Maker Monday: Young@Art

Happy Maker Monday! 

This Monday we are featuring Danaye Shiplett of young@art! We love how Danaye speaks through her art. Her pieces are an expression of herself as well as a story she’d like to tell. The imagination behind Danaye’s work leaps off the page. Each character has personality and a message for the viewer to interpret, an attribute that is sometimes lost in more commercialized art. Danaye stays true to her artistic roots and desire to create for herself, and gives her customers the opportunity to share in her creative journey- something we think is truly special about maker’s shops! Read on to learn more about Danaye and how young@art came to be.

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: Every introvert’s dreaded nightmare! (Kidding.) So, my name is Danaye Shiplett and I am a 30-something geek, bookworm, introvert… well, you get the idea. I’m married, live in the South (though I was raised on the East coast), and have two adorable fur-babies. I can’t have children so they really are my kids. (I don’t dress them up or anything, though. Promise.)

: How did young@art get started and what was the process behind getting it off the ground?

: young@art stemmed from my desire to create a professional brand around my art. Something that people see and immediately get a sense of who I am and what I create. It fits me. I am a huge kid at heart and my creations (I hope!) reflect that sense of wide-eyed innocence and wonderment that we have during our early years. I like to think I’ve kept a little (lot) of that even as an adult.


Maker Monday: Bloomwolf Studio

Happy Maker Monday!

This Monday we are featuring Betsy Garcia of Bloomwolf Studio! We just love her fun designs and illustrations, and all the amazing products she creates with them! You can find everything from greeting cards, art prints and notepads, to postcards and button pins in her shop! One of Bloomwolf Studio’s aims is to help you celebrate people you love. To think that this sentiment is carried throughout the whole process of creating her products is what makes Betsy’s work so special. Read on to learn more about Bloomwolf Studio and Betsy’s inspiring journey towards achieving her dreams!

: Tell us a few things about yourself!

: I’m a 25-year- old artist, currently living in Orlando, Florida. I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and take great pride in my cultural background. I was born and raised in Manatee County, and continue to go home to visit my family every chance I get. From a young age, my parents instilled in me the importance of education and expected only the best from me. After graduating in the top 4% of my class in high school, I continued on to the University of South Florida where I received a dual degree in Psychology and Biomedical Sciences. After graduation, I decided to take some time off from school to ready my application for medical school. What I didn’t expect to do in that time, was start a creative business.

: Where did the name Bloomwolf Studio come from and how did you get your start designing?

: I actually started designing when I was in middle school. I went to a charter school for four years that focused on the arts, so here I took an interest in graphic design and learned to use Adobe illustrator and Photoshop to create illustrations and digital paintings. After those four years, I didn’t use Photoshop again until 2015. This was during what was supposed to be my “gap year” after college. I was living with my boyfriend Luis at the time, and working fulltime as a middle school science teacher. As a way to escape the stress of teaching, I began drawing again. After talking to Luis about potentially starting a small business based on my illustrations, he was completely onboard. I didn’t reapply for a teaching position once the school year ended that year, and we soon started readying ourselves for the launch of what is now Bloomwolf Studio.

Haha, how the name came to be is kind of interesting and non-interesting at the same time, I think. When we were in the planning stages of the business, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to name it. So what Luis did was he pulled up a “band name generator” online, that gave us thousands of random words that were put together to create supposed “band names.” After going through a few, we pulled out words that we thought were interesting and eventually landed on Bloomwolf. I added the Studio after just because I liked how it sounded.


Feature Friday: Ashley Olinger

Happy Feature Friday! 

This week we are featuring Ashley Olinger, a Pittsburgh based freelance illustrator and designer! If you’re a fan of color, gradients and simplistic yet bold design you’ll find all of it on the stickers, pins, and cards she makes for her store, YEAHYELHSA. We love Ashley’s perspective on finding inspiration on the fly, creating in the moment and examining the ordinary. We definitely think these perspectives and her willingness to keep experimenting shows in the spirit of her work! To learn more about Ashley’s design journey, read on!

: Tell us a little about yourself.

: My name is Ashley! I am almost 23. I am a freelance illustrator & designer living in Pittsburgh. I love bright colors and thick lines, and I spend my free time screen printing and going to shows.


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.



Feature Friday: Letterer Amber Garner

Happy Feature Friday!


This week we’re featuring Amber Garner and all her lettering talents! We love the different typography and media she uses to enhance her designs. Another aspect of Amber’s work philosophy that resonates with us is that she’s constantly practicing her lettering skills. When you look at her work it looks effortless, but that piece took practice, thought and even research! To learn more about Amber and how she honed her craft read on!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself as well as how you got your start in lettering.

logo@2x: I’m currently living in Washington, DC with my fiancé and a few plants that have managed to survive my brown thumb. I’ve always been attracted to design, especially lettering and typography, but I’d never really sat down and deliberately attempted hand lettering. A few years ago I was on a plane with my sketchbook, and decided to try my hand at drawing out a quote from Harry Potter – “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” It wasn’t pretty, but it was love at first flourish! I’ve practiced lettering in one form or another pretty much every day since then.



Feature Friday: Honey and the Hive

Happy Feature Friday!

IMG_3341Today we’re featuring the fun (and often hilarious) illustrations of Kelsey DeLange of Honey and the Hive. We fell in love with her prints right away since we’re always looking for sassy sayings to hang on our walls. Not only does she have funny phrases, but she also sometimes pairs the words with food— which we love!, and has gorgeous inspirational prints as well. We just can’t get enough of their cheery vibe and bright colors! Read on to see more of her pieces and learn about the brand.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

honey hive logo: Hi there! My name is Kelsey and I make brightly colored whimsical illustrations for my shop, Honey and the Hive.  I live and work in a small town in Michigan, with my husband and our crazy cute tiny dude.


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Feature Friday: Illustrator Chelsea Bonus

Happy Feature Friday!

IMG_20150508_172401Hello everyone! This week we’re featuring fashion illustrator Chelsea Bonus. We love her work for all its intricate details and life-like qualities. Her pieces look like they’ve walked straight off the runway and onto her sheet of paper. Chelsea is currently illustrating for clients on a part-time basis with the goal of making illustration her full-time gig. Like many of you creatives know, having a side project or business can be hard to keep up with. Chelsea’s take on this is that if you want it enough you’ll make it happen. We’ll be looking out for her illustrations in the future as we have no doubt that she will.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.
static1.squarespace: My name is Chelsea Bonus.I’m from Wicklow, Ireland and have been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil! After finishing my degree in fashion design I started working as a freelance illustrator, following fashion and beauty trends with a pencil and paper.



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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: Dart Designs


Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!
Profile PicThis week we’re featuring Curtis Dart of Dart Designs. He’s the perfect example of how you don’t have to stick to just one thing, as he is a designer, illustrator, photographer, apparel designer, and the creator of his own clothing label! We love his designs and since I’m a huge sucker for graphic tees, I could see myself wearing one of his shirts in a second! We can’t wait to see where Dart Designs and Kingfruit Apparel goes. Keep reading to here about how he got started and his plans for the future.

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself.

dart-logo: My name is Curtis Dart, and I am a designer/illustrator & photography enthusiast living in Sydney, Australia. I have been illustrating since I was a wee-lad, and designing for going on 7 years now. I also operate my own clothing label ‘Kingfruit Apparel’ as a way to show case my work and have some fun.


Castle Logo: How did you start Dart Designs?

dart-logo: I started up Dart Designs just after finishing design college, taking on small freelance jobs as a way to diversify the type of work I was doing. At the time I had taken a junior design position with a large Australian company, working in their Design Department. The work was becoming boring and mundane, so I jumped at any other type of design work I could find, to keep the creative juices flowing.

Feed Me Tablet

Castle Logo: You have a variety of work including, typography, branding, graphic design and illustrating among others. Do you have a favorite?

dart-logo: By far my favourite type of work would have to be illustrative, as to me, there is nothing better than the feeling of creating something with just your hands, a pen, a pad, and your imagination. Although in a close second would be branding, as the restraints and specific goals required by the client provide a challenge, requiring a more strategic approach.


Castle Logo: What technical design skills do you find the most useful? Any skill/program you advise designers to learn?

dart-logo: Not everyone would agree with me, but I maintain that to be a successful designer, you need to be able to draw. Having the ability to quickly sketch up a concept/idea to a client, so they can physically see what you are talking about is a great advantage– as the faster you can work, the happier the client will be, and the more jobs you can take on.

I find the ability to draw most useful, in the way that I can sketch up all the ideas I have, both good and bad – then develop the best suited concepts further, before taking them onto computer, where most of my time is spent polishing up the designs, to be presented to the client.


Castle Logo: Is there a big difference between your personal design aesthetic and what you design for clients?

dart-logo: There are only a handful of lucky designers that have made it to a point where a client comes to them and says ‘do your thing’ – so yeah there can be a big difference in what my style would be, and what clients would want. I don’t see this as a bad thing though. Having a client want something different to what I would personally do, makes me think outside the box, and pushes my design skills and thinking further than what I would personally be able to do.

However, in saying that – like an artists uses a particular brush stroke, I always strive to add my own little twist or flavour to any design I do.

Vector Mash up

Castle Logo: What has been your best experience with a client?

dart-logo: I am not sure if this is my best client story, but it was one a learnt the most from.

I have been lucky to work with some pretty good clients, that have had a good idea of what they want, or are happy to take my direction on projects. However I have had a couple clients, that in my opinion have the worst kind of trait– these are the clients that say ‘I don’t know what I want, you’re meant to tell me,’ but all along really know what they want, and just want you to show them.

I was doing a large 4WD wrap for a company director, with the design brief being ‘I need it to be wow!’…. that’s it!

After 8 or 9 concept designs and having them all rejected, as not being ‘wow’ enough, I was really disheartened and questioning by design talent. I realised that I was wasting my time and needed more of a design brief than what I had. After trying to draw blood from a stone, I finally got more info out of the client, giving me a new direction to take the design.

After designing and re-printing the graphics three times because of production issues, the design turn out to be an epic rusted out old 4×4 wrap, that I was truly proud of, and the client was absolutely stoked on.

The lesson I took away from the job was that you can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig. If you have a client that can’t give you the necessary information you need, and rejects all of your concepts, it’s not that you are a bad designer – it’s that you just haven’t asked the right questions, or the amount of questions needed to get the proper idea of what they envision. Designers deal with visual communication, and the key to being successful, is translating spoken words and other peoples mental thoughts ideas into something you can understand, and then transfer to visual matter.

Peacefull Pool

Castle Logo: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?

dart-logo: Living in Sydney, there are some of the worlds best beaches within 25 mins of anywhere, and any chance I get, I’m always down at one of them having a surf. I’m lucky that work still facilitates me being able to fit 3-4 surfs a week in, as there is no better way to shake the blues off, than getting out in the salt water. On top of surfing, I won’t say no to the odd game of golf, or in the winter to the odd weekend on the snowfields. I have found that my hobbies, particularly the board sports, have played a major role in shaping my design work, drawing inspiration from old and new school graphics and technologies.

On top of that, I also love getting out and fine tuning my photographic skills, in-particular my landscape/seascape ones. I love to get up nice and early when I can, to catch the sunrise over the water at one of the local beaches. The colours are amazing for just a brief window, and it’s always special capturing a part of the day rarely seen by most people.

Maroubra Bomb

Castle Logo: What do you do when you have no inspiration for a project?

dart-logo: At first I try to force creativity, by trolling the internet’s many design websites for inspiration, but usually just get side tracked, and find myself looking at stupid meme sites having a laugh.

After that fails, I always find the best option, stepping away from the computer and the design work, and just trying to clear my mind and reset. The best way for me is to go for a surf, as it forces you to be in the moment, leaving no room for other thoughts. This isn’t always possible, so even just going for a walk or grabbing a coffee – anything to take my mind off the fact that so far, I have only had crap ideas for this project.

Most of the time, my best ideas come after this period, and I look back and ask myself why I stressed in the first place.

Colour coding Album

Castle Logo: What are your future goals for Dart Designs?

dart-logo: One of my goals for Dart Designs is to grow my business with a larger focus on my illustrative work, as it is the area I have the most fun doing, and would really like to establish myself as a more prominent Illustrator in the Sydney/Australian market.

The other goal is to further showcase my work and design skills through my clothing label Kingfruit Apparel, as I find this to be one of the best ways to advertise to a larger audience in a physical and interactive way. Social media is great and has its advantages, but I still find someone walking around with my designs on their t-shirt to be a more direct and larger impact form of advertising.


Castle Logo: Any advice or tips?

dart-logo: The first bit of advice I would give to anyone that wants to get into design, or has just started out, would be to practice, practice, practice. Colleges and design courses give you the basic tools and principles to design and become familiar with design programs – but the more you play around on the computer, and push the limits of what you think you can do, the better off you will be. Jump onto the web and look up design tutorials and just give them a go. You will be really surprised with the tricks and tips they teach you.

The second piece of advice would be to take on as many different types of design jobs you can. The more diverse your portfolio of work is, the more attractive you are to potential employers. This doesn’t have to just include jobs for clients – if you are into illustration, don’t be afraid to sell your designs as prints or on t-shirts. I have friends and people I know in the industry doing everything from selling brooches to selling plants inside old hardcover books – basically anything you can apply your skills or styling to will expand your knowledge and creative capacity.

The final piece of advice I would give is to have fun, and not to take things too seriously. Design is one of those practices that flourishes in fun and upbeat environments. If you over think things, and let little issues or bumps in the road get you down, the work becomes ‘work’ and creativity becomes harder to come by. I’m not saying that doing design is all sunshine and lollipops, but just remember why you do it. I always find my best work happens when I’m in a good head space, so I seek out things that help me get into that head space.

See more of Dart Designs and Kingfruit Apparel at:

Dart Designs:
Instagram – @dart_designs
Website –

Kingfruit Apparel:
Instagram – @kingfruit_apparel

Feature Friday: Illustrator Holly Sharpe

Happy Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 17.05.05!


Today we’re excited to feature illustrator Holly Sharpe! She has an amazing collection of work that spans from illustrations simply done with pencil, to those done digitally. We love how different her pieces look, but that you can still tell they are made by her. Her aesthetic really stands out and has caught the attention of companies like Marks & Spencer, Marie Claire, and Chloé; all whom she has worked with. Her illustrations are so vibrant and detailed, yet the brush strokes and drips make them free-spirited. With this unique take on illustrating it is no wonder that Holly is getting calls from some big names. We’re sure there is only more to come in her future and can’t wait for you to hear more about her!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How did your art career start?

holly: It is definitely not something that happened overnight. In some ways it has been a work in progress most of my life. I went to art college and after graduating from there I went on to do freelance work as a textile designer and then secured a full time position. Meanwhile I was trying to keep up my own drawings and illustrations on the side. This was all great experience and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I didn’t take those steps to break away and do my own work full time.

Sorry, that was a long-winded way of saying, my art career started by 1. Getting a 1st class honours degree and then 2. Working very hard and getting lots of experience!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Describe the style of your work?

holly:  I would say my work is delicate but powerful. Usually it has attention to lines and detail and when I’m not sticking with monochrome, lots of bright colours. I don’t know how to describe my style as such, but a lot of people tell me that I have a very distinct style and that it is “different”.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What is the greatest lesson you learned while pursuing your passion?

holly:  Tough one, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I would probably say, to believe in yourself, stand strong with that belief and don’t let people take advantage of you and your work. I am a pretty positive person and I hate to be cynical, but unfortunately there are a lot of people/companies out there that will prey on an artist’s ‘desperate’ need for work and take advantage. So remember to value your work and what you do, even when some people don’t.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What can others do to bring their work to the next level or gain clients?

holly:  Keep trying, keep pushing your work to get better, try new things, and don’t stay in your comfort zone. Try and have a clear focus on what it is you do and what it is you want to do/achieve. Who are your dream clients? Try to offer something unique but focused. It is better to master one thing, and for that thing to be crystal clear, than to try and offer a million different styles and have no clear direction. Clients need to know what they are getting.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, creatives etc.?

holly: Ah, so many… a few of my favourite artists are – Stina Persson, Lucian Freud, Egon Schiele, Conrad Roset, Kelly Beeman, Alexandra Levasseur, and Paula Bonet. As for music – this changes a lot, and I am always on the lookout for new musicians, but generally I love electronica-type music with nice female vocals. I love The Knife, Grimes, Kavinsky, Phantogram, Poliça… Oh and Arcade Fire is always a band I go back to. Right now I love working to, or doing yoga to Dr. Toast, his music is incredible.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: How have you overcome obstacles and discouragements in your career?

holly: When I think back, I have realized that I’ve developed a pretty good knack for forgetting about the things that didn’t work, or didn’t go ahead. It is important to have something of a mourning period for the biggies that can be a bit heartbreaking, but you cannot dwell on them. I just try and move on and work towards a new aim. I focus on the things that did work, which is always a boost and outweighs the obstacles and discouragements.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24:  Name one of your careers greatest highs?

holly: Doing a cosmetics collaboration with Marks & Spencer earlier this year!


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What career/artistic goal are you working towards next?

holly:  Ah, so many, my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. But I think my main goals are to have worked published in a book (or publish my own book…?!) and also to get more exhibitions across the globe.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: What inspires you to create?

holly:  Everything. I’m sure a lot of artists say this, but sometimes the inspiration to create, is more of a need, an urge, almost an unexplainable desire to create something beautiful.


Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 01.34.24: Tell us a little bit about who you are.

holly: I am an artist/ illustrator from Scotland. I love to travel, meet new people, and do yoga. I have brown hair, green eyes and a stupid laugh.


Keep up with what Holly is doing next and make sure to follow her on social media for more!
Twitter: @hollysharpe