Feature Friday: Lauren Lee

Happy Feature Friday!

laurenlee_profile_2016Today we’re featuring the whimsical works of Lauren Lee, an illustrator who works in advertising by day but creates amazing illustrations every free chance she gets! We are in love with the characters and scenes she creates in her work – honestly we’re crossing our fingers a coffee shop gets her to design their cups, because we’d be there ASAP! Keep reading to hear more about her creative journey and see her fun coffee cup and sketchbook illustrations.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-12-45-47-am: I’m a twenty-two year old designer working in the crazy world of advertising. I use illustration as a way of release. Outside of design, I love animation films, re-reading Harry Potter, and binging title sequences.


Continue reading “Feature Friday: Lauren Lee”

Feature Friday: Artist Tara Steinmetz

Happy Feature Friday!

image3 (1)This week we bring you artist Tara Steinmetz. We love her style and how she has woven together both her yogi lifestyle and artistic talents to create her pieces. She also does artwork on Starbucks cups! We’ve always followed Starbuck’s various “cup contests” since people can do some pretty amazing things with a simple coffee cup, and Tara is definitely one of them. Tara also has a great perspective on how to grow as an artist, simply put it’s to keep at it. The more you create the better you’ll become. To see Tara’s work and learn more about her, read on!
Castle Logo: Tell us about yourself and how Tara Dawn Art got started.

11822767_592279190910605_4524424209951198759_n[1]:The past five years have been kind of a whirlwind for myself and our family. Art seemed to be a way for me to relieve stress and bring myself back to neutral. Not to sound cheesy, but it was a great coping mechanism and helped me get through a lot of tough moments. About three years ago I realized that my artwork was something I wanted to take more seriously and improve. Beside as an elective in high school, I have had no art training or schooling. “Tara Dawn Art” really got started through Instagram. I started posting some of my daily sketches/paintings/doodles. I slowly started receiving requests to design things for people as gifts, greeting cards, and tattoo designs. It’s been slowly building more and more over the past few years. I am truly grateful and humbled with every kind comment, follower, request and inquiry I receive. Where I’m from: I was born in Portland,OR where I lived most of my childhood. I moved around a couple times, once with my family to Medford,OR where I graduated high school. There was a small blip in Chicago,IL but I soon found myself back in the Portland/Vancouver area. My boyfriend Trevor and I currently reside in Spokane,WA. As long as I’m with him and in the Pacific Northwest, I’m happy.

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Feature Friday: Illustrator Valeria Susloparova

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

x_ad31278cThis week we talked to Valeria Susloparova of @vsusik, who has a large Instagram following for her amazing dog illustrations. We love this feature, because these aren’t your typical illustrations. She finds ways to make them unique and integrate 3D components, all while making her subjects have personality. From the drawing skills it takes to create the dog, to the element she adds to make the portrait humorous or cute, we can’t get enough of her work! She has always wondered what dogs are actually thinking, and her art really shows this thought process. Keep reading to hear more about Valeria and see some of the funniest dogs you’ll probably look at all day.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

rcLH9TbRhPM: My name is Valeria Susloparova. I was born in Russia and I have still lived here. My specialization is graphic design. I have been drawing all my life. I tried different painting techniques and materials, but I especially like watercolor painting. I have a gold labrador. He is my big love and inspiration. I enjoy reading, watching films and series, riding bicycle and nature.


Castle Logo: How did you find your style of mixing illustration with physical objects?

rcLH9TbRhPM: It all has happened in a creative process. I continue developing my skills in this direction.


Castle Logo: You paint a lot of dogs. What about them inspires you to create your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  Yes, basically I draw dogs but I can create illustrations using different techniques. Dogs…Their funny and cute faces inspire me. I wonder what they are thinking about and I try to reflect it in my illustrations.


Castle Logo: What art supplies do you use most for your work?

:rcLH9TbRhPM  I work with watercolor and use watercolor pencils to breathe life into my paintings because I like the way they depict the texture of animal fur.


Castle Logo: Do you sell your work or take commissions?


:  It has always been my hobby. There are a lot of requests and offers to make more illustrations now. I put not only time but also love into my paintings. If I need to give someone my illustration, I am really upset. But I am glad, if painting has a new home, a new ‘owner’. Unfortunately, I live in Russia and I can’t guarantee safe delivery of my works. I can send them with pleasure but only electronically. And there are some advantages in this way of delivery: One, you have to wait a few seconds to get it, and two, you can print it in any size using any paper.


Castle Logo: Do you have an illustration that is your personal favorite?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  It’s difficult to choose a special one. I love all of them!


Castle Logo: You graphic design and illustrate. What do you like about each?

rcLH9TbRhPM:  I am trying to keep up to different innovations in this sphere of art. There are a lot of talented people in this area. They motivate me to develop and create in order my works to be more interesting and high quality.



Castle Logo: When did you start using Instagram to share your pieces?

rcLH9TbRhPM: Firstly, it was my personal Instagram profile but when I posted some illustrations, it become something more. Now, it’s dedicated to my works.


Castle Logo: What are some of your goals for 2015?rcLH9TbRhPM

:  To draw! To paint! And once again – to paint! It’s necessary to develop yourself constructively and creatively. Then, I really would like to travel. Also, a long list of books to read is waiting for me.


Castle Logo: Any advice?rcLH9TbRhPM:  If you are a beginner in painting and face some difficulties and failures, the most important thing is not to lose heart but to continue working. Paint every day, develop your world outlook! Learn and study more, examine the works of more experienced artists. Dream up and improvise, be bold and take risks. Love what you do. It is sure to “yield fruit”.


Feature Friday: Artist Julie Raven


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!

5480_1080894111940_7507769_nWe are so excited about this Feature Friday and glad that it is the first thing we are posting after a short blogging hiatus we took to focus on school and finals. We first found Julie’s pieces on Instagram and were captured by her vibrant use of color. She draws a lot of her inspiration from nature and it is evident in her majestic paintings of lions, elephants, giraffes and of course man’s best friend, dogs! We love how her work is playful and free. She is not afraid to splatter, drip and experiment with her medias to create that extra layer of interest to her work. Julie took the time to answer some questions and make an amazing speed painting video, so read on to learn more about the artist and check out her process first hand!

What got you started?

“I had always been drawing and doodling while growing up, but in college is when art really clicked for me. It allowed me the guidance and access to materials to really explore my style and my interests.”

What are your inspirations?

“I love Art History and artists like JMW Turner or James Whistler because of their use of intense colors and contrast, which made me want to play with colors. In some of my figure drawing classes, I was introduced to the artist A.E. London and I was inspired by her wildlife art to focus on animals as a means to connect to human qualities and explore those qualities.”

Who is your favorite professional in your field?

“Currently, I really like an artist named Gabriel Moreno. His use of colors is right up my alley and his figurative art is so dream-like and surreal. I love looking at his works to get inspired.”


What are your favorite medias to work with?

“I love chalk pastels and watercolors. I can get some intense colors from them and love the tactile experience. I find they’re easy to blend and manipulate as well.”

What is your aesthetic?

“I love Hellenistic Greek art and the art of the Romanticists. Human and animal forms, and then a contrast of intense colors and a myriad of emotions with the quiet but powerful emotions of the Greek works and subdued colors due to the work of time… They really draw me in and overwhelm me with appreciation and ambition.”

Name your favorite go-to creative spot?

“I don’t have a physical place where I am inspired, as I tend to be inspired by music or images from my dreams. I do like to go running to get my creative juices flowing. As far as where I prefer to work, anywhere that I can spread out and be messy.”

What are your future goals/biggest dreams?

“I really would love to make art all day, and be able to run my own art store and gallery. I enjoy teaching as well, so giving lessons on art and art history are also in my plans.”


What is the hardest part about what you do?

“Sometimes just getting inspired or getting started. I have to write down my ideas and briefly describe them just so I can get started. I need to have a goal for a piece, or it’s really hard for me to sit down and just start working. It’s like I get stage fright when I look at an empty canvas, as all of the swirling ideas just seem to drain out of me as I figure out what I want to do.”

What have you learned in your creative process?

“I like taking commissions because I like when someone asks me to make them a piece. It gives me direction and I do well working with others. I also have learned that I have to write down my ideas and get organized before I can just sit down and start.”

What is your favorite piece of your own?

“I honestly love my piece The Night’s Soul and my Cheetah piece.”


Tell us a little bit about who you are?

“I’m a big nerd who loves Art History and painting who happens to work in IT during the day. I dress up in silly clothes and make up, and make a lot of messes when creating art pieces. I laugh loudly and I’m trying to figure out where to go with all this love and creativity.”

Any tips?

“Draw, paint, knit, sculpt, or whatever it is you do, every day. Even if you don’t feel like it. Just keep going at it.”


Speed Painting Video

Well that video was amazing! We loved having that inside look into how one of her pieces gets created. Everyone should check out Julie’s work on her Etsy page! There are tons of awesome pieces to gaze upon and she even does customized commissions. You can also connect with her on Facebook. Enjoy!