Tag Archives: fashion illustration

Seizing the Day, Fashionista Style…

What do you get when you put a fashionista in an artful print dress?

Why this of course!

Arte diem


(To purchase this greeting card, please click here.)


Filed under Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, illustration, art, drawing, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, print, marker and colored pencil illustration, fashion illustration, greeting card

Elegance is an Attitude – New Illustration from Joana Miranda Studio

I just put the finishing touches on my latest illustration and I’m really excited to post it!  This one was done using the ink blocking technique I tried on my last illustration (see here), although I used colored pencils for the outlines this time.  I love her elegant, yet soft look…and I so want her dress!

Antoinette for blog


(Coming soon to my shop at Etsy!)



Filed under art, fashion illustration, illustration, Influences, marker and colored pencil illustration, marker and ink illustration, pencil and marker illustration

My Favorite Things – Drawing From Experience (Mine, and a Few Others, too!)

Since  Monday when I arrived back home from being away, I’ve been in a frenzy of activity at the drafting table.   I suppose there’s nothing like time and distance away from what you love to motivate you.  In my case, the time off has also given me some fresh perspective on my work.  One thing figurative artists are always after is dynamic movement.  With that in mind, I went in search of some good “gestural drawing” how-to videos online.  I was delighted to find this one, and highly recommend the other videos in the series.  Not only are Stan Prokopenko‘s videos clear, helpful and extremely well produced, but they’re also entertaining!

As a result, this week I’ve been warming up each day with a series of quick gestural drawings and I plan to continue to start my drawing sessions this way in the future.  Drawing in this manner is incredibly freeing and fun, and I’m already beginning to look at figures differently.  Today, in fact, as I walked the 4o blocks to the art store (I was multi-tasking getting in my workout) I studied each person I passed and imagined them being reduced to a gestural line drawing kinda like this…

gestural drawing

Of course, my finished illustrations are usually more fleshed out, but since I seem to be on a quest for simplifying my work, I also researched fashion illustration videos and found this fabulous (though not as professionally produced) free-hand fashion illustration demo:

Using the information in the video above, I worked on a new illustration.  Here’s what my step-by-step process looked like:

Step 1 -

Step 1

(Gestural line and blocks of color for skin and dress have been mapped out in marker.)

Step 2 – 

Step 2

(Green dress feathers and facial features are added.)

Step 3 – 

Step 3

(Tones in dress have been darkened and lines for hair are added.)

Unfortunately, I got so wrapped up in my work that I forgot to take a picture of some of the next steps  – outlining the figure and adding the final highlights.  Here, however, is the finished illustration!

Red headed beauty for blog

Like what you see?  Then come back for more tomorrow!


Filed under art, illustration, My Favorite Things, New work

A Demurely Dotty Departure (My Latest Illustration Takes Shape)

Today’s illustration was a departure of sorts for me.  Inspired by Donna Mehalko’s wonderful illustrations in this book (currently on my Amazon wish-list), I decided to start from a style board and then imagine a character and pose for the clothes.

This was the style board I chose.

blue polka dot dress board


Because I’ve been feeling like I need a drawing refresher of sorts, I went back to this wonderful illustration tutorial by Alfredo Cabrera.  Following his step-by-step instructions, I first created a “skeleton” outline for the figure made up of mostly geometric shapes.

(Pardon the faint image!)

skeleton sketch for illustration


And after fleshing out the details, this is what emerged!

polka dotted dress and chihuaha for blog




Filed under art, illustration, marker and ink illustration, materials, motivation, New work

Time Warp, or Maybe Just Beginner’s Luck?

I’ve always been envious of artists whose work is so free, yet assured, that they can create their originals in pen.

Take for example, the work of famed illustrator Rene Gruau:

Rene Gruau illustration

Being a risk-adverse type of person (not to mention that my initial attempts 3 years ago drawing with pen were beyond embarrassing – hello, Close Encounters of the Third Kind?), that kind of freedom has certainly eluded me.  In fact, I wrote in yesterday’s post that I expected to get good at drawing with pen in maybe…

40 years

But the seed was planted again in my brain.  Last night, just for fun, I took out my nice heavy-weight Borden & Riley Bristol Art papers (I have pads in 3 different weights) and doodled with my markers to see which weight was the best fit.   And, perhaps just to prove to myself that I shouldn’t even try to draw in pen, I doodled this “fashionista”…

doodle fashionista

Yes, it looks like her right foot is on backwards and that she has a dust bunny for a pet, but the whole exercise was oddly encouraging.  And today when I decided to continue the experiment, here’s what emerged…

Speechless for blog


Overnight success?  Beginner’s luck?  No.  (And certainly not when you consider that I’ve been creating fashion-based illustrations for the past 3 years!)

Proof that hard work and goal-setting works?

I’ll let you be the judge on that one….



Filed under art, illustration, marker and ink illustration, motivation, techniques

Can You Spot the Differences…(and Give Me Your Opinion?)

Lately, I’ve been working towards more freedom in my illustrations…with the secret hope that someday (in another 40 years?) I’ll be able to create the illustrations from the get-go in pen.

Yesterday when I was working on my “illustration du jour” I was just putting in the finishing touches when I went a little heavy-handed with one of my pens and – in my eyes – ruined the illustration.  So I started again. The result is that I now have two illustrations that appear very similar, but are still quite different.  Funny what the flick of a pen can do!

My husband surprised me with his preference; however, since I’m still on the fence over which one I prefer, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Do you prefer….


The Happy Gardener for Blog2


or, B.
The Happy Gardener for Blog


Filed under art, illustration, Influences, marker and ink illustration, materials, New work

Fun with Ruffles…A New Illustration Takes Shape!

What was supposed to be a lighter work load this week has turned into anything but since I’m playing all seven performances of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with New York City Ballet.  It’s a glorious score, and the audience loves the staging and the dancing, so no complaints here.  All the same, finding time to work on my illustrations has been a challenge.

But, I did make progress today on this sketch.

prelim sketch for glam bday card


Here is the transferred pen version…

transferred pen drawing

And the illustration after I had rendered the skin and was adding the first layer of red marker.

red marker added

Here is the illustration with a second layer of darker red low-lights added…

second layer of red low lights added

And, the finished dress with yet another darker layer of red added and some blending over the highlights!

couture dress rendered

The balloons weren’t finished when I took the photo above, and I might still redo them for the card version.  But for tonight…

that’s all folks!



Filed under art, illustration, marker and ink illustration, materials, New work

Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better): Learning from the Masters

Today it’s hat’s off to these artists who inspire me:

Chelsey McLaren – for her whimsical trés chic, haute cute illustrations

Izak Zenou – for his seemingly tossed off, yet ever-so-stylish city girl illustrations

Arturo Elena – in my book, the master of the marker illustration

Donna Mehalko – for her bold lines and bright contrasting colors

hats off tilted cropped blog

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

(Pablo Picasso)


Filed under art, drawing, education, Influences, Jo's Journey, marker and ink illustration, motivation, New work, wisdom

My Favorite Things – Having the Time to “Play” at My Drafting Table

Although I went back to teaching today (I’m fortunate to be blessed with great students!), I still had the better part of the day to play work on my illustrations.  My goal was to experiment with India ink and my nib pen for the illustration outline.  I was also going for more freedom in my coloring approach.  In the pencil sketch (which I worked on yesterday) I focused on elongating the figure even more than I usually do since I wanted to emphasize her grace and bring out the overall glamour in the composition.

What a luxury to be able to experiment and even REDO an illustration – in this case, the version below is my 2nd attempt…

Valentine Rose final

I’m fired up to do more illustrations using the techniques above, but first I’ll be turning my attention to finishing a 5-illustration custom project.

See you back here soon!


Filed under art, drawing, marker and ink illustration, materials, motivation, My Favorite Things, New work, techniques, Tool Box

Stretching My Limits…The Fashion Illustration Goes to New Lengths

After a week away from home and from my art supplies, I’m itching to get back to work.  The enforced vacation from creating has been good…in fact, I feel like it’s forced me to look with fresh eyes at my work to-date and see where I want to grow.  The Holy Grail for me is capturing that je ne sais quois element that is embodied in the work of fashion illustrators like Reneé Gruau:

Rene Gruau illustration

and Arturo Elena:

Curly Haired Woman with Perfume Bottle by Arturo Elena

If I had to put my finger on it, I’d say that beyond vibrancy, movement and  life, these illustrations exude GLAMOUR!

With that in mind, I’ve tweaked some proportions and lines in my latest illustration – still in the pencil draft stage.  Here is a sneak peak of a portion of that sketch:

Head shot from Valentine with Rose by Joana Miranda

Curious to see more?  Then come back tomorrow!

Leave a comment

Filed under art, drawing, education, motivation, techniques