I wrote a post in the beginning of January announcing…
I work with this incredibly talented and sweet lady named Lee Owens. She is a licensed interior designer and she is running her own small business called LoveLee Illustrations & Designs; drawing and printing invitations and cards. She is also a full time mom to a sweet one year old boy. Lee has become an inspiration to me as I have dreams of making this blog a small business and I am honored to feature her as today’s Story.
It was late in the morning when I walked upstairs to Lee’s apartment. Her adorable son Adrian was all smiles as I entered into her beautifully decorated home, complete with Adrian’s toys in a neat little area inside her living room. We sat down and had coffee while Adrian played, and I asked her some questions about her business, beginning by asking her about the process of making an illustration from start to finish.
“When I first started blogging, I was looking for something that I could post every week. It started out as doing a ‘Fashion Friday,’ but [the illustrations] have now become less about the outfits, and more like ‘Whats happening in my life right now.’ So for example, illustrations like ‘Spring Cleaning’ when I was doing cleaning and another one when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before it was the illustration with my coffee cup. The most recent one is for Mother’s Day.
“So usually how I start, if it’s just a blog entry I’ll look for inspiration from photographs and then I’ll go to my sketchbook. I love sketching free hand.” Lee then looks at Adrian- “Right? While I’m drinking my coffee and you’re playing?” She turns back to me and continues, “If I like how it looks, I’ll go over it with black ink and erase the pencil lines. Then I scan it into my computer and I put it into [Adobe] Illustrator so it becomes a vector image so its better on the computer. Then I’ll just add the color on there, and add shadows and everything. I think that is something that makes my images become much more alive.
“For my client projects, if I am doing a map for someone I’ll have them send me a list of all the places they want on it.”
I interrupted her. “What do you mean by a ‘map’?”
“OK, so I’ve been doing a lot these city maps for a long time. That’s actually how I started everything with the ‘LoveLee’ stuff. I’ll have the client send me a list of the places of interest, like the venue, where they got engaged.” Lee explained, as she got up to cut up some apple for Adrian. “I had a friend of a friend who was looking to do a Philadelphia map as her ‘save the date.’ So I thought: ‘That sounds like a fun side project.’ So I did this map and then someone else saw it, and was like: ‘Can you do that for me?’ It was really the Philadelphia maps that got me started”
“So then how did that transfer into the other illustrations that you do?”
“Well my friend was actually such a good help. She contacted me to do a Christmas card for her a couple years ago. She wanted it to be of her new house and she wanted it to be of her and her husband standing outside their new house with her dog saying like: ‘From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.’ So she sent it out to people who then contacted me. Then she had me do her baby shower invitation, so people saw the shower invite and I have gotten more clients through that, like birthday parties and showers”
“Has drawing and illustrating always been something you were into?”
“Yeah, from the time I was a little kid, I’ve been doodling when the TV was on. My dad is an architect so I used to sit with him, and I would take a piece of his graph paper, and he’d be doing his work from home, and I would be drawing bird’s eye views of my dream house- but I was really just doing floor plans,” she said with a chuckle. “I knew I wanted to go into some design related field. I love it.”
How cool are Lee’s illustrations? I love her creativity, her passion for her business, and to top it off she is incredibly humble. Please take a second and check out her website and blog. If you have an event coming up this Summer or in the near future, you should definitely consider contacting Lee for the invitations or cards.
Have a great weekend!