Gina Mei
September 03, 2015 5:01 pm

Deanna First’s art makes us feel glamorous. Whether it’s her colorful portraits of fashion icons like Iris Apfel, or her quick sketches of street style at its best, the New York-based illustrator’s work is its own special kind of beautiful. She’s done fashion design work for Elie Tahari, J.Crew, and Ralph Lauren — and it’s easy to see why. Her use of color and movement is absolutely gorgeous. Deanna’s ability to convey emotion with the stroke of a pen is unmatched — and that’s why she’s our Illustrator of the Week!

Find out more about Deanna and her art below, and buy some of her exclusive-to-HelloGiggles phone cases by clicking right here.

No pressure, but describe your art: I gather inspiration from runway shows, the New York City streets, human emotion, fluidity and movement. My illustrations usually incorporate soft lines and femininity.

Your favorite thing(s) to draw: My specialty is the female form and eyes. The eyes are always the first feature I begin with in all of my pieces once I get the initial outline of the face down.

Medium of choice: Graphite and PanPastels.

The first time you knew you wanted to be an artist: I actually stumbled on an old journal from Kindergarten when I was going through my childhood art projects and I wrote “I want to be an artist when I grow up.” (give or take a few spelling errors here and there . Each notebook from Elementary School going forward wrote about my fascination with art. I spent a few years working in Fashion Design in the city until I could not ignore my calling any longer. It feels so great to finally be following my passion.

Proudest achievement so far: Taking the leap and following my dream of pursuing art as a career. I still have a part-time job in the city but am getting closer to my goal of pursuing illustration on a full-time basis.

Music you listen to while you work:My taste in music really varies depending on the project I’m working on. If I’m sketching a more serious piece I usually listen to something calm and relaxing like Ed Sheeran or James Bae. If I’m doing quick, fun sketching I listen to something a bit more upbeat.

Your most prized possession: Is it wrong to say my cat? She was also the inspiration behind my logo and my “Queen of the Cats” series I did when I first started out a year ago. I just love her to pieces!

Your personal hero: It is hard to just pick one. My heroes are my family members that taught me the value of hard work, persistence and to treat everyone as an equal regardless of their status.

The last thing to make you giggle: This would have to be a funny YouTube video one of my parents sent to me about a cat or dog doing something ridiculous. I’m a huge animal lover and they always find a way to do something innocent to make me laugh.

Current project(s): I’m doing my first ever mini pop-up shop through RAW Artist September 23rd at the Highline Ballroom in NYC with a bunch of other talented artists, designers and photographers! (Tickets here.) I am also patiently waiting to see samples for a wallpaper collaboration I am doing with Parker & Barrow and I’m in the process of creating cover art for another book by the talented Mirtha Michelle. I’m so excited about what the future holds. I love collaborating and meeting new people in the city!

Check out Deanna’s amazing phone cases via Casetify — they’re an exclusive partnership with HelloGiggles! And for more of her work, check out her Instagram, website, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Etsy.

You can check out our past Illustrators of the Week here!