Friday, December 18, 2015

Lesley Riley, Quotable Artist

I'm often inspired by lyrics, poetry, and quotations for my artwork, and was honored to have my art included in Lesley Riley's first two books, Quotes Illustrated, and Inspirational Quotes Illustrated. Here is Lesley's recent article for ClothPaperScissors about combining art and quotes.

(P.S.  I love Lesley's subtly humorous P.S. to the article!)

Five Secrets to Combining Art & Quotes by Lesley Riley

The desire to create a book of illustrated quotes burned in my heart for many years. Once I realized that I didn't have to create all the art by myself (it takes a village ... of artists), I knew the time had come.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Love Yourself  "Love yourself first and everything else falls into place." ~ Lucille Ball. At first glance, the quote appears to be white lace on the dress neckline. It fell into perfect place in the composition.

On January 1, 2013, I put out a call for art to my mailing list and Facebook network. By the end of the year my self-published Quotes Illustrated was Amazon's #1 selling quote book. One year later, in November 2014, Inspirational Quotes Illustrated, an expanded version of my self-published book, published this time by North Light, again became a #1 best seller.

More than 400 artists submitted work, but there was only room for 100 in the book. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was inform the unchosen. I never use the word rejection. It was important to let them know that "'Not now' does not mean 'not ever.'" We're all always improving and honing our means and methods of self-expression, right? And to do this we need insight on how to improve.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Woods vs Books   "You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters." ~Saint Bernard. An image of a woman walking in the woods, book pages, a transferred tree, mica mined from stone, and the overall colors work to convey the message of the quote. The metal stamping technique, size, shape and placement of the quote is balanced with the overall composition.

Quotes hold meaning and magic for so many of us. When you add a visual element to a quote, the words have even more power to inspire and motivate. I wanted to explore what made a successful illustrated quote and in turn, help others successfully combine their art with their best loved quotes.

So how do you successfully illustrate a quote? You will find the answer to this question and more in my latest book,Creative Lettering Workshop: Combining Art with Quotes in Mixed Media.

But for now, while I have your interest and attention, I want to share my most important secrets for success.
Find more inspiration and ideas at
Untitled by Katie Kendrick.  "I am in the mood to dissolve into the sky." ~ Virginia Woolf. Katie has integrated the quote into the artwork so well that you are quite drawn into the work to find it. It truly dissolves into the art.

1. Treat the words of the quote as another element of the overall composition, not an afterthought or add-on.

2. The quote should not be the focal point--that would be a quote illustration vs. an illustrated quote. Everything on the canvas/page should relate to and enhance the message of the quote.

3. Integrate the quote into the work. It doesn't always have to be set apart or easily readable.

4. Make it personal. What story, emotion, or feeling does the quote elicit in you? If you connect and convey that raw emotion, others will respond and connect to your art too.

5. Don't be afraid to use your own handwriting! Lettering is a beautiful art form in and of itself but it's not a necessity. Your handwriting is your mark making. The way you form your letters is a mark of your style, a personal imprint, and an impression that only you can add. The emphasis should always be to express your unique self.

P.S. Feel free to quote me! ~Lesley