Elisabeth Alba is an illustrator of fantasy art, children's books, and maps. She is married to artist Scott Murphy and they live in Western Massachusetts, USA, with their border collie mix, Rayo. These designs are based on art from the Everyday Witch Tarot, illustrated by Elisabeth, written by Deborah and published by Llewellyn Worldwide.
How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I have been professionally illustrating since 2007. I have always been an artist, helping to design classroom decorations as early as grade school and creating my own little stories and comics. My parents were always encouraging. They believed I could make art a career and never forced me to choose something more traditional and stable. I love to read as well, so in college I studied Art and English. At some point I had to make the decision whether I wanted to continue to study English and make academia a career, or to make art. Because illustration is a wonderful mix of art and writing and illustrating narratives, I chose to focus on illustration. I have illustrated for various clients in wildly different genres and love giving their visions life.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m inspired by so many things. Books I read, movies I watch, and especially travel and history. I love fairy tales, mythology, everything mysterious and enchanting, beautiful architecture and historical costume, and nature and landscapes I have seen in my travels.
Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
I work from home back to back with my husband who is also an illustrator. Some people need a separate studio space outside their home, but I love being home with the best company! It’s also nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of too. Sometimes it’s fun to pack up all of my art supplies and work elsewhere, like at artist retreats, as long as there is water for my brushes and a table to work on.
What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
I’m primarily a painter, and prefer water-soluble materials. My go-to essentials are waterproof ink (my favourite is Dr Ph Martin’s Black Star matte), watercolour (I use Dr Ph Martin’s Hydrus liquid watercolours), and Holbein Acryla Gouache when I want to work more opaquely. Sometimes I use coloured pencils too.
What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
This is a tough question! I am proud of every piece of art and project that I finish for different reasons. The Everyday Witch Tarot is definitely something I am proud of because it was such a huge endeavour. 79 paintings within a year and a half is no joke. But the subject matter was so much fun that I’m doing it again illustrating the companion oracle deck with author Deborah Blake!
Take a picture outside your window at various times of day and in various weather, and see how the colours change. At night everything looks cooler and more blue. During a sunset, everything looks warm and with pink highlights. When it’s raining, everything is grey and green. Study the differences. When you colour an image you can imagine what time of day it is and what kinds of colours you see at that time. I love telling stories with art, and changing the colours based on time of day or weather adds another layer of story!