We asked San Francisco-based Mary Phan about the importance of sketching, her new book, and how The Sketchbook Series came about.
Tell us about your Copic Colors piece for September.
This month's Copic Colors included six markers, which was a bit of a challenge. Although I didn't have to use all six colors, I wanted to see if I could challenge myself. I follow a lot of event designers and floral designers on Instagram and have been seeing circular ceremony backdrops trending lately. I wanted to design something fun and ethereal. The colors reminded me of butterflies so I wanted to pull together a whimsical treatment tied in with greenery. The end result I hope inspires the Copic community to have fun with this month's colors & to see if they can push themselves to use all six colors!
You're the founder of The Sketchbook Series. What's the philosophy behind it and how did it first come to life?
I started my entrepreneurial journey as an event designer/wedding planner in 2008. I had worked in different creative fields and when I started my own business, I was surprised that sketching was not a fundamental part of every design business. For me, all of my designs were sketched so I could share my ideas with my design clients, which became a way that allowed me to share my vision, sell my ideas, but also used as a powerful communication tool. In late 2012, I launched The Sketchbook Series as a workshop to teach creative professionals in the wedding space how to take their ideas and put them onto paper using my technique and artistic style. The response was overwhelming and my passions turned to education, coaching, and empowering other creatives how to sketch and build creative businesses beyond their imaginations.
For those looking to learn more about The Sketchbook Series, what's the best way to follow along or get started?
For several years, I traveled to cities across North America including Mexico to create one of a kind luxury experiences with amazing brands and as we have evolved, my plan is to create new online tutorials and to build an online creative community where I can impact and inspire more people. One of my goals is to make design and art accessible no matter if you think you can or can't draw and provide solutions that give anyone the ability to build amazing creative businesses.
You can follow along via Instagram on @verymaryinspired where I share more of my personal work & inspiring messages and if you're particularly interested in learning how to sketch and being a part of our creative community follow along via @thesketchbookseries where we showcase our students' work, partnerships, and what we're up to.
I also have a newsletter where I make announcements, news, and special offerings - so feel free to find out more of our offerings through my websites:
www.verymaryinspired & thesketchbookseries.com.
Your book, The Artful Sketch, launches 9/25. Congratulations! What can people expect from it? And, where can it be purchased?
Thank you so much! The Artful Sketch has 14 sketch lessons, where I break down my exact steps. The book includes lessons in drawing basic shapes to bringing the scene to life with brightly colored art
For more information on The Artful Sketch, visit her website and pre-order the book here.
We have to ask - How did you first discover Copic Markers and why are you such a big proponent of them in your work?
I think I discovered them a few years before I launched The Sketchbook Series. I found that they were really easy to use with professional results. I've used other brands before and never really found ones that made my work stand out, until, of course, Copic markers came into my life. I teach my classes using Copic markers and suggest them in my book. They blend like watercolor and I just love the versatility of the markers. You have a fan for life!!
(We're a fan for life of yours, too, Mary!)
What advice do you have for those hoping to follow a similar career path as yours?
Do what you love, be kind and generous with your talent. Continue to hone in on your craft as there are always room to improve. Learn to be critical of your own work but also open to receiving constructive criticism. Allow yourself room to discover, adapt, and learn from other artists. I'm always continually trying to learn new things, always working to improve on the way I operate my business and also my art/teaching style.
Lastly, make sure to support other artists and creatives no matter where you are in your journey. You never know who you will inspire!
Follow Mary Phan on her Instagram and verymaryinspired.com. For more info on The Sketchbook Series, visit here.