Illustration Friday: “Mask”

Neon Masks Illustration by Eliza Stein

I’ve been looking for a new sketching exercise lately, and I’d forgotten how much I like to draw masks— you can delve into geometry, symmetry, abstraction, facial expressions, symbolism, pretty much anything you could improve in your art.

All of these masks are real, from different cultures and times, picked at random from an image search.

Another color version— I could make new ones for days:

Golden Masks Illustration by Eliza Stein

Aaaannnd here’s the original ink drawing:

Black and White Masks by Eliza Stein

Sketch of sketching, and a daily dog

Sketch by Eliza Stein

Here’s a sketch of my husband sketching. That’s his own sketch at the corner of mine. I use whatever implement is closest at hand for sketching, and yesterday I found this jumbo pencil/crayon hybrid in my colored pencil box. I don’t remember how it got there, but it just glided over the paper. It’s not greasy or smudgy, either:

Color Giant Pencil CrayonSince last year, I’ve been sketching my dog nearly every day. Most of these “Daily Dogs” are done while he’s sleeping, but sometimes he is a professional model who strikes the perfect pose.

Daily Dog Sketch by Eliza SteinIllustrators, artists, designers, what are your sketch habits, if any? Does your sketching style differ greatly from your finished work? What are your favorite tools and supplies? I’m curious.

The Best Cure for Anxiety is…

The Best Cure for Anxiety is a Dog

The Best Cure for Anxiety is a Dog

So my parents took the plunge and adopted a dog, after four dull, dogless years. He came from an animal hoarding raid somewhere in Tennessee, where he’d spent his first two or three years in isolation and neglect (from humans- there were at least seventeen dogs rescued from the property, where they were kept together in a pen.) His next stop was a municipal shelter where, his rescuers told us, he was about to be put down in the next couple of days. Luckily, he made a journey to New York, where my parents’ neighbor spotted him lounging on the sidewalk with his foster owner, wearing one of those bright orange “Adopt Me” vests. And the rest is very recent history.

He’s been with my family for less than a week and his personality and intelligence are already shining through. However, everything here is new to him, so he is pretty overwhelmed, as am I. He’s discovering a new world just as I am rediscovering mine. We’ll face it together, two frightened adventurers on a quest for okayness (and treats!)

Anxiety Diary #5: Small Talk

Anxiety Diary 5 by Eliza Stein

Anxiety Diary 5 by Eliza Stein

I always liked small talk, but it’s one of those things that never came easily to me. It wasn’t until I lived in a neighborhood where no one spoke to each other or even made eye contact on the street that I learned how lonely it feels without a few words each day. Now that I’m making myself start some conversations, I’m surprised at how good I can feel afterward.

Time for some timely updates!

Hollow Hearts Illustration by Eliza Stein

Hollow Hearts Illustration by Eliza Stein

Hello friends, future friends, friendly foes, and the fairly indifferent,

It feels like forever since I’ve updated here. I miss keeping up with Illustration Friday each week, but at least it’s been lots of work that has kept me away from here for now. Besides the illustration above, which I developed from an old IF sketch, here’s what I’ve been up to this year:

-Working on a couple of new commissions.

-Completing many new posters and greeting cards for my Etsy and Society6 shops.

-Writing and sketching my first children’s picture book proposal.

-Learning and practicing with new software! This is the first year I’ve subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, so now I’m overwhelmed with this new access to all of their programs. My goal this year is to learn After Effects and Muse… and everything else if there’s time!

But there is still plenty of time, so if you’d like to work with me, please write to elizasteindesigns [at], or send me a quick note on Twitter @MsElizaStein.

A long overdue Happy 2013 to all!