Brooklyn-based artist Danielle Kroll is the woman behind the fun, sophisticated illustrations in The Art of Vintage Cocktailsa 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.