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.





Arresting Eyes Draw You into Zsalto’s Folk-Inspired Worlds


If the eyes are the window to the soul, the characters by Zsalto contain multitudes. Their large pupils are arresting, drawing you into their folk-inspired worlds. In them, florals have a mind of their own and animals act as guides for their human counterparts. They watch over them, give them advice, and offer support. People aren’t in every composition, however, and it’s here we see these creatures left to their own devices. Sometimes this is good, but other times bad—and even results in death!

Follow Zsalto on Facebook and Tumblr to see more of her illustrations. And to purchase wares, head over to Society6!










Adults Charmingly Reinterpret Children’s Drawings in ‘The Monster Project’

The Monster Project

Marijke Buurlage

I find it so charming when adults reinterpret children’s artwork. It showcases how crazy and imaginative kids are, and with an adult’s touch, it adds a level of sophistication that brings out the best of both worlds. The Monster Project has a simple mission: to “help children recognize the power of their own imaginations and to encourage them to pursue their creative potential.” Kids draw monsters, then artists from around the world recreate them in their own styles. Check out their project gallery with over 100 terrifyingly adorable monsters.

The Monster Project is currently raising funding to expand their project to schools, products, and more. Visit their Kickstarter.  (Thanks to Gianluca Maruotti for submitting this link!)

The Monster Project

Marie Bergeron


Zoe Persico

Melanie Matthews

Melanie Matthews


Riccardo Zema




Gianluca Maruotti


Essi Kimpimaki


Matt Rockefeller




Julian Glander


Anna J.


Austin Robert


A Collision of Color: Illustrations by Linda Yan

Linda Yan

Canadian illustrator Linda Yan fuses strokes of color into vibrant compositions. She mixes and matches abstracted red, blues, greens, and yellows shapes, creating a collision of textures that are offset by areas of solid color. This produces a visual “push and pull” effect and helps achieve visual balance so that our eye isn’t completely overwhelmed.

I found Linda’s work in issue 27 of Uppercase magazine, which showcases 30 new illustration talents. As with all issues, this one is beautifully designed, but if you’re a fan of the field, you’ve got to check this one out!

Linda Yan

Linda Yan








Fun in the Sun: Vibrant Bikini-Clad Ceramic Figures by Amy Worrall

Amy Worrall

London-based illustrator Amy Worrall is inspired by “topless girls in Florida and sunburnt Brits abroad on the Costa del So.” With this in mind, she creates a range of functional and decorative objects, focusing on simple dining wear and vessels. Her pieces are colorful, often using neon pigments to create fun bikinis. To do this, she uses a technique called majolica—opaque white glaze is applied over earthenware, then other (vibrant) glazes on top of it. This helps achieve such bright colors.

Some of these pieces are available for purchase in Amy’s Tictail shop.

Amy Worrall

Amy Worrall





Illustrated products

My Weekly 7 Illustrated Product Obsessions


1.  Hand-Painted Cat Brooch by Harriet Damave
2. Metamorphosis Notebook by Perrin for Anthropologie
3. Porcelain Plate by Goisa Herba
4. Bat Scarf by Jessica Roux
5. Night Bloom temporary tattoo by Alyssa Nassner for Tattly
6. Banana Cup by Bobo Choses for Mokkasin
7. Swan Bag by Sonia Cavallini

Tutorials to Try 

I write for Craftsy, creating fine art-based tutorials for anyone to try! It’s a lot of fun. Here are a couple of my favorites—time to bust out your paint!

Step-by-Step Tips for Painting Animals in Acrylic


(This is my cat, Pauline)

Paint Realistic-Looking Birds With Acrylic Paint