Sketchbook Stories :: Elizabeth Caldwell

I “met” Liz thru Twitter. Gosh, can you really meet someone via Twitter? Well, the truth is that Liz was one of the first few people that I followed and didn’t actually know. If you want to “hear” a real life account of what it’s like to run your own business and raise a family, you need to follow her. She’s brutally honest and very real, and thought we haven’t actually met in person I feel like I know her. Elizabeth is an incredible surface designer and if you’ve ever received a personalized family holiday card or birth announcement, I’m betting you’ve seen her work.


Here is Elizabeth’s Sketchbook Story ::

EC: I get inspired by life. Taking a walk through the park or just shopping can spark an idea for me that I translates to stationery. But my biggest inspiration is my kids. They help keep me young and help me see things through youthful, playful eyes. The world of a child is colorful and magical!

About me:
I am a stay at home mom and freelance surface designer. I left my full time design position at an invitation studio 4 years ago when my daughter was just a year old. After going back to work full time, I found myself unable to enjoy my work the way I used to. I literally thought about my daughter all day and felt so guilty that she was being raised by strangers. I hated the fact that she wasn’t getting the attention she deserved and would even go see her on my lunch break.

Eventually I took the plunge and quit my job. Since I worked full-time I had to build a client list from scratch and I didn’t have a single lead. About a week after I quit my job I received an email from someone I had contacted through Craigslist that was looking for a freelance surface designer for fabric bags, and the rest is history. Four years later, I am lucky enough to design for Tiny Prints and Wedding Paper Divas as a featured designer, Target, Michael’s, Walmart and a few other clients in the stationery/gift industry. I am living proof that you should always follow your heart and do what you love — the clients will come! =)

My process:
Believe it or not because I work mainly in Illustrator I don’t do very much sketching, unless I am looking for a more organic, hand drawn look like I used for this print. I think about what theme or concept I want to do a collection based on and go from there. This tea time print was pretty simple because tea and coffee are such a big part of my life. No research needed there! I doodled first, then I redrew everything in Illustrator using the blob brush and my Bamboo tablet and pen. Why doodle first if I am going to draw directly into Illustrator? Sometimes It helps loosen up my drawing hand and makes it easier to draw from scratch in Illustrator.

EC: By the time I am ready to draw in Illustrator my hand remembers the shapes and strokes without much thinking on my part. After drawing the outlines of my doodles I then create another layer beneath the doodles and use the blob brush again to fill in color. I love the blob brush because it makes solid shapes and I don’t have to use the pathfinder after to connect them. Easy peasy! 

EC: This design was created for licensing and will be part of a collection of 6 coordinating prints. It will be available for licensing through Pink Light Design and can be seen at Surtex at the Pink Light Design Booth.


Here’s where you can find Elizabeth ::

         blog ::

  facebook ::

        shop ::

     twitter ::

   portfolio ::

  1. Liz

    Yay! Thanks so much for the feature! This is such an awesome series – you do such a fantastic job with it!! =)

  2. I follow Elizabeth on twitter and saw her tweet about this post. I love how you've gleaned so much information in such an interesting way. I'll be browsing through your blog more tomorrow(its bedtime in Ireland!) I don't know anything about graphic design but am intrigued to learn more so will be finding out what this blob brush is!

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