From My Sketchbook – Week 36

I’ve been working on a series of head illustrations for an upcoming project, so it follows that hats, fascinators and faces have been on my mind a lot lately.

To that end, here are two head sketches.  The first was drawn from real life on the subway… 

Man with hat and dark glasses on the subway

And the second was picked out of my imagination.

whimsical fascinator hat sketch

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Filed under art, drawing faces, From My Sketchbook, Influences, ink sketches, inspiration, marker and ink illustration, motivation, New work, practicing drawing, Quick Sketch, Weekly Sketch Project

Friday’s Thought – All in Good Time

white flower

“As long as we are persistent in our pursuit of our deepest destiny, we will continue to grow. We cannot choose the day or time when we will fully bloom. It happens in its own time.”

(Denis Waitley)


Filed under Friday's Thought, Influences, inspiration, motivation, nature, New York, photography, wisdom, wise quotes

My Favorite Things – A Stroll Across the Brooklyn Bridge at Sunset

The Brooklyn Bridge isn’t really in “my neck of the woods”, but walking it is one of my favorite things to do with out-of-town guests when they visit.  With my Portuguese cousins today I lucked out not only with the weather, but with the timing of our walk.

As we started out, the sun was beginning to set…

Statue of Liberty at sunset

And the buildings behind us softened in the late afternoon light.

Watchtower in Brooklyn

The Empire State Building was majestically framed within the arch of the Manhattan bridge…

Manhattan Bridge and Empire State Building

While on a more human level rusty locks clasped onto the struts of the bridge served as reminders of promises and hopeful wishes.

Brooklyn Bridge locks

Every time I cross the bridge I am awed by this majestic span…

Brooklyn Bridge

And the intricacies of its construction.

Brooklyn Bridge cables

How lucky that I can call this city my home!

Empire State Building


Filed under Influences, inspiration, My Favorite Things, New York, New York City

From My Sketchbook – Week 35

The weather took a definite fall-like turn this past week.  Even though we had rainy days and lots of grey skies, wearing socks, shoes and long pants felt like a welcome change.  I wasn’t the only one bundled up either.

From outside our window I sketched this lady equipped with her rain boots and umbrella…

quick sketch of woman with umbrella

And this woman wearing a jacket and peplum top in the subway.

Sketch of woman with peplum jacket

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Filed under art, drawing, fashion illustration, From My Sketchbook, Influences, ink sketches, inspiration, motivation, New York, pen and ink, Pen Sketch, practicing drawing, subway sketches, techniques, Weekly Sketch Project

Friday’s Thought – On Imagination

Ta Da Cape Coat for blog

“Imagination is the eye of the soul.”

(Joseph Joubert)


Filed under art, drawing, fashion illustration, Friday's Thought, illustration, Influences, inspiration, marker and ink illustration, New work, wisdom, wise quotes

My Favorite Things – Hot Chocolate and Cookies Joana Style

I’ve been cramming in a lot of new music this past week, which means that my stress level has been up and I’m feeling a bit worn out, too.  So how do I stay sane? Well, aside from well-placed breaks to look at my Instagram account and check up on my favorite celebrities online, I’ve also taken some time out to enjoy a few decadent treats…

chocolate oatmeal cookies and Joana Miranda Studio mug

like hot chocolate and homemade cookies!  

After all, I figure I deserve some rewards and a pat on the back now and then.  (Note: here comes the shameless plug part.) I’m proud to say that I made the low-sugar, flour-less chocolate oatmeal cookies (recipe follows), and whipped my own whipping cream by hand with a whisk (mainly because I was too lazy to get out the mixing bowl attachments.)  Oh, and did I mention that the mug also features my own illustration?

Hot chocolate and homemade cookie break

(Even if I don’t have a full hour to get “happy”, these little breaks go a long way to getting me there!)

And now for the Low-Sugar, Flour-less Chocolate Oat Cookie Recipe…chocolate oatmeal cookie

1 cup almond flour. well packed

scant 1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter (I recommend Kerrygold Irish Butter from Grassfed Cows)

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup non-fat dry milk

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup rolled oats

1 4oz bar dark chocolate, chopped (I used 85% dark chocolate – you may prefer a lower cocoa content/sweeter bar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two baking sheets, or use two sheets covered with Silpat mats.  Combine the almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.  With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, coconut sugar and the non-fat dry milk.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until fluffy.  Add the almond flour mixture by hand and stir until thoroughly blended.  Stir in the rolled oats and the chopped chocolate.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on to the prepared baking sheets, spacing the dough about 1 inch apart.  Bake cookies for about 10-15 minutes, until just firm around the edge but still soft to the touch in the center.  Let cool for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool further.

Note:  My husband, the official cookie taster, thinks these cookies are wonderful but that they could be a tad sweeter.  So next time I’ll add 2 small packets of Splenda.

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Filed under art, fashion illustration, healthy eating, Joana Miranda Studio at Society6, My Favorite Things, New work, Society6

From My Sketchbook – Week 34

Much as I expected, this past week I had ample opportunities for sketching on my numerous commutes to Lincoln Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  I also took the opportunity to explore different techniques of working with my new synthetic Aquash water/ink brush.

These techniques ranged from quick gesture portraits from my imagination, like this…

Happy girl with updo

And quick gesture portraits inspired by some of the riders around me, like this…

Girl with earphones

To more detailed study drawings like this.

Businessman portrait side view

In addition to using the brush pen for outline sketches as above, I also practiced using it to lay in a quick mass of “color” for body shapes.  I then followed by adding in the holding outlines and further details with a ball point pen.

Girl with large tote bag

In case you’re curious, I used the above technique for this illustration (now available in my shop at Etsy) substituting Copic Sketch markers for the “ink wash” and using a fine line paintbrush dipped in India ink for the holding outlines.  No preliminary pencil drawing was used.

Gifted Holiday card mockup


Filed under art, drawing, fashion illustration, From My Sketchbook, greeting card, illustration, Influences, ink sketches, inspiration, marker and ink illustration, practicing drawing, Quick Sketch, subway sketches, techniques, Tool Box, Weekly Sketch Project