Sewing Therapy: Vogue Pattern Magazine Illustration

I’m always excited when a magazine article that I’ve illustrated a few month’s back is finally released into the wild, but this time I’m extra excited because this has been my favorite one to date! In this February/March 2012 issue of Vogue Pattern Magazine, Elaine May tackles the issue of “Fishing For Sewing Compliments, The Easy Way.” I really had so much illustrating this pretty one. Currently on newsstands, or you can check it out online here.

illustrations © 2011 artsparrow (Andrea Sparacio); magazine layouts © 2011 Vogue Pattern Magazine, photography © 2011 Amy Sly

First Aid Kit

Hopefully this is the last post about being sick, but since this has been my life for nearly a month now it’s hard to escape it. I’m on the road to wellness, so I thought I would share the healing process in it’s various stages:

I tried every over-the-counter medicine to help quick-fix my bronchitis and get me to stop coughing so that I could rest. Nothing worked. The bronchitis cough is a beast with it’s own agenda and I slathered so much Vicks VapoRub on my chest that I considered just eating it straight-up with a spoon. There were so many long nights of staring into the darkness, existentializing life’s meaning, then giving into NetFlix at 3am when sleep (and not coughing) weren’t going to happen. So many rounds of antibiotics later, I can tell you the one thing that really helped the most: patience.

Speaking of medicine, remember Heroin? I visited the amazing New Orleans Pharmacy Museum back in November and they certainly remember it (not to mention live leeches) and all of Heroin’s medicinal uses. Pre-prohabition era, people rubbed it on their infant’s teething gums, dipped it on tampons tips, and suppressed those nagging coughs with lozenges and syrups. Move over Robitussin weak-sauce, let’s kick-it 19th century style!

When the fevers were high I couldn’t do much but freeze, sweat and watch movies from behind a blanket. But once I was able to sit up, making art helped distract me from ripping my lungs out (which later turned into ribs, because who knew excessive coughing could make you bust a rib muscle!?) So I made a few illustrations (see above) and drew a few comics about being sick, while throwing myself a pity-party in the process (click below to enlarge):

For more artsparrow comics, see my comics page!

When you’re a freelancer you don’t get paid for being out sick. But you also don’t have the strength to go out job hustling with a fever either so work had to take a tiny hiatus. Once I was feeling better (but still too sick to be outside) I started working on my Apartment Therapy Home Cure. The Kitchen is a source of good health (cleanliness, food & vitamins) as well as strength (energy & nutrition). If I wasn’t in a rental I would gut this kitchen with my bare hands and start completely from scratch. But I do love our Brooklyn flat and I’m determined to work with what I’ve got, cracked tiles and all. Here’s a before & work-in-progress example of my struggle to solve (or cover-up) the issues, while cleaning and softening the overall look:


Healing of any kind always involves music. Right now I’ve been listening to The Rapture on repeat (because of TV show Misfits), but here is a song that always makes me happy no matter how crappy I feel. A Fleet Foxes original, covered by the amazing duo First Aid Kit (appropriately named). Enjoy!

photography, illustrations & comics © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow)

Art & Fear: Louise Bourgeois

I have been watching documentaries on NetFlix Instant on two of my favorite passions: food & art. I will spare you the politics of mass food production, but I will share this inspiring segment from Art City (season 1, ep. 3) “A Ruling Passion.” Sitting with Louise Bourgeois in her studio, she shows us how she draws and controls her fears. Being cooped-up and lamenting on my own, I was very moved and decided to do my own interpretation as well (above).

She starts with a circle. “This drawing that I am going to do now is stemmed from a fear. Everything is stemmed from a fear.” (Louise Bourgeois)

“So I am going to indicate my space – and I am going to put inside – what is in this space is under my control.” (Louise Bourgeois)

“I put the fear here, another one there, a bigger one here.” (Louise Bourgeois)

“Under my control, I want my fears. That means I have my fears under my belt!” (Louise Bourgeois)

I get all warm & fuzzy whenever she is on camera; something within me completely lights up. She is very inspiring to listen to and the act of drawing out your fears is very powerful (art magic!)

Speaking more on the topic of fears, the book Art & Fear (Bayles & Orland) on my bookshelf comes to mind. I keep a few art self-help books like this around when I’m working late into the wee hours and need a little boost.

The first abstract image is not the first time I have attempted to draw out my fears though. Working through some personal issues on resistance in 2009, Julianna Takacs (yoga coach extraordinaire) had me describe and physically create my fear (below) then mail it to her in an envelope. I loved the look on the postal worker’s face when she caught me “weighing” my gnarly-looking fear for postage and sending it on it’s merry way…

copyright in order of appearance: colorful circles © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow), Louise Bourgeois photo © Annie Leibovitz, screen grabs © Art City/NetFlix, Louise Bourgeois linocut (left side) © 2009 Carri Skoczek, Art & Fear book cover © Image Continuum Press, “fear root”  © 2009 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow)

Inspiration: Carson Ellis & her studio

More on art studios! The amazing Carson Ellis (illustrator for The Decemberists & wife of lead singer Colin Meloy). Not only do I love her work, but her space is so bright and inspiring. For more on Caron’s studio: click the photo above. For more on other Portland artist work spaces:

photography © Carlie Armstrong, source: