Happiness is...

Happiness is being a big sister

I draw a lot of inspiration from vintage art and photographic images of the past. My mother's family were early adopters of amateur photography back at the beginning of the 20th century, and I am fortunate to have digital copies of the hundreds of photos that have survived 100 years or more. As a kid, I would look through old photo albums as if they were picture books. I've been hooked for a long time.

Two subjects I am drawn to are my own Grammy (Little Elsie) and her baby brother, Jackie. The illustration piece above is directly inspired by them (see the reference photo I used below). There have been a few iterations of this illustration over the past couple of years as I've played with it and tweaked it trying to find the right look for the original pencil sketch I did in my sketchbook. This week, I think I finally found it with watercolors.

As I worked on this piece this week, I realized that a lot of things in this world have changed over the years, but it seems that the relationship between a big sister and her baby brother are still very much the same. Baby brother still disrupt photography sessions of all-girls birthday parties. And big sisters still love them despite their shenanigans.


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  1. Adorable! And beautifully done.

  2. Cindy,
    You rendition of this photograph is great! What a great illustration and the family photo is adorable.

  3. Little brothers NEVER cease to be obnoxious....even when they grow up! But man, we love them, don't we?!


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