Meet Riley Sheehey, an illustrator and self-starter from Falls Church, Virginia.
Check out Riley's journey in freelance design and how it inspires her whimsical and feminine style--exemplified by her favorite picks of our most elegant Mestiza gowns.
Read the full interview below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
My name is Riley (Sheehey), and I am a Northern VA-based artist and illustrator.
I work in watercolor and acrylics, and am always looking for new opportunities to create things that (I hope!) will make people smile!
Walk us through your journey as an illustrator. Where did it all begin?
I have always loved art, but it really turned into a full-time passion for me in 2014, while I was on summer vacation from teaching. It was my first summer off from teaching where I didn’t have another summer job lined up, and so I decided to get back into creating my own art, and from there, I started my business. A few of my friends were starting to get engaged around that same time, and when they saw that I was creating watercolor work on my own, they asked if I’d be able to help them with their wedding paper. My career/business has changed a lot since then, but what’s remained the same if my love for creating things! 
How would you describe your artistic style?
Feminine, whimsical, and someone said “delicate” the other day- which I never would have thought of myself, but I really like! 
What is your favorite part about designing custom prints for clients?
New ideas and inspiration! They always say two heads are better than one, and I love getting a client’s viewpoint and pairing it with my own to create something really unique and special for them.
Where do you source inspiration for your illustrations?
Everywhere! But in particular, and as a constant- flowers, pattern, and interior design. 
Are there any standout projects you have worked on?
I am working on a few collaborations for this fall/winter and next spring that I am so excited about- while I’m not able to say too much since they haven’t been announced yet, they will involve my art on items for your home, your table, and items you can wear, to name a few!
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
The “heart” of your company! I was so happy to learn about Mestiza’s philanthropic efforts in the Philippines. As I’m navigating altering things in my own business to make it better, I’ve been thinking of ways to give back and be a part of the community, and so I am so inspired when I read about what other brands and businesses are doing.
What are your favorite Mestiza pieces? 
The Cleo ballgown or the Georgiana gown in the lemon vine- I think that being in quarantine has me dreaming of having somewhere ballgown-worthy to go!