Tuesday, October 21, 2014

new york, new york

…"the Bronx is up and the Battery's down, the people ride in a hole in the ground." Know the song? Being a fan of old movie musicals and New York, it's one of my favorites. Anyway, I wanted to add some more lettering pieces that included photographic backgrounds to my portfolio. It seems to be a pretty popular style lately, so why not? I took this pic a few years back from the top of the Empire. It was a bitter cold day in December, but we inadvertently timed it just right to see the sunset while we were up there. My basic idea here was to make it look like some sort of an ad for NYC tourism. Hopefully, you got the idea before I spelled it all out! The heart it in the lower right corner, is a play on the infamous, "I <3 NY campaign. Sorry Mr. Glaser!!

holiday tote bag giveaway!

Need a new tote bag? And who doesn't with Christmas just around the corner ;) All the girls in the happy happy art collective are running giveaways for the next few weeks and now it's my turn. All you have to do is like our Facebook page and follow this link to our website and enter. Easy peasy and good luck!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I recently had the opportunity to work with a shop that I have loved for a very long time, the Dutch site, Psikhouvanjou! It is filled to the brim with the most gorgeous and sweet toys and home decor for kids that I have ever seen…everything from Helen Dardik to Tiago Americo, to beautiful Djeco products and so much more. They were looking to rebrand their site and newsletter with some new fun and fresh characters and I was happy to oblige! I am hoping it will become a long standing relationship. Check them out here!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Yep, I've jumped on the inktober bandwagon. Ink has never been my thing, but I'm kinda enjoying it for a change from the pencil to vector routine, a.k.a., rinse dry and repeat! So far I've been using a pentel pocket brush, tomboy brush marker and a rapidograph (#2…look it up kids ;). Not sure if I will get sick of it, but I'm sticking to a halloween/fall theme for as long as I can stand it. How about you? Are you doing it? Please leave a comment so I can follow your progress (if I don't follow you already!). I'm pretty much only going to post on instagram @zippyboro… there's also a link on the right column here. Happy inking!! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

happy happy W and alphabet bloopers

Well if you follow happy happy art collective (and if you don't, why don't you?!?!), you know that we are at long last, nearing the end to our collaborative happy happy alphabet (check out the entire gallery of letters so far right here!). It's been a really fun project, seeing what cleverness my happy buddies come up with week after week. This month, I was assigned the letter "W" and I thought, great, no biggie…should be lots of good possibilities, it's not like "X" (which happens to be my next letter, ughhhh), or so I thought. For my contributions, I've continually tried to do something a little unexpected, i.e. not your typical kid's alphabet letter images, so doing a whale was not in the cards. But maybe it should have! I kinda struggled to come up with something clever and believe it or not, here are some of the things I considered doing. Let's call them bloopers:

1. My first stupid thought was to do Washington. As in George. Standing on a map of…..wait for it…Wisconsin?! hmmmmm. Seemed so cool at first. Moving on, but keeping with the same theme…
2. Washington as a witch. Seasonal, right? errrrrrr, yeah. No.
3. Washington eating watermelon…"Ever wonder if Washington wolfed watermelon with his wooden teeth? ooooookkkkkkkay. Maybe not.
4. A witch eating watermelon. Not a horrible idea, but we have a predetermined palette we have all been using for this alphabet, and with no green at my disposal, I wasn't sure I could pull it off.
5. Something involving waffles. Hey, I like eating them, but drawing them, not so much.
6. A woman wearing a giant white wig, with lots of W words stuck int it. I was intrigued, but wasn't sure how it would immediately look like a wig vs. just a crazy white hairdo? hmmmm… which brought me back to…

7. WASHINGTON WEARING his WHITE WIG!!! With WOODEN teeth!! With a WOODPECKER WHITTLING away at it! And a WORM sticking out!! GENIUS, right?!?!?!? Well, I thought so and actually worked up several sketches. And then, I showed my art director. One look from my 14 year old daughter and aspiring designer, and she said, and I quote, "You have lost your mind." Completely serious and walked away in silence. Crap. Do over.

So this is where I ended up. I took the woodpecker and thought about who he could marry in the wintry woods and who else could be in attendance. I thought about a woodchuck, but I don't think everyone has a visual picture in their heads of what a humanized woodchuck looks like, so I went the worm route. I thought this might be kinda cute considering he might be in the bird's food chain, plus he could be small, letting the happy couple be the stars.

So, there you have it. How I got from point A to point W. Now on to the cursed letter X. I still think I should have gone for Washington… what do you think?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

day 39 of 40 days of lettering and yet another competition...

I thought I was at the point where I had had enough of these competitions and I really do feel this way. I see little point in entering something where there is a very slim chance of winning, unless of course, you feel like you would be adding something cool to your portfolio. The winning part… not very likely and certainly not worth getting invested in. Soooo, with that in mind, I entered another tiger print comp, hahaha. Well, as you may know, I love Christmas and this contest having the focus on lettering, I thought I'd just do one submission. Besides, I could use it for the second to the last day of my 40 days of lettering thing. Yes, I think I'm just continuing to type on here to convince myself ;)

It was kind of an odd contest for them. They provided around 4 or 5 photographs that you were supposed to choose from and then add your lettering. I decided to take part of a lyric from White Christmas (yeah, I am a Christmas music freak, too). I tweaked the background image, making it bluer and giving it a bit more tone for the white lettering to drop out of. I kept adding more little swashes and flourishes until it looked done. I'm pretty sure they will go for a more calligraphic treatment, but it was a nice exercise, nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Artists Around the World Blog Hop

I was recently very humbled to be asked to take part in a blog hop of artists from around the world. One of the great benefits of having enrolled in online courses like MATS, is the chance to get to know and connect with other designers and like minded artists. The lovely and talented Antonija M. was kind enough to write a bit about me and some other great artists on her blog. Now it's my turn to go on about her! 

I had never met anyone from the country of Croatia, but if she is any indication, I would sure love to visit there some day. We have been MATS buddies since the inaugural Part A of the spring of 2013, all the way through 2 Global Talent Searches ( she was Top 50 last year!), Part B, and Bootcamp. I have come to rely on her keen and thoughtful eye throughout our shared design experiences, as have many other artists. Her designs are instantly recognizable with their clean lines, sophisticated palette and super stylized, yet super cute characters. That's an extremely difficult combination to achieve, but she excels at it, while being a complete original. Just take a look at her amazing work…

She has also designed and developed her own brand lil' ledy, which she plans to debut at the Brand Licensing Europe Show in October. Her description of the brand as "Japan meets Sweden. Kawaii merging with classic harmony" is perfect and I can easily imagine her lil' ledy character on a wide range of product. I can't wait to hear and read about her success there! Be sure to check out all her work and her blog as well.

Ok, now is the part of this blog hop format where I have to talk about myself (ugh) and answer the following set questions. 

1. What Are You Writing/Working on? Well, I've been working on some cute cards for Peaceable Kingdom, developing some little characters for a shop, getting together some pieces to submit to companies, trying to remember how to paint, unsuccessfully entering design contests ;) etc., etc. Here's a sneak peek at a baby card…

2. How Does Your Work Differ from Others in Your Genre? hmmmmm…that's the 50 million dollar question, isn't it? I'm a firm believer that there's not much out there that hasn't been done before. If you don't believe that, perhaps you haven't heard of this thing called Pinterest ;). That being said, every artist needs to develop their own approach/style to have any level of success. I'd like to think that I can put a fresh slant on the mid century illustration that I love. I always try to inject some happy-go-sweet-unabashed-cuteness into my work. Does that make me unique? No, but I hope I do it in such a way that my work is recognizable.

3. Why Do You Create?  I dunno, but I've done it since I was little. There is always something about that rush to see what you can come up with and how it will turn out. I just like to make cute stuff! How's that for an in-depth answer, haha.

4. What is your creative process?  Because my background and degree is in graphic design, I tend to take more of a problem solving approach especially if I've been given a brief. Who's the audience, the message, the best way to visually communicate this, and so on. I'm not a trained illustrator, so I don't just sit down to draw before I have an idea of where or how I'm going to solve the problem. Lilla's technique of getting her students just to sit down and draw first has been a hard road for me to follow, but it has paid off, and I now actually use a sketchbook, and I love it! Anyway, I like to think it through first (like when I'm driving or in the shower…my mind tends to wander and I can think more openly. No, it hasn't caused any accidents, but I tend to forget some turns along the way!) Then I get to any necessary research followed by pencil sketches which I usually just take a pic of with my phone, and bring into illustrator on my laptop. I usually redraw everything there (that's the super tedious part) but lately, I've been trying to incorporate some traditional media into my work. Finally, I do my favorite part, add color, followed by texture, all in AI. Just a stubborn vector girl here. That and I'm not comfortable in photoshop.

Ok, more than enough about me. Let me introduce you to two wonderfully inspiring artists that you no doubt already know about… they are that good!


Tammie is one of those people that I find inspiring on a number of levels. We met through MATS and the happy happy art collective, which I am proud to be a member of, was her brainchild. She has the guts, intelligence and tenacity to take on any task…whether it be going solo at Surtex, to designing a pattern a day for 365 days…. (yeah, you read that right), to her tiny thanks project, 50 asks, producing great pieces traditionally as well as digitally, the list goes on and on and I haven't even talked about her art. Tammie has an uncanny ability to think in terms of pattern, but it doesn't end there. Her colors are so fun, the graphics, so brilliantly joyful… it's an irresistible combination.With degrees in journalism and a law school graduate, believe it or not, she is a self taught artist! I really don't know how she does it all and continues to do new things. Be sure to check out her website and blog for more inspiration.

Tammie got our happy happy alphabet off to an awesome start with the letter A! 


Another member of the happy happy art collective is the charming Denise Holmes! Ever since I first saw her work in MATS A, I have been in awe of her innate ability to infuse pure charm and sweetness into every thing she creates. I so admire how she has developed her own instantly recognizable style. She recently illustrated her first children's book and it should be on every parent and illustrator's "must have" list it's that good! You can pick up a copy here!

I just love her distinctive line work… always just enough, always just right, and her innate use of color is a big part of her signature style. I tend to go a bit overboard when it comes to color and I know I could definitely take a pointer or two (or four or a whole lot more…) from all her work. I don't have a crystal ball, but I have no doubt there is a long line of books in her future, her style is just so sweet and clean with a fresh vintage vibe that I adore. You immediately know when you see a niseemade piece!

this letter T is one of Denise's contributions to the happy happy alphabet… how cute is this?!

Please be sure to check out her website and blog for more cuteness!

Well that concludes my officially longest post ever! It was a pleasure to share the work of these talented artists!