• Choose to Sail


    “If the wind flips your skirt, choose to sail.”

    This sketch in my journal was super fun to draw!  I think I like drawing people more like this, abstracted and less realistic.  What do you think?

    This journal entry is drawn in black ink, colored pencil & watercolor.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Things I Like


    Doodle time in my sketchbook!  Some mindless sketching, these are just some things I really like.  This is drawn using black ink, colored pencils and watercolor.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • My Paints and Palette

    My husband Cam and I were discussing pigment colors and paint over the dinner table.  You know, typical married couple chit chat.  Cam is an oil painter currently attending Arizona State for his MFA.  We must have talked about it for at least half an hour–about the different colors we have tried and how we mix them.  We talked about our palettes.  I said to Cam, “You know, I work with my palette just about every day, but I never talk about it.”  I realized that I have a love affair with my color palette, working closely with it to create my illustrations.  I thought I would share some details about what I work with to create my watercolor paintings.



    I am brand loyal with my paints, and I mostly use a combination of Winsor Newton and Michael Smith depending on the color.  My favorite color is Daniel Smith’s Pyrrol Scarlet.  It is very bright.  Currently I am using Daniel Smith’s Quinacridone Rose for fuscia and Hansa Yellow Deep as my main yellow, but I’m not too particular about using a consistent hue or brand for them.  In fact they can vary quite a bit but that keeps things exciting.  I use Daniel Smith Cobalt Blue.  You have to be careful not to over mix the blue or it will get muddy very quickly.  By itself or mixed lightly with one other color, it is magical.  I used to mix Windsor Newton’s Brown Madder with Antwerp Blue to make all my darks.  These days I use Daniel Smith Perylene Maroon with the Antwerp because it creates a much richer darks.  I also use Winsor Newton Professional Green Gold, Winsor Newton Winsor Green (Blue Shade).  I use both Winsor Newton Bismuth Yellow and Winsor Newton Professional Winsor Red sparingly.  Red is a very flat color, so a lot of other colors get mixed with it to create dimension.  I also use M. Graham & Co. Cobalt Teal.  I don’t own a tube of black or white.  Straight black is very flat and to lighten color, I just add water.



    The palette I use is the one I got in Intro to Watercolor in college.  It folds up nicely for storage or travel.  I am starting to wonder if I should get a larger palette, since I don’t have room for all of my pigments in the little slots anymore.  I was thinking recently that I should clean my palette.  This is something I probably do no more than once a year.  I always have a spot of mixed paint in the center where I make my dark pigments.  In one of the slots there is a random blue that varies from random tubes.  I never remember what paint is actually in that slot and I don’t use it very often.  I don’t have a whole lot of explanation beyond that for it.



    I am not a brush snob.  I like to go to different craft stores when there is a sale and get a cheap pack of multitple sized brushes.  I only use round brushes and I don’t like them to be too absorbent or it won’t release the water and paint onto the paper.  I also stock up on nicer quality fine tips when one of the local art shops is having a sale.  I keep my brushes in a rotating wire container that was meant for cutlery.


    Other Supplies

    I use a mason jar for water and I keep my paints in one of those plastic pencil boxes that kids use in grade school.  I also use facial tissue.  When people watch me paint, they often think that I must have made a mistake when I grab a tissue.  This could not be further from the truth.  Using tissue is all part of the process of creating watercolor…at least it is for me.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

  • Body Tired – Brain Not Tired

    body-tired-journal-entry-web copy

    I’m just getting around to posting this journal entry.  I painted this after a long week full of events and when I finally got a chance to sit down, I was inspired, but my body was exhausted.  I guess I was too tired to work on some serious illustration projects, but not too tired to do completely nothing.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

  • Snail Mail – Torch Age Birthday Collage


    **Warning: Profanity is used in this post**

    I finished another piece in my “Snail Mail” series.  It is another birthday card, as someone close to me had a birthday this weekend.  Not all of my snail mail will be for birthdays, or even for special occasions.  The person that I created this for was not particularly excited about their birthday, so this design seemed fitting.

    age-birthday-collage-web3I painted watercolor onto watercolor paper and cut them out.  I played around with their placement before gluing them down for the final collaged composition.

    age-birthday-collage-inside-webThe base of the card was once again, (like the last card I made for my Grandpa) made out of junk mail cut up and glued together.  I really enjoy the tactile feel of the layers of paper, as well as the hint of “homemade” style it gives it.  To me it is a way of expressing thoughtfulness.  The time I spent making this card was time I spent thinking about this person. I’m not usually a huge fan of profanity, but I wasn’t so sure that this is even considered offensive, and, well it seemed fitting.  My apologies if anyone is offended.  I really enjoy a little snarkiness.

    age-birthday-envelope-webSince the card was homemade and not a standard size, I needed to make an envelope to match.  I found a manilla folder in my stack of documents that need to be shredded and made the envelope out of it.

    age-birthday-collage-envelope-web2I had a lot of fun decorating the envelope using prisma colored pencils and some brand new micron pens.

    envelopeI had a lot of fun making this card.  Stay tuned for more “Snail Mail” 🙂

    age-birthday-collage-web2 copy

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

  • Pistachio Peak


    My husband Cam and I took a weekend off and drove from our home in Phoenix, Arizona down to visit some relatives in Tucson.  It is about a two hour drive and, being new to Arizona, we had never been there.  On our drive down there was a very large peak that began to grow larger and larger in our view as we approached it along the highway.  I looked at the map.  “That mountain up ahead is ‘Pistachio Peak.'”  I told Cam.  I studied the peak and thought it over in my head.  It made perfect sense somehow.  I imagined a large pistachio nestled into the crescent wedge shape at the top.  As we got closer, Cam pointed to a sign, “Did you mean ‘Picacho Peak?'” he chuckled.  I had completely misread what the map said and never thought twice about it.  Something that we continued to laugh about for a long time after.

    There is a state park that the mountain sits in and there are trails to hike.  We did not stop to explore the landscape there, but now it is on our to-do list.  I have been really enjoying exploring Arizona.  I have been hiking a lot and enjoying the mountains, which are very accessible, even in the 6th largest city in the country (Phoenix).  I am extremely passionate about nature.  If you feel the same way, like if you are super geeky about it like I am, I recommend checking out a documentary series called “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”  It is a PBS series, but I found it on Netflix.  This series has greatly effected me.  It has awakened the previously existing deep passion inside of me for all of God’s creation.


    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here,

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy:

  • Creative Cleanse

    I spent the better part of today on the phone with the insurance company trying to resolve some issues.  Eventually I did reach a real human on the other end that could be of some assistance.  By the time things were resolved, I had binged on all the brownies that we brought home from our weekend trip to Tucson.

    My solution to this very frustrating day is a variation of what healthy people often do.  Healthy people say “I’m going on a cleanse.”  Yes folks, I am going on a cleanse, however not your typical cleanse like drinking juice for meals.  I wipe the rest of my day of phone calls with “representatives” and policy talk.  I am done for the day with bill paying and the feeling of defeat.  I am going on a creative cleanse.  For the rest of the day I will be sitting in my studio gingerly painting while binge watching movies like “Little Women.”  I will be stopping only to maybe do the dishes, take my dog for a walk and possibly binge on more dessert food with my husband.


  • The Painted Desert with Rebecca Green


    Last week I had the privilege of working with illustrator Rebecca Green on her mural project “The Painted Desert.”  She flew in from Denver, Colorado to sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the occasion.  Painting a mural is a large project to tackle and takes several days to finish so Becca had a team of creative folks helping her along the way.


    On the first night Becca took her final sketch and projected it onto the side of the building, The Lodge Studio, where Becca used to work when she lived in Phoenix.  There was a little bit of chaos moving the bulky projector around to get it placed just right.  It sort of ended up in the street.  Studio mates Abbey Messmer and Rafael Navarro were there to assist as well.  Once in place, we used thin brushes to apply the outlines of the sketch to the wall.



    As I said before, the process took several days.  I was not able to be there to help Becca the whole time, but when I was it was really fun.


    I learned a lot about color.  Becca used a limited color palette.  The first layer was monochromatic and she added bright colors over it to accent the whole piece.  Choosing the colors was an experiment.  The time of day effected how the colors looked with the direction of the sun.  The colors needed to be mixed just right so that they all married well together in the composition.


    Becca said that she was afraid of using bright colors and I laughed because I have always struggled using muted colors.  I am learning that muted colors are very important to composition.  They help balance the color composition.  I am learning that they are not as boring as I used to think because they make brighter colors look their best.  Together they can create magic.


    We went out for a drive in the warm sun and chatting it up and losing ourselves in great conversation as we made pit stops for paint and supplies.  When it was time to paint, I really enjoyed standing on the scaffolding barefoot painting in the afternoon sun.  We talked about art and life and everything in between.  Although Becca and I are only about a month apart in age, and we both grew up in Michigan, we have had very different experiences in our lives that have brought us to where we are today.


    There is a local vegan restaurant across the street from The Lodge called Bragg’s.  They generously offered us a piece of pie 🙂  We both had a slice of blueberry almond.  It was delicious!


    The mural is now complete and it looks beautiful.  It has been a pleasure to assist Becca with this.  I will smile every time I drive by “The Painted Desert” mural at The Lodge studio.

  • Snail Mail

    Snail at homeSnail decided to make some lovely cards for his pals for Valentine’s Day.  He got himself into some sticky situations, but he had a fun little adventure delivering his notes to them.

    Snail MailOtter Gets Mail

    Snail Mail Frog

    Snail Goes Home

    Who doesn’t love getting thoughtful cards in the mail?  This series of illustrations highlights the joy of receiving handmade paper gifts in the mail as a way to love those around you.  I decided to breath life into my watercolor by bringing it into a new dimension.  This was an exploration into a new world of imagination.  I really enjoyed moving my work in this direction.

  • A Christmas Scene


    3d illustration scene holiday themed

    This is a three dimensional Christmas scene made entirely out of paper, india ink and watercolor with the exception of a game piece.

    ©Amy DeCaussin 2014. All Rights Reserved.