Lipstick Studies

Beauty illustration is an area I haven’t dabbled in much… so over the weekend I started a sketchbook dedicated entirely to cosmetic illustrations…

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Lipstick is such a simple object, but the moment a woman paints a fresh color over her lips… it’s game on. A bright red lip gives women a power that no other cosmetic can touch.

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Prints available here.

You can find the same watercolor sketchbook I use here.

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ON BEING INSPIRED

Many of you ask me…

“How do you come up with your illustration? Is it purely from your imagination?”

Yes and no. Quite often, I find a trigger. That trigger is something I see that instantly floods a million ideas into my head… ideas I can clearly see. It can be something I see while on a walk outdoors, driving in the middle of nowhere, or an image I come across online. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where inspiration begins… as it’s all around us if we look for it.

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For example, last November I went to see the Nutcracker here in Boston. The Boston Opera House is a place straight out of a dream… and the show itself was absolutely mesmerizing (which I’ve told you about a million times by now!). There was just something about sitting in that theater and watching the show that struck me. It wasn’t just about what was happening on stage… it was about the audience and the entire atmosphere. It was the captivation on everyone’s faces, something you don’t often see in everyday situations. How everyone was dressed up, and how that may have looked sixty years ago. That idea stuck with me. Not long after that, I re-watched Finding Neverland, a movie I’ll never tire of… which drew upon that idea.

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All of those thoughts and ideas formed this image in my mind, and that’s how she came to be. Although, finding inspiration to form an idea is only one step of the way. The process of bringing that idea to life is something that needs to be inspired as well. For me, that’s where music comes in. I’ve been surrounded by music and musicians my entire life. When I’m trying to ‘get in the zone’ to illustrate a new piece, nine times out of ten music will do the trick. It’s important for me to play the right songs for the mood of the piece and what I want to convey. It’s incredible how much more meaningful my work turns out when it has a soundtrack. For this particular piece, I listened to mostly movie soundtracks and jazz. Listening to music with words can sometimes be distracting to me… it’s almost as if my brain is focusing on the lyrics instead of what I’m working on. Although, sometimes music with words works… I’m a huge fan of Lester Young and Billie Holiday!

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul” – Plato

All in all, how you get inspired is very much different for everyone… what do you do to spark your imagination?

Here’s a playlist I created with some of my favorite work music.

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FACE TO FACE

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I’ve been craving artistic exploration lately… not just with new mediums, but also with perspective. Usually I focus on the large picture, but this time I zoomed in to focus on the face.  8_face

I tried to keep things simple by focusing on the purest form of watercolor and working with positive and negative space. It creates such a strong graphic element…

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It’s refreshing to try something new… don’t you think?

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COPLEY SQUARE IN WHITE / GIVEAWAY

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As you know, I’m quite the snow fanatic, so it seemed only fitting to capture the beauty of the Blizzard of 2013 in illustration form. One of my favorite (and most beautiful) areas in Boston is Copley Square. The Old South Church’s architecture is enough to make anyone ooh and ahh! I took a long and freezing walk to Boston from Harvard Square the morning after the blizzard, and oh… it’s a walk I’ll never forget! There were almost no cars in sight, and just a few scattered people (some on skis). It made for the most picturesque Boston I’ve ever seen.  It was such a perfect day.

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I’m sure I littered everyone’s instagram feed with more than enough snow photos… which brings me to the giveaway! I’ve taken a photography class here and there, but I’ve never really learned the in’s and out’s of the art. Capturing moments via photo is something I’m nearly as passionate about as illustrating, in fact, they go hand in hand. The same way illustration captures a moment… it’s about finding and seeing that unique moment.

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This March I’m taking the Camera Ready Bootcamp here in Boston. I’m excited to learn how to use an SLR, and give my iPhone camera a rest (yes I take every single photo you see on my blog with my iPhone!). We’ll be spending the day learning the basics of the camera, shooting techniques, and editing tricks. The girls over at Camera Ready are going to giveaway a spot to their class to one of you! Check out the class description to see if it’s something you’d be interested in here.

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To Win:

Leave a comment telling me why you’d like to take the class, and you’re class location choice (The Boston class or the Berkshire class). 

Post an instagram with the hashtag #CameraReadyBoston to show us what sort of photo subjects interest you and tag @paperfashion and @blogalacart.

For a double entry, make sure to like Camera Ready on facebook.

We’ll notify the winner via email on Monday, February 18th.

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DIOR INSPIRED SEQUINS

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Lately, I’ve been experimenting with sequins. I’m always looking for new embellishments for my drawings… and these really bring it to life, don’t you think? They create a dimension while still remaining in the 2-D realm.

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I’m working on a large piece using them right now that I’ll share later this week. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Spinning Round and Round

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Ever since I laid my eyes on this, I can’t get carousels out of my mind. This one’s inspired by the Carrousel La Belle Epoque in Paris… which I can only imagine is as dreamy in person as it is in pictures.Carousel2 Carousel3 Carousel4

See it flow from sketch to color over on Vine App.

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EMERALD BEAUTY

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A Night At The Theater

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A simple moment in my imagination illustrated.  If only we still dressed like this to go see a show…!

Take a look at these three images to watch how I added detail.

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Sometimes the simplest things can take the longest to perfect. I nearly spent an hour and a half on her right hand alone to find the perfect position resting on her left arm.

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Would’ve been nice if her feet were peeking out a bit on the bottom left, what do you think?

Print available for purchase here.

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JOIN ME ON VINE

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It’s official! I’m addicted to Vine. It can be overwhelming when new social media outlets pop up because let’s face it, we’ve got enough to keep up with as it is! However, this one’s got me thinking in a whole new way… and as a creative, I can’t help but love that feeling. Join me on Vine, and watch as I share 6 second looping video clips of my world.

What do you think of the app?

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SKETCHING GOWNS

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My 2013 calendars are now on sale! Last chance to get one as they will no longer be available beginning February 1st.

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The Art of Handwriting

Having been to a lot of museums as of late, it got me thinking about handwriting…

Handwriting_1In most of the exhibits I visited, there were displays of handwritten notes to and from the artist to friends or other well known figures. The letters were more often than not written in a fine black ink… in a calligraphic or cursive style. They were gorgeous documentations of a fleeting art. What will our ancestors have to remember our correspondence with one another? Printed emails? 

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Ever since I received my Parker Pen, I’ve been sketching and writing away in my sketchbook (I love how water reacts to the inks). There’s something so glamorous about an organic handwriting… it creates a certain romance on paper no matter what the words may be.

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A beautiful pen can be inspiring in itself, don’t you think?

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What about you, do you still handwrite letters? Who doesn’t like getting a beautiful piece of mail!?

Happy National Handwriting Day!

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ENCHANTED FOREST

Over the weekend, I took a brief trip to the beautiful Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. It was without a doubt one of the most beautiful drives I’ve been on since I’ve lived in the North East.  The windy roads, fresh air, and unexpected roadside waterfalls were enough to awaken anyone’s mind…

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There’s something about spending time in nature that always reenergizes my creativity. 

On the drive back to Boston, I took a detour to Stockbridge in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.  I had been wanting to visit the grounds of Norman Rockwell’s studio for some time now, which is in the heart of Stockbridge.  The museum was filled with hundreds of Norman Rockwell paintings that I had poured my eyes over again and again growing up. I’ve always been so attracted to Norman Rockwell’s story and process… as it’s quite unique. It also brings me back to a part of my ancestry that I’m fascinated with- My Great Grandfather, Ernst Troeger, who used to go on fishing trips with Norman.

After visiting the museum, I took a quick drive down to Main Street in Stockbridge, which was famously immortalized by Norman Rockwell. The street was as charming as his painting described… Even Yankee Candle was housed in a picturesque brick shop. I visited the Williams & Son’s Country Store, which was straight off of a postcard. Stepping inside this shop made me feel as if I had gone back in time. It was filled with an eclectic mix of whimsical and quirky items from the past.

Since I arrived home last night, I’ve been stuck in an enchanted state of mind. This painting is sort of a mix of my entire weekend… the beautiful mystery of nature and whimsy from a past era. It also may have to do with the fact that I’m reading The Night Circus, re-watched Finding Neverland, and finding this tin hot air balloon mobile

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Many of you ask how I stay inspired on a day to day basis… I forever feel that getting out and creating new experiences will inspire you no matter what. Turn off your TV, get outside and look.

I’d love to hear what you do to stay inspired! 

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INAUGURAL GOWN

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What did you think of Michelle Obama’s Jason Wu gown? I thought she looked stunning in red! 

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SHADES OF ROSE

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One of my favorite local shops to visit is the Brattle Square Florist in Harvard Square. Flowers are such magnificent creatures… how can you not be inspired by them?

I picked up some roses the other day, and have been working on a few beauty and floral pieces. Watercolor is a gorgeous medium to paint layers and layers of petals…

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When I finished this piece, it seemed much too plain and contrived so I went a bit nuts with glitter… It created the perfect combination of control and chaos.

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What’s your favorite flower? I can never seem decide… 

Original painting available here.

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PEN TO PAPER

As I mentioned last week, this year I’m making a point to spend time with my sketchbook. I picked up a new Moleskine the other day, and have been glued to it ever since! It’s amazing how some simple loose sketches can open up your imagination to a new world of ideas.

Here is a glimpse inside the beginning of my new artistic journal…

The way water brings out a rainbow of colors in my black Parker Pen ink is beautiful…

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