Tag Archives: watercolor

Not the Winner, but Thank You Anyway!

I’ve been meaning to thank all of my fans for taking the time to vote for my Arte Diem fashion illustration in the recent Dick Blick Art en Vogue Fashion Art Challenge.  While my illustration wasn’t selected as one of the winners, your votes certainly made me feel like a winner!  

If you’re interested in seeing the winning selections, please click here:

Meanwhile, I’ve wasted no time in getting back to the drawing board!  My latest illustration gives a nod to the spirit of October and the season of ghosts, goblins and things that go BOO in the night.


(P.S. The greeting card version of this illustration will be debuting in my shop at Etsy soon.) 



Filed under Art, Cartoon Illustration, Drawing, illustration, industry news, New work, watercolor and ink illustration

Jo’s Journey – (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better) The Cycle of Inspiration

In the past few months as I’ve been preparing for a series of high pressure musical auditions, I’ve been scrutinizing my playing – (and, yes, sometimes even my life) – with a magnifying glass.  The result is growth, but at this point, a bit of paralysis, too.

So it was with great pleasure and gratitude that I opened an email tonight from a Persian artist in Iran.  Her name is Shirin, and she contacted me about a month ago.  Shirin is an art student and chose me as the focus of a class assignment.  Part of the project was to pick an illustration of an artist to copy; the other part was to paint the portrait of the artist – me!

Today Shirin sent me copies of her finished work.  I’m so touched with the care with which she copied my illustration (her use of watercolor very closely resembles what I did with markers)…

Copy of the practice session by Shirin

Watercolor copy of The Practice Session by Shirin

The Practice Session by Joana Miranda

Marker and Ink illustration “The Practice Session” by Joana Miranda

 And with the obvious time and love she put into creating my portrait!

Watercolor portrait of Joana by Shirin

I’d give Shirin an A+ on her work on this project; but, since I’m not able to hand out a grade, I’ll just offer my most sincere thanks and appreciation instead.

P.s. If you’d like to see some more of Shirin’s work, please click here.


Filed under Art, Drawing, illustration, Influences, marker and ink illustration, motivation

Jo’s Journey (A Somewhat Irreverent Guide to Doing Anything Better) – A Tribute to Some of My Guides

Most people on a journey benefit from having some sort of a guide.  I’m definitely in the most people category so I’d like to devote this post to some of the guides who’ve helped me along my journey illustrating Josephine.

First and foremost, of course, is my artist friend Tom Cathey.  He gave me my first real critiques; he also introduced me to a host of other designers and illustrators.  While these introductions have been mainly via illustrations in books and on the web, they’ve led me to other discoveries.  These days in particular, I find myself turning to and being inspired by these 5 artists:

Izak Zenou

Whimsical Illustration by Izak Zenou

What’s not to love about the freedom of line and the wonderful variety of expressions on the faces of Izak’s girls?  French illustrator Izak Zenou’s whimsical work can be found across the globe in stores, magazines, and books, and on products from T-shirts and watches to stationery and makeup collections.  Most recently, I’ve seen his “girls” on makeup bags and compacts at Sephora.

Ruben Toledo

Whimsical illustration for Nordstrom by Ruben Toledo

I love Cuban-born Ruben Toledo’s illustrations for their wit, whimsy and artfulness.  However, his illustrations are just one facet of his many talents which include sculpture and surrealist art.   Even just with paper, Mr. Toledo seems to be a master of a huge variety of mediums.  Take a look here.

Alfredo Cabrera

4 Whimsical Girls - Illustration by Alfredo Cabrera

I recently posted a link to a great online tutorial done by Mr. Cabrera.  I keep referring back to it as I illustrate, so for those of you who missed it the first time around, take a look here.  I’m aiming to capture some of the “every woman appeal” and carefree nature I see in Cabrera’s illustrations in my own work!

Arturo Elena

Girl in black and white mini dress by Arturo Elena

Although my initial reaction to seeing self-taught fashion illustrator Arturo Elena’s work was surprise and doubt at the alien proportions of his figures, the more I see his work, the more I think it all makes sense.  I’m also in awe of his masterful use and command of markers!

Donna Mehalko

Woman in yellow and red - illustration by Donna Mehalko

Last, but not least, I am inspired by Donna Mehalko’s vibrant use of color along with her flowing lines.  There is something very feminine and natural in her figures.  I also love how they often seem to be moving right off the page!

I would love some day to meet these artists.  For now, I am grateful that I can look to them as guides in my own endeavors.

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Filed under Art, Drawing, illustration, Influences, materials, resources

Jo’s Journey: A Somewhat Irreverent Guide for Doing Anything Better

Josephine fancies herself a gourmet cook.  I wish I could say the same of myself, but to be honest, my tendency is more towards easy, fool-proof recipes that taste and look great but use a few “cheat” ingredients.

Whimsical Josephine "Chef" illustration by Joana Miranda

This recipe for Tarte Tatin of Pears with Spices – passed down to me long ago by a true gourmet cook –  fits the bill perfectly.  The “cheat” ingredients are puff pastry and vanilla ice-cream.  Beyond peeling 3 pears and splitting a vanilla bean in half, there’s little other prep work.

Whimsical watercolor illustration "Spices" by Joana Miranda


3  – 10 oz firm but ripe Anjou pears (other kinds are ok, as long as the pear is firm)

6 whole cloves

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 star anise

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (1/2 of a 17-1/4 oz package), thawed

vanilla ice cream (keep hidden from your husband if he likes ice-cream as much as mine does!)

Whimsical illustration "Ice Cream" by Joana Miranda

Preheat oven to 400 degrees farenheit.  Peel pears, cut in half and core.   Pierce rounded side of each pear with one clove.  Melt butter in a a 9 to 10 ” diameter non-stick ovenproof skillet over medium-low heat.  Add sugar and stir until sugar melts and mixture is pale golden, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and star anise.

Arrange pears in skillet, rounded sides down and stem end pointing towards the center of the skillet.  Cover; cook over medium-low heat until pears are almost tender, about 15 minutes.  Uncover and simmer until syrup is golden, thick and bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Roll out pastry to 1/8th inch thickness.  Place pastry atop warm pears, tucking in pastry on the edges.  Pierce pastry several times with small sharp knife.  Bake until pastry is brown and slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes.

Invert tart onto plate.  Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Drool.  Eat.

Whimsical watercolor illustration "Pears" by Joana Miranda

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Filed under education, gouache, illustration, Influences, Josephine

Happy Memorial Day from Josephine and Andre!

Josephine and Andre went for their outing in a little brown boat…

Whimsical Illustration "Josephine and Andre on the Water" by Joana Miranda

(8.5 x 11 print now available at Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy)


Filed under Art, Drawing, gouache, illustration, Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, New work

Whimsical Watercolor Illustration – Life on the Edge


Whimsical illustration "Life on the Edge" by Joana Miranda(5×7 Greeting Card Now Available at Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy)


Filed under A Talent for Design Shop, Art, Drawing, gouache, illustration, Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, New work

A Zzzzen Moment – Whimsical Illustration by Joana Miranda

A Zzzzzen Moment - Whimsical Illustration by Joana Miranda

(Coming soon to Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy)

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Filed under Art, Drawing, gouache, illustration, Influences, Joana Miranda Studio, Joana Miranda Studio at Etsy, Josephine, New work