Category Archives: illustration friday

Friday Favorites : Obsession

(Psst, before you go any further, don’t forget to enter the BIG giveaway!)

As my friends, family, and loyal readers can attest, I know nothing of this concept called ‘obsession’. Nay, I have never spent hours lying awake in the dark wondering if the walls of my pool might spontaneously burst and flood out half my neighborhood. Nor have I ever arranged every single one of my (over 900) books according to height or painstakingly made sure that every time I set my glass of wine down at dinner it was in the exact same spot on the table from whence I picked it up. For I know nothing, nothing of obsessions, obsessing, or obsessive behavior!

(I am also most definitely NOT a master of sarcasm.)

With that being said, here are some people who apparently do know a thing or two about obsessions and how to do a damn good job of  illustrating them.


Obsession by Louise Taylor

The concept and execution of this piece are both fantastic and the story included reminds me of my uncle…maybe I’ll tell you all (what little I know) about him someday.



Sense Memory by Karen Eide

A gorgeous piece – beautifully done. I am fascinated by this medium.



Obsession by Elli

Beautiful color palette and certainly an obsession that many of us artsy types probably share.



Obsession by Marta Tesoro

I know this look very well and I have to say it is captured perfectly here.



Obsession by Paul Zdepski

A fantastic interpretation of the topic. I love this!



Obsession by Lisa Graves

The typography and all around style of this piece are very nicely done.



Marble Man by Ella

I just love this little fellow – there’s something very endearing about him.



Obsession – Bears and Food! by Hollie L. Hibbert

Food obsessed or not, these characters are just adorable (oddly, I hope that’s what people say about me too – heh).



Obsession by Paige Keiser

Such a great expression of imagination. Love how the grass is swept up like a wave carrying him away.



Obsession by Kaitlyn McCane




Obsession by Angela Pascale

Heh, this is so great. And it totally reminds me of my friend, Marie (although I’m not sure she’s ever gotten quite this up close and personal with her Nutella – heh).



Obsession by MAGYARiX

SO clever. I adore the overall retro feel.


To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

all images © their respective owners – if you wish to have your thumbnail removed for any reason, please contact me.


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Friday Favorites : Perennial

Yeah, yeah, I know…it’s Saturday – my perennial tardiness strikes again! Better late than never though, right?


I’ve decided to try a little something new this week. You’ll notice that there are only ten favorites instead of my usual fifteen. Part of the reason for that is the fact that I’m a day late in posting my favorites (due to a quick family trip that we took this week). The other part is that I wanted to try adding thumbnails to the list and it is a little time-consuming.

Let me know what you think of the new layout and I’ll see about making it a weekly thing!


Perennial by Martin Hoogeboom

I love the idea and the execution behind this.



Perennial by Sophie

Such a sweet illustration with lovely colors and patterns.



Perennial by Ryan

I’m a sucker for ‘four seasons’ illustrations, so I couldn’t pass this one by!



Perennial by Megan Moran Smith

Love the crying clouds.



Perennial by Erika Barriga

So delicate and pretty.



Perennial by Katarzyna Zalewska

Simple and beautiful.



Perennial by Sandra Jessop

The colors in this piece are just gorgeous.



Bountiful Crops by Alyssa Nassner

Love this farmer and his basket full of deliciousness!



Perennial by Laurie French

Sir is completely obsessed with cows lately. This illustration was a favorite for him too!



Perennial by Michael Villegas

So clever!


To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.



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Friday Favorites : Gesture

What? Could it be? Am I really back?

Meh. Sort of.

As much as I have missed blogging, drawing, painting, and fully participating in Illustration Friday, I just can’t seem to get it together enough to fully recommit myself to any of those things. My reasons are many and varied, but for now, I’ll take the easy way out and blame it on the oppressive heat we have been experiencing.

It is no secret that summer is my least favorite season, mostly because I cannot handle the heat. The current heat index of 119° has me longing for the crisp, cool breezes of autumn. Instead, I am holed up in my house with all the shades pulled and the AC cranking, watching my son sit around in only his diaper in order to avoid completely melting into a puddle on the couch.

But, I digress.

This post is supposed to be about this week’s Illustration Friday awsomeness. And so it shall be…

  • Define Pleasure by Filipa Sotomayor : Simply.Gorgeous.
  • Gesture by T. Matthews : So sweet with a lovely color palette.
  • Gesture by Elly Chen : BIRD!!
  • Gesture by Jackie Kirk : MORE birds!!
  • Heart Gesture by Doris Redrupp : Just a very cool design all around.
  • Gesture by Naomi Orana : Just beautiful and such lovely colors.
  • Gesture by Rosalia : Very unique design and I love the watercolor wash.
  • Gesture by Cécile : I like the lines and her red lips.
  • Gesture by Andree : Love the retro style here.
  • Gesture by Wendy Howarth : So, so sweet.
  • Gesture by Tina Kugler : Very cute and a little retro.
  • Gesture by Becka Moor : Love this monster!
  • Pencil + Paper by Maria Alejandra Rivera : A very nice gesture, indeed.
  • Gesture by Amie : Yum!
  • Gesture by Dave Palmer : If that guy was the current weather, that hand would totally be mine.

To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.


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Friday Favorites : Launch

Welcome to the I’m-on-Vacation-in-the-Great-White-North-and-the-Internet-Here-is-Unbelievably-Slooooooooooooooow edition of Friday Favorites. I cannot even begin to tell you how long it has taken me to a) get through all of this week’s Illustration Friday submissions and b) compose this post. Just to give you an idea, it took me half an hour to upload 7 photos to Facebook the other day. Urgh.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love, love, LOVE northern Michigan. And, I am very fortunate to have a free place to stay whenever I want to visit. However, the Internet access in more rural areas (meaning: 5 miles from the city) leaves a bit to be desired.

Several times, I contemplated giving up on the whole thing and hurling my computer out the window out of sheer frustration. Remember dial-up? Yeah, this is worse. Except this time I don’t have my college roommate griping at me for tying up the phone line while she’s waiting for an important call about the kegger at the Theta house. But I persevered, despite my frustration and fits of rage. See what I do for you people? You all owe me a glass of wine…or ten.

So, here they are, this week’s Friday Favorites, presented with little commentary (and my apologies) because, honestly, I don’t have the energy. Enjoy them with a glass of red wine and some lightning-fast Internet speeds for me, please.

To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

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Friday Favorites : Swept

So, I came through last week’s ordeal relatively unscathed (save for a decided lack of sleep).  And here I am ready to share my Illustration Friday picks with all of you again.

I’ll pause here while you heave a collective sigh of exasperation relief. Heh.

This week’s topic was ‘swept’ and since I’m not feeling all wordy right now (was that another sigh of relief I just heard?), I’ll just get started.

  • Swept by Elizabeth Rose Stanton : Love the colors. Love the movement. Especially love the little people getting blown every which way.
  • Swept by Julia Marshall : Another piece with great movement, and the added bonus of a frightening shark looming just below the surface.
  • Swept (away) by Angela Pascale : The passenger in this boat seems to be taking a much more peaceful ride. I’m guessing there are no sharks in this water.
  • Swept by Catherine Swenson : I loved all the images of sweeping bodies of water this week. This one has such a tranquil color palette. I love how the fish are hopping out of the water in such a leisurely fashion.
  • Swept by Nicky Linzey : Another water-themed illustration. Fantastic color palette and I love the reference photos too.
  • Swept by Valeriane Leblond : Gorgeous rich colors and wind-swept mists – just beautiful.
  • Swept Away by Gumnut : Simple and quiet, yet there is much going on.
  • Aurora by Oliver Flores : This piece is a great example of how spending a little extra time to get things just right can really pay off. Beautiful work.
  • Swept by Jillian Ailsa : I love all of the textures and patterns used in this piece. And the expressions on the raccoons faces are pretty entertaining too. (Psst…go give this IF newcomer some love!)
  • (wind)swept by Koesje Koene : I just can’t resist and adorable dog (that’s how I ended up with my three monsters – heh).
  • Swept by Linda J. Calverly : Such a sweet illustration. I wish my backyard was this attractive.
  • Spider 2 by Alexander Ten Berge : Typically, spiders send me into fits of uncontrollable girlish screaming. Not this guy though. Must be the hat.
  • Swept by Rod MacGregor : I love the explanation of how this idea came about and the fact that it was drawn with one continuous line.
  • Swept by Zari : This time rock covers paper. Sweet.
  • Swept by Niki Maritz : This illustration was quite literally ‘swept’…right onto the pavement. Very cool.

To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.


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Illustration Friday : Swept

Wow, this is the earliest that I have finished an Illustration Friday submission. And, at only 2.5 x 1.25″, it is also my smallest Illustration Friday submission to date.

This was actually one of the two-color swatches that I mentioned earlier. I started doodling on a couple of them and thought that this one looked like the perfect setting for my favorite paper boat. So, here it is, being swept away by the sea. I hope it ends up somewhere better than where it started.

watercolor + alcohol + colored pencil on paper



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Friday Favorites : Shadows

As I write this week’s Friday Favorites post, I am currently (albeit, quietly) freaking out. My overactive imagination has me convinced that someone (or something) is lurking in the shadows of my backyard.

You see, not two hours ago, I was out back watering my garden. My big, old, wooden garage doors, which are always a huge pain in the tuchis to open, were securely closed. Less than an hour later, I looked out the window to see that one of them was open. It was very windy at the time, but I am still not convinced that wind was able to blow the door open that way.

I tried to send my fearless watchdogs out back to check things out, but they were having none of it. So, the door remains open and who or what is inside remains a mystery for now. I suppose if you don’t hear from me again, you can assume that whatever is hiding in the shadows claimed me as its victim.*

And so, here is what could possibly be my last Friday Favorites.

*insert dramatic pause*

  • Shadows by John Cox : I’m pretty sure that whatever is coming to get me looks like this. And that is frightening.
  • Shadows by Aimee Lockwood : Although, I find it hard to believe that there are any ‘dodgy’ neighborhoods in the charming city where I spent my honeymoon so many years ago, I suppose it is possible. Still, I’d rather live in a dodgy neighborhood in Edinburgh than a dodgy neighborhood in Baltimore.
  • Shadows by Jean Wogaman : Okay, now I’m really starting to freak myself out. I guess that means this piece has done it’s job (and quite well).
  • Shadows by Alice Carroll : Whew, that’s better, much less frightening. And, actually, very cool. I love illustrations that incorporate actual photos.
  • Shadows by Yvonne Vlaar : Such a simple and basic interpretation of the topic rendered beautifully. Sometimes it really is best not to overthink things.
  • Famous Lines Never Scripted by Chris Wilson : This is just cool.
  • Shadow by Kylie Knott : Truth.
  • Shadows by Roberto : Everything about this illustration is just beautiful. I’m especially fond of the sky.
  • Shadows by Swapnil Gaikwad : Another gorgeous night sky and a very sweet illustration.
  • Shadows by Brooke Boynton Hughes : I just love the all-blue color palette and the way the moonlight casts such long shadows.
  • Shadow by Tomás Serrano : Speaking of looooooooong shadows. Heh.
  • Shadow by Sarah Lawrence : This is such a fun illustration. I love the expression on his face and, of course, his pajamas.
  • Shadow by J O o L i :  Pink hair! Pink hair! Pink hair! Pink hair! Have I mentioned that I LOVE pink hair?
  • Shadows by Reginald Swinney : This is sixteen different kinds of awesome. Plus an epic mustache.
  • Shadows by Ted Blackman : I think the lesson here is pretty clear – never piss off a penguin. Yow.

To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

*This just in from Big Sir: At least our ferocious black lab finally went in there and sniffed around this morning. Nothing to see here people, move along.

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Illustration Friday : Shadows

Shadow Tree : watercolor + alcohol + ink on paper

This piece was a total experiment from start to finish. I incorporated some techniques that I’ve never tried with watercolor before and this is what it turned into. Admittedly, I had to tweak the colors a bit in Photoshop since I used some of my cheapy watercolors that I reserve for trying out new things. Plus, I rarely use dark colors and I’m not so good at it (yet).

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Friday Favorites : Asleep

Having recently been stricken by the plague, I spent the greater portion of this week asleep or wishing I was asleep. And I must say that looking at illustrations of people and creatures in various states of repose has not helped in my struggle to keep my eyes open. But, I will fight this urge to drift off to Dreamland and instead, share my Friday Favorites.

See what I do for you people? You’re welcome.

And now, let the snoozing commence (for the aforementioned creatures, of course – not yours truly)!

  • Asleep by Richard Morden : First of all, Secondly, the color palette is quite excellent.
  • Dream Stuff by Heidi A Monteleone : I believe Elizabeth Rose Stanton said it best, ‘…wonderfully surreal.’ Yep, couldn’t have said it better myself.
  • Asleep by Morderska : Another delightfully surreal sleep image.  Love the way the wallpaper and the sky were done here.
  • The Tea Time by Lucas Manoel : So many interesting details in this piece. It has a very soothing color palette as well.
  • Asleep by Pia Drent : The pattern, the lines, the birds – all so appealing.
  • Asleep by Kathleen Jennings : A very cool take on this week’s topic – I especially like that the shoes reference the original Oz books.
  • Asleep by Oana Befort : This piece really is amazing. At first glance, I was sure that it was fabric and certainly not watercolor. The texture and the way the image seems to stand right off the page are fantastic.
  • Asleep by Tracey Long : The combination of ‘real’ and drawn characters in this piece is so interesting and, dare I say it again, surreal.
  • Asleep by Stephen Cavanagh : There are few things that appeal to me more than a beautifully painted night sky. I love this sky and the adorable characters.
  • Asleep by Megumi Lemons : Such a sweet scene. This piece has wonderful texture.
  • Sleeping Bearded Pig by K-Fai Steele : This unlikely pair is quite irresistible!
  • Asleep by Beatrijs Brouwer : I am no fan of bats, but these guys are just too cute – unlike real bats, which are scary and remind me of one of the creepiest dinner parties I’ve ever attended (ooo…I smell a new blog post!).
  • Sleeping Birds by etringita : Such a fun take on the topic!
  • Asleep by Sarah Stirling : This never, ever, ever happens in our house. Ever. *ahem*
  • Asleep by charrow : This never happens in our house either, but only because Sir doesn’t own a snorkel.

To see more great illustrations check out And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

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Illustration Friday : Asleep



…as the clouds approached, nearly everyone was fast asleep.

This is my second attempt at watercolor pencil on wood. I have to say, I am quite happy with it. I may even put it in the Etsy shop!

The most difficult part of the process is inking over the pencil sketch – too much pressure and the ink will bleed quite a bit. I am loving working with the watercolor pencils on wood though.

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Friday Favorites : Soaked

I just love doing Friday Favorites. Not only does it give me an excuse to look at every.single.entry for Illustration Friday each week (and I truly do look at ALL of them), but I also come away with so much inspiration every week.

What I don’t love is having to narrow down my favorites to that mere fifteen. Some weeks are harder than others and this week may have been the hardest yet. I had such a long list of awesomeness and it was awful having to whittle it down. I don’t know what it was about this week, but everyone seemed to have brought their A-Game. So, to everyone who participated this week…well done!

I know I always say this, but really, check out and all of the awesome submissions there. This list of favorites is only the tip of the iceberg!

  • Soaked by Tia Mushka : I have an ever-increasing love for paper cutting and this piece is a beautiful example of this type of art. The colors are gorgeous too.
  • Java Sea I & II by Cally : This is such a beautiful use of watercolor. I love how you can see the shafts of light coming down through the water.
  • Soaked by Rain : Another gorgeous watercolor piece with the added bonus of some great process shots.
  • Soaked by bjorgnin : And one more great watercolor – I love that the color palette is not typical of a mermaid painting. Very nice.
  • A Rainy Birdy Day by JS Daniel : Guess what! It’s time for the obligatory bird illustration (my bird-love knows no bounds) – yay! This illustration is completely adorable and I love all of the textures.
  • Soaked by Eric Barclay : More birds and great patterns. I just hope that cat doesn’t get hungry.
  • Soaked by Mike Barnett : Anyone who owns a particularly ‘jowly’ breed of dog (much like this one), is all too familiar with this scene. I am highly impressed by what an accurate representation this illustration is.
  • Soaked by Vhrsti : The colors are perfect for creating the feel of a cold, dark, rainy night. I also love the wispy clouds in the sky.
  • Downpour by Sarah Ryan : Love, love, love the perspective here and the shadowy figures. Very nice how the rain has motion.
  • Rain by Koosje Koene : This is how I usually feel on a rainy day (and sometimes on non-rainy days).
  • Soaked by Sara Boggs : This is how I would like to feel on a rainy day.
  • Soaked by get zapped : Love the clean lines and, of course, the mysterious, faceless man.
  • Soaked by Rose Lloyd : This illustration is cool for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that it reminds me of an umbrella with a goose neck handle that my aunt and uncle used to have.
  • Soaked by Jen Norton : Beautiful design on the cloud and I love the colorful rain.
  • Soaked by Kanako Shimura : Heh, heh. Fish with feet are usually quite clever.

As always, you can find tons more great illustrations at And if you’d like to see past Friday Favorites, just click here.

Have you entered the GIVEAWAY yet?

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Illustration Friday : Soaked

This piece was an experiment. Was it a successful one? Eh, I don’t know. I guess it was in the sense that I learned about what definitely works, what could work, and what absolutely does not work when it comes to watercolor pencils on wood. Read on if you want to be bored out of your mind you’re interested in the process.

I recently invested in some wood panels on which I would really love to use ink and watercolors. Being that I have never really worked with either on a wood surface, I felt a little experimenting was in order, but I didn’t want to waste any of my smooth, lovely panels. So, I dug this out of my stockpile of wood-framed mirrors. It wasn’t the greatest surface to work on, especially since not all four quadrants of the frame had the same texture, but it worked well enough.

I started by lightly sketching the design on the frame in pencil. It went okay. I didn’t want to create any dents in the wood, so I had to be very careful not to use too much pressure. Also, erasing errant pencil marks wasn’t very easy, so I had to focus on getting it right the first time. This is not one of my strong suits.

Next, I used my Prismacolor pens to ink the outlines. I was a little worried about how much the ink would bleed, and, while I definitely didn’t get the crisp, clean lines that I am used to, it turned out better than I expected. There were a couple of spots where I didn’t wait long enough for the ink to dry before erasing stray pencil marks and I smudged the ink. Patience is also not one of my strong suits.

For the water and raindrops, I used my Derwent watercolor pencils. I used varying degrees of pressure when applying the pencils, resulting in the differing degrees of transparency. I found that the white watercolor pencil was too transparent, and so I used gouache on the paper boat and clouds. It definitely helped to make them stand out more.

I really, really debated about how to do the background/sky. As it turned out, that is the part I am most disappointed with. I mixed up and really thinned out some blue/green watercolor, as I didn’t want much color. Unfortunately, it resulted in a much dirtier looking wash than I anticipated. I also feel like the color is too similar to that of the water. But, it was a lesson learned, so I’ll take it.

I have a wood panel triptych in mind that I am kind of excited about. I just need to get the process just right before I attempt it. Good thing I have more mirrors than I know what to do with!

Also, this thing was a real pain in the arse to photograph. I apologize for the lame photographic representation. Heh.

Oh, and if you haven’t entered the GIVEAWAY yet, go do it now!

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Friday Favorites : Safari

I never cease to be amazed at the creativity and versatility of the Illustration Friday crew. They never disappoint and this week was no exception. The topic for the week made for some pretty fun submissions (unless, of course, you have a fear of wild animals) and here’s this week’s small sampling of a huge bank of talent.

  • Safari (I See the Animals Sleeping) by Roberta Baird : Never hurts to start with something completely gorgeous, eh? I’m pretty sure this one fits the bill quite nicely. And it looks like you can own your very own copy of these gorgeous sleeping animals next month. Cool.
  • Safari by Kristin G. Jackson : A fun and tasty safari indeed! I hope they don’t spend too much time in the watering hole. They’ll get all soggy.
  • Safari by Nancy Meyers : I quite like the look of smug satisfaction on this fellow’s face. I would expect nothing less from the king of the jungle.
  • Safari by Jan Dolby : I love this giraffe. The loose and colorful style of this illustration is a lot of fun!
  • Safari by Scott E. Franson : The muted color palette in this piece is very tranquil. A lovely piece all around.
  • Safari by Beth Anne Maresca : Another very serene piece – this is a beautiful use of watercolor.
  • Rhino Designs by Nathan Bottcher : Just a fun little series of sketches that I found particularly charming.
  • Safari by Elizabeth Rose Stanton : There is a very valuable lesson to be learned from this adorable illustration. And just look at the expression on the little giraffe’s face!
  • Safari by Pia Drent : A very clever piece – who learned their lesson about looking closely at what is right in front of them?
  • Safari by Darice : This is an awesome elephant pattern. I think stared at it a little too long though – still waiting for my eyes to uncross.
  • Safari by Isabelle Cardinal : I adore well-done collage/assemblage and this is just that – definitely one of the coolest concepts I saw this week.
  • Dress up Safari by Emily : This illustration is just so fun! I love the way the kids’ postures match the animals they are dressed up as.
  • Safari by Sue : Surfin’ safaris don’t get much cuter than this.
  • Safari by Bill Nagel : Ahhh, the Costco safari – surely a favorite among our family. I’ll have to be a little more observant next time so as not to miss the wildlife.
  • Safari by Jay Fontano : Seriously. Funny. Period.

See more great stuff at! And check out past Friday Favorites here.

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Illustration Friday : Safari

This piece isn’t really finished, but since I don’t know if I’ll get it done any time soon, I decided to post it as-is. I’m not sure what to do with the background and rather than rush to finish it and inevitably screw it up, I’m just going to let it sit for awhile until I’m inspired.

This has been a pretty fun topic and I’m really looking forward to sharing my Friday Favorites this week. In the meantime, you can check out my previous Friday Favorites here.

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Friday Favorites : Beginner

Sometimes it’s best to forgo the blah blah and just begin. So, let’s do that…

  • Beginner by Amelia LeBarron : My obsession with pink hair aside, I found several reasons to love this piece. The color palette is beautiful. And, despite her body language expressing that she is a beginner, there is a certain wisdom in her eyes.
  • Aspiration by malibu.tuna : More pink hair (!) – the concept for this piece is great and it is so very well done.
  • The Beginning by Melissa Bergen : Just completely gorgeous – the contrast of the black on the blue eggs is so striking.
  • The Tree Surgeon’s Apprentice by Robert Dunn : This in an amazing mixed media piece. The use of real foliage and the splashes of ink give this such a surreal (and awesome) feel. Just look out for that little guy with the crazy eyes and the mallet…no telling what he might do.
  • Beginner by Maja : The color and texture of this piece drew me in right away. It is dark, quiet, and beautiful.
  • Beginner by Jeehyun Hoke : Now, you all know it wouldn’t be Friday Favorites without a bird (or ten). So, here are two cool ones. Love the expression on the face of the one who is getting ready to fly (perhaps he knows that he could end up like this next guy).
  • Beginner by Irina Agocs : Poor little birdy. I love how you can see the shadow of the wings’ motion.
  • Beginner by Collette Schildkraut : This pig is beyond adorable. I hope he doesn’t meet the same fate as our bird friend above.
  • Beginner by Monica Carnesi : Speaking of adorable, this totally is. I wonder how many trips to the frog pond that bear will have to take before getting it right. Experiences tells me, many.
  • Dream Pig by Laura Zarrin : Two flying pigs in one week? Why not! I love the colors in this pig’s sky.
  • Beginner by Jackie Kirk : Simple and effective – I love how this little chap’s expression and the color of his complexion convey a sense of nervousness. Also, that swim suit is great. Heh.
  • Beginners by Deniz Yegin : Surprisingly, there were very few bride and groom illustrations this week. No matter because this is fantastic. I adore her illustrative style!
  • First Marriage by Rosalia Lerner : Another bride and groom – the colors in this one are beautiful.
  • Beginner by Josée Savaria : Another artist whose style I’m really beginning to love – the colors and patterns in this piece are great.
  • Um… by Robert Anke : I can’t help it, every time I look at this, it makes me laugh.

See more great stuff at! And check out past Friday Favorites here.

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