Inspiring Designer: Jeanine Murch

June 28, 2016 by Erin Behan

The blank page can inspire in many different ways, and for illustrator and designer Jeanine Murch, 36, that spark often comes through the interplay of paper and pen and the patterns and textures in "found" papers.

Inspiring Designer: Jeanine Murch
The soon-to-be Pittsburg-based artist — she's moving back to her hometown this summer after living in New York City for more than 12 years — works in all sorts of mediums, including digital, but she's always found grounding in paper.

"So much work out there, and a lot of what I do, is digital, but I can’t pull myself away from loving more old-school stuff," Murch says. "Being so hands-on with paper and ink is traditional and tactile."

Murch got her BFA in illustration from University Arts in Philadelphia in 2003, where she focused on acrylic and watercolor on paper, and she then spent 10 years as a young adult book designer before going freelance in 2013. She’s since expanded her work, which often incorporates hand-lettering, to letterpress invitation design and calligraphy and made more time for custom art.

Inspiring Designer: Jeanine Murch
For illustrations, she likes to sketch and ink on translucent layout paper, after which she usually digitally scans the piece to add color. She might scan in patterns or textures gleaned from paper scrap packs. Textural inspiration can also come from working in watercolor (she likes Arches Watercolor Blocks) and scanning those swatches in to create unique Photoshop brushes.

There's a fun, lighthearted element to much of Murch's work, like this fanciful woodland creature scene she designed for a baby apparel company and this map of Hell’s Kitchen created for W42ST Magazine. Attention-grabbing pieces, like book covers for The Dust Chronicles, often incorporate multiple layers of color, texture, lettering and photo-illustration.

Inspiring Designer: Jeanine Murch
The tension in her work between modern and traditional and digital and hand-done is not lost on Murch, whose husband works in technology and has accused her of "living in 1790." She hand-designed invitations for her wedding, which she then scanned to a digital file and printed on a letterpress using Crane’s Lettra 110-pound stock in pearl white. When it came time to stuff the envelopes, she hand-calligraphed each one, using a dark green envelope and gold ink for extra pop.

As Murch transitions to life in western Pennsylvania with her family, she'll also be ramping up her work designing letterpress invitations, announcements and prints and getting deeper into the printing side of things (she says she hopes to invest in her own letterpress in the not too distant future). For now, you can check out her work at where you’ll find contact information and a shop featuring several of her most popular letterpress designs.

SHOP AT for cardstock and envelopes.

Erin Behan

Written by Erin Behan

Erin Behan is an L.A.-based writer and editor who considers fine paper one of life's little pleasures.


Visit Distinct Papers to buy high-quality paper or card stock for your next project or to find the right copy paper, correspondence stationery and envelopes.


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