Friday, August 12, 2016

Fall Go West! Craft Fest Flyer

I was very happy to have the opportunity to design the upcoming Go West! Craft Fest flyer.

The birds are all birds that migrate through Philly in the fall: The Philadelphia vireo, an eastern bluebird, and a blackburnian warbler, plus a nuthatch because they're naturally acrobatic. 

I read about trees in The Woodlands to decide what kind of leaves to draw, and I learned that the first ginkgo tree was brought to the US and planted in the Woodlands. They're such a pretty yellow color in the fall too (even though they smell!)

Here's a look at my preliminary drawing:

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen some of the progress shots too:
A photo posted by Sarah Ryan (@sarahryandraws) on

If you are around Philly in October, I'd highly recommend this event!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Donkeys Around Town

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook you've probably seen some photos of the latest project I've been working on, Donkeys Around Town.

Here's a description of the project from :
The Donkeys Around Town program is a civic initiative of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention. In celebration of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, fifty-seven fiberglass donkeys will be painted by local artists to represent the fifty states, Washington, D.C. and the six U.S. territories. The donkeys, the symbol of the Democratic Party, will be displayed from July 1 – 31, 2016 at popular sites and attractions throughout Philadelphia.
The Donkeys Around Town program will include a social media campaign as well as a scavenger hunt - facilitated through an app that will be created specifically for this program - in order to engage residents, delegates and visitors in the excitement around the Convention and make everyone feel like they are part of the action in Philadelphia during Convention week.
I applied for the project through ArtJawn, and was one of the artists chosen to paint two donkeys. I was assigned Alaska and North Carolina.  Each artist was given 6 ideas from their states' delegation, and had to use at least three to represent the state or territory.

Here are the originals sketches I submitted for the donkey plans:

Alaska asked for Mt Denali, salmon, northern lights, a moose, forget me nots (the state flower), and their flag (the big dipper). The black rectangle is where the state name goes.
North Carolina wanted mountains, a lighthouse, BBQ, cardinals (their state bird), and dogwood (their state flower). The BBQ design was changed because they decided they would like long leaf pines to represent the middle of their state.

If you would like to see pictures of the donkeys in progress, please take a look on my Instagram.

Here's the finished Alaska donkey:

This is before the letterer painted the state name.

All of the artists worked together in a warehouse. You can see Vermont's donkey behind mine. We had under a week to finish the donkeys; it was a very tight timeline, but a lot of fun!

Here are some Alaska details:

 Here's the finished North Carolina donkey:

I added a woodpecker and fox squirrel to represent a longleaf pine forest. I also thought a rainbow was appropriate for North Carolina democrats.

Here's a detailed look:

 You can see the texture of the donkey here. They are made out of fiberglass; it was a challenging surface to paint on, but donkeys do have fur.

Here's a close up of the cardinals from instagram:

A photo posted by Sarah Ryan (@sarahryandraws) on

The donkeys have been delivered to their location all around the city. I'll get more pictures of the donkeys when they are out "in the wild".  Here's the official map with the donkey locations for all of the states:

The North Carolina donkey is at the Jim's Steaks on South St (yum!), and Alaska is hanging out at the Sofitel Hotel near Rittenhouse (fancy!).

A photo posted by Sarah Ryan (@sarahryandraws) on

I'm going to try to get a photo of Alaska this Sunday, so check my Instagram.

This project has gotten a lot of press coverage! I tried not to make eye contact with any cameras, but you can see me at the very end of this clip: 57 Painted Donkeys to Decorate for DNC

I want to end with photos of some of the other artist's donkeys; I'm linking from Instagram, but you can find a listing of all artists on Also, keep checking out the #donkeysaroundtown tag on Twitter and Instagram to see all the donkeys.

A photo posted by Brian Cesario (@briancesario) on

A photo posted by mrgnthomas (@mrgnthomas) on

There will be a scavenger hunt with PRIZES in Philadelphia starting July 21. A listing of the prizes is here:

Have fun finding the donkeys!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Go West! Craft Fest Flyer

I had the privilege of drawing this spring's Go West! Craft Fest flyer. 

In the picture above you can see a little of my process. I start with a preliminary drawing in pencil and transfer the image to good paper. I always start with adding the colors first, and then I place the pencil linework over top.

If you're in Philly you should definitely stop by on April 30th. It's always a good time!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Italian Market "Buon Natale" card

I was asked to create a new card for the Italian Market Visitors Center here in Philadelphia.
I loved drawing these little shops that are right in my neighborhood!

You can also pick up some pizzelle cards in the Visitor Center this holiday season:

If you can't get to Philly, but would still like one, you can order them in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Go West! Craft Fest flyer and Fall Events

I had the opportunity to illustrate this year's Go West! Craft Fest Holiday flyer.

I loved drawing these birds. All of them are birds that you could see at West Philly feeders in the winter. I also included the setting for the event, The Rotunda.

The text was done by Emily Dorn of VIX Emporium.

Here is a look at my preliminary drawing:

Here's a look at the birds close up:

I want to thank everyone who came out for the Art Star Craft Bazaar this November. It was a great time! I shared a space with Bethany of Stanley, Chester & Albert. You can see more of her work here.

I also had a great time this past Sunday at the Cynwyd Station Cafe Fall Festival. I was set up right next to Melissa of Popped Stitches. She just set up a Facebook page that you should definitely like!

I'll have work at the Main Line Art Center until this Saturday, November 22. There are loads of great handmade goods there for early holiday shopping.

My last event for November will be A Bit of the Arts in Lansdowne on Black Friday and Small business Saturday. I hope to see a lot of Delco people there :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

HUGE Fall Update

I have not stayed on top of my blog this fall, but that's a good thing! It means I was super busy.

Here's what I've been up to:

New Work:

I created some new Philadelphia inspired work.

I used West Philly row houses for my references for the two pieces below. I think West Philly has the most beautiful houses in the whole city. 
Penn's Woods I, watercolor & graphite on Rives BFK, 26x11”, 2015.

“Penn’s Woods II, watercolor & graphite on Rives BFK, 26x11”, 2015".

Here are some closer looks:

Another new piece was inspired by one of my very favorite buildings in Philadelphia, The Divine Lorraine Hotel. The hotel has been empty and unkept for years, but many people in Philly are really fond of this building. Read more about it here.

“Divine Lorraine Hive, watercolor & graphite on Rives BFK, 11x14”, 2015."
Here's a closer look:

Philadelphia has some of the best food! One of my favorite snacks are Philly soft pretzels. This raccoon stole one! (He's way better than New York's pizza rat)

“Pretzel Bandit, watercolor & graphite on Rives BFK, 8x10”, 2015."
 I've made notecards of this raccoon too:


The work above was shown at The Art Dept. gallery in Fishtown as part of a show, Faunadelphia.

The show opened on a dark and stormy night, and I am so grateful to anyone who made it out!
Photo credit: Arlene Beltran
 There are some more great photos, and an article about The Art Dept. on the Knack Philadelphia blog.
Photos of The Art Dept by Knack Philadelphia

Emily from The Art Dept. also stopped by for a studio visit, and took some fun photos:

4th and Cross:

I have my work up at the South Philly restaurant, Fourth and Cross until January.

They have the best fries! Stop by and check out the place.


I got to participate in some really fun events this fall. The photos below are from Go West! Craft Fest, The River City Festival, and the Old City Festival.

Thank you so much to anyone who stopped by my table to say hi!


I am in two additional stores since August.

I have cards available at the baby goods store, Minnow Lane in Fishtown. I'm also in Nice Things Handmade on East Passyunk; you can pick up cards, prints, and brooches there.

You can see a map of my stockists in Philadelphia here.

Upcoming Events:

Here's my schedule for the month of November:

There are loads of fun things coming up!

The first event is The Fall Art Star Craft Bazaar this weekend.

I just made a poster for the holiday Go West! Craft Fest. I'll share it in my next post, so check back soon!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Philly Nest

Philly Nest, watercolor and graphite on Rives BFK, 16x20", 2015.
I have been not keeping this poor blog up to date!

I'm currently working on a lot of Philadelphia themed drawings for a gallery show in October. Here's one of the bigger pieces.

The preliminary drawing looked like this:

Here are some detailed shots:

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