About rebeccamillerillustration

Rebecca Miller is an American illustrator and graphic designer best known for her clean, minimalist illustrations and humor-themed subjects. Born in Texas and raised in Michigan, Miller's unique illustration work is shaped by her studies at Alma College (BFA in Illustration & Graphic Design with Departmental Honors and Design Scholarship Awards) and her participation with the New York Arts Program (New York City) while working with Welcome Books and the boutique graphic design studio Rappy & Co. The driving creative forces behind Miller's work are clean typographic designs, pop culture, graphic novel art, Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick's The Venture Bros. series, tattoo design, and tongue-in-cheek humor. With gallery shows ranging from Michigan, New York, and Florida, Miller is now currently expanding her portfolio and is in the works on a long-overdue graphic novel.

Get handsy

Another quickie this morning. Gotta stretch out them hands! I can see why hands are both the most fun and irksome to draw.


Character Development :: Building up

In certain scenarios, if you’re uneasy in how to replicate a character, start with the basic geometric, shapes or forms. If you have access to underlying skeletal features… even better! Next, start to add details. Lastly, finalize with stronger linework.

Muscle memory of the underlying forms and structures will allow for an easier flow of how the skin atop it naturally falls or covers the skull, bones, or muscles. 

Getting Motivated & Organized : The Storyline

Of all things that are most dubious, daunting or otherwise… none compare to the storline. If your jazzed about it, the complexity and excitement shows. If it’s just straight ‘meh’… it will get amplified. And if you’re in my boat…it’s downright terrifying (but in a good way).

Consider your own fears (for better or worse) an excellent reason to get motivated or view them as an opportunity for some good ol’fashion introspection. With the right amount of the stuff and harnessing it correctly, fear (or rather the urge to overcome it) can prove a to be a powerful ally.

Stepping Up to the Plate: The Storyline The storyline for the graphic novel of my mine is just about laid out. Some authors use post its, cue cards,  notecards…or just binders of scrap paper thrown together. Use whatever the method works for you. 

Those little index notecards just happen to be the right size for the sections of the narrative. Some sections happen to be more full, others… not so much. But good writing should be a blend of both a slower pace sequences matched near faster paced.

Consider your favorite piece of writing (or yarn, flick or graphic novel). There’s a pacing, a rhythm, a sort of melody in the way events and characters happen. 

The cool thing about index cards is that you can shuffle them around and rewrite or reorganize them without getting too overattached to them*. The flexibility is a happy sandbox for which you can really play around with.

*(The majority of good writers have the common advice of “not getting married to the first idea but rather having it be a springboard for new ideas”. Also, unless your James Joyce, your first go’round will be pretty raw/cruddy to begin with. Gotta start somewhere though! )

References: sketching and field trips

Sketching from life (still life, life drawing, field sketching) is a handy exercise to keep your eye trained that reference drawing can’t compare to. In this case, a field trip to a zoo that had a small variety of deer proved relaxing, informative, and downright fun. Most of the sketches were tonal or gestural. There were definitely angles of how the jaw located to the neck, unusual behaviors which the deer displayed, and  new body physiology that a reference photo (even Google’s hoard) couldn’t really display (re: folds in the fur, environmental details).



Needless to say, if you can get out there and sketch your subject (even little thumbnails), it’ll improve your drawing and educate your artistic endeavors.

Art style sketches + scribbles

About 3/4ths through the block of time carved out for project production, my mind starts to splutter. The writing gears just sort of give out.


That’s when art style and direction exercises take over. The scribbles & sketches seen above are experiments (though they might not look it) and studies of what works while using black ink, white acrylic, and Sharpie marker on toned paper.

There’s something cathartic about these scribble-dibbles.

#tonedpaper #sketch #doodle #art #creature #skull #skullbottle #ghosties #ghost #spooky #blackwhite #artdirection