Infiltrating the insta world with her faceless illustrations, The Pink Pirate’s brand of creativity has spread like wildfire with more and more accounts clamouring for their offspring and more to be given her artistic treatment. There is a sense of piracy in her style alone as her subjects are at once anonymous and identifiable by posture, wardrobe and hair. “I like that when people see my sketch they can recognise my brand and think: ‘The Pink Pirate strikes again!’” says Liron, the self-confessed Nutella addict and talent behind the Pink Pirate. There is, comically, a fundamental reason behind the artist’s mysterious aesthetic, “My figures don’t have faces, because quite frankly, they look super creepy when I draw them,” she laughs. “I can draw cartoon faces well, but I don’t think it suits the style of my sketches. I might dabble in some different styles as time goes on!”
Once a member of an all-girl soccer team, by name of The Pink Pirates, Liron says it was the obvious choice when it came to naming her burgeoning business. “It’s a little bit girly (pink) and a little bit brass (pirate), which describes me well,” she explains. “It was just the perfect fit! There was no question about it, no other options, this was the one and only and it only took me one second to come up with!”
Breaking character briefly to give us the 411 on The Pink Pirate’s real life alter-ego, Liron admits to being a beach-loving, online shopaholic (particularly kid’s fashion) with a love of chick flicks, Trivial Pursuit and Harry Potter. Stay at home Mum to two year old Bailey, and step mum to her husband, Ryan’s, nine year old son Cayden, Liron confesses to falling somewhere between cool and dorky “that sentence came from the dorky side,” she laughs.
Although art and basic illustration had featured prominently throughout her formative years, it was only early this year that it came to the fore. “It was very per chance,” she says, “but it was exactly what I had needed in my life at that exact moment.” Dealing with some anxiety issues had driven Liron to seek out an outlet to motivate her, distract her and give her a sense of achievement, “I had always wanted to start my own business, but I had no idea what to do.” The path to pink piratey goodness came about after the artist created a sketch for one of her friends as a thank you for proof-reading the blog she had just launched. “I drew a sketch of her son and showed our group of friends. They were all blown away and suggested I start to sell them,” she says. “I did a few sketches for my friends and they took off from there. These friends were a huge support to me and helped to promote me when I first started.”
Doling out freebies to her friendship circle steered Liron onto the path of renown and ultimately paid commissions. “I don’t think she knows it, but a lovely lady with three gorgeous boys was my very first paying customer!” she says. “I was so excited; I think I did a happy Salsa dance in my head. I still have to pinch myself that people are literally lining up for my product.”
Evolving the look of those early sketches to develop cleaner lines, her signature use of faded pastel hues have remained. “I don’t really use any bold colours unless they are in small details,” says Liron. “I think it gives the sketch a nice soft finish and keeps it clean and stylish.” The simplicity and elegance of her work is reflected in the very medium by which she creates it. “I use an IPad Pro and a simple stylus pen,” she says. “I have the customer’s photo displayed on my phone, which I hold with my left hand, and sketch onto the IPad with my right hand. I copy just from sight; I don’t trace or use any fancy apps! I have to rely on my attention to detail to make sure I get all the proportions right. Sometimes it takes a few goes!” Starting from the outside in, the outlines come first, then the colouring in and then the addition of finer details. “It’s amazing watching it all come together, and it gives me great pleasure to see the final product,” says Liron.
Sharing an office with her husband of three years, the pair favour musical accompaniment to their respective projects in the form of ‘adult contemporary’ radio stations streamed through the net. “Our current favourite is a station in Seattle WA, which plays a nice variety of old and new music,” she says. “Music is an absolute must!! I really can’t function without it. (Though) I am a sing-alonger which probably annoys my husband,” she smiles. Further aided by a host of snacks, think Mars Pods, pretzels and Allen’s Lollies, the artist makes the most of Bailey’s sleeping hours both in the day and through the night to complete her creations. “Once I’ve set up camp for the night, I ain’t moving. I hate having to get up whilst I am ‘in the zone’.”
Taking anywhere between 2-3 hours to complete a sketch, number of figures dependent, Liron reveals that is only the start. “I have to be 100% happy with it before I send it off, so I am often doing touch ups after I have finished it,” she says. “It’s not just the sketching – I crop and edit the sketch on my phone, email it to my laptop, create a ‘mock up’ so that the customer can see how their sketch looks hung up in a frame (I think it’s a nice touch), and do a side-by-side comparison photo too. I usually do it over the course of a couple of days.”
Acknowledging the therapeutic element of her work, Liron asserts that it is this combined with the customer feedback she receives that makes this venture so rewarding. Watching her creations cover business cards, websites, coffee mugs and more, sit inside frames as gifts or profile picture on social media; “I love that they are proud enough to share it,” she says. Any strange requests among them? “Not really!” she laughs. “Although I did have to draw some nude dudes for their business cards which was a lot of fun. Shout-out to the rad guys at @nudedudescandles!”
Her sketches have opened numerous doors to the point that Instagram in particular is awash with evidence of The Pink Pirate’s pen. My own mini fashionista, Denny, was selected as one of the “faces” of Victoria-based store Busy Kids Boutique’s new logo, designed by none other than The Pink Pirate and the artist’s collaborative projects don’t end there. Teaming up with everyone’s favourite market, Swagger Child Market, Liron applied her talents to designing their new season logo featuring two insta kids as the market’s “swagger scouts”, she’s turned her hand to dollies for Little Mummies and jewellery for Kacee Louise, designed the new logo for Tagless Kids clothing and in partnership with kids clothing brand Winter + Raven, she recently launched a weekly flat-lay competition.
With requests for collaborations coming out of her ears, is there anything still she’d love to turn her stylus pen to? “I absolutely love working with other businesses, and the beauty of my product is that I can virtually collaborate with anyone!” she says. “I’d love to do something that inspires and empowers women, like fitness and mental wellbeing.” I have no doubt we’ll be seeing that wish fulfilled in the near future. In fact, the theory of wishes is fundamental to Liron’s brand, “Illustration is so great,” she agrees. “Because you can really create anything your heart desires. Always wanted to be a mermaid? You got it!” At this point, Liron admits to wishing she could sketch herself into Beyoncé’s fabulous shoes, a fellow artiste who certainly has her inspirational heart. “That woman can do no wrong!” she says, adding that the singer would be her ultimate commission, “I don’t think I could do her justice though.”
So, has her passion for drawing rubbed off on her son? “Bailey loves to draw!” enthuses Liron. “He has a desk set up with lots of crayons and textas. He will happily sit there and draw, but mostly he enjoys making me draw an array of buses in different colours. So much so, that he can actually now draw a bus, with windows and wheels! He did this at 23 months, which blew me away.” The art of creating is a language which transcends age, language and ability to be a beautiful method of self-expression, a sentiment Liron wholeheartedly agrees with. “I think creativity can take many forms in people. Some people claim they are not creative at all, yet they are extremely good at problem solving, or putting together a beautifully styled outfit or taking a beautiful photo. Creativity is not just in art, it can be in everyday life, and I feel that it definitely is important as a channel and an outlet for whatever it is that you need to express.”
Of course, with freedom of creativity and expression can come those in pursuit of success via imitation; something which has become a familiar side-effect of social media celebrity. Citing this as the main challenge she has had to navigate since launching her business, Liron says, “a couple of ‘copy-cat’ accounts started soon after I did. At first I was very dejected, almost at the point of giving up and wondering if it was all worthwhile – but my amazing support network soon made me realise that it was all very silly, and that my brand is completely different to theirs.” Well, what is a pirate with her loyal crew?! Confessing that those acts of piracy almost moored her business to the proverbial shore, Liron says that ultimately it taught her a useful lesson not to doubt herself. “When I first considered this as a business opportunity, I wondered “Who would even pay for this?” and I thought my sketches were lame! And when I saw the copycat accounts, I felt a bit defeated. But then my friends and family encouraged me and reassured me that there is so much value in what I do, and that so many people would be thrilled to be able to purchase such a unique and special product – and they were right!”
Taking something from every sketch that she does, Liron admits that picking just one as a favourite would be akin to a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ style dilemma. “This is like picking your favourite child!!” she says. “I absolutely love all my sketches. Some are cute, some are fun, and some are sentimental. I love sketching precious moments – a new father with his newborn, loving sisters embracing, a big brother holding his baby sister for the first time. But I also love the fun sketches – stylish kids, gorgeous products, family portraits, and creating logos for businesses.”
With exciting developments ahead, and more and more businesses clamouring to tote the genius of The Pink Pirate on their wares; the future for this artistic maestro looks set to be paved with stationary, apparel and more. “Pretty cool,” says Liron, before adding, “I’d love to expand my sketches to women’s fashion, lifestyle blogs, even food! Anything is possible!” Indeed it is, and I imagine countless deals will be discussed as companies of every kind trip over each other to jump aboard the stylus sails of the one and only The Pink Pirate.
5 things inspiring you/your work right now:
- The amazing community of business mums that I have ‘met’ through the online community
- My sweet Bailey who inspires me to be the best mama
- My gorgeous husband who supports and encourages me every day
- The amazing customers I’ve had whom I am so grateful for
- The satisfaction that comes with the hustle
3 constants in your day:
- Nutella for breakfast
- Spending quality time with my family
- Making time to relax and re-centre
Your #1 art tip or words of wisdom:
“If you’ve found your passion, you’re one of the lucky ones. So take it, run with it, let it bloom and don’t let anything get in your way.”