6 Apr 2008

Artisan of the Week, Cara of Octavine Illustration

This week I thought we would show you some art work from Cara of Octavine Illustration and ask her the weekly questions. This lady has a very elegant art deco style and I have to confess that I adore the era of the 1920's-30's. The clothes were so elegant and perfect for my flat chested frame. Flapper dresses with all the trims and beads... well anyway I can understand why Cara is so influenced by this period of design. She has taken it and put her own interpretation on it.

1. Could you please introduce us to who you are and what you do?
I am a calligrapher and illustrator, a font designer and mural painter. I hail from beautiful Portland, Oregon but was born and raised in New Mexico.

2. What led you to take up your craft?
I began by creating a marriage contract in Hebrew calligraphy for a friend about 10 years ago. As word spread, I began to receive commissions for calligraphy and then illustration work. Over the years the business has grown and I have calligraphed and illustrated numerous marriage contracts, invitations, public murals, logos, tattoos, concert posters and even a wine label.

3. Which part of your work do you most enjoy?
Research. Before I begin a project I look through my design library. Garning inspiration from photographers, illustrators, advertisements and magazines infuses me with creativity and barrages me with ideas. I order boxes upon boxes of ephemera from estate sales on ebay and simply pour through them when in need of new images, fonts or layout ideas. I have a rather methodical (some may say anal) process in which I must first conceive of the painting or alphabet completely in my head. I then make a loose sketch. Using tracing paper I re-sketch and re-sketch and re-sketch the idea. Tracing paper is my saviour as it allows me to make multiple erasures and even do-overs and then make a direct transfer of my final product. I hate messing up my fancy French paper with erasure marks and my paint does not take as well once it has been erased upon.
After I complete the image and perfect it completely on the tracing paper, I transfer it to the fancy French paper.

4. Which part do you find hardest?
Marketing, business, anything having to do with numbers.

5. Where do you hope to be in 1 year's time?
Working hard on commissions and wholesale products...

6. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
To get advice from everyone. You may never know who has the insight to help you or steer you in the right direction. And you never know until you ask.

7. Name other artisans sites/shops would you recommend are worth a visit?
Handmadejulz makes beautiful graphic Jewellery.
Allium crafts stunning jewellery and also teaches others to make jewellery.
Plywerk provides a contemporary framing service

8. What is your favourite sandwich filling?
Tuna salad!

Thank you for joining in our Artisan of the Week feature Cara. Your work is so gorgeous! Dear reader, if you wish to keep up to date on what's going on in Cara's world you can follow her on her stunningly beautiful blog here.


  1. beautiful work, great interview thanks for that!

  2. I've seen this artist before, such cool looking art

  3. Fantastic feature! Thanks for a great introduction to some awesome art :)

  4. I'm so glad I checked this feature out! I adore the 20's-30's style also. Great job!

  5. Isn't she wonderful? I visit her blog all the time and just love to see what she has done..Beautiful work and a wonderful feature..

  6. I'm a big fan of her work.....thanks for the interview, always nice to find out more about the artist

  7. I love her work, and her blog! Very interesting to find out the amount of research that goes into this--it really shows.

  8. Thank you so much for this beautiful feature. All these wonderful comments truly made my day. Cheers all around.~


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