2016: Thankful for all of the Opportunities

2016 was a year full of new opportunities to share my passion for illustration and design with the world. I am thankful for each chance I had to make art.

Coloring books for adults were immensely popular in 2016. Having spent years illustrating for art rubber stamps, it was a natural reach to create designs for coloring books.  I designed five coloring books, coloring pages for a digital app, and two sets of coloring cards this year. The themes included musical instruments, insects, gardens, majestic animals, florals and butterflies, ocean creatures, and hand lettering. My clients were located in the U.S., Finland, and the UK.

Coloring Books by Kalmbach Publishing and The Craft of Coloring. Available on Amazon.


Another really fun project was designing and creating all of the illustrations for a “Baby to 7 Years” Journal Book for Amaka Khai.  I got to illustrate many fun critters in watercolor – giraffes, lions, foxes, frogs, you name it! What started as a commission to illustrate a few cute animals turned into an obsession with making a beautiful journal book – cover art, background designs, font selection, book layout. I can’t wait to see this book in print and will update this post with a link to it when it becomes available.


“My Story” – Baby to 7 years Journal — Amaka Khai.


I actually started the year with the “doodle a day” project. This effort had a lot to do with making sure I found time each day to do some amount of drawing. The doodles were quick to make, but what stemmed from sitting down a few minutes a day to “doodle” was quite another thing.  Having a small ritual that brings you to your creative space is a powerful thing.  Several of the illustration jobs I had throughout the year were derivatives of “doodling”. I did a large doodle vector art collection for a company who will use them to create cards of their own. I also illustrated a digital book “Timmy’s Journal of New Ideas” for DP Child Connections in which the illustrations are intended to look like the drawings a young boy would draw by his journal entries. Illustrating “Timmy’s Journal of Great Ideas” was a hoot!  Below are a sampling of my doodles collection and the characters in Timmy’s journal.

Doodle Drawings – Stay tuned for vector set to become available!


Characters from “Timmy’s Journal of New Ideas” — DP Child Connections.


I love how different art forms have a way of coming together. Also big this year were hand lettering and art journaling.  As part of my doodle practice and influence from some of the art courses I took, I did a fair amount of hand lettering. At the end of the year, agent Lilla Rogers, sent a list of 12 affirmations for her followers to reflect upon. I decided to merge hand lettering work, some of my doodles, and watercolor washes, to create a set of art journal pages inspired by her affirmations.  These are still in work and I will continue posting these on social media as well as on my blog as I go along.


Art Journal Pages – Stay tuned for prints in 2017!


I have always enjoyed mixing traditional drawings with digital editing to produce vector color digital designs which can be used in cards, t-shirts, etc. Some of this work is reflected in my T-shirt designs for Attitude Graphics in Texas, as well as in the  floral card backgrounds for Pechi in Costa Rica.


Floral Card Backgrounds – Pechi.


T-Shirt Designs – Attitude Graphics.

Right up my alley as a paper crafter was a commission to create several birthday themed dies for Tutti Designs. Can’t wait to see these at the store! Will post these when they are released, but for now, here is an example of the type of designs I am talking about.


Die Design Examples. Birthday dies soon to be available at Tutti Designs.


Another graphics area in which I spent significant time on this year was that of fabric repeat pattern designs. I designed a kitchen set of fabrics with some pretty fun repeat patterns. I also got the chance to create some repeat patterns for a few clients around the world – I’ll be waiting to see these on their robes & bathing suits!

Kitchen Repeat Patterns for Bolt Fabric.

One of my favorite commissions this year was one to create a set of designs for mugs to be made in Scotland! How fun is that? I sold those designs outright, so I can’t share them here. Instead, i will share the beginning of a home decor collection which I am currently working on – Farms of the world. Pictured below are my Spanish peacock and my French rooster.

Home Decor Collection – Farms of the World – Melamine Plate Designs.


The last project I worked on before wrapping up the year was to take a set of recipes from Nutritionist Jennifer Masson and create a digital cookbook.  I think I lost weight during this one – not because it was hard to do, but because I felt incredibly guilty not eating well while working on this cookbook with delicious and nutritious recipes!!!

Book layout and design – Nutritionista Wellness.


I am truly grateful for all of the folks out there who believed in my talents and took the chance to work with me this year. I don’t want to list every detail of what I did this year here because it would be too long and boring for you to read, but I think I captured the essence of what 2016 was all about.  I gave everything I had to each job I took, never thinking of how many hours I spent doing the work. I treated each project as my own, and did not stop until I felt satisfied.

I look forward to another year like this one in 2017. I already have so many exciting projects on the list that I can barely wait to see them finished! Unfortunately, I can’t just click my heels and have all of these projects done. Fortunately, I love working on them :).

If you want to see more of what I am doing, follow my blog or my social media pages:

My blog — you can subscribe on the sidebar to receive emails when I post a something new to the blog.

Instagram — you can see pictures of the work I am doing. #lisalarsenart

Facebook Page  — you can see pictures and commentary of what is happening in my creative life. Please like my page if you want to see it on your feed.

2 thoughts on “2016: Thankful for all of the Opportunities

  1. Great read. That’s a lot of oozing creativity coming out of your mind and fingertips. What a year of achievement! Onwards and upward for 2017.

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