Wednesday, January 6, 2010

ICofDC Member: Peggy Fussell

A new feature on the IC of DC blog is a bit of "get to know you" for the benefit of other members, and the interested public. We hope you enjoy the feature, and please visit the linked sites, blogs and referenced items - Perhaps you may like to ask your own question.

Countess, by Peggy Fussell

Peggy Fussell



Describe your illustration style.

My style combines swirly bold line with subtle color. I love drawing people, gardens and maps. I also enjoy creating lettering.

What is your main medium?


What is your illustration workspace like?

My studio feels like a tree house and is filled with a variety of fun art supplies, sea shells, rocks, awe inspiring kid’s art, pine cones, buttons, and other unusual found objects and silly ephemera from my youth. The studio itself is very small, so small that a realtor couldn't legally list it as a bedroom, but it opens out onto a second floor screened in porch that is perfect for drawing, painting or anything that necessitates ventilation. I am, therefore, acutely aware of the weather. Inside I have a 1940s architect's oak drafting table that I bought for $25 dollars in Texas. It pretty much takes up the whole room.

Describe your typical work flow.

I love research!! That's where I start. I sketch in my sketchbook for rough ideas/concepts. I try to always sketch from life. Sometimes, especially if I am drawing plants or people, I will also bring my camera and photograph my subjects from various angles. After I've narrowed down to a few concepts I move to tracing paper to clarify ideas and refine/stylize drawings for presentation. After client approval of sketches I scan them and create lines in Illustrator. I use a Wacom tablet for pressure sensitivity. Then I find and/or create textures, I've got drawers of painted squares, papers and fabric. Finally, I scan the textures and composite them with the line in Photoshop.

Who was your first illustration hero?

Ludwig Bemelmans. I adored his Madeline books when I was little. Those twelve little girls in two straight lines were just so darn cute! After reading the first one I could never again see a crack in a ceiling or sidewalk and not imagine it to be something magical.

I also had/have a thing for cookbook illustrations from the 40s and 50s. One of my prized possessions is Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two illustrated by Charley Harper.

Tree Baltimore, by Peggy Fussell

Can you describe the direction your current work is heading?

I've been adding more texture to my work by scanning fabrics, plants and painted surfaces. I've also recently been hired to create a few portraits. I'd like to do more of them!

What do you do to promote your work?

I advertise on and have an ad in the current issue of FPO magazine. I post to the blog Sugar Frosted Goodness and I'm listed on Folioplanet, Illustration Mundo and Jacket Flap. I blog and have a website. I tweet on occasion. I also send out postcards (but not as often as I should) And, of course, I am a member of IC!

What advice do you have for someone trying to become an illustrator?

Draw a lot, draw what you love. Get to know your clients and let them get to know you.

Be sure to check Peggy's portfolio at the IC of DC website.


  1. Love knowing more about Peggy's work! Thanks for the profile.

  2. As one of Peggy's clients, I can't say enough nice things about her work. Her illustrations are just magical. I hope to do many more projects together in the future!