In the latest Craft It Yourself book from Capstone Young Readers, Girl Plus Pen, designer and artist Stephanie Corfee (pictured below) inspires readers to create doodle drawings that are fresh, fun, and express their unique sense of style.
Using a combination of step-by-step instructions, artistic prompts, and helpful tips, Stephanie teaches readers to draw everything from simple swirls, swooshes, and scallops to intricate designs, lettering, and word art. We recently had the chance to ask Stephanie a few questions about her creative process, her artistic background, and what and who inspires her work. You can learn more about Stephanie and her work at her website. Why do you think drawing and crafts are important?
I think creative outlets are meditative, genuine, and rewarding.
Meditative because the process and repetition often used require focus. You can escape to the page for a period of time. It's a great way to de-stress. Genuine because no two people can create in exactly the same way. A person's brush strokes or line drawings have a signature that belongs to them. It's very honest. And rewarding because when you make something with your own two hands, see it develop, and make decisions about color and contrast and form, that is hugely satisfying and creates a feeling of self-confidence and self-worth.
When did you start drawing?
I know I was always drawing as a child. I'm not sure what age it began, but it's safe to say I don't remember any time in my life I wasn't drawing something!
What is a typical day in your creative life?
I don't have a true typical day because my art business is so varied. But this is the general idea:
Mornings belong to household chores, errands, school prep, and breakfasts and lunches for my kids. As far as the business goes, it's mostly only emails sent or answered from my phone.
After lunch, the little ones have playtime with each other and I start planning my tasks for the afternoon. I may paint a bit in my sketchbook while sitting in the playroom with the boys. Or they may join me in the studio for a little art. Once my husband comes home mid-afternoon, then I really dig in to creating. I work until dinnertime, painting or creating digital files. Then it's dinner with family, always. Then homework and baths and bedtimes for kiddos. Then I settle in for a few hours in the studio at night as well. I may be working on a book, editing photos, or writing. I may be fulfilling online Etsy orders or blogging. Sometimes I'm painting. I TRY to get to bed by midnight and sometimes it does not happen. I'm a night owl!
What is your favorite project in Girl Plus Pen and why?
I really love the “10 things I love about me” page with the handprints. It encourages girls to doodle about their uniqueness and the traits they are proud of! When I was a kid, I was very introverted in my creativity and maybe not so self-confident. I would love to help girls be proud of what makes them who they are! If they can do that while being creative, double bonus!
What is your go-to artistic medium? What about your go-to tool?
I always have mechanical pencils, peerless watercolors, and a waterbrush. I love being able to sketch and watercolor anywhere without a lot of mess or fuss. The inventor of the waterbrush should win some sort of medal. When I have more space and time, I LOVE fluid acrylics. They flow so smoothly while giving excellent creamy color and that is just the best to me.
I paint and draw lots of kids characters, flowers, and doodles. My work is whimsical and feminine. I love bright fuchsia and grey lavender, so those colors come up a lot too. My acrylic work is full of curves, circles, and brushstroke textures.
Do you have a favorite handmade gift you’ve given?
I recently gave one of my best friends a black and white watercolor portrait of her daughter for her first birthday. I LOVED making it and it's a precious, tiny size.
How do you nurture the creative process in children?
I try my best to let them do their thing. I try to let them watch me a little if they are using a new tool or material, but then let them take it from there and ask questions if they need to. It can be a challenge for me because I am a type A personality. But after seeing their amazing results and beaming faces, it gets much easier to let them fly. I also try to let my kids use great materials whenever practical. Better materials yield better results, and they know the difference. I feel like they really feel special using my nice art supplies and feel honored and trusted.
What is your dream job?
I think I'm kind of doing it! But if I could add a few improvements, I'd add maybe 3-4 regular clients/partners who I'd work with to create inspiring products for kids—wall art, décor, clothing, and art supplies that are high quality and fun to look at, like colorful patterned brushes and water jars, smocks and aprons, and sketchbooks with color-able covers. I'd also love to create more art books that inspire, storybooks, poetry, and picture books. I'd love the chance to work regularly with a kids' toy company and/or a kids' book publisher that shares my vision. I'd also love to be part of a large-scale program that could bring really amazing art programs to kids.
If you could meet any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
That is a difficult question. There are lots of artists I truly admire. Oliver Jeffers stands out, and Olaf Hajek. I absolutely love Teil Duncan's work. But I also think a real thrill for me would be to meet the next generation of artists, to be able to lead an auditorium full of talented, hopeful young artists in a huge collaborative art piece. That inspires me the most—that untapped, yet unseen creativity just bubbling up and waiting to be shared.
Are your creative juices flowing? Order your own copy of Girl Plus Pen.
— Eliza Leahy, Associate Editor