There’s nothing like a good story, and that’s especially true when it comes to artwork. What I love most is the rich story that can be found in both the work itself and in the creator of said work. Leah’s love of art goes all the way back to preschool, when she was the star art student, according to her mom. Fast-forward to 2015 and she’s the creative mind behind LWF Designs, her custom portrait shop, which she just opened last summer. Read on for more behind-the-scenes scoop and Leah’s tips for capturing your family in the best light! xoxo
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Official Web site: LWF Designs
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Tell me about your shop. What’s the inspiration behind its launch?
While I’ve always done a lot of art — mostly photography — it was fairly recently that I started doodling pictures of my own family and posting them on social media. I got so many likes and requests for similar pieces that I decided to open an Etsy shop so that more people could access my pieces. I love being able to capture little details that make a person who they are — a single curl or a dimpled cheek, for example. And I love to make people laugh with pieces such as my recent doodle of Left Shark from the Super Bowl halftime show.
Have you always been interested in art and painting? What’s your process like when you begin a new piece? Where do you start?
My mom tells me that I was a star art student in preschool. I have always studied art peripherally with classes at the University of Michigan, at Santa Reparata in Florence, Italy, and in New York City, and it’s always been something that I love to do. Drawing, painting and doodling relaxes me, and I love the feeling of creating a portrait that makes another family happy or celebrates a milestone. When beginning a new piece, I study the photograph I’ll be painting from, and then sketch the piece in pencil. Painting is the fun part, and I save that until last. If I’m working on more than one piece at once, I sketch them all first and then paint.
What are your top 3 tips for capturing your family in photos, artwork, etc.?
For photos, take a lot! I always get great captures of my 1-and-a-half-year-old son, but usually the one I post is the best one out of ten fails. For artwork, I’d say it’s all about capturing the little details. Like I said above, it’s the stray curl or the dimple, but it’s also the plaid shirt & the exact details of the UppaBaby Vista stroller. For all, I think practice, practice, practice. I try to find time to draw and paint every day. I also study other illustrators, especially now that Instagram makes it so easy to do so. I love it when other artists post about their techniques, and I ask as many questions as I can. I’m also going to try to get to some in-person art classes this year.
What’s the most interesting piece you’ve ever created?
Recently, a friend asked me to paint my biggest piece yet. It was of a bride, groom and their dog with about 50 wedding guests in the background. The size was more of a challenge than I originally anticipated, but so fun to capture the energy of the party, and I love how it came out.