Life, Illustrated

Riley Sheehey does wedding invitations, stationery, wallpaper, portraits and more.

Riley Sheehey.

Riley Sheehey. Photo by John Michael Whalen.

Riley Sheehey is a little surprised at her own success. The former elementary-school art teacher seems to have stumbled into cult status by way of following her talent—and her passion. “When I was on summer vacation in 2014, I started an Etsy shop [of my watercolors] as a way to keep busy,” says the 29-year-old Falls Church resident. “I’ve always loved fashion illustration, so I did a watercolor of a bridal gown I’d seen and posted it on my site. My friends started getting engaged and asked me to do illustrations for their save-the-date cards and invitations.”

The work snowballed from there. Soon Sheehey was turning engagement photos into personalized artwork with a waiting list six months long, and customizing illustrations for companies like LaCroix, Longchamp, Tracy Reese and SOREL. She’s worked with high-end hoteliers such as Hilton and Middleburg’s Red Fox Inn and has done live watercolor demonstrations at the grand openings of new Anthropologie stores in Georgetown and Bethesda.

Her illustrations also have been turned into stationery, wallpaper and more, with a repertoire that includes everything from house illustrations and wedding stationery to family portraits. She can even do a composite illustration to include people who weren’t present for a photo—or ensure that everyone is smiling and looking at the viewer.

 


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