A Girl Needs Her Coffee!

Studio Calico has a member design challenge, so I decided to give it a try and offer up my cute girl doodling for a coffee themed stamp set. At least, that’s what I think would be cool.

LTieu coffee

The idea is to have these everyday items to use in our daily documentation and planners… because coffee is definitely a part of my every day life! Would really appreciate you liking my design to get it considered – just visit the gallery and heart my image! 


I’ve been taking it easy this month, waiting for our 2nd baby to arrive (any day now!) but still keeping myself creatively active via Instagram. It’s probably because Instagram is so easy to update on a day-to-day basis. I joined in on the #The100DayProject challenge all about the process of making for 100 days in a row. You pick your own challenge and get to it for a 100 days, posting your progress. I kept it simple by challenging myself to create a simple sketch every single day and it’s working because I’m still going at it 40 days later. Pretty cool!


Even though I know that when the baby arrives, I might run into a time crunch, it’s worth incorporating a creative routine into my day, no matter how small or quick. It’s proof that it doesn’t take a lot of time to inject a bit of creative mojo into our busy schedules. It always seems like such trivial progress, but when you look back you realize how much you have accomplished. It’s never too late to join in or start your own initiative or challenge, so I say go for it!

Exploring Shapes in Black and White

Lately I’ve been trying to get back to the basics and spending my creative playtime exploring basic shapes and simple patterns… all in black and white. Putting black pen to paper is my go-to creative habit and that’s how all my ideas blossom.


I realize that there is nothing amazing about all these basic shapes. It’s all been done before and it’s not exactly “eureka!” in terms of illustration or amazing technical skill. However, I think we often overlook the beauty in simplicity and the importance of curation and balance.



I’m trying to strengthen my foundation these days and really curate. I have been known to fall into the trap of paralysis, wanting to create the most amazing-best-ever-all-time-perfect-never-been-done-before thing. Silly, right?


It tune with my word of the year – READY – I just have to go for it and do, rather than hesitate. In many ways, it has all been done before… but never by you and your hand. So that is the unique special part of creating with your own two hands. Don’t you think so?

Thank Goodness for Bootcamp!


As Marie Forleo says, “we must CREATE before we CONSUME,” but I’m so glad to have  a community around me to help spur my creativity into action. Sometimes you need to see creation around you to get pushed into doing something. As an introvert, I live in my head a bit too much.


I think creative types like me are always brewing with too many ideas. My mind is a crazy melting pot of project ideas, but I always find it difficult to take the next step of action. There’s so much going on in life and whatever our situations, I think we are all busy!


Thank goodness for Lilla’s bootcamp because I can at least get some creative sketching time in, through the sheer sense of obligation of being in the course with others. There’s an opportunity to explore something different, to share with others and to make a finished piece to submit.



It might seem odd that we need such guidelines to get to the end product, but I think we should always make things as easy as possible for ourselves. Whatever works to get you creating, right?



Owl Girl Illustration

How long can I dwell on this little owl girl? I can’t seem to figure out how to finish her off and have been playing a lot with different color experiments. It would be the start of a beautiful series now that I’m getting really comfortable with this style of character drawing.


My little helper seems to think any marker color will do – perhaps all colors! But I’ve been learning that I like the muted, soft colors. Happy colors for sure, but not in your face. I like to think of it as quiet, happy.

Slowly but surely, I will find my way! What do you think?

Succulent Dinnerware Designs With Lilla Rogers Make Art That Sells

For the second week of Make Art That Sells with Lilla Rogers, we learned all about the home decor market and ended up playing with designing dinnerware. I decided to concentrate on my drawings of succulents and transforming them with splashes of bold color.  It was a design that immediately came to mind, I just had to make it happen.


I think there’s really a place for bold hand-drawn lines with bright colors these days – can I call it trendy sophisticated? It was my attempt to try something different – instead of my usual cute factor. I like the results, even though by the end of the week I realized that I’m not a huge fan of designing for the round shape.



More and more I’m realizing that my joy lies in conceptualizing the art to begin with… not necessarily all the layout and details afterwards. I would not be fit to be the manufacturer’s technical designer. LOL! Maybe that means I’m just lazy!


I could pull out the baby card and say that I don’t have time while taking care of a 3 month old – but that’s not really the reason. I just don’t like to tinker because it kills my joy in the end.


I think it’s important to learn what part of the process you enjoy the most, so you can maximize the joyful time and minimize everything else. Makes sense doesn’t it? For everything in life. I believe that striving for that will make the world a better place…  and will make you a happier person. I’m so zen today, huh?


As I was playing around, all the designs overlapped looked appealing as well, albeit chaotic. I started to think my designs were too simple. I suppose that I need to achieve a balance that suits me in the end. Still learning, still growing.

Enjoying my time in Lilla’s class and loving her creative wisdom, as well as the entire group of students. Tempted to take the course again in October just because… :)

Just Draw It – Pensieri Issue 7 is Digital!

The most popular issue of Pensieri is by far issue 7, Just Draw It! It’s about doodling fun and letting go of the fear of drawing. I go through the basics with lots of examples and fun exercises.


Read about my philosophy of drawing fearlessly – 31 pages of creative wisdom and playtime. BTW, CraftyPod interviewed me about this zine a while back.


You can grab a digital copy and download instantly in the tortagialla shop along with all the other issues of Pensieri. Let me know what you think and enjoy!

Peek Into My Sketchbook

Working on cute girls – what a surprise for me, eh?

I realize that calling them “big hair girls” is not the most creative… but my first thought of “hairy girls” is decidedly worse. LOL. I crack myself up like that all the time, because I am that much of a nerd. Sigh sigh… hope you are having a lovely happy start of the week – let me know what you think!