With a BFA in Illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Alissandra teaches art alongside her thriving career in illustration. It’s something that gives her extra insight into her own practice and helps her evolve her techniques and explore new areas. She’s a font fiend, taking inspiration from letters and numerals, decorative ampersands, script fonts, swashes, ligatures, woodcut, letterpress, slab serifs… you name it.
Her wider influences include the Rocky Mountains, Dutch landscape paintings, vintage National Parks posters and humorous wordplay, which feeds into her designs.
‘More is more’ is Alissandra’s motto, and rigorously works her compositions, fitting the words together like a puzzle, along with rich textures and decorative elements, filling negative space with positive creativity. With a background in traditional media, today she works with Procreate, Photoshop and Illustrator.
Using illustrative techniques, Alissandra creates work that is playful, bright, lively and humorous, but also sincere. She’ll adapt her style and palette to suit the tone of the project, and the creative hand of the artist is there in each image she produces.
Question: Did you study illustration in college? Alissandra: Yes, I studied Illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art, but ironically, my enthusiasm for lettering emerged after graduation - in college, I never took a class in lettering or even graphic design! So all of my lettering work has been self-taught, albeit on a strong foundation. Question: Where did you grow up? Alissandra: I was born in a super-small town in upstate New York, but moved to Denver in middle school, so my childhood was sort of split into two chapters. Question: Do you have a childhood memory relating to drawing/art that you hold dear? Alissandra: I remember getting my first sketchbook in kindergarten, and while I think the point was for me to use it to practice my letters, I used it to draw pages and pages of princesses, all of them without necks - fancy dresses and pointy crowns and long flowing hair, but no necks. Question: Where do you live now and what drew you there? Alissandra: I live in Denver again, so I sort of sling-shot back and forth from the east coast to Colorado in 10-year increments. I love being so close to nature and the mountains (and I love the lack of humidity). This city is full of kindness and great beer and is just a stone’s throw away from all kinds of adventure.Question: Describe your studio for us. Alissandra: I have a cozy home studio that I love so much: it’s full of books I love and art by my friends and idols (plus a few of my own pieces) and I love having a place for everything. My desk is always a mess, but I know when it comes time to tidy, that everything has a home. Question: What is the first record you bought? Alissandra: So as a kid, it was a classic: Spice World (and it was technically a CD to go with the discman I got for Christmas). But when I started my record collection, it was Brill Bruisers by the New Pornographers. Question: What would be your dream commission? Alissandra: I would love to design a poster for a music festival, hand-lettering all of the bands performing. I’d also love to work with a craft brewery to design their labels - I think the challenge of making a cohesive, yet fresh, ongoing series would be really satisfying (plus I love a good IPA).Question: Alissandra: How much of your work is hand drawn? Question: Basically all of it, as long as you count digital drawing! I have to start the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper, and then I photograph my final sketch and draw on top of it in Procreate with the Apple Pencil. In the event that vectoring is required, I go over top of my Procreate draft in Illustrator or Affinity Designer. Alissandra: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Question: I have been an art teacher for 12 years, so I would probably still be doing that! I do find teaching to be a really satisfying & rewarding profession, if only I could eliminate all of the pesky bureaucratic parts. Alissandra: Have you any hidden talents? Question: I am really good at throwing & catching frisbees - in Colorado, it’s like, a high school and college sport, and I played competitively for all of my high school years. Alissandra: How would someone who knows you well describe you? Question: My husband tells me I’m funny, stubborn, “a lot of work” (all of which is accurate), and beautiful (which is so sweet) . Alissandra: