Tag Archives: pencil drawings

From My Sketchbook – Week 8

I did a lot of sketches this past week in New Orleans.  However, since my mom and I were out gallivanting in the French Quarter almost every day, my sketches were mainly confined to the quiet periods sitting in the airport, or the few times when I went down to the hotel lobby to see if I could capture some of the comings and goings.  (One such fun sighting was Project Runway’s Tim Gunn.  If I hadn’t been so shy, I would have told him that I’m a fan!)

My favorite sketch from the lobby (and no, it’s not Tim Gunn) is this one:

Lady in Omni lobby

Last night when I got home, I did two more sketches.  These were invented faces and were done with my beloved Carter’s flexible nib fountain pen:

Curly hair girl sketch

Punk pixie sketch

Although I was working from my imagination, the inspiration for the two face sketches was this “how-to” YouTube video for rendering fashion faces:

P.S. YouTube is one of my favorite resources for “how-to” videos…and not just for drawing.  My husband and I once learned a dance routine off of YouTube for a showcase dance at a symphony gala.  How good were we?  Well, that’s material for another post!



Filed under Art, Drawing, education, fashion illustration, illustration, Influences, quick sketch, techniques, weekly sketch project

The Gift

Pen and digitally rendered "Josephine Contemplates the Abundance in Her Life" illustration by Joana Miranda

As many of you know, I’m a big believer in the concept of honoring abundance over scarcity in my approach to how I run my business.  To begin with, I’d rather share my work publicly with others, than worry about who might want to rip off my ideas.  I figure that 1) my work is always “in progress” as I learn and grow 2) if I can inspire someone to pursue their own creativity and find their own voice, we’ll both be enriched, and, 3) if someone wants to buy my artwork or designs, all the better!

(Please check out my latest designs and prints at  A Talent for Design at Etsy)

I also donate a percentage of all of my earnings from the business to my favorite charity, FINCA, whose mission is to provide financial services to the world’s lowest-income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living.

Oddly enough, even though I’ve instinctively always felt good about sharing what I create with others, I’ve realized that I don’t always behave so magnanimously in my personal life.  To be honest, sometimes I feel acute scarcity and begrudge other people what they have.   I get caught up in the “life isn’t fair!” mantra because it’s easier to blame “life” than admit that I’ve had a hand in how it is all unfolding.

Dolt! What’s wrong with this picture?

So, while I’m not going to pretend that I have all the answers or that any of the points below are my unique insights, I’ve done a little soul searching lately to remind myself of these important concepts:

  • Dwelling on what others have and what you don’t, IS a  recipe for unhappiness
  • You can’t shut off your envious or jealous thoughts, but you can, little by little, learn to re-frame them
  • Paying attention to your breathing – or doing something positive for your body, like yoga – can help you to get out of your head and back into the here and now of your body
  • Focusing on what makes you truly happy – what you want to get out of bed for in the morning (in my case, creating and sharing beauty with others) – redirects your energy in a much more positive way, which will in turn give you a chance to get closer to your dreams
  • Reaching out to help others will also put a better perspective on the riches in your own life
  • When all else fails, a good gab with a trusted friend can help to put things into a little better perspective


Filed under Art, Digital Illustration, Drawing, education, illustration, Joana Miranda Studio, Josephine, Josephine in the City, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – Day 360 (Coming Full Circle – A Modern Brooch Inspired by a Modern Music Concert)

My design for today was inspired by a concert of modern music I heard tonight at the Manhattan School of Music, my husband’s alma mater.  The music was by David Noon, and was a recital of his compositions in celebration of his upcoming retirement after 30 years of dedicated teaching at the school.  The program was as varied as it was long (ok, I’m a little jaded as a professional musician and I only want to hear SO much music…), and the variety spanned everything from solo piano, harp and violin duet, and saxophone quartet, to a sonata for piano and percussion, and a composition for four card players and a card table.

So, without further ado, my design for today:

Pencil sketch of modern diamond and pearl brooch by Joana Miranda

Pencil Sketch of Modern Diamond and Pearl Brooch by Joana Miranda

Leave a comment

Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work, support the arts

A Design a Day – Day 359 (The 9:53 Earring Sketch)

I spent a lot of my creative energies today working on a fun design (to debut soon…), so when I realized tonight that I still needed to come up with a design for my Design-A-Day blog project, I checked the clock in a bit of a panic…


Although I don’t usually fixate on the time, I did write it in at the top of  my sketch pad.  Then it occurred to me that I might be able to play with the shapes of the numbers to find some inspiration.  The “3” seemed like a good place to start.  As you can see from my VERY rough sketches below, I hit on the idea of pairing the “3” with its reverse, but was having a bit of a dyslexic moment being able to draw a “3” backwards:

Page from Joana's sketch book

"9:53" Doodles in My Sketch Book

I seemed to be going in a slightly nautical vein at first, but didn’t really want to do an “anchor” charm.  Playing around with the negative space between the back-to-back “3s” led me to this earring design:

Pencil Rendering of "9:53" Earring by Joana Miranda

Pencil Rendering of "9:53" Earring by Joana Miranda

When I finished, I looked at the time…


Not too bad for 26 minutes’ work, and a relief to have met yet another day of  my year-long goal…only 6 more days to go!


Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – Day 357 (The Power of Perseverance)

I put in long hours today job-searching, writing to contacts, getting a rejection for a design project, and trying to see if I could jump rope for longer than 60 seconds at a time.

(Of course the happy ending to this story would be if I told you that at 5:29 p.m. the phone rang with a job offer better than I’d ever expected, one of the other agents to whom I’d submitted my designs wrote back to extend a contract offer, and I didn’t even break a sweat after jump-roping for half and hour.)

None of the above happened today.

However, the GOOD news is that after all the above I can now…

1). Do 20 minutes of jump-roping in intervals, including inserting a few criss-cross moves and a few backwards jumps (try it – it’s harder than you think)

2.) Touch my toes (knees completely straight) for the first time in forever, since I never feel like I have time to stretch


3.) I pushed myself to do the architecture-inspired pendant sketch below, even though I was feeling discouraged, cranky and tired:

My Inspiration:

Photo of NY lamp post near Riverside Drive taken by Joana Miranda

Photo of NY Lamp Post Near Riverside Drive Taken by Joana Miranda

The Sketch:

Pencil sketch of scroll-work pendant by Joana Miranda inspired by NY lamp post

Pencil Sketch of Scroll-Work Pendant by Joana Miranda Inspired by NY Lamp Post

What’s the power of perseverance?

It’s the key to being able to hold your head high, your back a little straighter, and to have genuine sympathy for the guy who takes you by surprise inside CVS drugstore asking if you can spare a little change.  It’s the knowledge that you got through today, and that tomorrow might just bring another email, a possible phone call, renewed energy and maybe even the ability to jump-rope for 25 minutes of intervals.

Leave a comment

Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work

A Design a Day – Day 354 (New Adventures: NY City, Day 1/2)

Pencil sketch of tiered looped chandelier earring by Joana Miranda

Pencil Sketch of Tiered Looped Chandelier Earring by Joana Miranda

Moving into our NY (temporary furnished) apartment this afternoon was like trying to fit into a jigsaw puzzle.  Storage is about non-existent; even the one closet for our clothes came  full of linens, pillow and blankets.  We have precisely 3 kitchen cabinets, 2 1/2 feet of counter top (mostly taken by the toaster, coffee pot and child-sized dish rack) and a mini fridge.  While I wasn’t surprised by any of this since we stayed here together for about a week once before, I did notice that even the kitchen sponge that came with the apartment is “NY-sized” – it fits easily in the palm of my hand!  How cute…

Those challenges aside, we managed to get most everything put away, and my husband assembled our new wheeled shopping cart (a recent purchase from Trader Joe’s in Milwaukee) for our first official outing – a trip to the grocery store.  My husband was embarrassed by the size of the cart as we pushed it up the street- said it was WI-sized – but I reminded him that if we end up homeless, we’ll be glad to have it.

I’m not exactly sure what the next days and months will bring, but I’m ready for the adventure!  How about you?  What new adventures are you looking forward to experiencing?


Filed under Design A Day, New work

A Design a Day – Day 353 (Elegant Outlines: Leaf-Inspired Earring)

Autumn is just around the corner and along with cooler temperatures comes the colorful turning and then dropping of the leaves.  This simple earring design is a tribute to that brief beauty:

Pencil Sketch for Leaf-Inspired Drop Earring by Joana Miranda

Pencil Sketch for Leaf-Inspired Drop Earring by Joana Miranda

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

(Anatole France)


Filed under Design A Day, Influences, motivation, New work