Paper Raven Co. Blog
Happy Earth Day!
Happy Earth Day! Earlier this week it struck me: I needed to do a free printable for Earth Day, and we need to spread some love around for our gorgeous, amazing Planet! I am SO inspired by nature (can you tell?) in my work, and even walks in my neighborhood, enjoying the Springtime, give me so much peace. I am a huge advocate for Green Energy, Climate Change Awareness and preserving our planet. So I wanted to send you a gift for you to enjoy for Earth Day, in support of our planet, its wildlife, and the organizations, scientists, and regular citizens like you and me that are committed to protecting it. Enjoy!
April Desktop Download + The Beauty of Nature
One of the best parts of my day, as the weather has warmed, has been walking my sweet dog Patty in the afternoons. Our neighborhood is in bloom, and we have a ton of bird species nesting in the trees. During our outings, I like to pause and take a moment to intentionally appreciate nature, to notice details, and welcome that peaceful mental state into my work. If that sounds a little "woo-woo" to you, maybe it is. But in an increasingly chaotic world, especially when the environment and the planet is at such risk, it's become a focal point of my day to stop and be grateful for the beauty around me. Nature teaches us so many things: persistence, balance, harmony; I find that very comforting, and I've strived to make those principles an integral part of my illustrations.
So for April's Desktop Download, I give you an illustration based on my favorite scene from Alice in Wonderland: you can learn a lot of things from the flowers. Click the image below to grab it.
Here is the full illustration (but click the image above for the download!), and a detail shot of me drawing it. I start with a pencil sketch, then ink in the leaves with India Ink, and then ink in the lines. Finally, I bring the illustration into Photoshop to finish it. Happy Spring!
Happy International Women's Day!
I have no grand schematic for this blog post, but I just felt the undeniable tug to say something today: I am so happy to be standing here with you.
I had never owned the word "feminist" before; but in the last year of my life I have realized that feminism has been with me all along, and recently I have whole-heartedly embraced it. Feminism is the idea that men and women should have equal rights - financially, emotionally, in their healthcare, and in their home. In that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, the same is true for feminism. When we see ourselves in others' success, we know we can succeed. When we use our resources to lift up women and communities in need, we ALL win.
For my MFA Illustration Thesis project, I created 12 illustrations of women who inspire me. These women impacted social change, started a dialogue, and live on as examples of the positive force women are in the world - and who WE can be. Today, I would like to share a few with you. These illustrations were created with pencil, ink, watercolor, acrylic and Photoshop.
Malala Yousafzai: A powerful activist for Women’s Educational Rights, Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban on her bus ride home from school. She is the youngest person and first girl to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Maya Angelou: An acclaimed writer and poet, Angelou is not only known for her poignant and moving autobiographies, but also for her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The message of strength and enduring faith in her writing has resonated with readers throughout her career.
Marie Curie: A ground-breaking chemist and physicist, Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the only person to win in two different sciences. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. She is credited with the discovery of Polonium and Radium and coined the term “radioactivity”.
Anne Frank: Renowned for her famous diary written during her 2 years living in the “Secret Annex” during the Nazi Occupation of Amsterdam, Frank’s faith, honesty, and positive outlook continue to inspire and inform millions of readers. The Diary of Anne Frank has been the basis for several plays, movies, and documentaries, with over 30 million copies of the book sold in 67 different languages.
* As we've come into a new era in America, I have decided to revive this series, as I feel the need to highlight the achievements of women and true equality has only gotten stronger. If you have a woman you'd like to suggest for this series, please leave a comment.
The whole collection can be viewed here. Thank you so much for standing with us today.
Happy March - Download the NEW Desktop Wallpaper!
Hello friends in love + equality, happy March! I can't believe it's already here, and as I am writing this, my balcony door is open and the first breezes and rumbles of a March thunderstorm are rolling in.
This month, I created a new illustration for our Desktop Wallpaper, starting with a pencil sketch, painting with india ink, and finally lining with my Faber Castell Artist Pitt Pen. The colors for this one gave me a bit of a time, but when I popped in that spot of lime, I was in love. I hope you enjoy it too!
Here's a close-up of my inking process:
I love to see when others enjoy my freebies, so feel free to post a pic and tag me on Instagram as @PaperRaven.Co - I would be thrilled to check it out and send some good vibes your way.
Welcome, February! How is your desktop looking?
Happy December, A Free Download Gift for You!
Every month, I create a special, original illustration for email subscribers to download and use for their enjoyment on their desktops. This December, I created a mini calendar backdrop with hand-drawn type and lots of festive flourishes. I used my trusty Tombow Calligraphy Pen to do the lettering ;) Just my way of saying thank you for taking a step alongside of me on the journey of building Paper Raven Co. So without further ado...
Why I'm Here
A few months ago, my life changed suddenly and drastically.
After working for a year as a Product Designer at my full-time job, I was called into my boss' office and laid off with absolutely no warning - a month after I had moved my whole life across town for my job, and the day before I left to go on a week-long vacation overseas.
I was shocked and angry. But as I drove home that day, with the slow, seeping realization that my life had just changed completely - I was overcome with a strange feeling of peace. Real peace. I was angry and confused, but I was not worried.
The universe had just shoved me into the reality I had already been working towards for the last 2 years of my life. I had been planning to give my leave in August, but my lay-off was in April. It was a few months earlier than I had planned, with a little less savings than I had planned, but as I made the phone calls to my boyfriend and my family, I was met with nothing but support. "If anyone can do this, it's you."
My boyfriend and I left the day after my lay-off, and standing in the fields and pastures and high places and castles and moors of Scotland, in this beautiful, free and completely thrilling moment of my life, I made a promise that I was going to whole-heartedly follow my dream. That I was not going to give up, and that I was not going to fail.
3 months later, I have been consistently making the salary I would have made at my full-time job, but now it's completely through my work for Paper Raven Co.
And that is why I am here. This awful, unpredictable thing happened to me. And because of my business, it didn't crush me. I did not allow my lay-off to be a source of self-doubt and depression; instead, I made it into a springboard for growth. I am free. I am happier than I have ever been.
Being able to do this full-time has led me to questions about my community and how to really connect, and that is my goal for this blog. I want to share my humble knowledge with you, bring you into my studio, and answer your questions. I want to share my successes with you, and the moments when I am feeling doubt (because we all do and it's a real thing). I want this blog to be a source of inspiration, and a fun and happy place to come to.
If you are working on your day-dream, keep going. Do not give up. You never know when life will unexpectedly flip upside-down, and being able to rely on yourself and the work of your own hands is an incredible sense of accomplishment.