DUN Feature - Feature articles in both print and digital editions of DUN

My earliest memory is learning how to draw a house with perspective. Since then I’ve been hooked on art of many kinds. From taking courses while I was in college in printmaking, glass forming, pottery and sculpture to fine art, graphic design and jewelry making, art of all kinds has always inspired me.

I graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology without the clear sense of personal style that many of my peers had evolved. I could draw anything, paint with any medium and loved to experiment rather than focus on one particular strength. I wasn’t afraid to fail and loved to learn what worked well and what didn’t, but more importantly, why it worked or failed. I didn’t want to be told what the rules of art were, I wanted to figure them out for myself.

Through college, drawing incorporated itself into so many aspects of my life. I always found myself doodling in margins, drawing on my clothing or even myself, if I didn’t have paper.

When I saw something that inspired me, I’d start to see things the way I’d draw or paint them. Those visual images would stick in my mind almost as if they were burned into the back of my eyelids until I could get them onto paper or a canvas. I still see every piece in my head before it goes onto paper and with each new piece I create, I get closer and closer to being able to make it look the way the back of my eyelids see it.

I do, however, realize my limitations and have had some pieces stuck in my head for years now.

photo courtesy of - Andrea Larko

I know full well I’m not at the point yet where I could master trying to paint them. I know I’ll get there eventually and I know they’re not going anywhere soon, so until then I just aspire to learn from every mistake and each time I get a little closer to where I want to be.

photo courtesy of - Andrea Larko

Growing up with 3 sisters, my father shared his love for fishing with us. I still remember him casting a rod for me and putting worms on my hook. He even let my sisters and me reel in his fish if we weren’t having any luck.

photo courtesy of - Andrea Larko

Now that’s a great father.

Before we were old enough to start fishing, my mother would take us with her to watch my father catch fish larger than we were. I was always amazed by the beauty of what came out of the water.

As my sisters and I grew older, fishing took a back seat to education and we all moved away for college, but my father still recognized the importance of being on the water. He decided to start a family trip. We now go salmon fishing every year together and camp for a weekend, reconnecting and telling the best fish stories from the day and years past.

photo courtesy of - Andrea Larko

After I graduated from college I moved back to my hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania and started fishing again when I could find the time. I met the love of my life and he purchased my first fly rod for me 6 years ago. Needless to say, I fell in love with fishing all over again. I felt closer to the water and found a sense of peace and tranquility from being on a stream that I much needed.

My boyfriend then tried fly fishing and he fell in love as well. We started spending our free time tying flies and scouting the streams for trout. I ended up with beautiful photographs of so many fish and thought it was a shame they just sat in iPhoto.

So, I decided to make a few oil paintings for our fly tying and art studio to brighten up the bare walls. After they were posted on Facebook and Instagram, I was asked to make prints.

I made prints from the color study sketches I did for the paintings and also a few others that I was asked for. I enjoyed what I was doing but it seemed as though anyone could draw a realistic fish.

So I did, and it all began.

I ended up with a doodle fish and thought it looked interesting. I tried to play off the surfaces of the fish, what would be flat I put straight lines and where I wanted dimension I added more detail and curves.

They’re so much fun to create and I’m so thankful that people have enjoyed these whimsical illustrations as much as I enjoy creating them.

Enter your email to sign up.