Sketchbook Stories :: Jamie Lentzner


I met Jamie a few years ago at one of the first Eastbay Art Licensing Group and totally became intrigued at how she seems to do it all – artist, small business owner, wife and mom. Jamie’s a really up-front, tell-it-like-it-is gal and she doesn’t hold back. She shares an honest account fo her life and running a small business on her blog and it’s totally eye opening.

Jamie’s background is in cartooning and animation. She spent her first few post-college years designing video games. Then she moved on to working in the educational software sector where she was the lead animator at The Learning Company. And for the past 9 years Jamie has owned her own company called Jamie’s Painting & Design, where she makes personalized ceramic wall art, keepsakes ornaments and dishes. She also creates logos and designs for local children’s sports teams so that they have an alternative to the generic typical trophy, offer instead a personalized tile or water bottle.

Jamie’s has had the amazing fortune of being featured on several TV shows and a couple of well known newspaper publications, like the Wall Street Journal. She’s even has a few A-list celebrities out there that have purchased her products. And her products sell around the country in various boutiques and websites. Pretty Cool, right!?!

Here’s is Jamie’s Sketchbook Story:

JL: When Cindy Ann asked for artists to feature in her Sketchbook Stories Series I originally jumped at the chance (in my head, not in an email to her).  When I finally got the chance to be featured she had a huge amount of very talented artists that had posted before me.  And I have to say their processes seemed very, very impressive and extensive compared to mine….oh and my camera broke.  So please bare with me as I try to piece together how I come to one of my finished products.

JL: When I started the business 9 years ago I used to hand paint each design.  It was tedious, it was exhausting and I did not enjoy it.  I enjoyed creating  art, not painting it day after day.  After some research we decided to shift the company’s focus from hand painting to Dye Sublimating.  For getting the art onto the tile or other product we use a technique called Dye Sublimation.  The hand painted design is printed out on a special printer and then taped to the blank product.  It is then placed in a special Dye Sublimation Press to almost cook the art into the tile.  The finished product will not fade or rub off.  I find the look is similar to hand painting but the time consuming factor of hand painting each product is removed.  I am able to produce hundreds of pieces (during Christmas or pre-Recession Days).

JL: When creating new designs I look to popular color combinations for nurseries and in home décor.  I often do searches online, watch HGTV, I flip through magazines, books and lastly I go shopping.  Some of my most popular designs have come from dreams, or classic favorites that I recall from my childhood. The easiest for me is to sit in front of the computer for hours, but it probably the least inspirational.


JL:My technique is not very complex, I just sketch out the designs or characters in pencil on white card stock. Then I paint with acrylic paints and use very small brushes to get the detail I want. I don’t do too many layers, but I make sure the art has some depth and that you can see the brush strokes, shadows, highlights and lots of detail. I stay away from manufactured or flat looking art.

JL: After creating an original painting I scan at a high resolution to ensure that the paint strokes are visible in the final outcome of my product design. Once it is into the computer and start manipulating it in Photoshop.  I first remove the background so that I can use the art almost like a sticker and move it around the screen.  I then tighten the black lines (the black line dot outline is one of my signature styles and one that usually defines a piece by me).  Next I play around with the colors and make sure they are the colors on the screen match my painting.  Sometimes after opening up the art scan I completely shift my direction and change the colors.  Or since most of my products have a coordinating ribbon, I have to make sure the ribbon I imagined exists and that I can get it in bulk.

JL: Next I start to play around with the placement of my art.  I don’t always go into each design with the location of each piece. I tend to layer them, cut them into pieces, delete pieces and try to create either a pleasant pattern or an image that stands on its own. In the back of my mind I also have to think of how I could use this on another product or for licensing (I license artwork with Stupell Industries also).

JL: Once the design is complete I either have the product photographed or I manipulate it in Photoshop, using the large inventory of photographed tiles I have. If it is a standard flat tile (Name Plaques, Name Tiles or Birth Announcements) I can do the work myself.  Other products, like plates and water bottles can be more difficult, as I am still pretty much a novice in Photoshop.

JL: Since my products are personalized with a child’s name or birth information I have created original fonts for my different designs. Instead of hand painting each design I place the information or create the name in Photoshop.

Here’s where you can find Jamie:

website ::

    blog :: – Where Jamie blogs about running a small business and raising a family.

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