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It is said, that an illustrator always has a sketchbook with them. A sketchbook can go anywhere and when inspiration hits, an artist can reach for their sketchbook and take notes, draw, paint, or tuck away keepsakes. Sketchbooks allow artists to develop ideas, test materials, and experiment with different processes.


Philadelphia artist Molly Egan is a freelance illustrator who has a passion for sketchbooks. She has said, "My sketchbooks are what I am most proud of and enjoy. There is something so freeing about working in a sketchbook because there is no pressure to create a perfect piece." 

Egan's finished illustrations, like her sketchbooks, feature brightly painted surface patterns comprised of stylized flowers, figures, animals, and sometimes text. Her illustrations are colorfully saturated paintings that are naturally more complex than her sketches. Egan's illustrations are fine-tuned narratives with well-developed compositions and color palettes—culminations of her prolific sketchbook output.

In a recent interview with Ramona Magazine for Girls, Egan answered: What inspires your work? “Folk art is a huge interest of mine—especially Eastern European and Mexican folk art. I also have a folder on Google Drive with hundreds of images I have found and categorized. When I need some help getting started, I’ll look through the folder which includes images of vintage stamps, matchbooks, toys, retro fabrics, barber shop signs, and film posters.” 

Just like Egan uses virtual resources, her sketchbooks are physical resources that also contain hundreds of painted pages that ultimately serve as a documentation of her artistic journey.

Visit molly-egan.com.