Illustrated products

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions


1. The Bee by Barış Özyurt
2. Le Loup, a hab­er­dash­ery multi tool by Dominic Coballe (a Kick­starter!)
3. Milk Jug Vase by Dana Bechert
4. Porce­lain Pedestal Dog Stand by Eleonor Boström
5. Flo­ral Fox Trans­par­ent iPhone Case by Papio Press
6. Con­ver­sa­tion Crew Socks by Tin­toretta for Anthro­polo­gie
7. Moth Riso­graph Sta­tion­ary Set by Tal­lu­lah Fontaine

This week’s illus­trated prod­uct obses­sions inad­ver­tently fea­tures ani­mals. What can I say? I love creature-themed objects.

To all my US read­ers cel­e­brat­ing Thanks­giv­ing, I hope you had a happy one! I’m out west, hang­ing out in the red rocks of south­ern Utah—a far cry from the East­ern seaboard.

Look­ing for a fun week­end project? Sign up for my Skill­share class: Paper Art: Cre­ate a Cut Paper Self-Portrait. This short video series goes over tech­niques for cre­at­ing a one-of-a-kind por­trait that you can use for your social media pro­files (like I’ve done!).

Ceramics, Illustrated products

Quirky Ceramics by Lucy Kirk are Silent Film Stars in Porcelain

Lucy Kirk

These ceramic fig­ures by Lucy Kirk (pre­vi­ously) remind me of stars in a silent film. Or a freak show, depend­ing on how you want to inter­pret their tat­toos. The strong, mus­cly fig­ures are adorned with traditional(ish) Sailor Jerry style of tat­toos, drawn imper­fectly to cre­ate a quirky (often wonky) object rem­i­nis­cent of a charm­ing pen sketch.

There’s more of Lucy’ ceram­ics to see below. In addi­tion to mus­ta­chioed men, she’s also crafted tiny sculp­tures of flex­i­ble women, lov­ing cou­ples, and furry friends. Some are avail­able in her online shop, just in time for the holidays.

Lucy Kirk

Lucy Kirk











A Busy Stitcher: Yumiko Higuchi’s Floral Embroideries

Yumiko Higuchi

I’m always look­ing for inspir­ing Insta­gram accounts, and I’ve found that with Yumiko Higuchi (@yumikohiguch). Her embroi­dery is beau­ti­ful and process-oriented, so you see a lot of work-in-progress and detail shots in her feed. Judg­ing from how many dif­fer­ent pat­terns and pieces she pho­tographs, you can tell that she’s a busy stitcher.

Yumiko cre­ates a lot of hand-crafted coin purses, high­light­ing the begin­ning of the process to the fin­ish product—it inspires me to make my own! Have you ever sewn your own purse? If so, what’s the best tutorial(s) for it?

Yumiko Higuchi














Esthera Preda’s Illustrations are a Curious Interpretation of Reality

Esthera Preda

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you’ll prob­a­bly know what attracts me to Esthera Preda’s water­color illus­tra­tions. They’re bright, sur­real, and include beau­ti­ful blooms! Fea­tur­ing por­trai­ture, land­scapes, and cats (my favorite!), the min­i­mal­ist paint­ings offer a curi­ous inter­pre­ta­tion of real­ity. Ani­mals with two eyes? Horses that can fly? This is all pos­si­ble in Esthera’s uni­verse, and we’re bet­ter off for it.

Esthera sells her hand­i­work in a cou­ple of shops: Society6 and Tic­tail.

Esthera Preda

Esthera Preda







Illustrated products

Amelia’s Colorful Coloring Companion Featuring 40 Artists Across the World

My 7 Illus­trated Prod­uct Obses­sions will return next week! In the mean­time, let’s talk about Amelia’s Col­or­ful Col­or­ing Com­pan­ion. This is a beautifully-illustrated book that’s in keep­ing with the adult col­or­ing craze. 40 artists from across the world have cre­ated  unique and unusual illus­tra­tions that are per­fect for some tran­quil col­or­ing time.

The imagery is diverse and includes jun­gle scenes, urban envi­ron­ments, psy­che­delic views of the ocean, and much more.  This diverse­ness came from an open brief to illus­trate a dou­ble page spread for the book: a full-color image is on the left-hand side, while a black-and-white line draw­ing occu­pies the right. The two illus­tra­tions are sim­i­lar (but not the same), and the col­ored side offers inspi­ra­tion for how to tackle the right.

Want to score this book for your­self? You’re in luck! Amelia is rais­ing the funds for pro­duc­tion via Kick­starter. At the time of writ­ing, you’ve got 3 days to pre-order your copy for deliv­ery in December.

If you’ve long been a fan of illus­tra­tion, the name Amelia might ring a bell. She’s the lady behind Amelia’s Mag­a­zine, which has been around for 11 years, first in print and now online. The Col­or­ing Com­pan­ion will be her fourth self-published illus­tra­tion book.

Amelia's Colorful Coloring Companion

Amelia's Colorful Coloring Companion




Using the hash­tag Insta­gram #ameliasccc, you can an exam­ple of col­ored pages. So many possibilities!

Illustrated products, Textiles

Gucci Spring 2016: Glittering Snakes and Embroidered Birds


The devil’s in the details, as they say, and let me tell you—there are some great illus­tra­tive details in Gucci’s Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear col­lec­tion. It includes some very dec­o­rated dresses, jack­ets, pants, and acces­sories, with glit­ter­ing sequin snakes, flow­ers, and bows. Flora and fauna are a big part of this col­lec­tion, and they make an appear­ance against bright col­ors and busy pat­terns. A feast for the eyes, indeed.

There are 66 looks in this col­lec­tion. Check ‘em out in their entirety on













Illustrated products

The 50 States’: A Beautifully Illustrated, Fact-Filled Book of Maps

The 50 States

Do you like his­tory, illus­tra­tion, and maps? Well, then The 50 States was made for you! Writ­ten by Gabrielle Balkan and illus­trated by Sol Linero, this over­sized (quarto-sized) book fea­tures an impres­sive col­lec­tion of facts about every state in the Union.

Sol did a won­der­ful job of illus­trat­ing this book. After receiv­ing it from Quarto Pub­lish­ing, I spent a long time look­ing through every page—all of the small, quirky illus­tra­tions make up an engag­ing whole. They keep your atten­tion with their bold, eye-catching style. There’s also a dis­tressed tex­ture to the over­all pub­li­ca­tion, and it’s as if you’re look­ing at a well-loved guide­book that’s referred to over and over again.



Every state has its own spread. It shows the major cities, pop­u­lar indus­tries, famous folks (not just white guys—prominent women and minori­ties, too), key facts, and claims to fame. Did you know the Maine Coon is the offi­cial cat of Maine? Go figure.




The 50 States

The 50 States






And how about those hand let­ters?! They’re dif­fer­ent with each turn of the page.





Once you’ve read about the 50 States, there’s some bonus materials—the State Flags and pres­i­den­tial por­traits from George Wash­ing­ton to Bar­rack Obama.




With the hol­i­days rapidly approach­ing, I totally rec­om­mend The 50 States for the book lover on your list. It’s geared towards chil­dren but will delight adults, too. Pur­chase it here.

Illustrator, Paper Craft

Melissa McFeeters Created 100+ Delightful Cut Paper Illustrations in 4 Months

Melissa McFeeters

Illus­tra­tor Melissa McFeeters par­tic­i­pated in The Great Discontent’s 100 Day Project with her own, called #100daysofpapercutz. The Instagram-based series fea­tures a myr­iad of sub­ject mat­ters, includ­ing plants, ani­mals, land­scapes, and of course, pizza. Her cut outs, with their sub­tle tex­ture and three-dimensionality, are totally delight­ful. Viewed together, they show­case the poten­tial these projects have—not only can won­der­ful art­work be pro­duced, but valu­able cre­ative lessons can come from work­ing on some­thing every day for 3+ months.

After com­plet­ing her 100 Day Project, Melissa has con­tin­ued to cre­ate paper illus­tra­tions. For Octo­ber, she cre­ated some awe­some spooky com­po­si­tions in #31daysofpapercreepz. I’ve included a few of them here, too. (H/T Lau­rent Hry­byk)

Melissa McFeeters















How Did You Do That?

How Did You Do That? Liz Payne’s Vibrant, Highly-Textured Embroideries

Liz Payne

Liz Payne is, hands down, one of my favorite embroi­dery artists. Her vibrant works are hand-painted tex­tiles with embell­ish­ments like bead­ing, intri­cate stitches, and sequins. They’re a feast for the eyes—a col­li­sion of color, tex­tures, and shapes.

Liz is tak­ing part in How Did You Do That?, a series that focuses on how mak­ers cre­ate the things that we love. So far, we’ve learned how Nancy Liang crafts her spooky GIFs and had a peak into Tinybop’s inten­sive app-making process. Irma Grue­holz also shared how she forms her whim­si­cal 3D cre­ations. Now, with­out fur­ther ado, here’s Liz!


Brown Paper Bag: What is your artis­tic back­ground? What was the most influ­en­tial part of your education—either for­mally or informally?

Liz Payne: When I was younger, I was always sur­rounded by piles of fab­ric, wool, thread and beads in every shape, size and color. I’m really influ­enced by my mum — she can sew any­thing and every­thing and so I’ve always been sur­rounded by it and loved every­thing to do with it — I guess it was nat­ural I would want to cre­ate things that com­bined my love of all those things! After school, I went on to com­plete a Bach­e­lor of Visual Arts degree at uni, fol­lowed by a Cer­tifi­cate IV in Graphic Design. But I think the ‘infor­mal’ hours of work and prac­tice was, and is, really impor­tant– noth­ing hap­pens overnight!

Liz Payne

Liz Payne


BPB: You write that you use a “mix­ture of stitches to cre­ate a syn­ergy of move­ment and dimen­sion with these threads so your eye dances around from one intri­cate detail to the next.” Who/what inspires this?

LP: I like my work to be inter­est­ing and intrigu­ing and to also grasp the viewer into all the intri­cate details of the stitch­ing, some­times sur­pris­ing them that it’s been embroi­dered. I think embroi­dery can have a stigma to it that it’s ‘grand­moth­erly’ or ‘old fash­ioned’. It’s my hope when peo­ple see my work that this old con­no­ta­tion is blown out of the water, and I hope to achieve this by draw­ing the viewer’s eye in and across the details of a work.



BPB: Give us an idea of your process. What’s the first step in start­ing a new piece, and what’s the final step?

LP: Some­times I have a plan in my head of a piece I want to cre­ate and I’ll sketch it first, some­times tak­ing it into Illus­tra­tor to fur­ther plan it out. Other times I approach a piece with more free­dom and just pull out the paints and go for it. I see apply­ing the paint as a nec­es­sary layer — even if you don’t see the paint under­neath all the time. After the fab­ric is ready, then comes the fun bit of embroi­der­ing! This can be time con­sum­ing but it’s my favorite bit — slowly, slowly build­ing up the tex­ture and color. I try to keep the bead­ing aspect till last, but I don’t nec­es­sar­ily do this. Once it’s fin­ished I’ll decided on the fram­ing options and more than likely frame it myself (as I’m a bit of a con­trol freak!)



BPB: Do you keep a sketch­book? If so, what does it look like?

LP: Yes, I have a cou­ple and I stash them every­where. They’re com­pletely dis­or­ga­nized, stuffed with receipts, things to remem­ber, but full of lit­tle sketches and ideas that if I didn’t write it down I’d be lost without.

BPB: How much plan­ning goes into your work before you begin? How much do you account for spontaneity?

LP: It all depends — each piece is dif­fer­ent. For the piece I’m work­ing on at the moment for exam­ple, I’ll paint the fab­ric with a bit of plan in my head but I didn’t nec­es­sar­ily plan out the embroi­dery, as in what stitch where — I like to leave those deci­sions until I get to it, and it all depends on the work before it too of course, to cre­ate a nice har­mony in color, tex­ture and detail.



BPB: Your work com­prises so many tiny mate­ri­als! What do you find the most dif­fi­cult to work with?

LP: Metal­lic thread! I don’t use it a lot even though I love it.

BPB: What is your favorite embroi­dery stitch? (Mine is the French knot.)

LP: I love the French knot — it gives great tex­ture and dimen­sion, and they’re totally addic­tive. It’s prob­a­bly the only stitch I do ‘prop­erly’ too — as my work isn’t really ‘tra­di­tional’ embroidery!



BPB: Do you have any tips for work­ing with mixed media and textiles? 

LP: Don’t be reg­i­mented into think­ing some­thing has to be a par­tic­u­lar way — I think won­der­ful things can hap­pen through exper­i­ment­ing. And not being afraid of mak­ing mis­takes along the way either.

BPB: You’ve got a loyal fol­low­ing on social media, specif­i­cally your Insta­gram. How has that impacted your career?

LP: I love Insta­gram. I was never inter­ested in any social media really until I started on Insta­gram, and I’m so grate­ful I did. Through Insta­gram I have been lucky enough to have my work been seen by peo­ple I myself admire and I’ve been given oppor­tu­ni­ties to exhibit and col­lab­o­rate that I might not have oth­er­wise had the opportunity.



Thanks, Liz! Be sure to check out her lovely Etsy shop!

Illustrated products

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions


1. Prowl­ing Tiger Water­color Cush­ion by Togeth­er­ness Design
2. Palm­istry Neck­lace by Black Hole
3. For­est Ani­mals Wrap­ping Paper by Clap Clap (She also has beau­ti­ful jour­nals in her shop!)
4. Ceramic Nude by Kaye Bleg­vad
5. In Strich­nin No.4 by LAPHILIE
6. Pret­zel Ear­rings by Baker & Bai­ley (sold at Hunt­ing For George)
7. Hand-Painted Hiero Wal­let by Beech Hall

In other illus­trated prod­uct news… Doo­dlers Anony­mous released a col­or­ing book!


Doo­dlers Anony­mous, one of my favorite illus­tra­tion blogs,  has just released the Epic Col­or­ing Book.  It’s an “eclec­tic mashup of pure hand-drawn good­ness,” fea­tur­ing the work of 90 artists from around the globe. The pages rep­re­sent many dif­fer­ent artis­tic styles with a bevy of sub­jects for you to color, includ­ing: a mag­i­cal library; a lotus plant; intri­cate dream cities; cars; crea­tures; and car­toons. It’s per­fect for dis­tress­ing after a long work day. Buy it here.