Mirna Stubbs’s unique style is immediately recognizable and yet also wide-ranging (check out her Instagram account, and you’ll see what we mean). She always finds ways to make her Hallmark projects feel original yet relate-able. She’s here today to tell us about her newest collection for Studio Ink, in Gold Crown stores now.
Less than a year ago, I was sitting at my desk and playing around in a sketchbook, trying to find inspiration to start the project that was ahead of me. I can’t remember what that project was. Likely something that didn’t excite me too much, because I was clearly procrastinating.
Sketchbooks are where we feel free to explore, mess up, and express current thoughts and feelings without worrying about how someone else could relate to it. They’re personal, which isn’t always great when you’re illustrating for cards that should appeal to other people and their unique situations. Being that I’m a very passionate person, my sketchbook reflects a certain amount of visual drama, boldness, imperfection and spontaneity. Sometimes it’s a terrible mess, and other times I prefer what’s in the sketchbook over the polished final illustrations I do “for real.” Luckily, on this particular day, my art director preferred my sketchbook art, too.
I was exploring painting on black paper with gouache. Gouache is such a great medium for dark paper with its opaqueness and vibrancy. Even a simple pattern painted on the dark background evokes mystery, luxury and emotion. My art director encouraged me to continue in this direction with a 12-card collection for Studio Ink in mind. For the next few weeks, I dove in to this dramatic, almost mythological, opulent, magical land. I asked one of my much-admired writer friends, Sarah Magill, to help me find a voice for them. She perfectly put the emotion of the illustrations into words.
Although these illustrations came out of a very personal point of view, I believe that Sarah’s voice and the authenticity of my explorations are relatable and identifiable. After all, our situations and relationships may be uniquely different, but our emotions and sentiments are often very much alike, indeed.