I just love my job.

When I’m not drawing mermaids and pirates, I get to meet all sorts of people and help them tell their stories. Sometimes most fun portraits are for people who aren’t really sure how to articulate their story at all and just know they want to try. It’s such an honor (and just so darn FUN) to really dig into what makes them tick and come up with a creative way to express it to the world.

Agree that it’s time to stop trying to take a “perfect” family photo, but not sure how you would tell your story with an illustrated portrait?

I gotcha covered.

There's more than one way to tell your story. Here are a few examples:



Katherine and Morgan had created over three years of memories together when Katherine came to me for a custom portrait of the two of them and their cat, Witch.  She wanted a special surprise wedding present to give to Morgan, but didn’t have a particular idea of how she wanted it done; she just knew she wanted it to show some of the things they love together.

Based on her answers to a few questions, I came up with a short list of things I wanted to include in the final piece

  • a clear feel of their unique partnership as best friends

  • their love for travel and adventure

  • their closeness with their families

  • how much they love to read and play games together

Here's how we did it:

We kept the color palette warm and colorful for a cozy homey feel, and posed them in a comfortable, everyday way. The pictures on the wall are sketches done from actual photos of their family, and the games above the bookcases are some of their favorite games.

We added a globe with flags showing both the places they've traveled and the places they want to go next, oodles of books, a stuffed fox (it's an inside joke), and The Little Prince, which had special significance to them. Katherine is also wearing her favorite pair of socks.





Christy and her two dear friends bear a striking resemblance (both in looks and personality) to Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers Flora, Fauna and Meriwether in the 1959 Disney classic.  Christy wanted to capture this fun side of their friendship in a portrait, so we did.

The result is a magical setting that could easily be in the film (including the color scheme), but with the three friends starring instead of the traditional Disney characters. 

I just love telling stories this way--you can capture real relationships in a truly different way that means something special to you.



When Katherine’s parents were coming up on their 50th anniversary, she and her family knew they wanted an extra special gift to celebrate it. Part of Jim and Mary’s legacy  from their 50 years together is their beautiful family, so we gathered the whole family (all 11 of them!) together into one portrait.

We stuck with head and shoulders for each member of the family so we would have room for everyone (and cut down on design time). Katherine gave me wonderful descriptions of each person’s personality, any especially close relationships they have with others in the family, and their personal style. From there I was able to customize the poses, expressions and clothing for each person in a way that still works for the image and family as a whole.

I arranged all the members to be interacting with each other according to their actual relationships, and drew flowers under each of them, color coded to match families together. All Jim and Mary’s children have yellow flowers, and their spouses have other primary colors. Their kids? Yep. The color those primary colors make together.





Portraits are not just for real people. Yes, you read that right.

Christy has a beautiful library, and a love of reading to match. With that comes a throng of wonderful literary friends that are real and dear to her.  Christy wanted a portrait of herself with these literary favorites, to show a part of who she is that can’t be seen in the same way on the outside, an important part of her story that needed to be told.

We placed her in a large, comfy chair surrounded by her favorites and the books they come from. 

Her cat, Jinx, plays with the friendly red dragon’s tail while the Mad Hatter pours tea, spilling a bit on the crossword puzzles Christy loves to do. Pooh is curious as ever, and Piglet nervously eyes the dragon, while Hedwig the owl watches, a trio of fairies flit about, and Sherlock Holmes closely examines the bookshelves for clues.



The point?

There's no one right way to tell your story. You're absolutely unique, and your portrait can be, too.

So what do you think? How would you want your story told?