Patternbank are loving Jess Phoenix’s crafted illustrations. We recently got in touch with her to find out more info about her creative process and how she became an illustrator.

I was born in Massachusetts and attended the Rhode Island School of Design for Illustration. In 2007, I moved to Seattle, WA and began working as an illustrator/designer for a gift & publishing company, which in many ways has been my dream job. However, a few years ago, I began to realize that I had put all of my creative effort and satisfaction into that job, and I was not creating anything for myself. I began working nights and weekends to try and make something for me. I didn’t know what it would look like, but I just knew I wanted to use a lot of color. I had a lot of false starts and stops, but I ultimately feel fortunate that I only toiled for about a year before I “discovered” my floral work. 

My floral pieces have never been about the flowers themselves, but are about the color. I wanted an opportunity to create as many exciting color relationships as I could, and flowers are just the perfect vehicle for that. I experimented for a while doing more abstract pieces, but I would second-guess my choices a lot more in that mode of expression. Relying on my illustration roots helped me form a style and way of working that felt natural. I paint out and draw every individual petal and leaf, usually with tempera or marker, then scan, cut out and compose all the pieces into the composition I want. While I’m building the piece, I add color digitally and adjust everything so the piece has enough brightness and balance. If I like the piece enough, I will then have prints made of it which I paint back into with metallic and neon paints, to make everything pop even more.

I never expected to have such a positive response from my work, and I am very thankful for the opportunities it has afforded me. Last year, I created a wall tapestry for Urban Outfitters, and the most exciting projects this year, so far have been my recent collaborations with Tattly and DMC Embroidery. There’s more that I will be sharing throughout 2018, and I also can’t wait to see what other opportunities present themselves in the coming months!

See more of her stunning work at jessphoenix.com

All work ©Jess Phoenix 2018

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