Intimate Still Life Illustrations Are More Telling than Portraits

babeth lafon

Babeth Lafon is a Berlin-based illus­tra­tor who cre­ates inti­mate still lifes fea­tur­ing makeup, travel items, and acces­sories. They are styl­ish and con­tem­po­rary, and based on her sub­ject mat­ter, it’s no sur­prise that Babeth has worked with clients such as Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, and L’Oréal.

In gen­eral, I really enjoy these types of still life images because they are more telling than por­traits; objects go beyond phys­i­cal appear­ance (looks can deceive) and com­ment on someone’s lifestyle. So, they are con­cep­tu­ally more inter­est­ing, and these illus­tra­tions are beau­ti­ful. I love her color combinations.

(Via Brown Paper Bag sub­mis­sions)

babeth lafon





Friday Roundup: 20 Illustrators on Tumblr You Need to Follow

I love it when illus­tra­tors keep regularly-updated Tum­blrs. It means that I’ll prob­a­bly fol­low their work much more closely, par­tially because I scroll through my Tum­blr dash many, many times per day — when­ever I have an idle moment, really.

Do you use Tum­blr? If so, here are 20 illus­tra­tors for you to fol­low (link is in the cap­tion)! In addi­tion to post­ing their fin­ished pieces, some of them also post prod­ucts that they pro­duce and in-progress shots. Happy Friday!

Tweet at me with other illus­tra­tors on Tum­blr that you follow!

Lorena Marañon’s Contemporary Quilts (+Interview!)

Lorena Marañon

One of my favorite things about run­ning a blog is see­ing how artists and illus­tra­tors progress over time. When I first encoun­tered Lorena Marañon’s work, she was mak­ing embroi­dered jew­elry in her Etsy shop (I bought a neck­lace!). She was later apart of my con­tem­po­rary embroi­dery project, Sam­pler, in 2013, and mixed bead­ing and thread on a vin­tage hand­ker­chief. Now, she’s quilt­ing! And, like the rest of her work, they look great.

I  asked Lorena, who is based in Miami, Florida, a few ques­tions about this venture.

When did you start quilting?

I began quilt­ing late 2013 when work­ing for a fab­ric man­u­fac­turer. I’d done many dig­i­tal quilt designs there and under­stood the basic steps and ter­mi­nol­ogy, and I thought that was enough to start on a project on my own. I dove right into a king-sized quilt using that expe­ri­ence. The tough­est step was the math I had to fig­ure out to get the design to fit together. Weeks later I com­pleted assem­bling the top of the quilt, but to this day it remains unquilted, mostly because of its mas­sive size. I’ve since learned that my pref­er­ence is with smaller scales, and on pieces that are impro­vised rather than designed and calculated.

Lorena Marañon

Lorena Marañon

How have you incor­po­rated your embroi­dery skills into it?

Bring­ing the two together was a no-brainer for me. I had older works of embroi­dery that I used to first exper­i­ment. They were already set in the per­fect fab­rics to com­ple­ment the quilt, so it was only a mat­ter of cut­ting them to size, and sewing them with the rest of the patch­work pieces. Until now, I’ve added the embroi­dery as sep­a­rate pieces in my quilts, but I want to exper­i­ment embroi­der­ing directly on a the fin­ished patch­work. When I don’t add embroi­dery to a quilt, I replace the tex­tural void by hand quilt­ing large, dec­o­ra­tive stitches onto the surfaces.

Lorena Marañon

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What is your inspi­ra­tion for your designs?

I love explor­ing all sorts of pos­si­ble out­comes by sim­ply play­ing around with color, fab­ric, print and tex­ture. I am inspired most when I’m work­ing, and ideas come in a fren­zied rush and I just have to try new ways to lay out shapes, or new ways to mix medi­ums. Exper­i­men­ta­tion and fun def­i­nitely fuel my quilted projects, and that has to be the rea­son I’ve fallen in love with it.

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Visit her shop and fol­low her on Insta­gram.

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Vikki Chu Paints Wild Animals + Beautiful Florals


Vikki Chu (pre­vi­ously) paints beau­ti­ful flo­ral arrange­ments and wild ani­mal por­traits. Her style is ges­tural with sparse line work; she lets the col­or­ful shapes do the talking.

Dur­ing a time when the leaves are falling off the trees, Vikki’s work come as a respite for the cold win­ter days. They are my ver­sion of Dutch flower paint­ings — art­work that out­lasts nature to brighten up the home.

Want a print of hers? Mosey on over to Etsy!

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Interview: Meg Wachter Talks Collaborating on Girl Crushes

got a girl crush

I knew from the moment I received the third issue of Got a Girl Crush mag­a­zine that I would love it. After all, it has a Tues­day Bassen illus­tra­tion on the cover and inter­views with Fal­con­wright (ladies who pro­duce leather goods)  and the women of Stuff Mom Never Told You (a great, infor­ma­tive pod­cast). The pub­li­ca­tion is a mix­ture of inter­views, pho­tog­ra­phy, illus­tra­tion, and per­sonal essays. Just the right amount to keep you interested.

I enjoyed read­ing it from cover to cover and learn­ing things about roller derby, the impres­sive Rena Tom, hav­ing 6 sis­ters, and more. Meg Wachter, one of the founders of Got a Girl Crush, was kind enough to speak with me  about work­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive, a dream inter­view, and then some!

got a girl crush

My paper weight is a ceramic face by Tues­day Bassen. It felt appro­pri­ate to use it!

For those who aren’t privy, can you briefly describe how Got a Girl Crush (blog, mag­a­zine) came to be? Was there an a-ha moment, or was it a nat­ural pro­gres­sion of both your inter­ests?

Andrea Cheng (in San Fran­cisco, Cal­i­for­nia) and I (in Brook­lyn, New York) started Got a Girl Crush, the blog, in 2009 after crush­ing on each other’s tastes and inter­ests via TUMBLR for some time. A lot of our own posts and re-blogs revolved around women doing awe­some things, so nat­u­rally GAGC started as a catch-all blog for both of us to share our admi­ra­tion for other awe­some ladies. The mag­a­zine was born out of my hav­ing too much downtime/free-time as a free­lancer and needed a cre­ative project to pour myself into and, as a pho­tog­ra­pher, proved to be a great tool to approach women I admired that I wanted to pho­to­graph and get to know better.



A strength of Got a Girl Crush is all of the voices fea­tured in it (from both inter­view and inter­vie­wees). How do you tie the whole issue together with so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple?

The mag­a­zine has really turned into a venn dia­gram of con­nect­ing tal­ented illus­tra­tors, pho­tog­ra­phers, writ­ers with other inspir­ing, self-starting women. Some­times it starts from pick­ing some­one to fea­ture, other times it’s ask­ing the cre­ative ladies we’d like to be involved who they’re cur­rently crush­ing. I think the over­all tie that binds is the sis­ter­hood of explor­ing what other women are doing to inde­pen­dently to empower them­selves and oth­ers. Or just fuck­ing doing it! Broadly speak­ing, media trains women to be envi­ous or other women’s fame, wealth, bod­ies, etc. It’s obvi­ously not healthy and it pits us against each other. We need to encour­age and cham­pion each other to recon­di­tion our­selves as women and the girls that look up to us. “Crush” is an inter­change­able, all-encompassing power word.

got a girl crush

got a girl crush

What do you describe the pre­vail­ing themes of issue #3? I got the sense of dual­ity, cou­pling, mir­ror­ing… is that some­thing you were think­ing about?

It’s funny you noticed that because really there’s never been an over­ar­ch­ing theme…but some­times it mag­i­cally con­spires that way! There has never been a set deci­sion mak­ing process for the blog since it’s a col­lab­o­ra­tion across the coun­try, but the mag­a­zine takes some more care­ful cura­tion to keep it broad and well-balanced (as to not have too many ladies who are design­ers or musi­cians, etc). But I have been schem­ing on themes for future issues…

Con­tinue read­ing

Friday Roundup: 25 Illustrated Holiday Cards (+ Where to Buy Them!)

This year, I’m going to feel like a real adult; I’m send­ing out Christ­mas cards to my friends and fam­ily, finally! After years and years of receiv­ing thought­ful, beau­ti­ful cards, I will have my own to send. Per­haps you’re like me and are ven­tur­ing into the world of hol­i­day card buy­ing. Well, have no fear. I’ve com­piled a list of 25 dif­fer­ent appropriately-themed designs to peruse and purchase.

All of these cards fea­ture illus­tra­tion, hand let­ter­ing, and are made by small busi­nesses. Enjoy brows­ing these unique cards. Let me know if you find any other designs that you like (that aren’t included here)!

Hello! Lucky. (I include this because I'm spending my Christmas in Texas!)

Hello! Lucky. (I include this because I’m spend­ing my Christ­mas in Texas!)

Illustrative Paper Toys Make DIY Fun!

Paper toys are so much fun! And, as illus­tra­tive char­ac­ters, these objects have per­son­al­ity and and life. Here are two Etsy shops that each sell dif­fer­ent DIY prod­ucts for you to assem­ble and have fun with.

Furze Chan is based in Hong Kong and cre­ates move­able ani­mal puppets.

Most Likely Shop col­lab­o­rated with the artist BOICUT and cre­ated a unique kit that forms a lamp­shade, poster, and more!

If you’re inter­ested in paper toys, check out this book by Esther K. Smith: Magic Books and Paper Toys.

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Get Lost in the Wild and Colorful Worlds by Mügluck


The illus­tra­tor Mügluck writes that “her style is char­ac­ter­ized by all the lay­ers of col­ors she uses and her kalei­do­scope com­po­si­tions.” And, I’d have to agree. Just take the time to look at all of these gor­geous details and you’ll get lost in the paint­ings. But, I’m not com­plain­ing; Mügluck’s world is a fas­ci­nat­ing cast of char­ac­ters who have a Cubist-like dis­tor­tion to them. At times, I feel like I’ve entered her dreamscape!

Via Gems.

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Illustrators with Ink: Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon.

It’s another install­ment of Illus­tra­tors with Ink, which is quickly becom­ing one of my favorite fea­tures I’ve ever had on Brown Paper Bag. Today, let’s take a look at illus­tra­tor Lisa Congdon’s tattoos!

Lisa Con­g­don is a cre­ative lady who prob­a­bly needs no intro­duc­tion. Her col­or­ful work is fea­tured in mag­a­zines, on wall­pa­per, tex­tiles, and in dif­fer­ent gal­leries around the United States. In addi­tion, Lisa is also a blog­ger and pub­lished author! She def­i­nitely keeps her­self busy, and I’m elated to share with you an inter­view with her about her ink.

How many tat­toos do you have? 12
How old were you when you got your first tat­too? 29 (I am 46 now).
Did you design any your­self? If not, would you ever?No, I don’t have any of my own design on my body, but I have designed many tat­toos for other peo­ple. And I do have a plan to design some­thing for myself soon.
Do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why? My favorite is prob­a­bly my tat­too of my chi­huahua, Wil­fredo. He’s my soul mate, my con­stant com­pan­ion, my anx­i­ety buffer. I love that he’ll be with me for­ever, even after he dies.
Where did you get your work done? I have got­ten tat­toos by a few dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but for the past eight years or so I have been going to Cicely Dani­her at Cyclops Tat­too in the Mis­sion Dis­trict of San Fran­cisco. She’s the best, in my opin­ion.
Is there any mean­ing behind any of your tat­toos? Any sto­ries?I had a really dif­fi­cult and trau­matic life expe­ri­ence last year and dur­ing that time I got my tiger tat­too with the words Je suis fort — which means “I am strong” in French. Hav­ing a tiger on one arm and a chi­huahua on the other keeps me pro­tected.
Do you see a con­nec­tion between the type of tat­toos you have and your illus­tra­tive work?Most of my tat­toos are visual sym­bols of things that I find beau­ti­ful or inspir­ing or sig­nif­i­cant, and so in that way they relate to my work, because my work is often about things I find beau­ti­ful, inspir­ing or sig­nif­i­cant (even dif­fi­cult or sad things). But visu­ally they are super dif­fer­ent because I didn’t design any of them.

lisa congdon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon.

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Thanks, Lisa!

And, here’s some of her work:

lisa congdon

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