Sketchbook Stories :: Stephanie Ryan

I met Stephanie online, thru Holly Becker’s Blogging Your Way class. I started a group for artists to chat on the class message board, and her and I because fast friends. We were chatting so much on the forum, that we actually became some of the the top posters in our class along side Ms. Monica :-) It was an amazing learning experience. And I’m so grateful that I was able to find a group of ladies that I was able to connect with. I totally found my tribe and was super sad when the e-course ended and the forum closed. Steph and I knew we needed to stay in contact, so we now schedule a chat once a month on the phone. And I was lucky to have her drive down and help me at my Surtex booth this year.

A little bit about Stephanie. Her true creative journey began after a fire destroyed Little Souls, Inc. the doll company where she worked for 11 years. She had started there working as a doll maker and was steadily promoted from designer to buyer, to product manager. After the fire, Stephanie was faced with the fact that she had to start over and she decided to go back to school. Stephanie decided to enroll at Moore College of Art & Design where she studied graphic design and discovered her love for fabrics and patterns. Stephanie now freelances as a designer, specializing in tabletop, surface, and product design. My fingers are crossed that she’ll decide to take the leap to exhibit at Surtex next year, and of course be in my “neighborhood”!!


Here is Stephanie’s Sketchbook Story::

SR: When Cindy Ann asked me to submit my sketchbook story I was really excited to participate, I thought it would be fun to share my process. The more I thought about it however, the more I realized that I don’t sketch all that much!

SR: My process is more intuitive, I find that when I sketch I tighten up too much and my work loses some of it’s magic. I also try not to look at reference, I like to work from my imagination when painting my flowers, it gives them a whimsical look that I can’t replicate when looking at reference.

My painting process is simple. I work with watercolors and ink and I use my imagination and intuition to guide me. I start with a blank watercolor block and fill my brush up with color and start painting shapes, the shapes turn into flowers in unexpected ways and I add details at the end with a micron pen.  I try to fill up the paper with a variety of flowers and elements like swirls, dots and leaves to use in my finished pieces. At this stage, I never know what the finished piece is going to look like.

SR: When I am finished with painting, I scan everything into the computer and start cleaning it up in photoshop. Once I have all of the elements together, I start playing.

SR: I never have an idea in mind of the finished art before this stage in my process. This is the fun part for me. I start moving elements around, add textures, play with color and sometimes words to complete the piece. Once I have my central image finished, I try to pull together a supporting pattern collection to compliment it.

SR: Life is very exciting these days.



Steph’s Painting Demo

Stephanie Ryan Painting Demo 1

Here’s where you can find Stephanie ::


       blog:: Small Sweet Steps ::


    twitter:: @SmallSweetSteps


  1. Stephanie's work is beautiful!

  2. Meredith

    Hi Steph, how exciting. It was great to see you paint. I love all your patterns. Take care.

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