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


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One Response to Illustrated Portraits

  1. Ron D'Itri says:

    Very nice Jesyka.
    I love your self portrait.
    You posted them on my birthday I see. How flattering

Leave a Reply to Ron D'Itri Cancel reply


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!