Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 23, 2011

Illustrator Saturday – Courtney Pippin-Mathur

Courtney went to the University of Texas to study government, switched to Studio Art and has never looked back. She lives with a princess and two knights or dragons (depending on their moods) outside of Washington DC. Her first picture book, “Maya was Grumpy” will be released by Flashlight Press. She creates art using watercolor, ink pens and a little bit of tweaking on the computer.

Here’s Courtney’s process:

I always start with a very rough sketch on a sketchbook or regular copy paper. I try to nail the composition in the sketch but that’s it. I’ve found that it keeps the final drawing more “fresh” if I leave the finer details for that final drawing stage. In the Queen and birds example I’ve given below, I knew something was wrong when I started painting. It was just flat. So, instead of starting over from a sketch, I pulled out a new piece of Arches 140 pound cold press watercolor paper and drew directly on it. I zoomed in on the scene I was trying to feature and changed what was in the queen’s hand and was much happier with the results. After I paint with watercolor , I go in with ink pens and do black outlines. Sometimes, I will re-do an image several times before I am happy with it. Sometimes, I will take a painting all the way to the final stage and just file it away, never to be seen again. And sometimes, when I get really lucky, I get a painting I am happy with the five steps of, sketch, drawing, paint, outline and final tweaks on the computer.


I’ve been sketching queens for a while, so I was quite pleased when this one came to fruition.  (as in, a sketch I wanted to complete)


I made a final drawing and started painting. As I neared completion I realized I had killed it. D-E-A-D. So, I decided to re-draw. And I came up with the final composition and kept reminding myself to keep the paint light and free.  I think it worked.





















Illustration from Courtney’s first book, “Maya was Grumpy”.

If you are coming to the June conference, you will have a chance to meet Courtney and see her artwork in the art exhibit.  You can visit Courtney at 
Talk tomorrow,


  1. I love your illustrations. You made them appear so free-flowing. Thank you for sharing.


  2. amazing compositions and color, I am in awe they are so likeable and draw (no pun intended) the viewer into the swirling story, really lovely!!!!


  3. Fabulous! I love the playfulness, color and humor in each piece. I’m such a fan of your work. That piece with the princess in the tulips and two little dragons is adorable. Great to read about your process, too.


  4. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments and a huge thanks to Kathy for doing such an awesome job featuring my work. 🙂


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