Illustrated Portraits

Illustrated Portraits

Self Portrait

When I was learning how to draw (and I still am, of course, as we never really stop), I remember thinking “if I can just get this drawing to look like the person, it will be a success”.  But, once I satisfied that desire, the pleasure I get when completing a portrait never waned. I’ve been told I’m particularly good at portraits. I specifically remember a time during an art show when I was in the Ryman Program for young artists when Susan Bay Nimoy (Leonard’s wife) came up to me to tell me she’d keep her eye on me after seeing a watercolor portrait I made in class; she said it was the only one that actually looked like the specific model.

Watercolor of a Woman – 1999

That small compliment certainly buoyed my confidence for a while, even if it completely faltered for a long while in college. I don’t think I’ve ever really doubted my technique, but I’ve always doubted my purpose. I put enormous pressure on myself to tackle huge questions and concepts. By the time I was 16 I would often bite off more than I could chew, I stopped enjoying painting and drawing and art just for the simple pleasure and act of creating something from scratch, and having control over pigment. I completely ignored design, which, in hindsight was totally and completely mislead seeing as a have a strong affinity for it. I eschewed the idea of a painting just being something to look pretty on a wall, and now I think, what’s wrong with that!? Sure, art can have a very significant impact on our world, but ultimately it does hang on a wall. And so, now almost 7 years after college, now that I have no one to answer to but myself–no boss, no professor, no room full of peers, no critics–I feel a certain freedom to just draw and paint whatever aesthetic I want to, with no other purpose than to capture a moment, to explore a medium, to create a mood. I’m only annoyed at myself for being so contrived in college, although A for effort, I guess. I guess it’s similar to how I never read any “fluff” books around then either. I was too busy trying to be serious all the time. My aunt told me it wasn’t good for someone my age, lol. And there is some critically acclaimed fluff. I think all of this just taught me the hard lesson of subtlety.

A little study from an ad I did last year

So, I’ve been feeling myself drawn (ha!) to portraiture again. And not as something to look at, but as a process, hopefully with an ending some people (usually the subject of the drawing) will enjoy, but that’s not necessary. Although, to be fair, I completed the below drawings of my nephews and niece as Christmas presents, and the purpose was certainly for their parents to enjoy the finished product. :) I’m also doing most work in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; seeing as I never took any computer design courses in college, and almost all of my professional work has been done using these programs, I’ve been itching to make portraits digitally since I taught myself how to use them! Also, and this is actually the critical point, it is just much easier to make things in the computer with 9 month old Laelia roaming about; no paint to sit and dry out, no canvases to be ruined or paper to get ripped [everything is set up on my dining room (a.k.a. sewing a.k.a craft a.k.a drafting) table just in case the I get the chance to]. I’m hoping to do some commissioned work, selling my services on Etsy.

Oliver & Gweneth


My wonderful gifts!

My wonderful gifts!

My husband knows me so well! We’ve been talking about the Laelia quilt for a long time–we felt like we had to buy it because of the name, but also, I really love how graphic it is, and it shows of our bedroom furniture so well (all black and white). It also is less feminine then our other quilts (all anthro quilts as well–I’ve been hooked since I was in college! They are so comfy, and really not too expensive considering I wouldn’t want anything else). So the quilt was more of a a whole family Christmas present, since we will all enjoy it together. Plus, we recently finished painting the bedroom and moved a low mid-century dresser that I bought from goodwill  for 40$ when I moved to Culver City junior year of college. This thing just underwent it’s third makeover since I’ve owned it! I turned it into a tuxedo dresser, and I have to say it now feels like it is how it was always meant to be… The champagne flutes were a real luxury purchase, but we will enjoy them on New Years, and whenever we decide to crack open the nice bottle we got as a wedding gift!

I’m working on reading the domino book from front to cover. I’m so sad this magazine went out of business, I still have their last issue in my bathroom! I’m pretty sure it will inspire me to redecorate; and then the Martha book will, of course, have fabulous patterns which I can use to make the things I will redecorate with (yes, I just ended a sentence with a preposition, but it was already starting to sound convoluted!).

Crochet edged pillows now on sale at in Flore!

Crochet edged pillows now on sale at in Flore!

I’ve made some more pillows to be sold on Etsy! I’m really loving this technique, I can’t wait to explore it more!

Please check it out @ in Flore!

Pillows on sale at the wondercraft!

Pillows on sale at the wondercraft!

In the middle of the night sometime ago, I had a vision to make pillows out of the large squares from the left over square dance panels I had. I kept thinking they needed something else, some other detail, like tassels or something. Then I remembered all the teal/ocean colored yarn I have which helped me recall how much I loved Rose Hip’s crochet edged pillow cases! So I thought I would try to make a little edging on these pillows and I think they came out great!!

Amy Butler’s Nigella Print

I’m proud to say that I sent off some of my pillows to be sold at the wondercraft in Austin, TX. The wondercraft is the brainchild of 4 Austin-ites, one of whom happens to be my bestie (Beth, whom I think I’ve mentioned about a million times already!). :)

Taken from their website:
The WonderCraft exists to help everyone achieve a more creative lifestyle. The WonderCraft’s mission is to propagate daily creativity and passion for its staff, students, local artists and patrons, by way of mobile classes, creative parties and events, and one-of-a-kind, artistic products. These services and products will be offered through a combination of shared space belonging to local businesses and an eye-catching, vintage trailer that travels wherever the need for artistic expression exists. We hope that our iconic Airstream trailer will inspire wonder and leave a trail of creativity in its wake. Classes and events put on by The WonderCraft will be places where local artists can refine their own skills and teach others; where those who don’t yet consider themselves “artists” can find the artist within and reach their creative potential; where creative problem-solving and independent thinking are championed; where reusing, re-purposing and upcycling are the basis of a sustainable, earth-friendly, crafty business; all with the ability to travel wherever the students are.

They run a boutique out of the airstream, where my pillows will be sold. I have to tell you I’m just excited to have some of myself out there in the world! I just want to be making even the tiny-est impact on the world right now–I love being at home with Laelia, but I do have to feel like I’m doing something! If you are in Austin, please check them out!

It’s a boy! Shower invites

It’s a boy! Shower invites

Beth loved the invitations I made for her California baby shower that she asked if I would do them for her Texas shower too! I’m very flattered, as she as her own successful stationery business. :) Anyway, this was way fun, but WAY more work as there were 50 people on the guest list! Also, I made a little insert about where to find her cloth diapers in Austin. I made the envelope lining out of recycled wrapping paper this time (all from wedding gifts! I’m telling you, being that weird person that folds up their wrapping paper instead of throwing it away has it’s perks…), and I bought some beautiful stamps from the post office– I was thinking of designing my own again, but I rather liked the ones from the post office. They are nice, aren’t they? So hard to find a beautiful stock stamp…

I’m a huge typography-phile. Is that a word? Probably not. Spell check is setting the word aflame with it’s incorrectness. Whatever, I flippin’ LOVE FONTS! While doing this artwork I fell hard for Nuetraface. Sometimes, I find serif fonts just SO BORING and Nuetraface is anything but. It evokes a certain era, amiright?

Yes, it’s the DMV font.

Also, it’s the font I associate with Charley Harper, and since the bird artwork I did was inspired by his work (a little disney, a little CH), I thought it was a good fit.One day, this big fat book will be sitting on my coffee table. Or underneath it. ❤ I hope I can keep making invitations and posters and the like–I just love typography SO MUCH that it pains me not to use it any chance I get.

… and here is a little something to get stuck in your head:

Neutra Face : An Ode to a typeface


Welcome to Visual Vocabularie! My name is Jesyka, and I am a designer, artist, mom to Laelia and Luca, wife to software engineer and UX designer Tyler, coffee lover, and all around enthused person. This is my blog; here I share my personal projects, whether it's a furniture makeover, a new painting, a birthday party, an invitation I designed, or a favorite outfit for my little. You’ll also catch a glimpse into our family life in Los Angeles.

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You are free to pin to pinterest, or post my photos on your blog, but please give proper credit to my full name Jesyka D’Itri Marés (I know, I know, it's not the easiest name!), and you link back either the home page of this website, or the permalink of the original post (although, I'm sure your followers will thank you for the permalink!). I would LOVE to know if you enjoy my work enough to share it, so please don’t be shy and drop me an email!