Enjoy Some Literature Love...George Orwell, Rumi and Charlotte Bronte Portraits

Well, I must say it has been forever since I last posted and I apologize. I am still getting used to the crazy new world and president. But I think I am back to it and back to a illustration schedule. Here are the latest portraits I've illustrated:

George Orwell Literary Portrait

My first portrait is of the incredible George Orwell (1903-1950). I read his books, Nineteen Eighty Four and Animal Farm in high school but have recently started to reread them. Although they are works of fiction, there is so much truth there. His Dystopian world scares the hell out of me, and I hope that we aren't going down anything close to the world he speaks of in his writing.

Debra Styer, The Road to Orwellian, 2017

Hand painted in watercolor and gouache paints over a graphite drawing.

George Orwell Art Print
In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
George Orwell
George Orwell's Press photo 1943

George Orwell's Press photo 1943

My Illustrated Ode to George Orwell is available here in my shop.

Rumi Literary Portrait

My Literary Portrait of 13th Century Poet, Writer, Theologian and Sufi Mystic, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī (aka Rumi).

Rumi (1207-1273) is one of the worlds most beloved poets and writers. His work is timeless. Although his work was written over 800 years ago. It seems to fit in perfectly in todays world. It's as if he wrote his words to go straight to my heart.

Debra Styer, "It Is Rumi It Is", 2017

Hand painted in watercolor and gouache paints over a graphite drawing.

The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.

I have always loved Rumi's poetry. His work is heartfealt and contemporary. Although it was written in the 13th Century, it seems like it is written today. Don't you think?

My Illustrated Ode to Rumi is available here in my shop.

Rumi art print


Charlotte Bronte Literary Portrait

Debra Styer, "Charlotte on the Moors", 2017

Hand painted in watercolor and gouache paints over a graphite drawing.

Charlotte Bronte (1816- 1855) tells her "Tale of Woe" in her writing. Her work is dark and deep and feminist. I love it. Best known for her book, Jane Eyre, she tells tales of unrequited love, lost love and bad timing.

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."

                                                                                                                                   Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte is best known for writing the romantic, yet heartbreakingly tragic story, Jane Eyre. This classic Victorian Gothic of literature is one of my favorite stories. As readers, we read about the bad luck and the woes of love and between Jane and Mr. Rochester.

Charlotte is some of the most beloved writers in English literature. I love the dark twists in her tales as well as the the feminist characters. Her Heroines are strong women always trying to do the right thing, even if it means, almost, giving up on love.

Charlotte Bronte Portrait Framed
Charlotte Bronte by George Richard 1850

Charlotte Bronte by George Richard 1850

There is much controversy of what the Bronte sisters actually looked like. My portrait tries to find a happy place between all the different portraits.

My portrait of Charlotte is available here in the shop!

I hope you all like these new portraits!

Is there any of your literary heroes I have missed? Leave me a comment with your favorite historical writer!

Fall 2016 Literary Portraits, Part 1... Colette, Anais Nin & Marcel Proust

Ahhh, France...I spent a week in Paris this August and was inspired to create some portraits of my favorite French writers. Here are my latest watercolor paintings...French Literary Portraits!

First off was the incredible Marcel Proust.

Marcel Proust Literary Portrait

Debra Styer, "In Search of Proust", 2016

Here's my sketch of Marcel. Just look at those eyes...

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is best know for his 7 volume literary work, "In Search of Lost Time" aka " A Remembrance of Things Past". He is known to be one of the greatest writers of all time and one of my favorites.

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time."
Marcel Proust
Young Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust c. 1895

Next up, my portrait of French writer Colette!

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

Debra Styer, "La Vagabond Colette", 2016

My illustrated ode to French Novelist, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette AKA Colette (1873-1954). Best known for writing about the underbelly of the french art and literary worlds. Some of her most famous books were "Cheri", "Gigi," the "Caroline" series and "L'ingenue libertine."

Her stories spoke of the problems of love, of passion, and sex. She was no shrinking violet in her writing or her life and I love her for that. She is one of my literary heroes. A true feminist.

"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime, Rêve d’Égypte - Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Colette for her Moulin Rouge pantomime, Rêve d’Égypte - Photography by Leopold Reutlinger c. 1907

Isn't she awesome?

Finally, my portrait of the fabulous Anais Nin!

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

Debra Styer, Winter of Anais, 2016

The incredible Anais Nin has always been one of my favorite writers! I poured through her diaries in my younger years and her thoughts always echoed my own. She is artistic, feminist and a writer who shared all of her darkness and her triumphs with her readers as if she was speaking with a friend.

Nin is most known for her diaries (which she wrote throughout her life), erotica, and love affairs with famous men. She was both loved and hated by the literary establishment, and struggled to be taken seriously as a writer. But to me, she became a icon of literature.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin
Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by Elsa Dorfman

Portrait of Anaïs Nin in the 1970s by Elsa Dorfman

I hope you like all my new portraits, they are currently available in the shop.

Who's your favorite french writer?

It has been a crazy few months, (sorry about the lack of log post) I've had the luck of spending a month visiting Europe, which was incredible. My head is still spinning. I hope to write a nice long post about it but for now, it will all just have to sit in my memories. I have been drawing and painting a lot, and hope to share the second set of literary portraits in the next week or two.

Gazing at the Stars, a New Custom Portrait Painting.

Update: Awesome small world moment...Damon and I are sitting in a cafe (still in Paris) enjoying our dinner when a couple walks in the café. I can't see the woman but I totally recognise the guy. Of course, my brain is swimming with possibilities. Is he a actor or a politician perhaps? Nope. Turns out it was a couple that I painted a few months ago. Their friend commissioned a custom painting from me. I had been staring at their faces for about a month. I went up and said hello. They totally loved their portrait and we sent a photo of all of us to their friend. Oh, and did I mention they are from Australia? So weird...

Here's my latest custom portrait illustration of a lovely couple from astrology loving Australian couple gazing upon their star signs and each other. She's a Taurus and he is a Virgo. Is that a good match?

This was my first night time portrait. It was really wonderful to play with the colors and the light.

Aren't they adorable?

Aren't they adorable?

All of my custom portraits are hand painted with watercolor and gouache paints, over a graphite drawing. All I need is a few photos from you and I can get to work!

Send me a message if you want to learn more. I will be happy to make a custom portrait just for you.

BTW, I have been working on a new series of paintings for Maeza magazine. I am busy illustrating one of my favorite short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, "Ligeia". I will post them as soon as I am finished! Here is a preview of the haunted/haunting couple:

Introducing my new illustration portfolio website, DebraStyer.com!

I have been busy working on my new website, DebraStyer.com and would like for you all to check it out.

Of course, it is still a bit of a work in progress, but I am pretty happy the way it has worked out so far.  What do you think?

I will admit it is really strange to have something with my name attached, I have always been a bit shy about shouting my name out to the world, but I suppose at a certain age, you need to start thinking of yourself more seriously as a artist, so DebraStyer.com is born.

On top of creating a new website, I have also been really busy making new work. Here are a few new pieces...

I just finished this illustrated custom portrait for a lovely East Coast woman, her sons and their fabulous tuxedo cats. It was really fun to get to know her and learn about her family, furry and non-furry. There is always so much of a connection when you look deep into someone's eye enough to draw them. It is also pretty wonderful to watch a person seemingly come to life with a swish of a few pigments and some water...


Closeup of the custom portrait painting.

Closeup of the custom portrait painting.

My latest Custom Portrait. I love the Victorian Gothness of this portrait. You gotta love those cats.

My latest Custom Portrait. I love the Victorian Gothness of this portrait. You gotta love those cats.

If you are interested in me creating a custom portrait for you find out more here.

Next up is my latest Literary portrait, Ms. Dorothy Parker. She is such an incredible writer. I fell in love with her work about twenty years ago when I picked up a copy of her short stories. "Big Blonde" has a been one of my all time favorites, and I hope one day to illustrated it and the fabulous Hazel Morse.

Dorothy Parker Literary Portrait Art Print

Dorothy Parker Literary Portrait Art Print

“In youth, it was a way I had,
To do my best to please.
And change, with every passing lad
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know
And do the things I do,
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you.”
Dorothy Parker, The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker

Debra Styer, Here Lies Dorothy Parker, 2016

Debra Styer, Here Lies Dorothy Parker, 2016

Dorothy Parker 1943 portrait by George Platt Lynes

You can purchase a print of my Dorothy Parker Portrait here.

So much more to come, alas, I better get back to work and finish up my latest custom portrait. 

I hope you enjoy the new site!

3 New Lovely Literary Portraits: Fitzgerald, Kafka and Lovecraft

Wow, time sure has flown by. It's time to rip off my band aid of procrastination and get writing again. So sorry, it has been so long.

In the last 6 months, I have been finishing up a book project and working on a bunch of new portraits. In case you missed them in the shop, here are a few of my favorites.  I hope you like them!

F. Scott Fitzgerald!

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Portrait

F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Portrait

F. Scott Fitzgerald is best known for works the "Great Gatsby", The Beautiful and Damned" "Tender is the Night" and "This Side of Paradise" as well as many short stories. As a reader, Fitzgerald opened my eyes to the incredible hidden world of the 1920's. He will always be an inspiration to me and I am so happy to paint his portrait.

He is available here in the shop!

Next up, The incredible Franz Kafka!

Franz Kafka Literary Portrait

Franz Kafka Literary Portrait

Franz Kafka Literary Portrait

Franz Kafka Literary Portrait

Kafka is another favorite writer. He brings out the goth in me. Kafka is most know for his stories, "The Trial", "The Metamorphosis" and "The Castle". Kafka is regarded by critics as one of the most influential writers in the 20th Century and he is beloved around the world.

I drew him here with a Metamorphosis homage to his Dung Beetle self (Gregor Samsa) wrapped around his neck.






He is available here in the shop!

Last but not least, Say hello to the incredible and strange H.P. Lovecraft!

Lovecraft is such a inspiration to me, although I came to know him later in my literary life. I love the way this mind works, digging deeply into the psychology and heart of reader. His life was full of tragedy which influenced the way the wrote. Although he became most known after his death, I couldn't imagine the world of horror with out him.  Below is my illustrated ode:

Debra Styer, The Call of the Lovecraft, 2015

Debra Styer, The Call of the Lovecraft, 2015

Isn't his little Cthulhu cute? You can find them both in my shop here!

Now that I am officially blogging again, I promise not to take so much time between post!

Thanks for reading!

More Literary Love: Gertrude Stein and Nathaniel Hawthorne

Here's a little catch up to what I am doing lately. I love been busy spreading more literary love on my watercolor palette.

Here are my latest Literary Portraits: Ms. Gertrude Stein and Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne

Debra Styer, A Stein is a Stein is a Stein is a Stein, 2016

Debra Styer, A Stein is a Stein is a Stein is a Stein, 2016

“You look ridiculous if you dance
You look ridiculous if you don't dance
So you might as well
Gertrude Stein, Three Lives
Gertrude Stein Portrait Framed

Gertrude Stein Portrait Framed

Say Hello to Ms. Gertrude Stein!

Gertrude has always been one of my literary heroes. Her writing about Paris is the early 1900's is incredible. It seems like you are right there in the thick of things. Who wouldn't want to live in that world filled with artists and writers? My favorite book is "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas",  written in the point of view of her love, Alice.

To me she is a visionary, anactivist and a woman with a hell of a sense of humor.

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1934  

Carl Van Vechten, Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1934


“It takes a lot of time to be a genius. You have to sit around so much, doing nothing, really doing nothing.”
Gertrude Stein

Print available in the shop!

And now presenting...Mr. Nathaniel Hawthorne!

Debra Styer, The House of the Seven Hawthornes, 2016

Debra Styer, The House of the Seven Hawthornes, 2016

As a New Englander, Hawthorne is in my blood. I remember visiting the House of the Seven Gables in Salem Massachusetts as a kid and I was fascinated. Hawthorne is best know for writing the novel, "The Scarlett Letter",  a scathing look at life, love and religion in the Massachusetts. His work is known to be Dark Romantic. I am currently reading, "The Whole History of Grandfather's Chair" (written in 1840), which is a surprisingly funny and truly satisfies the history nerd in me.

Nathaniel Hawthorn Art Print

Nathaniel Hawthorn Art Print

Nathaniel Hawthorn Portrait Framed

 “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne



Nathaniel Hawthorne by Brady c. 1860

Now available in my Shop!

Right now I am working on a portrait of the wonderful writer Dorothy Parker, I will post her as soon as I can.

After that, who should I paint next? 

My Illustrated Ode to Arthur Rimbaud!

Here's my latest Literary Portrait...the 19th Century French Poet, Arthur Rimbaud!

Rimbaud has always been one of my favorite poets, he was a true, Enfant Terrible.  The I was so excited to create a portrait of him with all his teenage angst. He was truly a wild one!

Sadly, he did all of his incredible writing between between the age of 17 and 20, after that he seemed to fall of the face of the earth. He traveled extensively throughout the world, working at very non-writing jobs such as an accountant, mason and coffee exporter.  Rimbaud abandoned his life of the libertine,  never recording any of his any dark dreams or surreal verses again.

He remains one of my literary heroes...

I hope you all enjoy my portrait of him. 

 Arthur Rimaud in Sketch form.

“I turned silences and nights into words. What was unutterable, I wrote down. I made the whirling world stand still.”

Arthur Rimbaud

A Season in Hell/The Drunken Boat

Debra Styer, Arthur Rimbaud, Soleil et chair ("Sun and Flesh"), 2015

“A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength, where he becomes all men the great invalid, the great criminal, the great accursed--and the Supreme Scientist! For he attains the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses the understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them! So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things unheard of, unnameable: other horrible workers will come; they will begin at the horizons where the first one has fallen!”

Arthur Rimbaud

Rimbaud Framed

Arthur Rimbaud, age 17.

“By being too sensitive I have wasted my life.”

Arthur Rimbaud

If you would like to learn more about Rimbaud, I highly recommend the book, "Time of the Assassins, A Study of Rimbaud" by Henry Miller. It is one of my all time favorite books. 

So here's to the young rebel in all of us....and here's to Arthur Rimbaud. 

A limited edition print of my original watercolor painting of Rimbaud is now available in

here my etsy shop! 

p.s. Who should I paint next? Who is your favorite writer?