About Me


I started with simple logos and learned how to trap files manually in Freehand: The sorts of things any design student should learn. I never even considered vectors as a serious artistic medium: All my illustration courses focused on painting, or ink, or sculpture, or pencil crayon. I had no idea what I was missing out on.

A few years later I discovered Adobe Illustrator, then microstock, and was hooked. Soon all my free time was spent drawing whatever I could think of to upload and sell. Over time, I was spending MORE time illustrating than I was designing.

Back then there wasn’t much online in terms of learning materials, and I hated the basic tutorials you could find. I like to play around with each tool to get a sense of how it works, as opposed to following precise steps and creating a carbon copy of the tutorial file. I’m hoping I can stay true to this with this blog.

I’m currently living in Calgary, AB and am the Senior Manager for Illustrations at iStock / Getty Images. I draw things that make me happy, and love to teach anyone who’ll listen.

For information on how to license my illustrations, please visit the Shop page.

27 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Hi Jennifer,
    especially your hints have been very helpful to me many times on iStock.com. Thanks for this.

  2. Hey Keith, Wow that’s a very strange problem you’re having! I’d be interested to see the file and figure out what’s going on. I’ve just sent you a sitemail on iStockphoto with my email address, i hope that’s OK!

  3. Dear Bortonia,
    Your tutorials were SO helpful for me as I went through the application process at istock! They continue to help me as I now have 8 images that have been accepted into istock!! (2 rejections so far, but I’m learning so much!) Here is my latest problem, that I CAN NOT figure out what is happening?? I complete an image, label layers and group into a concise list of easy to edit layers. After saving and exporting as a eps8 I open it to “check” if everything looks good. The layers have EXPLODED into dozens of layers, some names of layers are there with a different image, other layers are just blank as their images have moved to other layers. I try over and over, and it keeps happening. What am I missing?? Thanks in advance!!
    preep123 (Keith)

  4. Hey Kai, I used to do a lot more vector characters than I do nowadays. I have always wanted to try animating them, especially some of my party scenes full of people. Unfortunately I haven’t used Flash in AGES and likely couldn’t figure out how to do the simplest of motion tweens nowadays. I do know a few people who use AfterEffects to animate vectors, though, and they look awesome!

  5. Hi, great website! I’m wondering if you do a lot of vector characters, or even animate them? Thanks

  6. Yes, I’ll try those avenues, thank you so much!

  7. Hello Joanna, yes that’s a bit of an issue with vectors, they don’t display online! Unfortunately I don’t know of any way to get a vector to show in a browser. However I can offer some tips. If you do go with a JPEG of your logo, make sure that you are sizing it to be *exactly* the size you want it on your website. As long as it’s not being stretched or upsized, it should look OK. You may also want to try using a GIF file as long as you don’t have a lot of gradients in your logo. GIF files may look sharper online. Last but not least you could also try a PNG. It’s similar to a GIF and you can also give them transparent backgrounds if you’d like colors to show through underneath your logo. I hope this helps!

  8. Hi! You seem to be a goddess of vector so hopefully you can help me : ) I’m developing a blog for my new business and am having a heck of a time uploading my logo. I built it in Inkscape (I just now learned about vector imaging) but WordPress won’t accept an svg. file, so of course when converting to jpg. it loses the smooth and looks like a pixelated, non-professional mess. Any tips on how to get this done properly?

    Joanna Reichert
    Noah’s Ark Custom Pet Photography

  9. Hello, thanks for the post. Unfortunately no, you may not use my images on your website. However all of my illustrations are available to license through iStockphoto.com/bortonia if you’d like to purchase the rights to use the files.

  10. I’m getting a Wacom for Christmas & loved your info on it. Try this: I learned to use my mouse left-handed (just as good as right) so I could keep my right hand on the keyboard (especially in Elements). Try using your mouse with your left hand & the pen with your right. With practice, you will fly!

  11. Hi Dimuthu, it depends what kind of diagram you’re looking to build. I’m fairly certain that CS5 would work fine, you just may need to be careful to expand any fancy new effects you’re using. I’m a Mac user so unfortunately I’m not sure what will run on Windows! You should check out the Adobe forums, or give their Customer Support a call. They can sort you out I’m sure 🙂

  12. Hi, Very nice work, I came to your portfolio in iStock while trying to find an answer. Can adobe illustrator CS5 be used to build vector diagrams for iStock ?
    What is the AI that can be used with Windows XP ? Thanks

  13. Hi, I stumbled across an article you had written about learning to love your tablet, while i was looking for tablet cases(gotta love google search) Well i just wanted to say hi and i was happy to learn in the article that you love illustrator and that alot of other graphic designers use tablets. I just began classes at The Art institute online for graphic design, got my tablet as a present and oh my do i love it! I find i can express myself easier with it, then i ever can with a mouse. You kind of inspired me a bit and i like your work:)

  14. a trick Ive been using that i havent seen others use, is a program called “Game commander” a older program that allows you to convert voice commands to keypresses. In photoshop, I have my old Intuos 1, and a head set, I can say into the Mic, “show navigator” and the navigator window pops up, “hid layers, does just that…. It does require a fewminiutes of setup, but once working its amazing to watch and to use…

    anyway, cheers,

  15. Hello Jenn!
    h r u? u r amezing designer i like ur illustration..u said u love to teach any one i want to learn abt design

  16. Hi Jen,
    Wondered if you’ll be illustrating any of your wonderfully stylish women drinking from a nice stemmed beer glass in the near future – I like your style and would like to use one of your images for a new angle for my beer-tasting business – aiming it more at women.

    If you aren’t planning to do any for i-Stock could you email me with private commission prices please?



  17. Hey, just getting into vector. Long time starving artist is ready to eat. Thanks for all the helpful info! You are a very beautiful person. 🙂

  18. Hi Jen,

    Just strolling along cyberspace looking for all things vector to throw into after effects and here springs up your inspiring website.

    Clear concise and motivational, lovely!

    Cheer’s, Andy

  19. I’m so happy to see you putting all those awesome tips & links into a nicely organized blog Jenn! I’ll be a regular here 🙂

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