18 August 2017

A family illustration commission for my sister

My little sister got married recently and as soon as she announced her engagement I knew what I was getting her for a wedding present. I had always wanted to commission a family illustration after seeing them all over Etsy and obviously Instagram and Pinterest etc etc. 

So I set to work endlessly searching Etsy for the perfect illustrator. I knew exactly what I wanted in my head. Just the right sort of illustration style that I knew both I and my sister would love. Nothing 'cartoony' or silly, also not highly polished or brightly coloured. I wanted something a little sketchy, something cute, but not cutesy... well I knew what I wanted anyway.

Then I happened upon it, after literally searching ALL of the couples portrait illustrations on Etsy (there are a lot!!!) THE most perfect shop....

Little Yellow Daisies https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LittleYellowDaisiess/ jumped out at me instantly. I had saved a few shops so far that looked ok but nothing right.  But I adored Despoina's illustrations instantly and just knew that her style would be perfect.

So I excitedly emailed off my ideas and was greeted by the most wonderful, super excitable response back! Don't you just love shopping on Etsy and dealing direct with small business and craft creators, I have always found the experience of shopping on Etsy such a joy. But BY far my favourite item to purchase and my favourite shop has to be this one.

So Jen (my sister) and her husband to be Phil have a toddler named James (my nephew, who is almost 3) they also have 3 Degus, a mummy, daddy and baby Degu. Yep, what's a Degu??? Yeah I had never heard of them before either. So in the description for the portrait I wanted the cost was per figure. So I asked the question if each tiny Degu would be a separate cost. Lovely Despoina only charged me for the 3 figures in the end, just Jen, Phil and James. 

So the next job for me was to figure out exactly what I wanted each 'figure' to be wearing. I'm quite a perfectionist and control freak (lol) so when I get an idea into my head I am 100% sure of it. So I went through endless Facebook photos and found poses for Jen, Phil and James and picked out their usual items of clothing. I ended up sending full descriptions plus bulleted lists of their appearance and a multitude of reference photos. Some photos showed the height reference between Jen and Phil and also James and Phil etc, then some photos for a certain item of clothing, and hair style etc etc.

Despoina kept me updated the whole way with her enthusiastic and lovely emails. She had the first drafts back to me in no time! The first drafts had a few different subtle colour options for the banner and then two different poses for the figures. 
Now this was a very hard decision! I loved this pose above with the 3 figures all together, I think this is super cute and more sort of balanced. But I knew that the first image, at the top of this post would be the final one. I was a little concerned here that James and the Degus were a little lost.

But I was overjoyed with the drafts! In fact I picked out the final from these first drafts she sent. It was THE most exciting email ever, I squealed when I saw them and just kept staring and staring at them all day long, excitedly showing people the images. I SO badly wanted to show Jen, it was torture not being able to tell her as I knew she would just LOVE the illustration too.

Despoina is crazy talented! Her work just looks effortless but she captured my sister, Jen and Phil so perfectly. They are such subtle images but they are just perfect. I adore the way the stripes look on Phil's shirt and the teeny little dots on Jen's scarf and the texture of her T-shirt. The Degu's are simply perfect and the little flush of pink of James's cheeks. His Cath Kidston dino hoody is perfect also. I could not have been happier with it, there was absolutely nothing I could have picked to change.

Here's the final thing, all framed up, ready to wrap and give to my sister. The photo is not the best, I was in a hurry! She LOVED it by the way, truly did, she said I TOTALLY 'won' at wedding present, obviously! I always win at presents!

If you are looking for a custom family illustration I could NOT recommend Despoina's shop Little Yellow Daisiess enough.  Her work is perfect, the drafts were back with me super super quick and she sent the best email updates, full of enthusiasm and super lovely all the way through the process. It was a delight to work with her and I could not be happier with my illustration.


  1. It is perfect ,I thought so too , but with all the fuss of wedding preparations and other stuff ,I didn't end up saying much ,and I totally forgot to ask about Jens reaction . I do agree tho , you totally won !! Xx

  2. What a gorgeous picture and such a lovely memento - this is something they'll treasure forever and all the thought that went into it just jumps out! Top sister prize for you :)

    C x

    1. Thanks so much Cat, yeah I'm pretty pleased with it. x

  3. Jo.. :)

    I'm so touched and I can't thank you enough for your post..! I'm so happy it was such a good experience for you and I assure you it was exactly the same for me too! I enjoyed every moment of it and you're so helpful with everything that not only made everything easier but also more fun! So, thank you for making us (me and my work!) sound so .. desirable! Thank you!
    Thank you so much..!


    P.S. And in case you can't tell, you made me very -very very VERY :)- happy :)


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