Woman in yellow and red - illustration by Donna Mehalko

Most people on a journey benefit from having some sort of a guide.  I’m definitely in the most people category so I’d like to devote this post to some of the guides who’ve helped me along my journey illustrating Josephine.

First and foremost, of course, is my artist friend Tom Cathey.  He gave me my first real critiques; he also introduced me to a host of other designers and illustrators.  While these introductions have been mainly via illustrations in books and on the web, they’ve led me to other discoveries.  These days in particular, I find myself turning to and being inspired by these 5 artists:

Izak Zenou

Whimsical Illustration by Izak Zenou

What’s not to love about the freedom of line and the wonderful variety of expressions on the faces of Izak’s girls?  French illustrator Izak Zenou’s whimsical work can be found across the globe in stores, magazines, and books, and on products from T-shirts and watches to stationery and makeup collections.  Most recently, I’ve seen his “girls” on makeup bags and compacts at Sephora.

Ruben Toledo

Whimsical illustration for Nordstrom by Ruben Toledo

I love Cuban-born Ruben Toledo’s illustrations for their wit, whimsy and artfulness.  However, his illustrations are just one facet of his many talents which include sculpture and surrealist art.   Even just with paper, Mr. Toledo seems to be a master of a huge variety of mediums.  Take a look here.

Alfredo Cabrera

4 Whimsical Girls - Illustration by Alfredo Cabrera

I recently posted a link to a great online tutorial done by Mr. Cabrera.  I keep referring back to it as I illustrate, so for those of you who missed it the first time around, take a look here.  I’m aiming to capture some of the “every woman appeal” and carefree nature I see in Cabrera’s illustrations in my own work!

Arturo Elena

Girl in black and white mini dress by Arturo Elena

Although my initial reaction to seeing self-taught fashion illustrator Arturo Elena’s work was surprise and doubt at the alien proportions of his figures, the more I see his work, the more I think it all makes sense.  I’m also in awe of his masterful use and command of markers!

Donna Mehalko

Woman in yellow and red - illustration by Donna Mehalko

Last, but not least, I am inspired by Donna Mehalko’s vibrant use of color along with her flowing lines.  There is something very feminine and natural in her figures.  I also love how they often seem to be moving right off the page!

I would love some day to meet these artists.  For now, I am grateful that I can look to them as guides in my own endeavors.


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