Amy, Illustrated

All images courtesy of artist (via Instagram: @victoriathorne).

Last week we got an Insta-crush on illustrator Victoria Thorne. As she made her way through Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait, she sketched and taggedfilling her moleskin with drawings and sharing with us on Instagram. Drawing everything from photos of young Amy to iconic dresses, we're blown away by her expressive, direct drawings. Victoria caught our eyeand we had to reach outMake sure to follow her on IG as @victoriathorne for her sketching travels. 

Here's an interviewvia drawingswith the talented artist. The interview came creatively (could you have guessed it?), in a lovely envelope with the q&a beautifully illustrated.

A GIF of opening the envelope.


1. Describe yourself in six words.

I watch for Grace (4)
Mom sister nana daughter wife friend loving redhead (1?)
storyteller (1)

2. Do you go everywhere with your sketchbook?
upper right hand corner: vt30JUL15JM
Yes, now I do, or with paper I can
draw on. (I didn't always. The best
compliment I ever received—it makes me so happy—was
finding that my kid's friends sometimes took newspapers
I threw away...because I ALWAYS just drew in the margins.)

3. What was your experience in Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait? How did you convey your experiences through your drawings?

It's not my
belief that Amy Winehouse should be
mythologized or put on a pedestal. She was
a brilliantly gifted artist. SHE SHARED
HER GIFT. For that, we should all be
grateful. She contributed to the world.
Hugely. She was also flawed, like the rest
of us. Gifted and flawed = the whole human
TO HAPPEN, in the end. (an incredibly complex issue)


Walking into the exhibit is a stunner.
It was somewhat quiet, but alive/ Absolutely
alive. I had no idea she would've listened
to all the music I loved best at her age—we
lived in Germany for 5 years, my friends on
our Army post all listened to that music. I
saw the documentary (in Palo Alto) a short
while ago. This ^ absolutely colored my view
of the entire exhibition. The exhibit is full
of love, basically. It seems to me that young
people sometimes immerse themselves in [things
that wind up hurting them] because they're
not finding the love they're looking for: self-
love, love from another, love for who they are.

3.c. (wow)
So: drawing in the exhibit. I guess the
deal is: this is the love her family and
friends (and multitudinous admirers) wish she
had FELT—maybe it would have kept her
alive, kept her at a safe enough distance
from the things that killed her.

So I drew. And most of the time was on
the blue + white Betsey Johnson dress. It felt
extremely important to do her justice.
Fragile, brilliant, broken, bold, sorrowful,
ambitious, aware. KNOWING. Amy is there.

4. How long have you been documenting your city experiences via sketchbook and Instagram as an extension of your work?

LONGTEMPS. A lot of my work in
the '90s was pen and ink, v. calligraphic.
I was always drawing. Clients included
the GAP (M. Drexler's time, which was fun),
the SFMoMA, newspapers and magazines. After
2001 I started taking pictures. A Lot. Esp.
while traveling. In the past few years, it
seemed like a good idea to draw again. 
2008-2012 were bloggish. Then came IG.

5: How long does it usually take you to sketch?
1:35pm. (via @bicoastalista)
This one took about 15 minutes. Or so. (I got distracted.)
Sometimes not so long,
sometimes forever.

I often lose track of time when drawing,
which is a very nice thing. Like heaven.

6. You use an interesting hashtag on Instagram#theimaginarytravelblogger. Tell us about that.

Even though I posted (for years)
photos and somewhat random clues
about our travels, it always seemed
to me that being a real travel
blogger was out of the question.
As in: I'll happily draw you a map, but
it's going to be open to interpretation.
So. Last month I realized I was sort 
of an imaginary travel blogger. Why not?

7. What else are you going to explore—and draw—today?
Drawing caption: 1 AUG 2015
(Via @ozwolf)
(L): Lately (probably to assuage
my guilt for being on IG
so much—) I've been doing
quick sketches of stuff I

(R): find while wandering
around Instagram. I've
also been trying to copy
book covers. Is there any-
thing better than a well-
designed book cover?



thanks for asking me
all these cool questions.
I hope to be back soon.
Love you, Jewseum.

                   Victoria Thorne
                       30 july 2015
              2 aug.

About the Artist

Victoria Thorne makes books and art and has four children whom she loves dearly. She was born in Hawaii and, growing up, traveled all over the U.S. and Europe with her amazing family. Her best friend is named Kevin. She is Ollie's nana. She believes that the power of people telling their stories and being heard can change the world: the more we truly know each other, the more we can all be friends. She also believes that the more we see of the world, the more we see that we are all one.


I love Victoria's work and her aesthetic. She has an Eye, and is especially gifted in capturing people with a few gestures of the hand. Loved reading her responses. pgtapp
Anonymous said…
Love this interview with Victoria. Her drawings have so much personality, humor, and

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