been born into — and married into — a loving family, for meaningful work that supports me, for a comfortable home to live in. These are the things that really matter, more than “Black Friday” and all the other craziness that goes on this time of year.

Thanksgiving With Scratchoffs
click to enlarge

So what’s up with this somewhat…. unusual picture? Well, one of the things I’m grateful for has been an increase in client work, but it’s been cutting in on my time for making “for fun” work. As a result, instead of something more personal I’m posting a recent piece I produced for Cactus to promote scratch-off tickets for the Colorado Lottery. It should be only the first in the series for a campaign called “Celebrate the Season,” which is already shaping up to be a lot of fun. They wanted an old-fashioned look, so I drew it in ink to simulate an engraving and added subtle tints to color it; the rest of the series should be in a similar style. I produced this one in record time for the complexity of the drawing, and I look forward to taking a little more time to lavish details on the rest of the series.

I wish you all home, health and happiness for this holiday… have a good one!