Had a lot of fun creating these handpainted website icons and illustration. The client is a writer and I used personal information about her and her work to create icons that were special to her. It was fun using watercolors and gouache.

For the website icons, the three categories were About, Publications and News. I noticed a very cool looking Olivetti typewriter in one of the client’s photographs so I immediately thought of using the Olivetti typewriter as the About icon. At first I traced a picture of a typewriter and outlined it with Sharpie. But the ink smeared and I wasn’t liking how it looked so I scrapped that idea and decided to use the old fashioned method of actually drawing the typewriter by hand with a pencil. I sketched the typewriter and had fun painting using watercolors. The bad thing about my cheap watercolor set is that it is really hard to get a rich, opaque color. I’m never buying these watercolors again. I painted pretty loosely and when the painting dried I outlined the pencil lines with a thin black Sharpie pen. This is my solution whenever I have watercolor edges that look blurry.

Next, for the Publications icon I wanted to incorporate magazines/journals that were imaginary but were personal to the client. The client mentioned that her stories were quiet and usually set in New England. I drew a picture of a New England home for one imaginary cover and a picture of her very cute and photogenic cat for the second imaginary cover. I also had problems with ink smearing when I drew outlines of these images. Note to self, do not use black pen on Bristol paper and then try using an eraser to erase pencil marks. Stick with Sharpie to avoid smeared lines.

For the News icon, I racked my brains trying to think of something that would represent news. I thought about illustrating a megaphone but I wasn’t feeling it so I went to my client’s website and noticed a picture of her giving a reading on a stage. I decided to paint a mic for the News section and I had so much fun painting this microphone. I didn’t outline the mic with black Sharpie because I felt that there were enough painted watercolor lines on the mic.

I scanned all three images, cropped them to circles, added outlines using colors from the client’s website and compressed the images. Done with icons!

For the illustration, I had the idea of creating a desk portrait of all of the client’s favorite things and things related to her writing space. The client gave me lots of cool photographs and I put everything on her desk. Technically the line with the postcards and photographs hanging on it is in front of the writer in her office space but the beauty of illustration is that you have the freedom to play with perspective and space. I decided to put the line with postcards and photographs behind the writer. After painting the image twice in watercolors I decided to try gouache. I used gouache because my cheap watercolors were driving me crazy. I’m still learning with gouache and unfortunately Opera Rose does not scan at all. Opera Rose ends up turning up a dull dusty rose color. Can’t wait for the day when scanners can scan neon and really bright colors like Opera Rose.