Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. What are you best known for?

I’m an NYC-based illustrator and founder of The Cheeky Blog: a platform for all things bodily and female. I launched this project just under two months ago as the sole contributor and I’m incredibly thrilled to watch it grow!

My illustrations are painterly and journalistic, often including handwritten anecdotes or commentary. At the moment, my most visible work is probably the #mightymenstruation series which celebrates periods and the impactful folks that menstruate. I launched the project in honor of women’s history month and it’s been so wonderful to see the positive reactions. 


Can you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind your illustrations? When did you first start doing them, and how did you decide on the themes you portray?

Much of my work on The Cheeky Blog is inspired by the women in my life and the conversations we have about our bodies.

I launched this platform with the intent to simulate the empowering and supportive community I'm so lucky to have found within my circle of female friends. Through connecting on shared and personal experiences, I’ve learned to embrace my body more wholly -- period globs, jiggly thighs, lip hair and all! Our most horrifically embarrassing period stories are now legends, and I often wake up to text messages surveying the group about some mysterious bodily function I didn’t realize other people had. The goal with Cheeky is to get rid of the shame and isolation so many of us feel in relation to our bodies. Getting to know your own body can sometimes be scary -- that first glance at your vagina can be a bit of a shocker, and leaving a period stain on a white couch is not going to be the highlight of anyone’s life -- the point is, we have all been there. Or will be there. There is a lot of power in sharing and connecting on those moments. 

I started illustrating my relationship to my body about a year ago. Initially, I was working on a narrative outlining my journey with IBS. Eventually, I felt the pull to extend my exploration further -- delving into topics like periods and body hair. 


What's your method? (Hand drawn, digital, combination of both?) Do you have a certain process that you go through when creating?

I paint with gouache and then bring my pieces into Photoshop for touch-ups. The notes are all in pencil.


What inspires you the most when it comes to your illustrations?

People watching has always been my biggest inspiration. I just love the small details that make us all unique (and those that expose all that we all have in common). The way someone holds their book, sits in chair, or walks down the street. Not one of us is the same and the city is such a rich environment to observe that. I’ve grown a habit of snapping pictures of people everywhere I go. My dream would be to just camp out at deli one day and paint everyone, capturing their meal orders and conversations. I may need to do that one weekend.


What's the best part about creating for you? 

I’ve always treasured the alone time and nice quiet rhythm that comes with creative projects. The best part about what I’m working on now is that it satisfies the bit of extrovert in me. Illustrating these relatable personal experiences allows me to connect with an audience at an instantaneously close level. I love when others can relate to a moment I’m sharing and reach out with their own stories.


Do you ever feel a sense of creative "writer's block"? If so, how do you move past it? What keeps you creating, even when you're not feeling it?

Yes, definitely get a little stuck from time to time. My favorite solution is either to take a walk or catch up with a friend. Both loosen me up and encourage my mind to wander away from whatever I’m trying to work through. That’s when the ideas come back in. 


How do you see yourself evolving creatively in the future? Any big plans for 2018?

My main goal at the moment is to grow a strong and engaged community around the The Cheeky Blog and eventually build towards a book. The online platform would live on and I imagine it would feature supportive groups of friends and their stories. Cheeky pins or patches would be fun to make too! 



Check Ariella out on Instagram and her website.

And check out her Ten Facts feature here.