Friday Friends: Introducing Sarah Leonard & A Cat-like Curiosity

Happy Friday, my Friends!  It is my honor and pleasure to introduce you to my friend Sarah Leonard, illustrator.  Sarah created the cover art of the heart labyrinth for my book A Maze in Grace.  I was so delighted with her work, I ordered a custom cartoon for myself and a lucky winner.  Without further ado, please welcome Sarah Leonard!

I love creating custom art works for people – from family trees, to portraits, to pet portraits to memory canvasses. One of my favourite things though is to create illustrated cartoons for people. It’s so much fun, being so whimsical and free and people seem to love what I create for them! Today I wanted to share with you two gorgeous custom illustrations I created for the lovely Denise. The first was for Liz (one of the prize winners from the A Maze in Grace book launch).

Liz had great ideas for how she wanted to appear. She wanted leggings, a cream sweater and knee high boots. I always ask for a photograph of the people I draw obviously. Sometimes though, people have ideas they want to have included – often things they haven’t really thought of out loud. So, it always pays to ask a few questions before I get started on the sketch. Favourite colours or other accessories can really make all the difference!

Once I have the sketch ready, I use a unipin pen to firm up the lines more precisely. Then I can go back in and rub out the pencil lines I have used. It makes for a very clean look and a much easier start to the colouring journey.

I use alcohol markers for my cartoon illustrations. I love the effect they give, and the colours are just right. I actually work on ordinary copier paper for these, as I like the bright white the paper gives me when it is scanned. I always have a stack of paper underneath though, as the markers do bleed through.

Once she is scanned in, I do a little bit of tweaking in Photoshop (and sometimes Illustrator too, depending) before emailing out the finished design. Here is Liz in all her finished glory!

Now, onto lovely Denise and her avatar!

Here you can see my original pencil marks (working from the photo she sent to me). I have already gone over those with the unipin pen, ready to rub out the old lines. In this case, Denise wanted just a head and shoulders picture with her looking from the side (based on the photo she sent me). I took the colours directly from the photograph.

I love the clean look once the pencil lines have gone. I can’t wait to get colouring! This illustration was a little more challenging, as it was a face from the side angle. I think I got a good likeness of Denise here though. The illustrations are a cartoon version of the person in the photo – not a super realistic photo likeness. I think that makes them super cute though and perfect for using on social media, blogs and other branding areas.

I always begin by colouring the face for some reason, even in my mixed media art. I guess old habits die hard. I like to get the face all right to begin with I guess. Once the eyes are “in” the whole piece comes to life that bit more 🙂

And here she is in all her raven haired beauty! I really enjoyed working on both of these commissions for Denise and Liz. These little custom cartoons are so sweet and really affordable – you can find out more about them right here.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my process – I have definitely enjoyed getting to share it with you here.

Have a great day lovelies!

Sarah Leonard is an artist, curiosity seeker and all round magic sprinkler. You can find her (and her many offerings over on her website, A Cat-Like Curiosity. She is also the founder of  The Curiously Gorgeous Sisterhood an online community for creative souls. There is a special offer on instalments at the moment, so as many gorgeous creative souls can join us as possible. Hurry though – the instalments offer runs out on October 21st.


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