Art, illustration, Influences, marker and ink illustration, materials, New work

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


  1. Teresa says

    Hi Joana,
    I like both but if I had to choose, it would be B.
    Greetings from Portugal

  2. Hi Joana,
    I think the watering can on ‘A’ has a more saturated green, which may lead to excessive protagonism. I also prefer ‘B’ because the shadow on the neck is more subtle but this is just preciousness because both look great 🙂

    • Ola Pedro,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! You picked up on exactly the same problems I saw in illustration A. I, too, prefer the watering can color in version B and I definitely prefer the way I did the neck shading in B. But I like the expression in A better. Ironically, even though the lines in version A are a little thicker (less elegant) quite a few people have said that version A feels “lighter” and more free.

      For now, I’m just going to let both illustrations “rest.” Maybe they’ll just be tuition pieces; or maybe I’ll come back to them again soon.

      I hope you are doing well!

      Um grande abraco da Joana

      On Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 6:34 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  3. I like A. More lively, a lighter touch, I like her expression and shoes (!) better.

    Adorable either one, though!

    xoxo mm

    • Hi Ma,

      Thanks so much for weighing in! I think “A” is more lively and has a lighter feel, although the touch (lines) is actually a bit heavier (and I messed up the shading on the neck). Somehow, though, because I wasn’t being as careful, the thicker lines in A do come across as lighter in feel.

      I may be able to do something about the neck in Photoshop, although I’m going to sit on this illustration for a little while longer before I decide what to do.

      Love, J

      On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 4:01 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


    • Hi Helen,

      I’m glad you like both! I prefer the watering can color in version B; but I think the two expressions are fairly different (unintentionally) and, unfortunately, I like the expression in A better. Murphy’s Law, eh? But it’s just paper and pens…and very much a work in progress.

      My mandevilla vine has entwined itself around the balcony and the blooms are opening up. And I have NINE little tomatoes on my tomato plant!!! I’m still not sure if they’ll be full-blown big tomatoes or just cherry tomatoes. So far they are all still green and about the size of very small plums. What’s blooming in your garden?

      XOX – Joana

      On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 5:19 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  4. I like B better. She has a kinder face, especially in the mouth. However, both are outstanding, in my opinion. I don’t see the need to be more free in your illustration, although I understand the pull towards that. Maybe experiment with another style all together, with another face and personality and see what comes of it. – Rita

    • Hi Rita,

      Thanks so much for weighing in! At this point, the “B” votes are out-winning the A, so you’re in good company. 🙂 I think part of my quest for more freedom comes from the desire to create illustrations that look like they’ve captured a fleeting mood – instead of being representative of a particular person. In other words, I’m trying to create a mood and spirit that is more universal and therefore (hopefully) more compelling to the viewer.

      And your advice to keep experimenting with different styles, faces and personalities is spot on – and is what I plan to keep doing!

      So thanks again! Joana

      On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


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