Sketchbook Stories :: Alisha Wilson

I got connected with Alisha thru my husband Jay. He’s on the board of AIGA SF and Alisha is a super active local member and networker to boot. You can almost guarantee that she’ll be holding court at all of the major design events in the city. But, we really got to know each other when we would grab lunch together and just sit and chat.

Alisha was born and raised in Vermont, and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design, but her sights were set on the west cost.  She pick up and moved to San Francisco only 5 days after graduation and started her own freelance Illustration Business.

Alisha has worked at Gladstone as their Sr. Designer, Flip Video as Graphic Designer and online Merchandiser, and now works for Recurly as their Manager of Design and Creative Goodness. Alisha’s has been working on an art licensing portfolio for many years and writes about her journeys in her blog Sweetooth.

Here is Alisha’s Sketchbook Story::

AW: This year I set an art licensing goal. My goal is to create a collection every month, with the hopes of having 12 complete collections by the end of  2011. So far, I am on track and I wanted to share the process on how I made my collection “Cherry Nice”.

AW: I love sweets, candy and mostly anything girly. I am always snapping pictures of nice looking treats. A lot of the work I make is images of goodies. I call this set of licensing collections “Snacks and Treats”. I had a life drawing professor in college who would always say “go get your snacks and treats” when it was break time. This phrase always cracked me up, so I have claimed it for my own and used it ever sense.

AW: I have an incredible sweetooth and my love for sweet images started in high school where I did my AP art portfolio on candy. I sculpted, painted, photographed and ate a lot of candy. When I moved to San Francisco and was done with college and free to paint whatever I wanted, I once again returned to painting sweets.

AW:I visit a lot of bakeries in search of the cutest cupcakes, or cookies and take them to my art studio and get started. My most recent cupcake collection “Cherry Nice” incorporates cherries and cupcakes. So I picked up a bag of cherries and an amazing red velvet cupcake from Baked my local cupcake shop.

AW: I first set up the individual objects I am going to paint and shoot many photographs of the items from all angles with lots of different lighting.

AW: Then in Photoshop I merge and arrange the images how I want them. I make color and saturation changes to my images, then print them out.

AW: I transfer the images to watercolor paper and looking at the original items (the cherries and cupcakes) I start to paint. It is important to me to actually see the objects so that I can get cues on textures and make them look as luscious as possible. For this collection I also painted a few background textures to incorporate into my designs. I don’t over plan how these textures will actually work with the food objects. I just know they come in handy when trying to make wrapping papers and greeting cards and such.

AW: After everything is painted, I scan the finished paintings back into Photoshop and go to work on deleting all of the background textures so each item is isolated. This is absolutely my most un-favorite part of this whole process. I have many collections waiting to have their backgrounds deleted, but alas.

AW: I use these isolated objects to create repeat patterns. I make many patterns in all different colors so that I have many surface patterns to choose from when mocking up the repeats on products.  I try to think who would the end user be for these products and what products would  be appropriate for these images.

AW: For this collection I made 2 different apron collections and a tableware collection. 

AW: Some of my “Cherry Nice” collection is being licensed by Flip Video. I hope you enjoyed my story. I had fun telling it.


Here’s where you can find Alisha ::



  twitter:: @alishawilson

linked in::

  1. Nice job to both of you! I love all the process photos, we all work so differently I always like to see all the techniques and technologies utilized by other designers. Thanks!

  2. So Excited about this post. Looks great! I love this blog.
    Thanks Cindy Ann :)

  3. I'm enjoying your artist interviews! It was very interesting and neat to see how Alisha creates her artwork!

    Jenni (Pancake Art)

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