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Monday, December 31, 2012

Inspiration Post: Mermaids!

Hey Everyone!! It is the end of December and the end of the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, which means it's also time for another INSPIRATION post; my personal picks of striking pieces with a common theme in hopes to inspire YOU each month!! It's been almost day in, day out ice and snow here in the state of Pennsylvania and all I can think of is warm weather, the ocean and of course mermaids!


Mermaids, as I am sure you know, are those fantastical creatures that live underwater possessing the body of a fair maiden and the tail of a fish! They could be good or evil and sometimes even beautiful or ugly. I've always been a fan of fairytale creatures since I was a little girl so I'm bringing in the New Year with a set of five fabulous finned ladies to kick your imagination into gear for 2013!!

This illustration was actually the catalyst of this month's inspiration post! There is so much I love about this piece!! It depicts an allusive mermaid perched upon a rock in a beautiful lagoon staring at a flower that was dropped into the water by a pirate admirer! The color scheme and style the artist uses is almost is reminiscent of a "Golden Books" story. It's a 7" x 17" print and is available for sale in britsketch's Etsy shop. Be sure to check out her other pieces as well!!

Time for something sweet!! It's almost a law that it isn't an official post on my blog unless I involve food somehow so I had to add these Mermaid Cookies to the list. The simplistic and cute sea creatures are more my speed when it comes to artistic style. I love the simple color pallet and fun embellishments on the cookies!! Even though this photo shows brunette mermaids, the cookies can be customized for your liking when purchased in dozens. They seem to be a big seller and are a re-occuring listing in the Truly Scrumptious Etsy shop at

When I was growing up the Disney classic the Little Mermaid had just came out. What 90s girl didn't want to be the beautiful voiced and rebellious mermaid Princess Ariel? She dreamed of a day she could be a part of the human world and basically became an undersea hoarder, collecting whatever she could find from the surface. In this stunning digital painting, artist sakimichan on deviantart has Ariel finding a pair of modern day headphones!! I love her look of wonder and surprise and the entire underwater feel of the illustration as Ariel's hair flows freely through the ocean!

Next up we have a old fashioned mermaid plaque! These plaques were another common thing when I was growing up. We had a set that depicted a family of cartoon fish, (a mother, father and baby), up in our bathroom. I love this mermaid's shinning gold accents and blinged-out hair piece of jeweled flowers. If you also love this piece, Pinterest user FABRICK BLOCKS MERMAIDS has a ton more on her board  dedicated to retro molded mermaid plaques called "The Vintage Mermaid" found at

 And last but not least, a very beautiful water color painting by Liana Hee of a Silver Koi mermaid. I love the color choices and splashes of silver paint!! There a lot of things that make this mermaid unique, like her scales and her long ebony hair; a refreshing change from all those blond and redhead mermaids! I found it on her blog "The Art of Liana Hee" which includes the original pencil sketch and information about it's gallery showing date back in February!

And that about wraps it up for this month, as well as the year 2012!! I hope my picks inspire you to create beautiful things! Or at the very least gotten your mind off all the ice, snow and sleet that may be outside!! Hope everyone has a SAFE New Years and stay tuned for next month's inspiration post! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hedgehog Waffle Cone Illustration

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog with a silly little doodle I created yesterday. I drew a picture of a hedgehog long ago and put it in my portfolio. The drawing I created is probably over 2 years old. I figured it was time to update it with a new hedgehog.

Hedgehogs are such cute little balls of spikes! I wanted to combine a hedgehog and an ice cream cone because well, they have the same shape as a scoop of ice cream. I put the little guy in a waffle cone covered with sprinkles, my ice cream cone of choice. And I couldn't forget a cherry on top!!

It won't stop snowing here in Pennsylvania so I am stuck indoors again so expect more drawings coming! I also picked my topic for the inspiration post, just need to narrow it down to 5 pieces of art! I hope this little guy brightens up your weekend and be sure to stay safe everyone!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Artistic Fitness: Athletic Seahorse!

Hey everyone!! Hope everyone is having a great weekend. I have currently caught a cold somehow so all my visions of gingerbread house making, baking, and Holiday cooking have been shattered. But that doesn't stop me from passing the time by doodling.

I made it to Exercise #6 in the Artistic Fitness book. In this exercise we practiced drawing Seahorses. I've been stuck in the house for what seems to be ions and miss being able to go outside for a nice and healthy walk so I channeled my urge to exercise into my drawing. My seahorse is ready to hit the gym in his work out clothes to burn off all the Holiday goodies he's consumed.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Artistic Fitness: My cat Samus!

Hey everyone!! I have been so busy with my Holiday projects I haven't been keeping up with my "Artistic Fitness." Which means I am getting rusty at drawing which is NEVER good! Today's Exercise, #5 to be precise was all about drawing a simple housecat.

I have a housecat and his name is Samus Aran, (yes after the Metroid character). My family found him outside one day and rescued him and brought him into our home. He is definitely a big part of my life and I have been raising him since I was a teenager, he's like my son!! So I just drew a little cartoon "Sammy" instead closely guarding a red velvet cupcake, mmmm!

Hope everyone is having a great week!! Stay tuned for more Artistic Fitness this month!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Gingerbread Cocoa Christmas Card!

Hey everyone!! Just wanted to update the blog with another Holiday design / illustration project I completed this month!! Just like any other family my family sends out Christmas cards! But why would they just run down to Wal-Mart and buy some when they were blessed with such a wonderful, talented and artistic

I pitched them some thumbnails just like I would any other client and they decided on a cup of hot cocoa with a candy cane stirrer jammed in the top of a mound of whipped cream. They decided on a green mug over clear glass or other colors and I added a little gingerbread guy to the front. Here is the final design:

Cute right??? I created the background lattice with some fancy Illustrator brushes over a gradient background. The design was then all pulled together in Photoshop and sent to a printer. We also added a graphic to the inside as well: 

They were printed as 5"x7" cards with a glossy finish on the front. They just arrived today and everyone is overjoyed with how they came out!! Hope everyone had a great weekend!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holiday Helper 2012 Cover Design

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog with another Holiday themed post! Back in November, Thanksgiving Day in the states to be exact, the newspaper distributed a full cover Holiday magazine inserted in their Thanksgiving issue. I got the opportunity to design the cover for it.

I created about 8 different sketches and the publisher decided on a Christmas theme with two children gazing into a snow globe. The amount of time I got to spend creating it wasn't a lot but being the master artist and multitask-er that I am I cranked it out before the deadline. Full color illustration, title design AND ALL! Whew!


Sadly this was the last thing I had worked on for the newspaper. Due to circumstances out of my control, changes were made to the ad design process that no longer included room for in-house designers. I appreciate the opportunity I had though and hope to find another full time Graphic Design position soon :) Here are some detailed closeups of Holiday Helper:

Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!! I will be baking and crafting for the Holidays!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Ice Cream Day!!

Hey everyone!! Man I am still REALLY busy with all the Holiday projects I am working on but I couldn't forget about an important moment in history. Back in 1903 on this day the Ice Cream cone was patented making it officially ICE CREAM DAY!

I know it may be a little chilly outside but who can say no to an ice cream cone?? (besides lactose intolerant people). Our little chocolate ice cream cone is wrapped up in a cozy little pom pom hat and scarf to stay toasty!! So while you're busy wrapping, shopping, caroling or gazing at Christmas lights, don't forget to stop for some ice cream!!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Batman the Animated Series Gift Tags!

Hey everyone!! Hope everyone is having a merry AND safe Holiday this season! The Christmas season is a busy time for me creating gifts, cards and other printed goodies. Some things I even have to WAIT to post until after the Holidays since they are gifts for my friends and family and I can't ruin the surprise :)

For the past couple of years I have been creating free Holiday gift tags for all my friends and fans and posting them on my blog. This year's tags are finally done!! Since this was a GREAT year for Batman might as well have my favorite comic hero "wrap up" the Holiday season on his own gifttags! Last year I had Batman wrapping paper and this year I picked up some general DC wrapping paper and couldn't find any Batman gift tags to go with them :( So I drew my own interpretations of some of my six FAVORITE Batman characters from the Animated Series I and added some Holiday cheer to each of them!!

Here are just a few samples:

The full set is available to download from the Violet Ink Design website by clicking this link: Be sure to make sure your printer is set on "Landscape" mode to print them. And be sure to share them with all your friends and family!! Although I did design the tags and create the illustrations I do not claim ownership of Batman the Animated Series, the characters, etc those are all © DC COMICS.

Not into Batman? We also have "Jersey Shore" Gift Tags and Cupcake Holiday Gift Tags from previous years. Hope everyone has a great Holiday and stay tuned for more blog updates :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Inspiration Post: Retro Holiday Cards!

Hey everyone!! Well, it is time for my FIRST Holiday related post of 2012. If you celebrate Christmas or love gift giving, decorating, baking, etc I want to get you into the Holiday spirit!! And what better a time for artists to get some exposure then sending around their own custom cards for the Holidays!! So that's why this month's inspiration post is all about "Retro Holiday Cards!!"

Who doesn't love getting a card in the mail?? I have always love commercial art since I was a young child. Christmas cards like these are the kind that I grew up being mesmerized and inspired by. In fact when I was little I loved picking out what cards to give to people in our family but hated seeing them go in the post; I wanted to keep them all!! Keep scrolling for some of my favorite Holiday imagery on cards of yesterday!

Cats love getting into decorations and these two kittens are just too cute!! Their giant heads and teeny tiny eyes and noses are just darling. If I tried to stick my own cat into a stocking and photograph him I'm sure the result wouldn't come out nearly as pleasant. But that's the beauty of this illustration, it is the perfect picture of curious kittens ready for the holidays!! Although I am unsure of the original artist's name it is dated 1950 according to it's Esty listing.

I stumbled across this card on Pinterest looking for inspiration for the Holiday Helper magazine cover. It immediately became one of my favorites with it's sweeping style of illustration. The bright pink sparkling figure skating dress is so glamorous!! And you got to love the scared little bunny sliding across the ice. The added glitter as an embellishment really makes it shimmer and shine!! I especially like the fact that it's more of a winter wonderland with no glaring reference to CHRISTMAS. If I received this card from my mother I would treasure it for ages!! No idea who the original artist is though :(

This card is from 1983 and if you are an 80s kid then you should recognize that pint sized little ginger girl on the front; it's Strawberry Shortcake!! Not only am a fan of this card because I grew up with Strawberry Shortcake but because it involves baked goods!! Looks like Strawberry and Custard, her pet cat have stopped on their stroll to eye up some cakes, cookies and cupcakes through the shop's window!! The attention to detail on this illustration is impeccable!! Even the border is filled with Holiday sweets like candy canes and gingerbread!! 

This cute little snowman is in touch with his feminine side sporting a striped pink scarf as he lets his little birdy friend perch on his top hat! What I like most about this card is it's simplicity; the simple stylized pupils, the little tree with simple ornament balls and the small sprinkling of snow surrounding the outside of his portrait.It shows you do not have to go all crazy with details to execute a card design.

And the best for last!! Since I featured Strawberry Shortcake, I can't forget my absolute FAVORITE 80s girl, Rainbow Brite on her Holiday card!! These cards were printed as one single sheet and can be split apart by tearing along the perforated edge. I always wanted to be Rainbow Brite when I was little, riding around on Rainbow Horse spreading cheer and color to everyone with magical star sprinkles!! Here Rainbow Brite and her friends are getting ready for the Holidays, wrapping gifts, trimming the tree and just throwing and candy around for no reason.

That's all for this month everyone!! I hope these images inspired you to get a jump-start on the holidays. If you have never tried making your own cards before, why not give it a shot?? They don't have to be perfect remember this Holiday season, it is the THOUGHT that counts!! Hope everyone has a super weekend and stay tuned for next month's inspiration post!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cassandra and Tracy DiMarco Cartoon Portrait!!

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog with a digital portrait I did. This was for a special little lady named Cassandra!! Her mother, Jennifer, got in contact with me after an event we met all, (the Women Supporting Women event I posted about) to create a portrait for her daughter for a surprise birthday present!!

Cassandra is a huge Jerseylicious fan just like I am!! So why not commemorate her and her idol, Tracy DiMarco?? Regardless of what you might see on television Tracy is truly a doll!! She always makes times for her fans, Cassandra being one of her biggest!! Here is what I came up with for the portrait:

I think it came out so cute!! Cassandra was so polite and chatty at the event!! She is such an awesome little girl and Theresea is truly blessed to have her for a daughter :)

I am sure her new cartoon brought her a lot of joy!! I have a few more portraits to post this year!! And stay tuned for lots of Holiday posts as well. Hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Artistic Fitness: Magical Poptart Unicorn!

Hey everyone!! Sorry for the blase atttiude toward updating lately. This week was my birthday and I did so many fun and amazing things with my friends and family. Also, Thanksgiving is coming up so I have been prepping for that as well.But why am I posting today? Artistic Fitness of course!

Exercise number 5 was drawing a horse. But horses are boring I'm much more of a unicorn person myself. And this isn't just any unicorn it's a magical poptart unicorn!! She was gifted with the ability to zap up toasty fresh cherry flavored pastries in seconds for hungry breakfast enthusiasts everywhere!! Hope everyone has a great Holiday!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Artistic Fitness: Solid Chocolate Panda

Hey everyone!! Just continuing my efforts to sketch new and exciting things from the book I had laying around. Exercise #3 is a rolly polly panda bear gnawing on some bamboo. Hmmm how could I make a panda more appealing?? How about just making it out of solid milk chocolate.

Mmmmm! I think I'm going to start posting my illustrations on my Tumblr blog as well. The problem is I can't remember my screen name for my Tumblr. Oh well! I'll try to figure it out today. Have a super day everyone!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Artistic Fitness: Breakdancing Snail

Hey everyone!! I already made it to the second exercise in the "Artistic Fitness" book, that means 48 more to go! It was all about drawing a snail. I didn't attach an original sketch of the first exercise but I figured I would this time. The book teaches you to draw and shade things very traditionally or more "realistically" than my style.

For my doodle, snails are typically thought to be these slow, boring, creatures. But I am sure than is at least one snail out there who decides to dream big. My snail wants to be a breakdancer. He doesn't let any "haters" get him down as he spins on his shell with his oversized boombox.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Artistic Fitness: Rebellious Penguin

Hey everyone just wanted to update the blog with a silly and strange little doodle I created over the weekend. Unfortunately for me I am currently unemployed being laid off from my fulltime job so I need lots of things to do during the day. What better to do than to draw?

I have a book on my shelf I got several years ago called, "Artistic Fitness." It's a book for people who are interested exercising their creativity and improve their technique with 50 different exercises. I thought this would be a productive time waster and give me an opportunity to draw things I wouldn't normally draw.

The first exercise was drawing a penguin. I sketched out the traditional penguin from the book was pretty bored with it so I decided it needed to be a rebellious penguin. Not only did he dye his feathers and decide to fashion himself a mohawk he has multiple piercings and a temporary heart tattoo on his fin. He might just give his penguin mom a heartattack! Hope everyone has a great week!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Another Happy Couple! Annette's Illustrated Portrait!

Hey everyone just wanted to update teh blog with another illustrated portrait I created for another happy couple this year. This one was for a girl named Annette who contacted me after seeing some of my work and sent me a lovely photo to work from. I think it is so cute that they are both wearing green!

And here is what I came up with:

Another masterpiece!! I made sure to capture subtle details like her makeup and patterned shirt. What a cute couple!! I had a copy printed and sent to her and she assured me it is hanging up and efinitly gets a lot of compliments!!

I hope everyone is having a great week! Everyone keeps talking snow around where I live. We shall see!! And remember if you would like an illustrated portrait of your own be sure to check out the contact section of my website,!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

LDN Twitter - Print Ads

Hey everyone! Just wanted to update the blog with another inhouse newspaper ad I created for the Lebanon Daily News. The publisher was looking for two different sized ads to help promote LDN's twitter account as well as the editorial employee's twitter feeds.

The two sizes ended up being 2x5 and 1x8. I did the 2x5 first. I love Twitter's branding and wanted the ad to evoke the same fun effect by creating a graphic environment of clouds and a little bird I made in illustrator carrying the daily news!

Once I got the look of the 2x5 approved and cleared away creating the 1x8 was just a matter of resizing and moving the elements around. Both ads are able to run in black and white and color and I am really happy with how they turned out!

If you have twitter be sure to follow me, @lawlzlaura or the website updates at @violetinkdesign. I hope everyone has a good day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy National Candy Day!

Hey everyone!! Another day and it's another awesome Holiday in the month of November. Today, November 4th is National Candy Day!! Another excuse for me to draw candy. I really channeled my inner "Lisa Frank" with the colors on this crazy candy heart graphic:

Treat yourself to something sugary sweet to celebrate! And with Halloween and Trick-or-Treat just ending I'm sure you can find candy around your home. Or just raid your friend's home (with their permission of course)! But rembmer never EVER EVER EVER take ANY candy from strangers!!

Hope everyone has fun celebrating, stays safe and has a great weekend :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy National Sandwich Day!

Hey everyone!! Since Halloween is over time to celebrate some of those in-between obscure Holidays. So put away all those fake spider webs and rotting jack-o-laterns and get ready to celebrate NATIONAL SANDWICH DAY!

Yes! November 3rd is National Sandwich Day. The origin of this day actually coincides with the birthday of the inventor of the sandwich, John Montagu. I'm not a big sandwich eater but I am always down for a yummy Peanut Butter and Jelly! So get out your bread, cheese, lettuce and whatever else you like on your sandwiches and celebrate!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Inspiration Post: PIZZA PIZZA!

Happy Halloween everyone!! Just because it's a Holiday doesn't mean I'm not going to post October's edition of "What Inspires Laura." The time I take out each month to compile a list of group of things that inspire me in hopes to inspire YOU as well! This month's theme is "PIZZA PIZZA."

Mmmmm! Pizza!! The tasty treat that in the states is literally just a phone call away from arriving at your door piping hot and covered in whatever toppings you fancy! Pizza was always a treat at my household and it still remains my brother's favorite food. Try not to get hungry as you scroll down!!

Let's start things out with an actual photograph of some pizza; Hello Kitty pizza that is!! I love Hello Kitty so why not? I bet these took a long time to make. And any little girl (or even big girl) would light up if they found these in her lunchbox for lunch! The pepperoni bows are just too cute! I found this photo on Flickr by user LoveBones!

Time to move onto something less edible. A pizza-themed scarf?? Yes, by TwinkieChan and if her name (or photo) doesn't seem familliar to you, I highly suggest you check out her Etsy store or her website. She creates all sorts of crazy crochet creations and is solely responsible for this yummy looking scarf for boys or girls! Not only would I totally rock this scarf it's so creative and unconventional it makes my imagination do backflips!

From pizza scarves to building blocks!! I was never good at playing with LEGOs it was more something appealed to my brother's creativity but I am really digging this promo pizza set for New York Comic Con this year!! Bravo to the people at LEGO for thinking up this blocky little slice in it's own matching authentic pizza carry out box!! For more photos and details of this set be sure to check out the Toys N Brick's blog!!

Pizza is round so where's a perfect place for it to wind up at? On a ring of course! I have to hand it to Catrina'sToybox on making this very realistic looking ring. It makes me want to go out, buy some polymer clay and get to work on making my own itty bitty pieces of food! You can only buy this ring on Etsy so be sure to check out her shop with lots of other Polymer Clay listings!

And last but not least a print piece, something more up my alley. I always adore simple designs. This invitation features a simplistic full color pizza with a slice cut out and ready to eat. All your party info is on the right in white text on a bright green background. It definitely inspires me to create my OWN pizza party invites! You can snag these invites from TinyPrints by clicking this link:

And that is all I have for this month!! Hope you didn't drool too much over these different approaches of the always appetizing PIZZA! I've showed you pizza on a ring, on a scarf and even made of building blocks! Where will you we see pizza next?? That's up to you!! Hope everyone has a GREAT week and stay tuned for next month's inspiration post!

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