Home » Blog » Angels and Miracles » Angel Stories » Meet the Cover Artist: Lisa Ballard


Share this story

Meet the Cover Artist: Lisa Ballard

Meet artist Lisa Ballard, whose lifelong love of nature inspired the cover she created for the January-February 2019 issue of Angels on Earth magazine.

Guideposts Video: Inspiring True Stories

Hello. My name is Lisa Ballard. And I am the illustrator for the cover of the current issue of Angels on Earth magazine. I call myself an illustrative designer because my training is in graphic design, but my passion has always been illustration. My designs always end up incorporating some sort of hand-drawn element.

I opened my freelance business in 1998, and since then I’ve partnered with many major brands, including Williams-Sonoma, Yankee Candle, Green Mountain Coffee and many more.

Nature is my inspiration. It balances me. I call it the master designer—thoughtful, but not planned. When I’m illustrating nature, I have to turn off my design brain and just start moving my hands in the general direction, letting the happy accidents happen. It’s kind of like following a path in the woods, never knowing what to expect, but embracing the unexpected, the textures and the patterns.

I translate nature into style I call Mod Botanicals, much like the illustration behind me. It’s a flat, graphic style that is reminiscent of the mid-century modern era of design. This is what the people at Guideposts responded to when they saw my work through my illustration rep, Scott Hull Associates.

Angels on Earth magazine wanted a white feather for their winter cover in my Mod Botanical style. I was a little intimidated because a white feather is so subtle and graceful. How was I going to make it stand out? The organic shape and positioning was key to the composition, and the subtle textures are what makes it come to life.

I started by placing a black-and-white scanned wood-grain texture that I actually faux-grained myself as a background. And then I colored it in the computer. Next, I free-handed the feather shape with the mouse. What’s funny is that I’m left-handed when I draw with a pencil, but I’m right-handed when I draw with a mouse, which makes the happy accidents happen. That gives a more natural feel to the shapes.

With the feather shape refined, I printed it out and used that as an underlay. I transferred the feather shape onto a toothy watercolor paper and inked out the main linear texture of the feather, which I then scanned and placed into the composition in the computer. With additional subtle textures, which I have in my library of scans, I was able to add the subtleties that made the feather really come to life.

I hope this little peek into the process gives you some inspiration. Thank you, Angels on Earth magazine, for giving me such a great opportunity.

Share this story

Community Newsletter

Get More Inspiration Delivered to Your Inbox

Scroll to Top