We recently had the pleasure of chatting with one of our amazing small business customers, Alicia Levantini! Alicia is a talented illustrator living in Philly who creates stunning greeting cards and personal art by transforming simple architecture into beautifully detailed drawings. Her art started with the iconic stoops of Philly, but now she also creates custom architectural drawings of any building or home - no matter where you are! All she needs is a photo and she'll turn it into a timeless illustration you'll treasure forever. Amazing, right? Read on to discover Alicia's inspiring story and turn your cherished locations into timeless art pieces.
Stoop by Stoop, Alicia is Illustrating the Beauty of Philly's Architecture
What Inspired you to start illustrating houses and architecture?
My business started as a pandemic hobby! I walked around my then-neighborhood, Fairmount, in Philadelphia, and took tons of photos of unique stoops that caught my eye. I then used those pictures as reference photos and drew my first house! I was happily surprised that I could draw a house (and do so photo-accurately!), and I took off running. I’ve always enjoyed walking around the city and admiring all of the different styles of row homes and architecture in Philly, so my job of being able to draw these houses now is a dream come true!
Is most of your work commissioned or do you illustrate at times when you find inspiration?
The majority of my work is commissioned, but I also love to draw iconic buildings that I know will be popular once I turn them into prints, greeting cards, stickers, and magnets. I love turning an original hand-drawn pen & ink illustration into different products!
What is your favorite part of capturing historic buildings?
All of the tiny details! Historic Philadelphia buildings have an unbelievable amount of charm and character. I love ornate buildings- Victorian houses with gorgeous cornices, stained glass, custom woodworking, old porches... I could go on and on!
Do you ever create illustrations from places you visited? If so – what is your favorite illustration captured from traveling?
I love to travel and do so whenever I can! I’ve only created one illustration from a trip: Several years ago, I was in Italy, on the coast of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre, and I sketched the coastline with all of the colorful pastel buildings crawling up the hillside. It was actually my first time ever drawing a landscape with buildings in it, and I absolutely loved it.
What Materials do you use for outlining and coloring?
I use pen and ink to draw my illustrations. I use Sakura Pigma Micron Pen for outlining, and Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens and Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pens for color.
The detail in your illustrations is absolutely impressive! How long do they take to complete?
Thank you so much! My custom house drawings typically take me 10-15 hours, but I’ve had some illustrations take almost 30 hours to complete, like Philadelphia City Hall. I typically draw on 8x10 paper, so that translates to a whole lot of details in one small place!
Why did you decide to use a rubber stamp, as compared to another branding option?
I love how different rubber stamps are compared to my typical digitally printed paper products. I use my stamps to brand my paper shopping bags that I use at my craft shows, as well as the sturdy mailer envelopes that my custom house drawings come in. I get so many compliments on how the stamp looks on these items!
How have your stamps helped you with your business?
My stamps have allowed me to continue my brand visibility once a customer leaves my booth at my craft show. When my customer walks by other guests at the craft show, everyone will see my logo and information on my shopping bag as they walk by! Also, when I use my stamps on my custom house drawing envelopes, it gives my clients a sense of excitement to open up the package and see the personalized art that’s inside!
Anything else you would like readers to know?
I work off of photos for my commissions, so I can draw houses, buildings, wedding venues, churches, and restaurants anywhere, not just Philly! I can turn any drawing into personalized greeting cards, wedding invitations, and more, and can ship to anywhere in the US!
Where can customers find you?
You can visit my Etsy shop to shop for greeting cards, prints, posters, magnets, and stickers. I have tons of Philly, and non-Philly, items on there! You can also visit my Instagram to see tons of examples of my custom drawings, time-lapse videos of me drawing, and other behind-the-scenes content! If you’re interested in a custom drawing, feel free to message me on Instagram, Facebook, or Etsy, or shoot me an email at ArtByAliciaL@gmail.com
HOW DO YOU STAMP?
Branding and Marketing