Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The theme for this week's Illustration Friday is "Pioneer". My take on it may be kind of goofy, but it totally inspired the idea for my new character "Howard the almost Impossible". I may just write more about this little guy and his failed attempts to be cool. Fun stuff.

Monday, December 28, 2009

updates and announcements

Hi everyone. I just finished a new promo postcard. To get on the mailing list, please go to my website and fill out the contact form. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Stormy Weather

just a little something I've been working on... still a work in progress. I'm experimenting with different AI techniques.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone.

I really should have taken the time earlier in the season to design some holiday cards. Instead, I sent out a bunch of Edward Gorey boxed cards. So lame. To soothe the guilt- I worked on this illustration and sent it via email to clients.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Product Development Snafu.

Let the cat out of the bag a bit too soon. "Pretty Wicked" photos and illustrations to be posted in a few weeks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

getting hairy.

So this was fun and challenging and creepy. While doing research, I had that constant feeling of bugs crawling on me! Ha! But I have to say, I'm pretty happy with the result. This particular client really pushes me to do better work and I love working with her. If you have any competitive swimmers in the family, you'll want to check out her website: H2OTOOS. This particular tattoo is in development, but there are plenty others to choose from.

I really love my client list right now. Working with good people that make you want to do your best is a gift. In my career I've discovered that these people are few and far between.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"I've Arrived" Birth Poster

I'm currently working with a business partner to launch some new children's gift products. As I've mentioned in earlier blogs- one of our first successful pieces is a Birth Announcement poster. The print is 8x10 in an 11x14 frame with a ribbon handle. For ordering information, please visit the new business website:
Its very exciting and we hope to add new products after the holidays.

There are four designs to choose from and each print is customized to show a newborn's name, birthday, weight, etc.

We've been getting some great feedback and interest. So *fingers crossed* for continued success. Any advice from my fellow artists on how to get more exposure would be welcomed.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Funny how time changes your opinion of a project. I despised this line when I worked on it 5 years ago. It was a nightmare to create from start to finish- but to this day, I still see it on the shelves in various stores and its taken a long time- but I finally like it. If you begin to hate a project, remind yourself of the big picture and how each and every design will make a really amazing visual timeline in your career. They become part of your designer "growth chart".

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Aunt Sonia

In the upcoming issue of Sparkle magazine for girls- this story is about a woman who loses hope until her niece, a cancer survivor, reminds her to "never give up".

Friday, November 20, 2009

I won I won I won!

The fabulous Mr. Baker chose my "Major" illustration as the winner for the Monday Art Day "chicken" challenge.

Thank you!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuned up.

I keep singing the song "Play Me" by Neil Diamond when I look at this illustration. I was trying some different styles and techniques for a freelance job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

laughing in France.

I was so excited to find this in the mail today! Deborah Mori, Life Without Novacaine sent me a sample of her beautiful work. I am honored and thrilled- and plan on returning the favor! Thank you thank you thank you! Its amazing!

And it's no accident that I'm wearing my fabu new necklace from Blue Moss. I wear it everywhere!!! I love the Eiffel Tower charm- I recently traced my ancestors, turns out my affinity for all things french is deeply rooted in my genes. I discovered the most amazing family names and use them all as pen names!

What an incredible experience this has been for me- I'm new to the blog world, so connecting with all these talented artists has been so inspirational.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 my new favorite blog.

I think that I am in love. Completely and utterly in love... with a blog named Blue Moss. She just posted some shoes and I am obsessed. Amazing taste this girl has (who am I? Yoda?). I MUST have these shoes. Oh the humanity! The horror! The drama!!! Its like a Lifetime Movie--- "The illustrator and her ridiculously expensive taste" starring Melissa Gilbert and Pierce Brosnan.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

rough stuff

Conceptual sketch for a potential project.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Book Covers

I always thought that Book Covers and Wine Labels were my dream project. I spent 10 years in the coffee industry- check, retail packaging (but the cool stuff) - check, did a board game or two- check, but the ever elusive famous band CD covers, really swanky, big budget wine label, and David Sedaris-esque book cover eludes me... until now. An old friend (and my very first date) asked me to design a book cover for his collection of short stories. I was skeptical, but ended up falling in love with it. Please take a look at his website Michael J. Atwood. His words hit home for me- perhaps our strict Irish-catholic upbringing, or our love for all things outside Massachusetts (but still came home)... regardless, it's worth a read. He's just renamed the collection to "Funerals & Baptisms". I've found this design project to be extremely challenging, frustrating, exciting, and difficult- all at the same time. I think I'll veer towards wine labels now. lol. Which cover do you like best? any suggestions?

Friday, November 6, 2009

intelligence is knowing how much you don't know.

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”  -Mark Twain

I'm enthralled with the Danidraws blog. I could watch the demo's all day long. I had become so routine in my approach to illustration. I thought this was "my style". But after watching Dani, I'm trying new things and starting to get a real hand drawn feel to my digital art. This is my first attempt after watching one of her demos. Pears! Not the usual rigid dig. stuff- smooth and imperfect. Like me! lol. Happy Friday everyone.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dark: Inspire Me Thursday

When I was little, I had a dream about a secret little hiding space in the wall of my room. They didn't have Dora Pop Tents back then, and I really wanted my own little place. This is a take on this weeks theme for Inspire Me Thursday- this week's theme being "dark."

Back then I was a nerdy little bookworm (definitely a Hufflepuff). The book on the floor would have either been Where The Sidewalk Ends, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, or The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (ok, ok, could've been Dear God, Its Me Margaret too.)

Monday, November 2, 2009

mini illustrations

I was asked to do a series of very specific illustrations for a girls magazine. Here is the full series. What a fun project this was!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mademoiselle Caroline Rivière: Inspire Me Thursday

So- I was just breezing through all the illustrator blogs ( and feeling like a poser) when I stumbled across the "Inspire Me Thursday" link. I was so moved by the theme this week- I decided to take a stab at it. What a fascinating painting. I couldn't stop thinking about it all night. I loved working on this as much as I imagine Sophia Coppola loved recreating the world of Maria Antoinette. I did several sketches, but this one is my favorite.

The challenge was to do your own take on the painting. The original is shown below. Go ahead try it! I double dog dare ya.

Friday, October 23, 2009

frightfully delightful.

I recently designed an entire line of Halloween gift product for one of my favorite clients. I've been asked to work on a logo. This is just one idea I had- the real name of the line isn't "total witch". I don't want to let the cat out of the bag... har har har. get it... cat... (I'm a dork.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

a day in the life of Lisa Graves.

This is my ridiculous to-do list. I think I need bigger index cards. For some reason I like writing all my lists on small cards. I guess it seems less overwhelming.

I also think these lists need to be prettier. Ha!

Monday, October 19, 2009

sugar and spice and everything nice

two from a series of 13 mini illustrations I'm currently working on for GEMS Girls' Club. It's such a great gig- I get to draw girls of all different ethnicities doing various activities. Fun fun fun. Its projects like this that make me really love my job.

Friday, October 16, 2009

book worms.

I've had the pleasure of working with an old friend this past week. I had read some of his columns online, but was pleasantly surprised to find his collection of short stories to be absolutely brilliant- dark & funny, my favorite. This is just one of the concepts being thrown around. The title is going to change- but this is a start. Please visit his website for excerpts from this book. I promise you'll be happy you did. Michael Atwood

Thursday, October 15, 2009

the most wonderful time of the year...

Taking a page out of a new friend's book (pun intented.) A fellow artist/blogger put up a post about a book she's about to read. Its a fantastic blog- please visit. Life Without Novacaine
So I thought it would be fun to put together all my favorite witch books- which is really my favorite genre. This really is the best time of the year. Now, where's my broom?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

oh baby baby.

Did this quickly for my gal pal Nicole (I like to call her Francesca or Matilda). She's launched a web store specifically for twins and triplets. She has triplets herself, so its amazing she can make sure she brushes her teeth let alone work full time, raise 3 kids, and launch a business. Anyhoo- she's  interested in embroidery so this concept isn't going to work for her right now. Still like the idea though- hmmm.Twin and Triplet Gifts

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Very excited to report that I currently have an illustration running in Sparkle magazine for girls. The article was written by a young girl who saves up all her spare change to help others. Impressive- I think the only thing I saved up for at age 12 was a benneton sweater.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

in the wrong place.

I did this last night while laying in bed wondering how the hell I'm ever going to make things right- I recently wrote a sarcastic, but very funny recap of my brother's wedding. The in-laws were less than welcoming and my "narrative" went into very harsh, but still comedic, detail. This story got into the wrong hands and was distributed to all those I made fun of. The illustration is a self-portrait of my heart being in the wrong place. I have one... but my desire to destroy sometimes pushes it under my foot.

"This wound is far more deep within, it bleeds from the outside- in."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Message to friends.

I recently took myself off of Facebook due to some privacy issues. I hope my good friends will come to my blog for updates and information. I have a lot of fires burning right now and hope to be launching a new business within a few weeks. Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

project: mama needs some new shoes.

Seeing that I can't get my book published (yet), I've decided to print the poems out individually and hand paint the illustrations. I'll be selling these online and at shows this fall. I'm going to frame, matte, & possibly personalize them as well. More details to come. Here are just a few of the poems I'll be offering.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bette Davis- The Witch

so much fun I can hardly stand it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Best Assignment Ever.

I've been asked to develop an entire product line of "wine witches". I get to design tabletop items while coming up with really elaborate illustrations to go on those items. Here's a first draft conceptual illustration... needs tweaking. I had to laugh when the client said "we want to develop a line of wino witches, and you're the first person we thought of." What a fabulous compliment! One of the best!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grim Greetings

I'm still trying to push two things... 1. My book (piggymonster). 2. My busy kit (bitekit). Both have been praised and slammed. Not sure what to make of it. It scares me that there are so many predators out there- just this morning I get a sunny sunshine email from a completely bogus literary agent playing up my ego and telling me how much she wants to see my manuscript. It was so well written, I almost believed it- truth is, I wanted to believe it. Doesn't everyone? Scary...brrrrrr. Gives me the chills.

I'm really not enjoying the "starving artist" life. I don't want to "suffer for my art" anymore.
I want some new shoes, damn it.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Quick sketch for a character development project. Hard to make a ghost really feminine. Hmmm. I think the mouse came out cuter than she did.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fiesta Fido

Rough sketch for a rough concept.I'm thinking of making this a spring promotional illustration to be sent out on a postcard. We'll see.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Princess Puddyfoot

I often refer to my daughter, Stella, as Princess Puddyfoot. I have no idea where she got all her girlishness from- but at the age of 2, all she wants to do is put on my heels and wear a tutu. We've been getting dozens of catalogs for Halloween costumes lately, and of course, she wants to be a princess or Tinkerbell. I did this sketch o' the day while she was napping.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fresh Sketch of the Day

This is my fresh sketch of the day. "Witch Way to Westwood?" I'm still trying to come up with a great fall promotional illustration. I did get some response from my last mailing and need to put my marketing hat back on. Funny thing, that marketing hat... I picture it looking a lot like the sorting hat from Harry Potter. Maybe that will be the fresh sketch tomorrow!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Solo Seaside Sketching

I had the most amazing experience yesterday... 

I went to the beach sans children. I started reading a new book (30 pages in, and I'm in love. ) and sketched without interruption. Very relaxing. I'd like to make a habit of that- such a win-win situation. 

As my husband put it... "happy wife equals happy life." 

Friday, August 7, 2009

Twitchy Witch

This is my personal favorite- as a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I love all things twitchy and witchy. I'm working on a new magic-themed illustration for a fall promotion. Stay tuned. 

Sparkle Magazine

New Client! Sparkle Magazine for Girls. They asked me to illustrate and article entitled "Together We Are Praying" which will be published in their next issue. Very exciting stuff. Although I've been illustrating for over 14 years, this is my first venture into editorial work. Not to honk the horn, but "no revisions necessary" is such a dreamy phrase to hear. 

The story was written by a young girl who saved up enough spare change to build a church overseas. Very inspiring. 


Has anyone trademarked the term "blogo"? Just a thought. Not sure where it could go- but you never know. I'll have to ask Nita to get on that.

I'm new to the blogosphere- still not grasping the full potential, but I'm not an old dog yet. I've always viewed blogs as a self-indulgent online diary chock full of ridiculous opinions, theories, and ideas that go nowhere... I've recently discovered it is that AND more! Sign me up. But enough about me, let's talk about me.