Thursday, March 26, 2015

spottie the doggie

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Friday, March 20, 2015

corn dogs and sawdust

Ever notice that more kids threw up on corn dog day in elementary school than any other time? Gross, but true. Needless to say, I've never been a fan.

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adam, laurie and jimmy

It seems as though every one of the 642 Things to Draw prompts is going to add another song on constant repeat in my head. This one: Adam Sandler's The Hanukkah Song.
Next up, Moon, Moon, Moon by Laurie Berkner.  A favorite bedtime tune at our house.

 And what party is complete without some Jimmy Buffett?  'You better lava me now or lava me not.'

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

the nc state alumni bucket list

Below are a few images from a recent 8-page piece we illustrated for NC State Alumni Magazine.  This was a dream assignment for someone who loves drawing on-location and hand typography.  In addition, I was honored to be asked to do such a piece for a university whose design program alum are some of the most talented people I know.  Included among them are two teachers who have shaped me profoundly as a designer: Novem Mason and Tommy Lambeth.  I can hope for nothing more than to have made them both proud with this piece.

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642 squares

Challenging myself to complete the 642 Things to Draw in a square format so I can share on Instagram. Having a lot of fun in the process.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

642 things to draw : a bunch of grapes

Trying to give myself more time to draw, simply for the fun of it.  No clients, no expectations.  Love Chronicle Book's 642 Things to Draw book as a creative kick starter.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

warming up

A little sketch to get the day started.  I've always been a fan of the drawings within drawings...

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Friday, March 06, 2015

sneak peek!!! watercolor flower cards!

I am so, so, SO excited about the work coming out of our studio this month!  It's amazing how having an additional set of hands---especially when those hands below to a gifted photographer---speeds things up!

And COLOR!!!!  Our newest shop offerings are chocked FULL of it---if for no other reason than I'm so very tired of snow.  Can you tell?!?

Like what you see?  Edgar and I'd love for you to visit our shop!  Use the coupon code BLOGMARCH2015 and you'll receive Free Domestic Shipping on all purchases of 20- or more this month.

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Monday, March 02, 2015

eclectic sage flower van

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this collaboration.  Eight years ago--when I started An Open Sketchbook---the blog --- Jen, Heather and I were working alongside each other in design school.  In the years since our lives have taken us in so many different directions and then, magically, in December they merged and this is the result: a flower van for Heather's business, Eclectic Sage.  The process of covering a van with a tiny watercolor is no easy task.  I am SO thankful to have had Jen take the driver's seat (pun, intended) on this. 

All photos by Jen of An Open Sketchbook and jlyDesigns

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Friday, February 20, 2015

spring? are you out there?

The temperature in North Carolina has dipped down into the negative digits---and after a week spent indoors with two fighting three-year-olds I have a serious case of cabin fever and a major longing for spring.

These days I'm particularly thankful for Edgar's army of houseplants that serve as a reminder that there is life and sunshine waiting beyond the crust of ice. Now, to patiently await their arrival.  Key word: patiently.

May this jade add a little sunshine to your day as well.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

today's reminder

It's so easy to get caught up in what others are doing and lose faith in one's own voice and abilities. Happens to me all too often.  It's the primary reason I've shied away from using Pinterest.

It's during these lulls I find it's healthier to look inward rather than outward and simply work at being me.  That's where I am today.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

love letters

This collection of letters my grandfather (Pap) sent home to his mother during World War II is among my most prized possessions.  I can only imagine how much importance this little ribboned-bundle held for a mother whose son was in battle on the other side of the world.

My grandmother (Mamaw) most certainly had a similar much-loved bundle---but in a gesture that both breaks my heart and deepens my respect for my grandparents' affection for one another, she burned hers following his return home.  What they shared was theirs alone---for no one else.

Ironically enough, as I write this post, this song started playing on Pandora.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2015

um, your wing fell off...

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

the wrapper

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new in the shop! : watercolor figure skating studies

Inspired by the US Figure Skating Championships right here in Greensboro!

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a clean start

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

red envelopes full of love

Valentine's Day is right around the corner!
Why not share the love with something hand-made this year?

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Monday, January 19, 2015

a very fast car

I love this little piece from today's drawing time with Max + Miles---especially the smoke.

Max was infatuated with this 'very fast car' ALL afternoon.  He wouldn't so much as set it to the side to fulfill his bathroom duties.   UNTIL, that is,  he found another, 'faster' car at Goodwill and dropped this one (literally) in the store's parking lot.  Easy come, easy go.

High're going to be fun...

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

new in the shop! : you're doing your best

A few months ago I created this mantra for myself.  Today we're adding it to the shop because I'm pretty sure we all need to be reminded of this at one time or another!

And, here's the cool part, place an order of $20 or more in our shop in January and we'll include one of these mini prints (they are tiny!--just 5"x5") for FREE!

Want to purchase the print by itself?  See the listing here.

FYI: This may be my first 'professional' collaboration with Miles, whose preschool artwork provides the backdrop for my hand-typography.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

old stomping grounds

Drove to Wilmington over the weekend---on my way I felt a gravitational pull off the interstate in Chapel Hill and sketch the apartment I shared with two of my friends while we were in college at UNC.  It's such a weird feeling to revisit the past, observing how things have changed...and how they have not.

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Thursday, January 08, 2015

no two snowflakes are alike

It never fails. Every. single. time. I ask Miles what he'd like to do, he says 'paint.'  If you've met my little wild man you know this spells a mess of epic proportions.  Therefore, despite living in a house of artists, his request often goes unfulfilled.

Add this to the long list of reasons I am so thankful for preschool and the boys' teachers who regularly provide much-needed paint time---and, consequently, Edgar and I a happy dose of illustration inspiration. Aren't these fun?

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Wednesday, January 07, 2015

behind the scenes

Late last year, in the middle of what will forever be remembered as Christmas Chaos 2014, we had an incredible thing happen.  One of our favorite people, a long-time friend from design school, Jen Yancey, joined us at An Open Sketchbook as Studio Manager.

Jen is an incredible talent---you're sure to see plenty of examples of this in future days---but beyond that she is a heck of a worker bee and one of the only people in this world who can keep Edgar and I on task.  I can't tell you how relieved we are to have Jen around.  In addition to helping run our studio, Jen is a mother of three and an incredibly gifted lifestyle photographer. Check out her impressive portfolio of work here.

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Saturday, January 03, 2015

relax and relief

The last two months of 2014 left me with a hangover the likes of which I have never experienced before.  My stress level was such in the weeks leading up to Christmas that it has taken me 12 days away from email, no less than 20 baths and a deep clean of the entire house to recover.  If there is one thing this past year has taught me is that I can't do all things---and do them all well---something has gotta give.   

May 2015 to be a year of finding balance, doing one thing at a time and devoting energy to the people and things that matter the most.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

race to the finish

I've pulled more all-nighters in the last two months than in undergraduate and graduate school combined.  It's been crazy.  But today, one of the most meaningful assignments we've had to date---with NC State's Alumni Magazine has finally left the studio and is on it's way to print.  To say I'm breathing a deep sigh of relief is an understatement.  I can't wait to share more of what we've created in January when the issue comes out.  In the meantime, here's one illustration that didn't make the final cut.

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Monday, December 15, 2014


We sometimes hear that people have a hard time distinguishing between Edgar's and my handiwork. I can see how this is the case, as, creatively, we enjoy collaborating throughout the entire design process--each doing what we enjoy, handing the brush, pen, mouse...back and forth...back and forth...until we're where we want to a team.

However, there are a few things each of us does on our own, independent of one another.

Pet portraits are Edgar's---and, not to sound like a gloating wife---though I am---I think he is so good at them.  He loves animals---almost as much as he loves plants...and sees each as a personal challenge to bring paper and ink to life and, in the process, provide another moment with a best friend.  I can't help but feel a piece of The Beagle is in each and every of these.

This morning's work : Maddy, for a loyal friend of An Open Sketchbook.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

a candy a day?

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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

chaos is around the corner

Ever since the boys were born I've tried my best to make our bedroom a peaceful place to relax: a zen spot, if you will.  And, finally, I actually feel like I've might have made some progress at it.  Clutter-free, dim overhead lighting, lots of plants, horizontal lines, no toys...

This was my document of that quiet place. This is Max's contribution :) All I can do is laugh.  My life on paper.

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Monday, December 01, 2014

patience is a virtue

Edgar and I currently get 16 hours a week twintern-free.  Therefore, I don't consider us stay-at-home parents in the traditional sense.  However, this past week, during the Thanksgiving Holiday AND the most deadline-filled-time-of-year, we only had 8 hours to ourselves to work.  We definitely enjoyed our break, but we also definitely enjoyed dropping the boys off at school this morning.  Cheers to you parents with patience everywhere.  Could you send some our way?

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