Tag Archives: pen and ink

Sneak Peak at the Joana Miranda Studio 2018 Cartoon Calendar

Whatever could she be saying? 

If you purchase the Joana Miranda Studio 2018 Cartoon Calendar, all will be revealed.  The calendar will go on sale soon, so stay tuned for more information.  (In the meantime, if you want to see more of my illustrations and cartoons, please visit my shop at Etsy!)


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Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, funny art, Funny Illustrations, Humorous Illustration, I Love What I Do, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy

My Favorite Things – Coming Up With a Cartoon: A Step By Step Guide

Single panel gag cartooning is a challenging yet rewarding process on many levels.  For those of my fans who are curious how I work, here’s my step-by-step guide for creating cartoons:

  • Start with a strong emotion (anger, exasperation, love, surprise, jealousy, oblivion, etc.)  The more personal to your own experience, the better.
  • Google the emotion and read multiple articles taking note of any interesting phrases, words, or descriptions you come across. (I find that Googling “Huffington post + a phrase that includes my emotion word” is often a good place to start.)

  • *Search for synonyms, antonyms or words that rhyme with your key words.
  • *Look for “play on word” possibilities.
  • *Be open to letting your mind wander.  You may be surprised where you end up!
  •  *Research any potential cartoon themes using the Google IMAGE search to make sure your cartoon idea hasn’t already been done.

*These steps sometimes take me days and LOTS of note taking.  I keep my notes on my computer in a “Cartoon Gag” word document.  It’s important to have a record of your process since you never know when a discarded idea might jog your funny bone…

  • Sketch out your cartoon idea lightly in pencil.
  • Revise.  Scan your sketch into a photo-editing program (or hold it up to a light) so that you can see the reverse image of the sketch.  You’ll be amazed how many flaws you see when you reverse the sketch.
  • Ink over your final pencil sketch.
  • Choose a color palette.  For cartoons for publication, I stick with either black and white line drawings, or shades of gray.  For my shop at Etsy I have more leeway to introduce pops of color.
  • Pat yourself on the back.  Not only have you stretched your brain and your creative eye, but you’ll probably find that the strong emotion you started out with is now transformed…therapy doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

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Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, education, funny art, Humorous Illustration, illustration, inspiration, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, My Favorite Things, New work, pen and ink, techniques, Tool Box

My Favorite Things – Illustrations by Hilary Knight

I’ve admired the work of illustrator Hilary Knight for a long time, so I was delighted to learn recently that there is an exhibit at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts dedicated to Knight’s fascination and love for the theatrical world.  (In addition to this wonderful Hilary Knight’s Stage Struck World exhibit, there will be a second exhibit dedicated to Knight’s most beloved children’s book character, Eloise, opening up at the Historical Society in June.)

After my rehearsal at the David Koch Theater yesterday, I made my way around the plaza to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  The Hilary Knight exhibit is immediately visible as you enter the library.  A fabulous mural featuring Knight’s colorful characters along with an interesting video interview with Knight greets you as you walk in.

(Here’s a portion of that mural…)

The long hallway is papered with posters from Hilary Knight’s prodigious theater poster designing career.  Most fascinating is to see the different drafts and versions for each poster.

Posters for such musicals as Timbuktu…

And Sugar Babies.

Taking it all in is almost an impossibility, but the standout impression is one of joy, movement and color!

On the opposite wall are display case windows with Knight’s sketchbooks…

Pen and ink illustrations…

And, of course, sightings of Eloise.

And early ink and sepia illustration shows Hilary Knight’s talent with creating harmonious and humorous movement…

And that humor is also evident in this more serious-looking pencil illustration.

Knight’s illustrations resonate with me because they capture the human spirit in all it’s conditions, yet always do so with movement and irrepressible joy.  This is an exhibit worth revisiting…and, lucky for me, it’s not only free to the public, but it just happens to be around the corner from where I’m working these days.

And that’s certainly something to be happy about!


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Filed under Art, Drawing, illustration, Influences, New York, pen and ink

Friday’s Thought – Show the Love

…and please consider voting for me/my business in Etsy’s #DifferenceMakesUs Contest! Voting closes at midnight EST April 6th.


  1. Because I’ve been cooped up inside since Sunday rehearsing and performing and your vote will cheer me up.
  2. A cartoonist needs an audience and your votes (and comments and shares) are just the encouragement I need to keep brainstorming and producing more work.
  3. I need a lot more votes to even have a chance at being competitive.


P.S.  If you voted, then a million thanks from the bottom of my heart.  You’ve been officially placed on my gratitude list and you don’t need to do anything else (but you could share this post with your friends…)



Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, Friday's Thought, funny art, Humorous Illustration, illustration, industry news, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, marker and ink illustration, New work, pen and ink

From My Sketchbook – Learning from a Master

Recently, I’ve been really enjoying working through some “how-to” cartoon books by Randy Glasbergen.  Glasbergen was a prolific cartoonist who began selling his cartoons at the age of 15 and went on to create thousands of cartoons and comic illustrations for such publications as The Wall Street Journal,  Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Harvard Business Review, Woman’s World, and PC Connection among many others.  Although he passed away at the very young age of 58, those of us passionate about creating cartoon illustrations can still learn from him via his books and writings about cartooning.  Studying with such a master – even if it is now sort of from the great beyond – has been informative, entertaining and vastly helpful.  I am immensely grateful that Mr. Glasbergen was so generous with sharing his knowledge and talent!

As you can see, I’ve been diligently doing my homework – which includes making silly faces and sketching the expressions I see in the mirror.

cartoon sketching worksheets

Bad news

The process has already translated into simpler cartoons in my sketchbook …

My Husband

(Thank you to my husband who consented to pose for this one!)


And to cartoons with a lot more character!

After the workout for blog




Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, drawing faces, education, From My Sketchbook, illustration, Influences, New work, pen and ink, quick sketch, sketchbook, techniques, weekly sketch project

My Favorite Things – A Life in the Arts

With hectic days and even longer nights,

Free time is tight…

A life in the arts

Yet I’m filled with glee,

To find inspiration around me.

The Conductor redone

(The arts are the place to be!)

my sketchbook



Filed under Art, marker and ink illustration, My Favorite Things, New work, pen and ink

From My Sketchbook – Row 10

The view from my seat on our American Airlines flight back from Albuquerque last week…

Row 10 sketch

The flight was great for people-watching, sketching, and little else.  (Hint, hint…our experience on American Airlines left quite a lot to be desired!)



Filed under pen and ink, practicing drawing, quick sketch, sketchbook, travel, weekly sketch project