Brooklyn-based artist Danielle Kroll is the woman behind the fun, sophisticated illustrations in The Art of Vintage Cocktails, a book containing over 50 classic cocktail recipes from the Bijou to the Mai Tai. Kroll is a designer to be reckoned with: she paints on old science books, illustrates “word recipes,” and enjoys expertly-crafted libations.
We spoke with Kroll about her influences, her upbringing, and where she finds inspiration.
What inspired the illustrations and typography in The Art of Vintage Cocktails?
I looked at a ton of imagery to make sure that everything—wardrobe, subject matter, glasses—was historically accurate. Stylistically, I referenced fashion plates from the ’20s, old New Yorker and Vogue covers, and vintage advertising.
What’s your favorite cocktail?
The Bee’s Knees was the first one I tried from the book and it’s still my favorite—I like citrus flavors in my drinks.
I really love your watercolors and, generally speaking, the mediums you choose to work with. Have you always used watercolor?
I started to work with gouache and watercolor in the last few years. I think the medium really helps keep my style cohesive. For me, it’s a delicate balance between being good at painting but not too good. Stylistically, I like to keep my work somewhat childlike and whimsical.
Who and what influences your design aesthetic?
I have a handful of illustrators and artists that I always look to for inspiration, most notably Henryk Tomaszewski and Saul Steinberg. I’m inspired by artwork that appeals to both children and adults. I’m very sentimental and a lot of my work, conceptually, is based on my childhood.
Regarding imagery, I’ve learned to portray objects that are already aesthetically pleasing to me. So if I’m painting a desk, I wouldn’t choose a chunky wooden desk, as it wouldn’t look right in my style. I’d rather paint a desk that is more elegant and curvy.
Where did you grow up and how did your upbringing influence you as an artist?
I grew up in New Jersey. My brother and I spent a lot of time at the house of my Polish grandparents. They were silly and warm, and my grandma loved taking us to museums and Broadway shows. I won a summer’s-worth of art classes in fifth grade and continued to go back for the next few years. Who knows if I would have gone down this path if I didn’t win those art classes!
All images courtesy of Danielle Kroll.