March Featured Artist: Elizabeth Graeber

A while back at a Project Dispatch art making/trading party Elizabeth was asked to draw a horse. I was taken aback when she said she hadn’t ever drawn horses. Elizabeth draws everything; people, plants, food, drinks, animals, objects…everything.  So it was a surprise to hear that she had not drawn such an ordinary animal. She drew it in her distinct and playful style, and this drawing was applied to a Project Dispatch trading card. My daughter carried around that trading card for months. Elizabeth’s work is a hit with audiences of all ages.

Her colorful whimsical work graces many establishments around DC, in several publications nationwide, and on countless walls in homes.  Almost everyone I know owns a Graeber.  Do you?

Elizabeth Graeber

Photo by Emma Calary

Photo by Emma Mcalery

Since you don’t say a lot about yourself on-line, let’s start with the basics.  Where did you grow up and go to school ? Did you always want to be an artist?  Who are your influences? 

I grew up outside of Baltimore. I went to MICA for school, and studied illustration. I always liked drawing, and liked illustrated books. Some of my favorite artists now are Leanna Shapton, Maira Kalman, Saul Steinberg.

Cardamom, Pen, ink and watercolor on 5" by 7" paper

Cardamom, Pen, ink and watercolor on 5″ by 7″ paper

Alligator, Watercolor in sketchbook

Alligator, Watercolor in sketchbook


What is your favorite subject to draw? Are there things you don’t like (or don’t have any interest in) drawing?  

My favorite subjects to draw are food, people, plants, patterns, and animals. I like having themes to draw from.  Drawing people is fun but portraits with a likeness can be tricky!

When you are thinking about color combinations for your pieces, what are you most inspired by? 
I think about color combinations maybe before I start drawing and will draw something based on the colors. I like to mix colors with ink and watercolor, and gouache paint for the more solids.
Rainbow Carrots, Watercolor painting on 10 1/4th  by 14 1/8th paper

Rainbow Carrots, Watercolor painting on 10 1/4th by 14 1/8th paper

Animals A-Z coloring book

Animals A-Z coloring book


What is your favorite type of commission and why? 

When someone trusts me to make the image without too much instruction. I think those drawings turn out the best.

Bison Mural, Pleasant Plains Workshop Washington DC

Bison Mural, Pleasant Plains Workshop
Washington DC

Part of the beauty of your work is that it feels effortless.  How long did it take you to perfect your style?  What advice would you give to an aspiring illustrator?  

I just draw the way that is natural to me, and that is the advice I would have for other people. To just do the work that comes naturally to them. Also having a website and being online seems helpful for getting work!

Cat, Watercolor in sketchbook

Cat, Watercolor in sketchbook

Equestrian Horse Statue, Ink and gouache paint on 8" by 10" paper

Equestrian Horse Statue, Ink and gouache paint on 8″ by 10″ paper

Have you made any discoveries in your practice as a result of becoming a member of Project Dispatch and making work for subscriptions?

I think project dispatch is great because people are supportting working artists, and getting some fun artwork in return!

 If you could pick three artists from the Project to subscribe to, who would they be?

Amy Hughes Braden, Becca Kallem, Chandi Kelley



Order a subscriptionto Elizabeth throughout the month of March and receive a 10% discount!


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