Tag Archives: Josephine

My Favorite Things – Working from a Happy Place

Namely, my drafting table!  Since “free time” for drawing has been in such short supply this past month, it was with great pleasure that I sat down to work on some “head shots” today.

The subject?  

Three cartoon head shots

I call her Josephine.

(But she does bear a marked resemblance to me – that is, when I’ve bothered to get out of my sweatpants, put on makeup and style my hair!)



Filed under art, drawing, drawing faces, fashion illustration, illustration, Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, Josephine, My Favorite Things, New work, practicing drawing

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

The Melancholy Polka – New Whimsical Illustration from Joana Miranda Studio

Josephine hasn’t been feeling exactly chipper of late…in fact, melancholy might be a better description of her mood.  But even Josephine knows that moods come and go.   And so she’s embracing this one and learning to dance with it, too.

Melancholy Polka for blog

(The greeting card version is now available in my shop at Etsy.)


Filed under A Talent for Design Shop, art, illustration, marker and ink illustration, New work

Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better) – Channeling Edison

Thomas Edison said…

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

I’m not sure I am at the 10,000 flops mark, but I feel like I came close earlier this week.  And here’s why.

When I created this illustration…

Love letter to NY

I was pretty excited with the overall concept.  Upon review from my editor-in-chief  (a.k.a my husband) though,  I realized that Josephine’s expression did need some tweaking.

And my husband also wasn’t convinced by the background.  He said…

Grey detail from illustration

So I decided to start over, and am happy to share with you my list of…


#1. Begin by retracing the illustration onto a fresh sheet of marker paper.

Technically, retracing does work, but by versions 6, 7 and 8 (see below), I felt pretty foolish when I realized that scanning the line drawing into my computer and then printing it out onto art paper was a lot less time-consuming.

many versions of the same illustration

#2.   Use Q-tips with Copic Various Ink Refills to create a background ink wash.

That was my intention at least when I made the trip to Dick Blick’s art store in lower Manhattan to purchase the Copic Various Ink refills.  I found the refills, but also attracted the attention of a security guard who followed me around every aisle convinced I was his childhood French art teacher.  But I digress.  More to the point was that I learned that the Q-tip wash technique is best suited for small background areas.  On my illustration, the result was messy and streaky looking…not to mention that my hands got stained with the inks.

#3. Cleaning up Copic ink spills is easy.

Guess what?  This is permanent ink.  Soap and water won’t remove it and neither will nail polish remover.   However, Copic Colorless Blender solution does!  Which is something to keep in mind when you try and use the “Blender” to blend different colored inks on your marker paper.  The blender should be renamed “Color-Lifter-Offer” or “Color-Smearer.”   Here’s an example of the blender used incorrectly…

detail of illustration with critique

#4. Dilute Copic ink with water for a softer background “wash.”

My attempts at a water-diluted ink wash resulted in this (mess).  Note the buckled and wrinkled paper.

illustration attempts

#5. You can smooth out any buckles or wrinkles on your Borden & Riley #125 Bleedproof marker paper with a household iron.

Although I have ironed other paper before, this paper is definitely not suited for this kind of treatment.  In fact, if you iron the shiny back side of the paper, the paper will glue itself to your iron.  How neat is that?!

After gaining all of this hard-earned wisdom, some people might have done this…

crumpled paper

But not me (or Thomas Edison.)  So I hope you’ll come back tomorrow to see the redone illustration along with some tips on WAYS THAT WORK!


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

Ringing in the New Year in Style? My Latest Fashionista Sketch Takes Life

Since Josephine’s last appearance here was on December 21st, you may well be wondering what she’s been up to!  The truth is that she’s been tapping her (high) heels at me in frustration since my attention has been elsewhere – namely, “Nutting” (my 29th Nutcracker show of the season was yesterday…and I still have 5 to go!) and Illustrating!

Yes, sometimes Josephine has to take a back seat to other fashionista lovelies.  In this case, my client has commissioned 5 fashionista illustrations, and I’m having a ball working on them.  When they are finished and up on her site, I’ll be sure to post a link.

But there’s still hope for Josephine.  And if there’s time, I may just be able to help her get ready for her New Year’s Eve bash tomorrow night…

2014 Fashionista

I hope you’ll be celebrating, too!


Filed under art, City Girl Designs, drawing, illustration, Josephine

Breaking News – Joana Miranda Studio Cell Phone and iPad Cases Debut at Keka Case

Yes, it’s true!

Breaking news mockup

I’ve joined the international roster of designers carried by Keka Case.  Which means you can choose one of my available designs to adorn your cell phone or iPad.

Gone with the Wind Ipda mini

With 10 different product types per design (Keka Case is currently carrying 10 of my designs), you’re sure to find the right fit for your device and your personal style.

Belle of the Beach mockup

And if my designs aren’t your thing, take a look at the other wonderful design options Keka Case carries.  Even better, take advantage of the free shipping on snap-ons, and make sure to use the 25% discount coupon site-wide: SNAP25.  (Note: This coupon offer expires 10/31!)


Filed under art, art licensing, industry news, Josephine

A Character Emerges – Moving Forward with my Latest Illustration

Last week felt like it lasted a month.  Eleven services with San Francisco Ballet, two students, and playing a few solo pieces for a colleague left me exhausted, not to mention that I had absolutely no time for my other passion – my illustrations.

But today was a day off, so I took the opportunity to sit down at my drafting table and do some work on my “Turning Heads” illustration.

She’s beginning to take shape nicely…

a character emerges

As you can see, I often work from compilations of photos.  A scene, an outfit, or maybe an accessory jumps out at me; the trick is to combine them all in a way that makes sense for Josephine.  (So far, she’s pretty excited with where I’m going with this one.)

And I’ll keep posting my progress.

In the meantime, if you happen to be in NY City this week, I hope you’ll come see/hear Prokofiev’s Cinderella danced by the San Francisco Ballet at the David H. Koch Theatre.

(I’ll be playing my heart out in the pit.)


Filed under illustration, Influences, Josephine, Josephine in the City, marker and ink illustration, motivation, New work, New York