Never Stop Learning

Dragonfly in Watercolors

You know what’s been driving me nuts recently? Paper surfaces!!

So I’ve been a pencil and ink kind of gal for most of my life. Until college, I rarely explored oil and acrylics, and when I worked with color, it was more of an achromatic with a focal color, or just a limited pallette to whatever markers I had at my disposal. For the most part, I worked in my sketchbook or on cardstock. Sometimes I would venture into Bristol, but very rarely. But now I’ve experienced oil painting, acrylic painting, explored watercolors and fell in love with them.

There’s such a focus on the medium, that the surface is rarely addressed.

I watch a lot of YouTube. A bit because I work from home most days and have no life. But mostly because I enjoy listening to creators I admire while I work. And YouTube illustrators often list their tools. The pencils they use, the brushes they use, the paints they have, and the markers they love.

But rarely the paper.

Now I’m not one for consistency. It’s a serious problem I have and my loved ones are gracious with me. And when in school, I was never consistent with how I approached the assignments. I used everything from markers to oils to digital. For each assignment, I did something new and different.

And here’s the thing: it’s okay that I did that. It’s okay that I STILL do that. Because although how I approach an illustration is always different, my finished product is consistent. And ultimately, that’s what matters.

And at any stage in a creative field, you should be learning and growing. My inconsistency is a fault of mine, but it’s also a strength. I’m constantly trying new and different things. I come back to what I love – pen and pencil – but I’m never going to shy away from new techniques and new ways f approaching problems. I’m not a consistent person, but I work through where that lies as a fault and embrace where that is a strength.

I still haven’t found a type of paper that I enjoy working with. I hope I’ll find some soon. But with each type of paper I try or recommendation that I explore, one thing stays true: never stop learning.

Five Artists Who Inspire Me

Everyone has inspiration, be it in the visual arts, performing arts, or even other fields. Here are some people who inspire me.

J C Leyendecker 


Leyendecker illustrated during the “golden age” of illustration and is a member of the Society of Illustrators in New York city. Most people know his work, even if they don’t know his name.

His use of color, the way he handled painting, and his compositions are all spot-on. I look up to his compositions, and the fact that up-close his paintings are loose, but viewed either small or from a distance, he achieves a clean, realistic look.

I’ve had the honor of seeing his work at the Society in New York. Worth the trip.


Alphonse Mucha



The quintessential artist of the Art Nouveau era, although at the time he wasn’t nearly as popular as he is today.


Like the Nouveau style of working, Mucha used organic shapes to form his compositions. What’s fascinating about his style is the organic shapes next to the abstract shapes, and how they flow together so well.



tumblr_m50p550Wun1qhttpto3_1280Jillian Tamaki

Tamaki is a currently-active artist with an expansive skill set.

She has a graphic style to her illustrations, and she works in both digital and traditional media. I find her limited color-palate illustrations very inspiring, especially ones that use ink and splashes of watercolor.



Roberto Ferri


A contemporary artist who works in the style of old masters, Ferri’s skillset with oil painting is undeniable.

Ferri’s art has the weight and feel of a Renaissance-era painter, while often paired with modern imagery and thought. His mastery of light is undeniable.



James Gurney


If you’re familiar with Dinotopia, then you’re familiar with James Gurney’s art. He is the creator and artist of the series.

This man’s love and passion for art has no boundaries. He’s a master of color, light, and composition. He’s written books on the subjects, and he uses all the techniques he suggests to other artists.



This is just a small sample of artists I admire. Do you have any people you admire? What about their work do you find inspiring?