Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Hope everyone is getting excited for Thanksgiving tomorrow! We plan to have lunch at my grandma's and then we head out to go camping in Lake Panasoffkee (Hunter's families annual tradition).  I will be a little out of touch with reality until Sunday evening. Soooo, I've decided to go ahead and start my black friday / small business saturday sale early!  I've added two new calendars, the new treat prints in two sizes, and there are lots of holiday cards and other fun gifts (for friends or yourself).  So shop now while you can get a little discount.  Enter "THANKS15" at checkout to receive 15% off through Sunday only!  This is the only time of year I offer a sale and the shop will be closing early this year (Dec. 17) so stock up while you still can! 

I am so thankful for this little place on the web to share my work and thoughts.  Between my shop, here, and instagram reading your comments of encouragement means so much to me.  Feeling beyond grateful lately.  Love to you all.  xox 

Monday, November 24, 2014


A little Monday morning pick-me-up!

A few new prints I added to the shop this weekend. They are available in 8" x 10" and 11" x 14".  I picture these in sets hanging in cute kitchens (that's what I'm doing with mine at least!).  And perfectly sweet gifts for the coffee lover or foodie friend.  xx 

Friday, November 21, 2014


My girl friends and I decided to celebrate a little "Friendsgiving" recently.  Hosted by Camilyn Beth, we got dressed up in her festive party dresses and headed downtown Sarasota to one of our favorite spots.  Artisan Cheese Company was kind enough to have us and let me snap these photos of my friends being silly and enjoying all kinds of delicious cheeses and treats.  This idea of "friendsgiving" is just so great.  Time with friends is super important to me.  Sometimes with the craziness of the holidays, traveling, visiting family, etc you just don't get enough gf time in.  So why not make a date to have your own (stress free) Thanksgiving a weekend or two before!  Best idea ever.  We laughed, talked business,  ate, and drank wine until the sun went down.  I'm so thankful for these buddies of mine! 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. xox 

Photos: Shannon Kirsten // Wardrobe: Camilyn Beth // Location: Artisan Cheese Company - Sarasota, Florida 

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Priscilla of Inspired Events recently asked me to contribute a couple items to her fall table scape for a styling challenge from Occasions Magazine.  I was more than happy to create this menu in such an inspiring color palette.  These images really make me ready for Thanksgiving next week! Our table scape was chosen as one of six finalist.  You can vote for your favorite on Occasions Facebook page right here, simply be liking the photo (contest ends tomorrow). 

Styling: Inspired Events // Photos: Naomi Chokr // Florals: Victoria Blooms // Rentals: The Reserve Vintage Rentals // Calligraphy: Shannon Kirsten // Linens: Linens by the Sea 

Monday, November 17, 2014


Whooo! I'm excited to officially be finished with my little Christmas card collection! I have created eight new designs plus listed seven of my all time holiday favorites on Etsy.  All original designs were created with gouache paint.  They are then re-printed on thick premium card stock and include white envelopes.  I have also been adding some general card sets and new prints that are great for gifts. 

There has been a ton of excitement and growth happening with SK illustration lately.  This year has been incredible, overwhelming, and filled with so many great projects.  After much debate, I've decided to close my shop for a little while over Christmas.  I realized I need some time to catch up, regroup for an already jam packed new year, and just have some down time with my family.  Plus my sister and I are taking a very exciting trip right after Christmas.  We are going to Antarctica! So umm yeah…I guess that's part of the reason for closing the shop for a while.  I'll be just a little out of touch with the world while we're there. lol.   So that being said, you have until December 17th to shop holiday cards, prints, gifts, etc.  The shop will close on the 17th, all items will ship the next day in order to make it for Christmas. I will be re-opening the second week of January.  So get yo' shop on while you can! 

(p.s. this was a really difficult decision for me to make, I thank you in advance for understanding.  I also promise that with this break, I will be returning with LOTS of new items and exciting news!)  

Shop Holiday HERE 

y'all are the best. xoxoxox times one million.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Happy Friday y'all! I thought I would end the week with a little "whats in my toolbox" roundup (the one I teased about last week on instagram and just now finished, yikes).  Anyways, I hope this gives a little insight to my process and answers some of the questions I neglect on instagram.  I guess I was sort of feeling guilty that I have a hard time keeping up with questions between insta, e-mails, and Facebook.  I'm getting a lot of the same ones about supplies and such these days so hopefully I can cover a few.  So basically this post is inspired by my guilt but also my appreciation for your sweet words and encouragement when I post my art on social media.  I truly thank you! 

PAPER:  I'm a long time fan of Canson brand watercolor paper (the larger pad shown in the photo).  I typically buy the 11 x 15.  It is 140 lb stock and I always (for any paper) prefer the "cold pressed".  I don't know why I like the larger paper because I sometimes have to trim my edges to scan but I like having a larger canvas to play around with and I also will mix my colors / dab my brush on a corner of the paper as well.  I buy Canson at Michael's craft store, which is great because Michaels always has a 40% off coupon and sometimes these are buy one get one.  Just as of this year, I also started using the Arches cold pressed watercolor pads (size 9" x 12").  These are more expensive at around $26 for 12 sheets.  It's definitely not necessary to have this type of paper but if you are a professional making art for re-sale then the price balances out and the quality of this paper when scanned is excellent.  Honestly, I use the canson more because sometimes I'm just sketching for fun and don't know how it will turn out.  If I end up loving my creation, I still get a great scan quality and just do a little cleaning up in Photoshop. 

BRUSHES:  This is something I get asked about a lot.  I hesitated to answer because I truly believe it is your skill (and natural eye) not the tools you use that make you a good artist.  Buying a certain brush is not going to make you be able to letter a certain way.  It takes tons of practice to perfect letters and truly find your own unique style.  However,  I do have a few favorite sizes that have helped me.  I recommend not skimping on brushes (aka don't get the cheap packs at the craft store).  The cheap ones have harder bristles and they will start falling out quickly (and get stuck in the paint, it's not fun).  I'm not really concerned about brands when it comes to brushes though.  In the photo of my brushes, I keep a variety of very tiny heads for lettering.  Those first few are my favorites, I'm almost always using a brush this small.  They are round brushes (as opposed to flat heads) and definitely help with fluid strokes.  I don't like ones with long bristles because I feel there is less control.  The two thicker ones I use for larger lettering projects and blending my florals.  The last largest one I like for making brush strokes or watercolor washed backgrounds.  Again, this takes practice! I recommend buying a lot of different brushes to see what works for you. 

PAINTS:  I'm truly obsessed with gouache.  I almost always use Acryla paints (I buy them locally but they are available at various online art suppliers).  I spend a lot of money of paints but I don't think it's always necessary, especially if your just getting started and experimenting.  The Acrylas are around $6.49 for .68 oz tube.  A good old watercolor palette works great for practicing, combined with the cold pressed paper, you're going to still get a great result when scanning. I've read that some artists actually prefer the lesser quality paints to the more expensive paper.  Again, this all comes with time and experimentation to see what works for you and your goals!

MISC: I use standard no. 2 pencils for sketching.  Prismacolor is my favorite brand of pencils, I use their erasers for cleaning up my paintings as well.

I'm not always great with words, but hopefully this was a little helpful insight to my process! I added a FAQ page to my blog and have started answering some further questions about art, business, my art background, etc (it's not finished yet but will be up there soon).  I'm happy to try and answer anything further if you leave questions in the comment section below. 

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Thanks for stopping by!  xoxo 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Such an honor to grace the pages of Southern Weddings Magazine with a talented group of creatives.  Volume 7 hit news stands this week, be sure to pick up your copy.  It is exploding with beautiful words and visual inspiration.  I did the calligraphy for the envelope, table number, oysters, signs, and hand painted a table runner! We were also featured on their blog yesterday.  See it here

Photographer: Jessica Lorren / Planner: Sarah Tucker Events / Florals: Victoria Blooms / Bride’s Dress: Hayley Paige / Bridal Salon: The White Magnolia / Veil: Twigs and Honey / Bridesmaid Tops: Camilyn Beth / Bridesmaid Skirts: Alexandra Grecco / Hair Stylist: Brie and Brie / Makeup Artist: Ali Lee Artistry / Rentals: US Tent Rental / Vintage Rentals: The Reserve Vintage Rentals / Vintage China: Dishie Rentals / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Rings:Trumpet and Horn / Ring Boxes: Ring Boxes Galore / Silhouettes: Jenny Lee Fowler / Guest Book: Rag and Bone Bindery / Paper Goods: Paper Please Studio / Calligraphy and Watercolors: Shannon Kirsten

Friday, November 7, 2014


I made these for our Halloween party last weekend, but we all know pumpkin carries over to Novmeber / Thanksgiving.  I'm definitely not sick of it yet! There's something about the smell of fresh baked good lingering though the house that makes me feel more like it's fall (since it's still 80 degrees here).  I just really love an excuse to bake (and thankfully Hunter likes to eat).  

I used some substitutes to make my cupcakes gluten free, I've listed both ways.  (I adapted this recipe from Free People Blog) 

Here is what you'll need: 

3 cups all-purpose flour (or coconut flour for GF)
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon (more if you reallllly like cinnamon like us)
¼ tsp pumpkin pie spice 
3 eggs
1 cup coconut sugar (for GF or use regular granulated)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
2 tbsp honey
1 tbs pure maple syrup
½ cup oil
½ cup applesauce

Preheat the oven to 350° and prepare two pans with cupcake liners or cooking spray (makes about 24 cupcakes). In a large bowl mix dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Using a mixer, beat the eggs, and gradually add the sugar until well combined. Mix in the pumpkin, followed by vanilla, milk, honey, maple syrup, canola oil, and applesauce. Once the mixture is smooth, mix in the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the batter into pans and bake for about 22-25 minutes until the cupcakes are cooked through (use the toothpick trick to check them!).  

And now for the frosting! 
1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon (again, more if you're cinnamon obsessed like me)

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go. Pour in maple and continue mixing until fully combined.  The frosting should be light and fluffy. Spread onto cupcakes and enjoy! 
Happy Friday! xox 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Occasion's reached out to me to be included in a calligraphy round up on their blog today.  They had some sweet words to say and I was thrilled to be one of the featured artist! 

Check out the full post here

Thank you Andrea! xox

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


(below photographs by Daphne Youree)

One of my favorite watercolor suites from the summer was featured on this past week for Sophie Elgort and Eric Von Stroh's gorgeous Southampton wedding!  When designing Sophie's invitations we began with that bright, beautiful blue color inspired by a photo her father (photographer, Arthor Elgort) took of the sunset.  I drew the blue from the tones of the sky and also incorporated the local flowers they would be using; sunflowers, hydrangeas, and pink peonies.  All designing was originally done in watercolor.  We created a formal suite, escort cards with little envelopes, table numbers (that were names of special places), menus that double over as place cards, and welcome bags with an info card of the Elgort family's favorite southampton spots! I am still beyond excited to learn of the mention and read what Sophie had to say about all the details of her wedding.  In the article, you can read more about their sweet day at her family's home in Southampton.   

View the article and slideshow here