Fairies, elves, watercolor florals

Barbara Lanza’s remarkable artistic career started like so many of us — as a very creative child who liked to draw. She use to imagine “tiny worlds in which magical creatures lived in harmony with nature.” The label of class artist stayed with her throughout her grade school years and she still longs for the Abraham Lincoln portrait she painted when she was 10.

When it was time to go off to college, her parents (though somewhat skeptical) supported her art school choice of the Philadelphia College of Art (now renamed The University of the Arts). At college Barbara immersed herself in painting, figure drawing and illustration winning College recognition and prizes in the latter two.

After college she was off to New York city where she landed a job as a full-time illustrator. After only a year on staff, an inexpensive New York city apartment allowed her to shift to freelance illustration. She worked primarily for Butterick and Vogue Pattern companies, doing fashion illustrations until fashion photography shifted the market.

Barbara got married, moved to an old farmhouse, started a family and transitioned to her first artistic love, children’s publishing. She has painted numerous fairy tale creatures and has illustrated more than 30 books for clients such as Little Golden Books, Viking, Scholastic/Cartwheel, Western Publishing, Harcourt, and Putnam.


When publishing contracts started declining, a friend told her about the art licensing trade show Surtex, in New York city. She finally made the leap to exhibit at Surtex and met kindred artist Jane Maday who shared the same Children’s Book Agent with her. Jane suggested auditioning for an art instruction book she knew about. That book deal became Enchanting Fairies, published by North Light books and was followed by a second instruction book Enchanting Elves, published by Impact Books, both a division of F+W Media. Barbara has licensed the art from these books for use on textiles, stained glass and painting kits. She has also designed a line of fairy tale bear collectibles and children’s products like backpacks and sleeping bags with her art.



While exhibiting at yet another Surtex several years ago, Barbara learned about the Art Licensing Show directly from founder Cherish Flieder. It didn’t take much convincing and she joined the site as a founding member in 2015. These days Barbara licenses her art on garden flags, greeting cards, textiles and other products and occasionally paints commissioned portraits. She was an early adopter into the Coloring Book craze for adults and has illustrated 7 coloring books. Her new one is about Mermaids and she has self-published her last 3 books on Amazon. She is also currently at work developing a watercolor coastal collection for licensing with her new mermaid illustrations.


Barbara herself admits that by “being flexible” to the market, it has helped sustain her long artistic career, “as one door closes… another one opens. It hasn’t always been easy, but my greatest reward has been being able to continue doing what I love.” We are waiting with anticipation to see more of her watercolor mermaids, fairies and florals and what licensed products her magnificent art will grace in 2017. An inspiring artist’s journey indeed to start the New Year…


About Barbara Lanza:
Barbara Lanza is an Artist, Designer and Licensed Artist. She creates delightful, enchanting worlds with her illustrated fairies, elves, angels, mermaids and floral watercolor paintings. Since early childhood, she imagined tiny worlds in which magical creatures lived in harmony with nature. Throughout her career, her art has focused on graceful figure drawing, beginning with fashion illustration, to children’s books, to fantasy art books and now to art licensing. Her work is licensed on garden flags, textiles, greeting cards, children’s products and collectibles. She continues to be inspired by her family, the woods and flowers surrounding her home and the fantasy scenes she imagines that are in harmony with nature and that we all might like to experience. To see more of Barbara’s work, visit her website at www.barbaralanza.com or request access to her complete portfolio on the Art Licensing Show.com.

15 responses to Barbara Lanza’s Enchanting & Magical Watercolor Artwork Inspires

  1. Very nice story Barbara!!!!!! You go girl :) So talented.

  2. Love, love, love your work, Barbara!

  3. Nice artwork.

  4. Wonderful post Barbara, enchanting art, beautiful.

  5. Barbara, Barbara, Barbara! This is enchanting, just like you and your art! You know I’m your biggest fan! Miss you. Happy creating……

  6. Inspiring story and inspiring art! Love your world of flowers and fairies, Barbara!
    Love the worlds …. as one door closes… another one opens… That what keeps us doing what we love to do the most!

  7. L O V E L Y work Barbara!!! And thank YOU Valerie Hart, for sharing Barbara’s story, & artwork, with all of us!!!

  8. Thank you for your generous comment, Madeline. I’m glad you like it.

  9. Beautiful artwork. Thanks for sharing your story.

  10. A wonderful article, Barbara! Here’s to continuing in the art market by adapting!

    • Hi, Sally! Since you and I know each other’s work from a group focused on children’s book art, you can see I’ve been creating work to expand my market. Adapting our art for other categories has been challenging for me and many others in ever changing fields. It can be rewarding and fun to focus on adapting and discovering ways to offer our work to manufacturers.

  11. Beautiful story, beautiful woman and beautiful art. Thanks for a lovely article ladies.

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