Studio Session: Illustrator and Graphic Designer Stormy Nesbit

Taryn ShorrJuly 15, 2022
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What does illustrator and graphic designer Stormy Nesbit do in her free time? She puts brush or pen – or, in some cases, scissors – to paper and she creates.

“Art, when there are no clients involved, is where I can express myself freely,” says the Minnesota native, who earned her master’s degree in visual communication design from Arizona State University and has lived in the Valley for seven years. “No one is requesting anything of me, whereas when it’s work, there’s a specific deliverable I have to meet.”

With several aspects of her freelance business (graphic design, custom illustration and consulting), client work is Nesbit’s primary focus. It’s not always cut-and-dried, though: A line of clothing designed in partnership with Forever 21 was inspired by a candid illustration of her and her friends Nesbit shared on social media.

It was Nesbit’s signature minimalistic yet striking style – spare lines and colorful shapes creating human forms without fully fleshing them out – that caught the popular retailer’s eye. Whether it’s artwork for a client or for herself, Nesbit notably never gives her subjects facial expressions. “By not including eyes or a nose or a certain smile, it’s relatable to everyone. Instead of resembling a specific person, the lack of facial expressions allows it to be anyone. That all-encompassing representation is super important to me,” Nesbit says.

It seems it’s important to the rest of the world, too. Nesbit’s authentic, inspiration-comes-from-the-everyday approach has garnered her so much attention that she recently had to hire an assistant. Learn more at

Nesbit’s rescue dog, Blue, whom she affectionately calls her “dogson,” is always by her side as she creates.

Framed Artwork
Focusing heavily on self-care and what she calls “gentle reminders,” Nesbit often incorporates uplifting quotes into her artwork.

Microsoft Surface Pro
Nesbit doesn’t have a preference of mediums. “Part of what makes me who I am is that I work both digitally with Adobe Illustrator or Procreate and with pen and paper,” she says.

Paper Cutout
She often takes to paper or canvas when she feels a creative block. “Paper art is my art; it’s just for me.”


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