Love Illustration Series


I’m thrilled to announce the launch of The Love Project. It’s a personal side-project series that asks: What is love?

This is my first creative pursuit that I’ll showcase on the Germinate blog. This personal project, along with others that you’ll see in the future, fills my need to enrich myself creatively with work that is meaningful to me and my audience.

“Love is not a feeling…”
My inspiration for the project comes from the movie Dan in Real Life: Dan, a controlling father and widower, has lost his confidence to fall in love ever again. When Dan’s daughter is visited by her boyfriend on their family vacation, Dan disapproves of the boyfriend’s presence. The young teen boyfriend, frustrated and wanting to be with Dan’s daughter, delivers this message: “Love is not a feeling… It’s an ability.”

For me, that opened up my definition of love. It’s not only that content feeling when I fall asleep in a warm bed my man. Love is an emotion, for sure. But it is also the ability to care and feel compassionate to other people. This made me think: if we all loved each other a little bit more, put forth a bit more effort, could the world be a better place? If we all thought about what we loved, and tried to love people and things and creatures with a bit more effort, maybe we’d connect more with the world around us.

That sounds good. Not easy, but good.

Drawing stories
To define love is a task that is ENORMOUS! I can’t do it by myself. Last month I sent a call for submissions to friends, peers, and collaborators asking them to define love. From their words I’ll be hand drawing small illustrations to explore their varied explorations of what love means to them.

The response was incredible. People really opened up their hearts and revealed deeply personal things. Some  talked about how amazing love is. Others spoke to how difficult it can be. And there were also the objects that are loved: coffee, a pair of perfect jeans, a big bowl of soup on a freezing cold day.

The Love Project, #1
“Start with a big, fat lump in your throat, start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness, or a crazy lovesickness, and run with it,” wrote artist, writer, and graphic designer Debbie Millman. This quote comes from an illustrated essay in her book Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design. I admire Millman fiercely for her success as a designer, but more so for her illustrated essays and visual poems. I didn’t see her work when I started to project, but it is now a big inspiration for me as I create these vignettes exposing the triumphs and tribulations of love.

I know this series will be a fascinating journey. The intricacy and wisdom of these words will bloom as I continue to draw. I don’t have a definitive schedule to post but I promise to draw all of the responses I’ve received. You’ll see the contributor’s initials within each drawing. I haven’t counted, but that’s probably around 30 drawings. I’ll also be drawing my love: food, laughing with my husband, my bike, a perfect hot cup of tea, maybe more.

To commence the project I’ll start with a response from A.J.:


Stay tuned as I post new drawings in the coming weeks.

Want to submit?
If you’d like to submit to the project, drop me a line at