Amber studied for a degree in Visual Communications from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles.
First, she captures what she sees in her head using a pen and paper, drawing the outlines. After tweaking it, she redraws the illustration digitally using multiple pens on her tablet. It is finished off using a watercolour technique.
The music Amber listens to plays an important role in the look and feel of the work. If it needs to be soft and smooth, she’ll listen to some Miles Davis, but when she wants a bolder image she plays Blue Grass or Folk.
Amber’s bold line work has a natural, sketched feel to it, while the addition of watercolour gives her illustrations an organic look and her restrained use of colour sets the mood. A few years ago, she made the decision to draw products how they’d look when laid out flat and it’s proven extremely popular with clients in fashion and beauty.
When she’s creating culinary sketches, she gives them a personal perspective and includes the nuances of real life rather than aiming for perfection. “I want the viewer to feel like they are experiencing the food as if they are there. The napkin might be placed a little off, French fries might be brown from being cooked too long, and the burger could be half-eaten,” she says.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Amber: I've always been better with pictures than with words. The idea of being able to tell a whole story with one great image has always fascinated me and is really what drives me to keep drawing. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Amber: I do have a degree in Visual Communication from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown Los Angeles. Question: Where are you originally from? Amber: I grew up in Tempe, Arizona, surrounded by desert landscapes, south-western textiles, and cacti everywhere. Question: Where do you live now & what drew you there? Amber: Now I'm living and working out of Los Angeles. The creative energy here is truly magical and there's an insane amount of talent living in this city. I'm also drawn to the diversity of the big cities and how rare it is to meet someone here who is a Los Angeles native. Question: Where is your studio and can you describe it for me? Amber: Because I illustrate mostly off of my computer and I travel so often, I've made a habit of creating my studio wherever I'm working from that day. Sometimes my studio is a tray on an airplane, a creative workspace abroad, or a bench on a rooftop patio, but most of the time I'm set up at one of my favorite cafés in the city. Question: Describe the view from your studio window? Amber: The view is almost always a cityscape full of busy bustling people going about their day, although sometimes it's looking down on the world from a tiny airplane window. I would say both views are equally just as inspirational and necessary for the creative process. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? Amber: Experiencing new cultures and lifestyles is really what inspires me.Question: How do you get your ideas? Amber: I spend a great amount of time at bookstores, rummaging through the fine art section, the photography aisle, the cookbooks, etc. Even though you can find most of the information and images online, there's something about holding a book and feeling the paper on your fingertips that sparks a real sense of creativity.Question: Do you collect anything? Amber: Everywhere I visit I try to find vintage hand drawn postcards of the city. I usually end up finding them at local outdoor markets or tiny bookstores. There's just something about a hand drawn postcard that can really give you a sense of the history and traditions of the town, seen from the eyes of an artist living there. Question: Do you keep a scrapbook? Amber: The closest thing I have to a scrapbook is my Pinterest boards. I always have a notebook with me that I fill with sketches and ideas throughout the day. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Amber: If I'm not illustrating, you can usually find me set styling for photo shoots, practicing different Shibori dying techniques, reading at a café, or paddle boarding on a lake or ocean close by.Question: Tell us about a favourite project you've recently completed. Amber: I recently had the opportunity to work with InStyle Magazine and AG Jeans on a set of illustrations representing each zodiac sign. I was allowed the creative freedom to really have fun with each illustration and was able to make each one incredibly diverse and bursting with personality. Question: Who are your art heroes? Amber: I was always fascinated with Van Gogh growing up because he faced an incredible amount of hardship and was still able to create stunningly beautiful art. More recently, I've been looking up to architects and innovators in their own industry. Frank Lloyd Wright and Elon Musk are my heroes at the moment. Question: Do you have any pets? Amber: I have a 3-legged mini poodle mix named Kale. I found him hopping around downtown LA 2 years ago and he's quickly become my best friend, travel buddy, and work partner.