A Peek Into Our Design Process

Today we’re sharing a post that originally appeared on the Bella Figura blog. Enjoy!

As any small business owner will tell you, running your own studio has many positives and, of course, a few negatives too. One of my favorite aspects about having my own design practice is the uniqueness of each project. We’re fortunate enough to work with so many types of clients, each with their own thoughts and ideas. Because of this, every day is new, refreshing, and full of what I love — illustration!   We’re excited to walk you through our process as we work on a custom wedding suite for an upcoming Brooklyn wedding. This has been on of my favorite projects as of late and I’m so happy to share it with everyone. Let’s get started!



When I sit down to create artwork, I double (and triple) check that I have everything I’ll need handy. It usually takes a moment to find a rhythm and warm up when I draw, so it’s quite annoying if I have to get up to find a specific pen or eraser and interrupt my flow. I almost always draw from reference, so I’ve kept a few image of the Wythe Hotel on hand as well as my copious collection of drawing utensils. Not pictured – an endless flow of good, strong tea.



Once I’ve sketched everything in pencil, I go back over it in ink. This is where my Micron pen addiction can truly run rampant! It’s also one of my favorite parts of the process because I can start adding in some of the finer details that really make the illustration fun and personal.



After the illustrations are squared away, I’ll move onto the lettering. With brush lettering, like illustration, it can take a few minutes to get into the zone. I expect to go through several sheets of paper (sorry trees! love ya!) before I go back and edit down. I prefer to play with the ink and let several options develop organically before looking at everything as a whole and choosing which I like best.



All of the artwork is done! Hooray! Now it’s time to scan it and dive into the layout, type, and color on the computer. Creating the artwork by hand and editing it digitally gives the process so much flexibility and allows me to have the best of both worlds. It also ensures that I can accommodate revisions in a timely manner for the client as opposed to starting from scratch when it’s time for edits.



There are few things more exciting than receiving the project back from the printer! It’s the culmination of the initial ideas, inspiration, and artwork that you can hold in your hands and enjoy. Seeing the final colors and textures for these pieces made me fall in love with the project all over again.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my process. The workflow is a constant evolution as I find what works best for me – and what doesn’t work at all! I’m very fortunate to do work that I enjoy and have clients who love the outcome. If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you!

New Valentine’s Day Cards

Hello again and welcome 2015! We’re so excited to be back in the studio after a wonderful holiday vacation. Hopefully everyone had some fun and relaxing time off and a very happy new year.

Between all of the eating and sleeping we did the last few weeks, we also found some time to work on a brand new line of Valentine’s Day cards. We’re so happy to share them while also honoring the tradition of pushing holidays on you before you’re ready. Though to be fair, Valentine’s Day is a mere 5 1/2 weeks away!

The full line is available on our Etsy shop so you can send a little love near and far this year.

double the love card

crush a lot

g train

love tunes mix holiday card

on my team

London Love

Take a peek through the blog and you’ll notice it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of all things London. The Swiss Cottage studio wouldn’t be complete without endless amounts of tea, miniature Beatles figurines, and vintage London Underground poster. Even our business name is borrowed from a neighborhood in that lovely city!

Being the anglophile that I am, you can imagine my excitement as I worked on this London-centric wedding suite. We opted to move away from the traditional blue, red, and white in favor of black, white, and red. The dramatic colors are balanced with softer, watercolor illustrations of some of the city’s landmarks. I love how striking the overall look is. It’s bold while still maintaining a more gentle, romantic edge. Highlighting some of the most iconic spots around London was also a great way to get guests excited about making the trip for the big day! 

The juxtaposition of old and new is such a prominent theme within London, which is why one of my favorite details is the envelope liner of the Underground map. It introduces a modern element alongside the watercolor images of Big Ben and Tower Bridge. There’s a nice visual push and pull within the suite that I had a great time balancing through the artwork and design.

This is one of my favorite suites that we’ve created this year and I’m so happy to have had the chance to work on it! You can see this plus many other new projects on our freshly updated website! Enjoy!



Weekend in the Woods :: Alyssa + Drew

Fall has officially arrived in Brooklyn! I’m loving the cool weather and changing leaves. The only downside is how early it’s getting dark now! But if that’s the trade off for spiced treats and the ability to dress in layers, I’ll take it.

With the changing seasons, it seemed only right to bring a bit of autumn color to the blog. Alyssa and Drew planned a beautiful fall weekend in Ontario that included not only their wedding festivities but also canoeing, fishing, hiking, and swimming! The couple wanted an invitation that would get their guests excited about the woodsy weekend that awaited them.

My favorite part of the invitation is the lush border. It showcases the natural foliage of the area as well as the warm colors of the changing leaves. I also can’t help but feel nice and snuggly when I see the flannel inspired envelope liner. Oh, who is that cute turtle on the crest, you may ask? That’s Caeser, their beloved pet. Their invitation just wouldn’t be complete with him!

I had a lot of fun working with Alyssa and Drew to bring their vision to life and hope you like it too. Hopefully the weather is lovely wherever you are and you’re treating yourself to plenty of pumpkin flavored goodies.







Stuff We Love: Album Artwork

Whenever I’m on the subway in the morning, headed to the studio, I like to look around and see how many of my fellow passengers are reading actual, paper books as opposed to tapping away on a phone or tablet screen. More often that not, the latter will be the majority. Sometimes I’m even one of them (have you guys tried this game called Two Dots??)

It’s undeniable (and also rather old news) that we live in a digital world. From our iPhones and MacBooks to Twitter and Instagram, it’d be nearly impossible to ignore or reject the fact. Nor would we want to! Technology helps us be more efficient in our research, design, and communication. It helps us connect with all of you!

But as custom stationers and lovers of all things tactile, we find even more joy in the physical – things like thick paper, bright ink, paper to-do lists, new pens, old books…and album artwork.

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is head to a record store (there are no shortage of those in Brooklyn) and flip through the albums. I buy a few here and there, but I more so go to appreciate that, despite music so often being streamed or enjoyed digitally, record covers are still such key a part of the album.

I’ve rounded up five of my favorite, illustrative record covers for your enjoyment. BONUS – all of the music inside is fantastic as well. Check them out below…



Daniel Johnton has an incredible number of albums, all with artwork he’s created. It’s tough to pick just one, but if I must, it’ll have to be this classic.



Kreh Mellick created the artwork for Angel Olsen’s latest release. The way she uses shapes together is absolutely fantastic. Check out her website for more…she paints quite a beautiful beard.


 Brooklyn band Woods’ album artwork is always on point. I love the black and white sketches from their latest release.



The simplicity of Julie Byrne’s artwork perfectly reflects her musical style. I love the handmade quality of this album – the seeminly over-inked stamp shapes feels rustic and warm.


Similar to Angel Olsen’s album, Saintseneca’s artwork is like an exercise in color. It’s great how they’ve created depth and texture from only tones of blue here.

What are some of your favorite album covers? I’d love to see (and listen) to them! Let me know in a comment or tell us on Twitter @swisscottagedsn

Handmade Wrapping paper with Apartment Therapy

I’m so excited to share with you today a fun project that I worked on with Apartment Therapy! They are doing a Handmade Holiday series with Nikon and wanted to shoot some creatives making handmade presents for the holiday season. I came up with the idea to make a my own wrapping paper out of a brown paper bag and paired that up with a cute holiday card. Both are hand illustrated using just a classic pencil, pen and watercolor. I have to say, I had such a fun time creating this project! It was great to just tune out and draw whatever came to mind. Plus it certainly got me in the holiday spirit. A HUGE thank you to Apartment Therapy for including me in this great series! You can read the full story here

All photos below are courtesy of the wildly talented Gabriela Herman







And here are a few fun snaps of our workspace!





Illustrated Recipe

When Chantelle came to me to create an illustrated recipe for her friend’s wedding present, I jumped at the chance. I have been wanting to do a project like this for awhile but as many of you know, it’s very easy to get caught up with all the little things and those fun projects start to slowly make their way to the “some day” to-do list. I also thought this was a fantastic gift idea. Not only is it personal but it’s functional and a custom piece of art for your friends. Done and done. While creating this, I realized just how piecemeal I sometimes illustrate things. I took some pictures of the process so you can see the different stages of the illustration and compare it to the final piece. I started with hand lettering all the copy, then I drew all the illustrations in pencil and then outlined them all in black, waterproof ink. I then painted the images with watercolors and scanned all the pieces into Photoshop. A la Cribs, this is where the magic happens. I can fix all of my mistakes, play with the color, straighten out my hand type- basically just tighten it up and make it look all pretty. Hope you guys enjoy this one!


and now the process part:




Illustrated Love: Jorie & Hal

Sometimes you get to work with those clients who are just so easy, fun, creative and cool.  Jorie and Hal are all of the above. Everything we worked on got comments like “this is so uber rad…” or “Rock out!!!!” It is so great to work with clients who are just as enthusiastic about the work as you are. Makes for some really amazing work.

Jorie and Hal are getting married in Vermont and are having an indie classic {just made that term up- roll with it} wedding on her Mom’s property on Lake Champlain. Jorie really wanted the invites to feel warm, engaging and above all fun. This couple has lived all over together and love the adventures they have shard. We decided to tell their story through a panel invite suite. Each panel shows a different time in their life as a couple, ending with them on the property where they will be married.

What I love most about this suite is that it’s one piece of paper. It’s very compact and a great fit for the low key Bride & Groom looking to keep it simple. The RSVP is a post card that you trim and send back to your guests- love that. So many fun bits in this suite: from the rainbow socks Jorie is wearing with her kickball uniform to the little map details on the back. I am really happy with how this turned out. Good luck Jorie & Hal!



With wedding season in full swing my sketchbook is full of little drawings from different custom invites. Here are some snaps of a few different illustrations I’ve been working on. {Behind the scenes- I usually draw an image several times before i get it right. I also rely heavily on Photoshop for little edits- sneakkkkky. It’s the best trick!}

Watercolor cool off

Hot enough for you all? This week was something else in Brooklyn. With temps well into the 100’s staying cool was top of mind this week. I have been working on some fun, cool {ha} watercolors that I thought I’d share. They are very beach and summer oriented which is perfect since clearly we are in the thick of it!

{custom watercolor images available- email for details!}