People often ask what kind of artist I am. My medium has always been colored pencil, which is a bit rare I suppose. But my mom is a colored pencil artist, so I grew up standing on my tip toes at her drafting board to get a glimpse at her latest artworks. And each Christmas, my grandmother gave me new colored pencil sets. So it never really occurred to me to use anything else and it probably says a lot about my personality too, because I like the control that colored pencils provide. Maybe someday I’ll try watercolors (and bravo to those of you who do because I love watercolor illustrations!), but for now no watery messes or drips for me.
My absolute favorite colored pencils are Prismacolor Premier. I haven’t been able to find anything better! They go on so smooth, they blend well and there are a million color options. They’re a bit soft so I use a hand-held pencil sharpener as opposed to an electric one to prevent as much breakage as possible. I currently have this one and I like that it’s really sharp, which helps create a super fine point, and that it has a canister to catch the shavings. There are few things more frustrating than a rogue pencil shaving, which can mark up a clean piece of in-progress art. That being said, a dust brush is absolutely crucial to brush away any shavings or other annoying bits. Which brings me to my favorite kneaded eraser, which doesn’t shed like rubber erasers. It also picks up the color without smearing or damaging the paper and can be shaped into a point to lift out small highlights. So an eraser is as much a tool for creating the actual art as it is for erasing any mistakes. I keep all of these supplies in shoe boxes on my desk. Very professional, I know! 🙂
And lastly, I look for paper that’s relatively smooth. My favorite Canson Biggie Sketch paper was discontinued (oh, the devastation!), so I’ve been testing others. Lately, Strathmore Drawing paper (medium surface and weight) has been my go-to. I buy it in 11×14″ sheets and use a paper cutter if a client wants a smaller size.
In terms of tools for actually creating my illustrations, that’s about it! It’s really important to test things out because once you find what you like, it makes the process so much easier and reduces the guess work. I’ll post later about my scanner and printer and how I digitize my works, all of which deserve a post of their own.
During the process of designing my new web site and branding, the wonderful Cody McBurnett of Loki Loki had the fantastic idea of using a drawing I did of my own hands to create a new logo that includes my signature. It reminds me so much of the lithograph, Drawing Hands, by M.C. Escher. And it truly encapsulates my artwork because I oddly love drawing hands and often focus on them in my illustrations. As you click through my web site, you’ll notice the color of the pencils in the logo in the header changes from page to page on the site as well. I’d always wanted to create something like this—and am so thankful to Cody for working her magic and turning that idea into a reality.
In 2020, I began to draw a lot more. I’d always loved drawing and had taken on commissions here and there, but the pandemic had a great way of keeping us inside finding creative ways to occupy time during evenings and weekends. And with all the craziness in the world, art was also a great way to express how I felt. So I began to draw whenever I could. And the more I shared via Instagram, the more people seemed to become interested. Eventually, they even began reaching out for commissions and asking how to buy my work. It became clear I needed to update my web site. And as fortune would have it, I came across Cody McBurnett of Loki Loki. Cody immediately understood what I envisioned for my site and brand. Fast forward to today, and I couldn’t be happier with the result!
We structured the site with two main sections: My custom illustrations page outlines the process of commissioning custom pieces from me, and now I have a full-fledged shop offering my available original pieces, prints and note cards.
I hope you find the site to be a useful tool as well as a source of inspiration, as my art and offerings continue to evolve and grow. And please keep an eye on my Instagram, where I’ll continue posting behind-the-scenes photos and videos of my work. I know many of you know me as the full-time Texas editor for Luxe Interiors + Design—now I am so happy to share what I love doing after hours. If I learned anything during the pandemic, it’s how much I love drawing. Why not just go for it!