from concept to creation | Custom design & illustration

case studies

Once Laura and I had agreed on the illustrations I took them into Photoshop to clean them up and add some color into the mix. I clipped them all, combined them if necessary, and added in a black starry background.

After sending them to press, we have had, what I would consider, great success marketing them! I own a shop on Etsy where we have sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 copies, some as far as Germany and Australia!

Little Owl has also spawned companion pieces which you can view online at:

The Final touches

After Laura nervously shared her initial draft with me, I began to suggest imagery that I felt would complement the story. 

I found scrap of saw-whet owls, skylines, and the Rockefeller Christmas tree to base my illustrations on.

As I gathered images, I made mock-up compositions in Photoshop, taking bits and pieces from different photographs, and combining them into one cohesive composition that I would then print, lightly trace over in pencil, add black line with permanent markers, then add subtle color with metallic pens and glitter.

from scrap to sketch

This book was inspired by Rocky, the saw-whet owl who was discovered stowed away in the Rockefeller Christmas Tree in 2020. Like Little Owl, Rocky was cared for and returned to his forest home. 

Little Owl lives in the Great Green Forest with his mother, brother, and sister. He is very happy…except at night when Mother puts them to bed. He always has trouble falling asleep because his siblings keep him awake. Little Owl longs for a home of his own and for adventure. When Little Owl ventures out one day he gets just what he's been looking for...and more! You and your family will love following Little Owl on his journey of adventure and appreciation of family. 

the story

Little Owl is a book that I co-created with my sister, Laura. Laura called me one day and asked, "Hey sis, would you ever consider illustrating a book that I want to write?" The answer to that question was a hard YES!

little owl

After I inked in each illustration, I would send him a photo of the completed sketch. If approved, I would use watercolor to color them in. After they were dry, I took their photos, adjusted anything that needed a bit of help in Photoshop and then placed them into my InDesign document that I had previously gotten design approval from Scott on.

The end result was a vibrant, loving, and everlasting tribute to his sister and her babies. This is a piece that I will always be proud of.

The Final touches

Scott shared his poems with me via Google Docs and we worked collaboratively across the country. With Scott being in New York, and I being in Seattle, we had to get our timing right!

I read through each of his poems and highlighted the ones that spoke to me visually. Most of them were incredibly silly and great inspiration!

As we went through, I came up with pencil sketches and took pictures which I then texted him to see if he wanted me to ink them in. Below is one example (more on my portfolio page).

from Poem to page

During his sister's pregnancy, Scott wrote one poem per week in dedication to her twin girls. He kept the poems a secret planning to create a book to present to the family upon their births. 

Once the book was complete, he gave provided twenty copies to his friends and family as a precious memento. He was such a great client, he even called me on zoom when he gave it to them so I could see their reaction.

I really enjoyed working with him to create this special piece and I am beyond thrilled that his family has this keepsake.

the story

Two Little Ones to Adore & Help Explore is a book of poetry by Scott Nadler. Scott wrote this as a dedication to his twin nieces and asked me to create a complete illustrated book as a gift to his family upon their births.

two little ones to adore & Help explore