Sketchbook: Jen Corace

I may have mentioned this new series I am starting here where every Friday we get a little peek into one of my favorite artist’s sketchbooks. Surprisingly so many amazing artist have agreed to contribute. I wasn’t going to start until next month but some artists have already sent pictures so I just couldn’t help sharing them. Starting the series off I am so pleased to show Jen Corace’s sketchbooks.

You might quickly look at Jen’s paintings and think- so sweet and SO beautiful and then you might look a little while longer and think- wait this is really sophisticated- what is this about? Her little girls are often alone, lost in seas of patterned waves, wrapped in vines, or surrounded by snakes. They seem contemplative above everything else. Their faces are drawn with only a few pen and ink strokes- their eyes always very tiny and far apart from one another. Her palettes are often perfectly limited. I am especially fond of the tan paper backgrounds when she paints ochre,browns, blue grays and rose colored watercolor on top of, like in this piece Hidden. Jen is represented by Motel gallery who often has shows of her work. Jen also does commercial illustration and design work for companies like Chronicle Books, The Portland Mercury and Cricket magazine. You can buy prints and journals with Jen’s work on them here. Jen grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey but now resides in Rhode Island. She graduated from my alma mater RISD from the illustration department. Being such a fan I was so excited that Jen was willing to show us so many pages from two of her sketchbooks. I am in love with the picture I posted on the homepage where tiny “scales” (that’s what Jen titled that image) in greens and browns lay over the lines of the girl- so pretty. I also really like seeing pencil sketches and the drawings she does of things around her since most of her work is so fantasy-narrative like. And how cool is the cover of that sketchbook? Learn more about Jen’s work on her site here and see more here. Also Design Sponge blog did a great podcast interview with Jen a while back (where you can learn fun things like why Jen likes toast so much). Listen to it here. Thanks so much Jen for sharing these!

covers and campsite

bookmark, bent arms

Dad and Jason, rain

endpaper, laying in grass

shackleton, stuck in car

fence, girls and horse


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