{Sketches} Jen Garrido

by Joanna on May 20, 2013

San Francisco-based artist Jen Garrido can be described in one word: effervescent. And I mean that both personally and artistically! I had the great joy of meeting Jen in her studio, where she regaled me with stories about her beautiful baby daughter, spilt paint, and the adventures of balancing motherhood and art. Jen is bubbly and happy, qualities which I genuinely believe can be witnessed in her work. A real go-getter, Jen rarely sketches first. Instead, she prefers to dig right in and just get started painting. When I visited her studio, she had stacks upon stacks of hand-bound sketchbooks full of her vibrant, undulating work. I think I could spend hours sifting through them all … and still never decide which is my favorite! Using oil and acrylic paints, Jen often pairs neon brights with muddy, toned down colors. Nature-based forms are almost rhythmic in feel, but also very modern. Jen pulls a lot of inspiration from vintage prints and artwork she finds at flea markets. She is also inspired by other artists, such as Keltie Ferris, Amy Sillman, and Charline Von Heyl.

{images via Jen Garrido}


{Sketches} Paperfashion

by Joanna on March 11, 2013

The work of Katie Rodgers, aka Paperfashion, transports you to another place … to some dreamland far away where ballet dancers frolic, where the snow always glistens, and where women still wear gloves. Ever inspired by the whimsical moments in life, Katie seeks that unique spark in moments that many find to be mundane. A true artist, she layers many different types of media on top of her watercolor and ink illustrations. From glitter to sequins, even tulle, Katie has evolved her work while staying true to her distinctly feminine aesthetic.

What I truly love the most about Katie’s work is how unapologetically feminine her pieces can be. Each painting and sketch tells a fantastical story, one that shows her imagination and fresh perspective. As a good friend of Katie’s, every time I see her newest pieces on her blog, I can’t help but get caught up in her vision of the world and just how blissful life can be!

If you are interested in learning more about Katie’s tricks and techniques, she is teaching a class on Skillshare starting today!

{All images via Paperfashion}


{Sketches} Rebecca Atwood

by Joanna on February 20, 2013

Reminiscent of the ocean and evoking a casual elegance, this is the desktop of Brooklyn-based designer and artist Rebecca Atwood. A true believer in the sketchbook process, Rebecca blends traditional textile techniques with hand painting to create textiles that are simple, yet sophisticated. She believes that everything starts in the sketchbook, but often ventures outside this spiral-bound world, dabbling in mixed media collages, trial-and-error textile swatches, and color palettes. Rebecca possesses a strong passion for painting, heritage, and the true value of making.

{Some pages of Rebecca’s numerous sketchbooks, including fabric swatches and solarized prints.}

{A true explorer, Rebecca experiments with cut paper.}

{All images by Rebecca Atwood}


This is the last week of the Sketches Exclusive series with the talented Grace Lee. We have enjoyed sharing her talent with you! Grace’s sketches this week are inspired by storefronts in her neighborhood. She captured great details for each shop, like the tiles and sidewalk pattern for the barbershop, the climbing vines and flowers for the restaurant Cibot , and the pink and blue tiles for the Chinese restaurant. Don’t they make you want to see these places in person? Thanks again Grace, for sharing your wonderful new illustrations with us!

This is the barber shop at the end of my street. I love all the little details: the tiles, the arched window, and the little aqua stripes on the square pot plant boxes out front.

My friend Ebony’s boyfriend told me about this place, Cibot. It’s actually on the other end of my street. They make the best Ragu, sometimes with hand made pasta! I love the details of the vines on the walls and the bottles out the front. Really, really cute.

I’ve never eaten here, but it’s on the other side of Shimokitazawa, (where I live). It looks like a Chinese restaurant from the outside. The pink and blue tiles on the side are what I like most about it.


This week brings us the third installment of our Sketches Exclusive with artist Grace Lee. I get so excited to check my inbox every week to see her new illustrations! The theme for today is flora and fauna. Grace captures a few images of her walk to and from work, and her recent trip to the Aomori prefecture. I also couldn’t resist asking Grace a few more questions about her upcoming work and her process.

Do you have any new projects that you are working on?
At the moment I’m working on a few magazine illustration jobs in Japan. This is the first time I’ve been published here, so it’s been a major achievement for me. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities that have come up, especially recently. Also, I’ll be releasing a new range of wall stickers in Australia with The Wall Sticker Company. There’ll be some familiar pieces, and hopefully people will like them for their walls.
Were there any challenges you faced when switching over from design to illustration?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have not had too many challenges. I think having a background in design has been a major advantage because it has helped me to understand how an illustration can fit into/work with the layout, which in turn makes it easier to come up with the ideas. The biggest challenge at the beginning was getting work out there. I already had a portfolio of design, but a smaller range of actual illustration work. That has taken a little bit of time to build up, but I’ve loved the whole process and I can really see progression.

I have THE nicest neighbour. Whenever I leave the house and if she’s out in front, she’ll open the gate for me and say, “Itterasshai,” (the Japanese expression you say to people when they are leaving). I drew this because I love the little red plant she has by her door and the strange porcelain dog sitting next to it. These two are the first things I see when I come in the gate.

I recently went on a short trip to Aomori prefecture. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the lake that I wanted to visit. But along the way to the art gallery, the bus drove past all these cute ‘cloud-pruned’ trees. It’s not uncommon to see these everywhere in Japan.

I see this on the way to work and there is always a blue watering can sitting in the square hole. The hanging strawberries are adorable.