Mai Ly Degnan’s Illustrations of Curious Ladies in Strange Places

Mai Ly Degnan

Mai Ly Deg­nan is a Baltimore-based illus­tra­tor and a for­mer grad school cohort of mine. Since grad­u­at­ing in 2014, she has kept her­self busy by draw­ing all sorts of curi­ous ladies in strange lands. They’re great — her char­ac­ters don cos­tumes, have swim par­ties, and best of all, scheme! I love it when she releases a new illus­tra­tion — it’s always a joy to see what her styl­ish girls will be doing next, crafted with a metic­u­lous atten­tion to detail.

A cou­ple of weeks ago, I men­tioned that Mai Ly’s Insta­gram is one you should fol­low. Check it out to see her sketches, illus­trated prod­ucts, and more.

Mai Ly Degnan

Mai Ly Degnan



In addi­tion to illus­tra­tive prints, Mai Ly has made mer­maid brooches. They’re all avail­able in her Etsy shop.





Colorful Illustrations of People on the Move by Teresa Bellon

Teresa Bellon

Teresa Bel­lon is a Span­ish illus­tra­tor who caught my eye with the young Frida Khalo piece that’s above. I love the color, sim­plic­ity, and shape design, in addi­tion to the dis­tressed print­mak­ing tex­ture that gives her works a hand-crafted touch.

Teresa’s illus­tra­tions often depicts jun­gles, oceans, and peo­ple gen­er­ally on the go. I don’t know about you, but they make me want to get up and start moving!

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Ceramics, Illustrated products

Roootreee Ceramics Capture the Joy a Field of Wild Flowers Bring


When you check out roootreee’s (AKA Kaori) blog, you’ll see pho­tographs fea­tur­ing col­or­ful fields of flow­ers. This bucolic imagery undoubt­edly influ­ences her ceram­ics work, which fea­tures white porce­lain plates, pitch­ers, cups, and saucers that are hand-painted with beau­ti­ful blooms. My favorite pieces are ani­mal sil­hou­ettes made from lus­cious out­lined flow­ers. They’re gorgeous!

If you reg­u­larly read my blog, you’ll know I fea­tured one of her pieces as part of my 7 Weekly Illus­trated Obses­sions. I enjoyed them so much that I just couldn’t help myself from show­cas­ing them today!

Check out more of roootreee’s designs on Etsy.



The “World’s Smallest Portfolio” Fits on the Tip of Your Finger

michael lester
When you’re try­ing to pro­mote your­self, you often have to fig­ure out how to “cut through the noise,” and do something/have that’ll make you stand out above the rest.  Illus­tra­tor Michael Lester cer­tainly accom­plished this with his unfor­get­table “world’s small­est port­fo­lio.” It’s so small that the entire thing can fit on the tip of your finger!

Michael’s project was cre­ated as part of a brief set by jelly Lon­don for the D&AD New Blood Fes­ti­val. They wanted to get stu­dents putting them­selves out there and get­ting their worked noticed.

When com­ing up with this play­ful con­cept, Michael con­sid­ered what was it about his work that he wanted peo­ple to talk about. He tells jelly Lon­don, “For me, ideas have always come before style, so to com­mu­ni­cate that I was an ideas-driven visual com­mu­ni­ca­tor I decided to shrink my port­fo­lio, in size and con­tent, leav­ing just a tiny book of visual ideas.”

michael lester
michael lester

Illustrated products, Speckled Canary

My 7 Weekly Illustrated Product Obsessions

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1  // It’s Dif­fer­ent Every Day: 2016 Daily Cal­en­dar by Boaz (avail­able for pre-order via Kick­starter)
2 // Lit­tle Treats Tray by Ingrid Rei­thaug and Tonje Holand
3 // Mir­ror Wall Hang­ings by McK­ean Stu­dio… so cool!
4 // Orange Dog Wooden Brooch by Hello Mr. April (via So Super Awe­some)
5 // Lanky Miss Icy­pole by Vanessa Bean
6// Polar­bear in Wild­flow­ers by roootreee
7// Blue Tit and Flower Neck­lace by Layla Amber

As always, happy Fri­day! Here are some illus­trated prod­ucts I’ve been obsess­ing over this week. And in the case of some — the Blue Tit and Flower Neck­lace — even longer!

Call­ing all artists! This past Mon­day, I made a cou­ple of big announce­ments: one, that I started a new art project-planning busi­ness called Speck­led Canary. And two, that I launched my first art project called Map­ping Mem­o­ries (in Washi Tape)! The washi-tape cen­tric endeavor was cre­ated in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the shop Omiyage, who sells the best cute and clever crafty goods — includ­ing all kinds of washi tape.

Not sure what washi tape is? It’s amaz­ing Japan­ese adhe­sive that comes in all sorts of col­ors and pat­terns. With it, we’re going to make art­work about the things we remem­ber the most.  Learn more and join us, won’t you? Sign up for Map­ping Mem­o­ries and receive 5 rolls of washi tape!


Madeline Kloepper Explores the Relationships We Forge with Nature

Madeline Kloepper

Illus­tra­tor Made­line Kloep­per explores the rela­tion­ships we forge with nature through her gor­geous and allur­ing paint­ings. The works have ele­ments of sur­re­al­ism as drag­ons, danc­ing bears, and larger-than-life birds all make an appearance.

I really enjoy Madeline’s more detailed com­po­si­tions, specif­i­cally the ones fea­tur­ing a quilted blan­ket fort and clothes line. The heavily-patterned tex­tiles tell us a lot, like  char­ac­ters’ per­son­al­ity and their aes­thetic pref­er­ences. In addi­tion, we under­stand more about the char­ac­ters in how they inter­act with these objects. Here, it com­mu­ni­cates a rev­er­ence for sim­pler times that are away from screens and stresses of every­day life.

Fol­low Made­line on Tum­blr, too! (H/T Per­rin)
Madeline KloepperMadeline KloepperMadeline Kloepper


Illustrated products, Illustrator, Sculpture

Illustrative and Intricately Crafted Relief Sculptures by Martin Tomsky

Martin Tomsky

Mar­tin Tom­sky is a London-based illus­tra­tor who cre­ates bril­liant relief sculp­tures with lay­ers of laser cut stained ply­wood. They range in size from small acces­sories to larger, more intri­cate art­works. Mar­tin hand-assembles each piece and sells them in his Etsy shop, Tom­sky Store.

The amount of detail in these 3D illus­tra­tions is remark­able. The fish, for instance, includes more than a sim­ple skele­ton. It fea­tures fan­ci­ful flour­ishes with tiny crea­tures that are hid­den amongst them. Take a close look and you’ll see all of Martin’s clever addi­tions. It’s not what’d you expect from wood.

Martin Tomsky
Martin Tomsky


Who Needs Humans in Illustrations, Anyways? Yeji Yun Makes You Wonder…

Yeji Yun

If you enjoy the imagery in folk tales, then you’re going to love the work of Yeji Yun. The Korean illus­tra­tor has cre­ated many com­po­si­tions that revolve around the beloved genre, and they’re these col­or­ful, tex­tural pieces with a whole bunch of imag­i­na­tive ani­mal char­ac­ters. It makes me won­der: who needs humans in an illus­tra­tion? Yeji’s crea­tures do a fine job of telling engag­ing and strange stories.

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PS — Yes­ter­day, I announced an excit­ing project that I want you to par­tic­i­pate in. Check it out!

Speckled Canary

Introducing Speckled Canary: Creative Art Projects for Everyone!


Today, I’m really excited to announce a new endeavor I’ve started: Speck­led Canary! It’s focused on cre­at­ing art projects for every­one to enjoy. They’re fun and sometimes-collaborative, launched on a global scale. Par­tic­i­pants sign up for dif­fer­ent cre­ative explo­rations that will push them to make new and excit­ing work in ways that they never expected.

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you’ll prob­a­bly remem­ber the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. Plan­ning that project, with its nearly 1,000 par­tic­i­pants, was so reward­ing. I loved see­ing what dif­fer­ent artists came up, all united under one theme.

I decided that I wanted to make this a reg­u­lar thing. I have a lot of ideas for projects that include a wide range of media, so I’m excited to see how they take off!

Intro­duc­ing Speck­led Canary’s first project: Map­ping Mem­o­ries (in washi tape)!

Mapping Memories

may11-finalMem­o­ries are a pow­er­ful thing. Some­times, they’re so clear that we can recall how some­thing looked, smelled, or even tasted. Speck­led Canary’s inau­gural project cel­e­brates this phe­nom­ena and invites you to rec­ol­lect mem­o­ries with washi tape!

How it works: Using washi tape, you’ll recre­ate a mem­ory — it can be any­thing — using washi tape. It should be nearly (if not all) made with washi tape. If you want to draw accents on top of the tape, that’s okay – but remem­ber the point is to build a com­po­si­tion with it.

Washi tape comes in all sorts of col­ors and pat­terns. For this endeavor, Speck­led Canary has teamed up with a great shop called Omiyage who hand-selected beau­ti­ful, high qual­ity tapes. Be sure to check out this online store. Marisa stocks it with so many won­der­ful things (washi and beyond)!

My exam­ple: While I love using washi tape in my day-to-day life, I had never tried mak­ing art­work out of it. One after­noon I sat down to give it a try and had a lot of fun! You can layer and com­bine col­ors and pat­terns to cre­ate multi-layered, com­plex com­po­si­tions. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. Here’s what I made:

Mapping Memories

This project has two parts: your mem­ory (made with washi tape), and your mem­ory that appears on a cus­tomized world map (see what that looks like). Once your art­work is done, sub­mit it to Speck­led Canary with a short descrip­tion. The more peo­ple that par­tic­i­pate, the more we’ll see spe­cial mem­o­ries from around the world! Read more about the project here. 


So, what are you wait­ing for? Sign ups begin now! And don’t worry if you don’t have any washi tape. I’m sell­ing spe­cial washi tape starter kits that’ll have what you need. All par­tic­i­pants will also have access to a spe­cial Omyi­age promo code and other fun extras.

Illustrated products

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions

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1  // Pink Glit­ter Fly­ing Pig Clutch Hand­bag by Luna on the Moon (via Lustik)
2 // Snak Paks — PFF Friend­ship Pins by Zoo Loo Co.
3 // Erase You Patch by Tues­day Bassen
4 // Pen­cil Vil­lage by minkislove
5  // Nat­ural Hand­made Facial Soap Bar by The Printed Peanut (That pack­ag­ing! So great!)
6 // JC + SS Lion Col­lec­tion: Pots by Jen Collins and Shayna Steven­son
7 // Navy Pot with 3D Face by Kin­ska Shop

Face pots, glit­ter hand­bags, and eraser patches — these are just a few of my illus­trated prod­uct obses­sions for this week! Do you have some­thing that you’re cov­et­ing? Take a sec­ond and sub­mit a link! In fact, the pizza friend­ship pins (#2) came from a reader suggestion.

And as always, happy Fri­day! And to my US read­ers, I hope you have a great Fourth of July weekend.