Watercolors, Copic Markers + Fashion Illustration

Watercolors, Copic Markers + Fashion Illustration - offbeat + inspired

It’s been a bit crazy around here and a lot of exciting things are coming up (most of which I’ll be able to share with you VERY soon!), but I needed to escape for a few minutes, take a deep breath and share something that I have been obsessing over lately. Fashion illustration.

Watercolors, Copic Markers + Fashion Illustration - offbeat + inspired

My most recent, “Once Upon A Time”


If you’ve known me for a long time, you know I’ve been sketching little models and dressing them up since I was teenie. If I got a bad grade in school, it could usually be attributed to classroom hours spent doodling dresses in my marble notebooks instead of listening to a lecture. The notebooks were bursting with pencil or pen-drawn characters in an assortment of outfits — some of my own design, others straight from my real life wish list (probably Delia’s). I would share them with my friends and get excited about the idea of designing clothing someday. We would fantasize about creating our own wedding gowns and opening a shop with all the outfits we could dream up.


I honored my childhood aspirations in a somewhat strange way by getting into 3D clothing design when I was 19. This next part will probably require revisiting and further explanation, but in a nutshell, I made an account in a virtual world called Second Life and opened up a clothing store. Second Life is sort of like The Sims, only you can walk around and chat with other people who are logging in all over the world — and if you’re a 3D designer, texture mapping artist, etc., you can sell your creations to other users and make real money. This was how I earned part time income while in college (in addition to babysitting), and it has kept my love of fashion design/creation alive to this day.

Watercolors, Copic Markers + Fashion Illustration - offbeat + inspired

This is an ad for two 3D dresses my shop partner and I created for our Second Life store, Mon Tissu.


The coolest thing about designing clothing in Second Life was that I got to share my creations in a much more personal way than just sketching them out on lined paper. I was able to put them up for sale and other people could purchase them, wear them, and walk around a virtual world all dressed up in something I made. The sharing of creativity that takes place there is incredible.


After years of doing only 3D and digital fashion design, I decided to pick up a pencil again when I came across the blog of Katie Rodgers, who has become my all time favorite fashion illustrator. Her blog/business is called PaperFashion, and she focuses primarily on watercolor. I was so inspired browsing through her work that I immediately went out and purchased a rinky dink set of watercolors, some brushes and a watercolor pad. Consider my 2D fashion journey revived!

I took a class Katie was teaching on SkillShare about how to do quick fashion sketches and watercoloring based on runway looks. It was super helpful, a TON of fun, and I was able to broaden my technique horizons significantly with her instruction. My goal was to produce pieces that were good enough to sell, so I kept at it and eventually opened a little shop on Society6 where I could sell prints, stationary and iPhone cases. Society6 is so cool because I just upload my artwork, they do the rest, and I’m able to share my creations similarly to how I’ve been able to share them in Second Life.


Copic Markers entered the scene most recently, after I got lost on YouTube for 4 hours watching a slew of video tutorials featuring Copics used for anime illustrations and product design renderings. I was fascinated by the blending capabilities of these alcohol-based markers. I ordered a few at a steep discount on Amazon (they’re pricey), and put them right to work. I did some pieces using only Copics and really liked the results, but then I started blending Copics with watercolors and fell in love.

Watercolors, Copic Markers + Fashion Illustration - offbeat + inspired

“Sunshine Girl”, “Blue Girl” + “Seaside Girl” – These outfits were all inspired by Ruche and I was so excited to see them featured on their blog!


I’m now doing at least 3 new pieces each week, and I’ve really enjoyed sharing work-in-progress shots and finished illustrations on Instagram (@tifforelie). I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to wake up in the morning, get a cup of coffee, sit down with my blank paper and a room full of soft sunlight, and make whatever pops into my head come to life with some ink and some paint.

If you’re feeling inspired, here’s the full list of what I’ve been using in case you want to get started on some fashion illustrations of your own:

XL Mixed Media Pad by Canson - for Copic illustrations
Arches Watercolor Block 140 Pound Hot Press Paper  - for watercolors and watercolor/Copic hybrids
General’s Semi-Hex Graphite Pencils
Kneaded Eraser
Simply Simmons Brushes - my most used being #2, #4, #8 and #12
Reeves Gouache Paints - gouache is very similar to watercolor, though a bit thicker and more pigmented – but it can be sheered out with water the same exact way so I’ve been using these more often than my watercolor cakes. They also last longer and only squeezing out what you need preserves the original colors in the tubes.
Micron Pens - for outlining and detailing
Copic Sketch Markers
Martha Stewart Fine Glitter - for embellishing your colored work
Martha Stewart Fine Tip Glue Pen - for drawing out the area you want the glitter to stick to before giving it a light dusting.

In addition to the above list, you’ll need a cup of water, some paper towels for brush dabbing, a little watercolor palette (or waxed paper plate) for paint mixing, and your imagination!

Glitters were provided by CreateforLess.com — check out their site for more gorgeous Martha Stewart glitters and other crafting supplies!

All of the pieces I shared in this post are available as prints, stationary and iPhone cases on my Society6 page. If you’re interested in custom work or in purchasing originals, you can e-mail me here!

Do you have any artistic hobbies or passions that have been shelved for a while or that you’ve just been keeping to yourself? Why not share them? Let me know what they are in the comments below! I would LOVE to see your stuff on Instagram too! Hashtag your work (whatever it may be) with #oaibloginspired


A Beautiful Giveaway With The Young Aesthetic

A Beautiful Giveaway With The Young Aesthetic - offbeat + inspired

I’m so excited to share this giveaway with you guys today! I had the pleasure of e-meeting Laura Young of “The Young Aesthetic” a few weeks ago and getting to know her line of beautiful repurposed chandelier crystal pendant necklaces. I absolutely love the style and color range of her pieces. They’re the perfect blend of simple and statement.

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Going Sleeveless

I think we’ve been officially released from the greedy clutches of this frigid weather. I THINK! Last time I said that, I went to bed dreaming of summer picnics and woke up amidst the world’s most random blizzard. So at the risk of causing another freak snowstorm, I’ll venture to say that spring weather actually IS here.. finally — and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Altard State Tanks - back in time - offbeat + inspired

Back In Time Lace Top by Vintage Havana – The flowing lace back is heavenly.


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The Perfect Spring Trouser

The Perfect Spring Trouser (Anthropologie's Miniflora Charlie) - offbeat + inspired

I’ll start this off by stating the obvious: I’m in love with these pants. As a big fan of prints and patterns, it surprises me how long florals have managed to stay off my radar. I’ve always felt there was a fine line between adorable and tacky with busy floral prints but when I saw the Miniflora Charlie Trousers (by Cartonnier) on the rack during my last trip to Anthro, I was hooked.

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The Lexington Anthropologie Opening!

Anthropologie, Lexington - Dishes (from offbeat + inspired)

I’ve been a huge Anthropologie fan for YEARS. Their prices can be steep but their sales are great and I know when I make a purchase, it will last. I have pieces from Anthro that I bought 3-4 years ago that won’t go out of style. Not to mention, their kitchen treasures and home decor make me weep for joy.

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Fall 2012 in the Smokies

2012 was a good year. It was the year my husband and I realized that Lexington was the city we wanted to call home, it was the first year we got into a healthy eating & exercise routine and actually stuck with it, it was the year Offbeat & Inspired was born (yay!) — it was a year of breakthroughs. It didn’t come without its share of difficulties, but the difficulties combined with the successes made it even richer.

Fall 2012 in the Smokies - Offbeat & Inspired

This was the first year we took a trip to the Smoky Mountains, just the two of us. Fall was at its prime and we could think of no better way to spend a chilly weekend than at a cozy cabin nestled into those beautiful golden and crimson hills. If you haven’t rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, you don’t know what you’re missing. The cabins themselves are new, comfortable, well-constructed and most are fully stocked with games and some even have theater rooms — but the main event is the view from the back deck. On the decks of most cabins you’ll have your choice of a hot tub where you can soak under the stars with the mountains silhouetted on the horizon, or big old rocking chairs where you can spend your mornings with a hot cup of coffee and a fuzzy wool blanket.

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A Stylish Giveaway from FOLK + Altar’d State!

Headband Giveaway Announcement - Offbeat & Inspired

Altar’d State (one of my new favorite stores!) is sponsoring a great little giveaway on the FOLK blog today and you guys should definitely check it out! They’re giving away one of these beautiful headbands which are SO pretty and so fun to style! Check out my post on FOLK Lifestyle for the full story, some looks I created with the headbands + new pieces from Altar’d State and the simple entry details!


New Year Style

First off, Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! As you can see, we’ve been doing a little remodeling around here and we’re so glad we were able to launch the redesign so close to January 1st! If you were a subscriber on our old site, please don’t forget to switch your subscription over on the sidebar by clicking the RSS icon or the “subscribe by e-mail” text. For some reason they made it impossible to bring our entire WordPress family with us so we’re hoping and praying most of you get this message so we don’t lose you forever!

New Year Style - offbeat + inspired

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DIY Tee Design With DecoArt Fabric Paints

DIY Tee Design with DecoArt Fabric Paints - Offbeat & Inspired

In case you haven’t realized it by now, I’m a huge fan of upcycling. If it can be purchased, it can be made — and if it can be made, there’s a chance you already have the tools to do it at home. Of course this isn’t always the case, but in my experience I rarely have to buy more than 1 or 2 things to complete a project. Either DIY-ing really is that resourceful, or I’m a hoarder. Whichever way you look at it, making stuff from what you already have in the house is awesome. As a result of my (possible) hoarder-like tendencies, I have a collection of blank fitted tees that I knew would be perfect candidates for a little design upgrade.

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Favorite Fall Footwear

As the seasons and styles change, so do the shoes.  It’s hard to send my colorful wedge sandals and leather flip flops to the back of the closet for 8 whole months, but the sad farewell is brief because I just may (and please don’t tell my sandals this) love boots and loafers a little bit more.

My favorites list this year is very boot-heavy.  I can’t help it.  I feel like I need them in every shaft height, color and heel height.  Unfortunately, the price tags on genuine leather boots don’t allow me to fully indulge, but I’m lucky to have cultivated this little collection so I’m a happy camper!

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