Re-Post: I Heart Lisa Frank

I pulled out my back and am having some trouble sitting at the computer right now, I spent yesterday lying on ice packs on the floor and watching Glee. That might have been fun if I didn’t have so much darn wedding stuff to do. My great-grandmother always said “man plans, god laughs” of course she said it in Yiddish, but it’s the idea of it that matters.

So today I can only sit in front of the computer for a limited amount of time, something I hadn’t planned on—but can not change. I had planned on writing a new post, but instead I’m re-posting an old one so I can go back to lying on the floor for a while. Below is a post I wrote when my blog was at a different URL, so if you’ve seen it already I apologize, I promise something new later in the week (hopefully tomorrow). For now, here is my ode to the wonderful Lisa Frank:

Recently, while eating dinner with parents one night and discussing what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I casually joked “My goal is to be the next Lisa Frank”, chuckling to myself, I soon realized they were staring at me blankly. Well, apparently the magical wonder of Lisa Frank somehow flew over the heads of my parents generation. Maybe they chose to block out the rainbow horses and angel kitties, or write them off as teeny-bopper stuff, which is easy to do. I however still get a rush of excitement when I see Lisa Frank products, I mean come on, look at this, that’s just fun.

I still get just as happy seeing this now as I did at my 3rd grade book fair when I bought a Lisa Frank folder and a poster of a dolphin jumping through intergalactic oceans (sorry mom, I guess I should have used that money to buy books).

I don’t think any of my professors in art school would have appreciated me citing her as an inspiration though. But then again, they didn’t particularly appreciate anything that was overtly feminine, or so I felt, but more on that another time.

I have a preference for the animals over her new line of “girls” which look a lot like Bratz dolls, am I right? I don’t find them nearly as interesting or appealing as her older characters.

There was (is) something so sweet and fun about rainbow animals with wings, flying around being cute, but also cool, at least for the 9-year-old me it was. My point is that this is illustration, and it was nice to see this woman who obviously built an empire based on work she loved doing. Now we have licensed characters from shows and movies, and sanrio and Disney Princesses will always be around, but I miss Lisa Frank. I haven’t really seen anyone else like her around, not in as big a way as she was.

Whether you like her stuff or think it is saccharine and seizure inducing, you have to admit that she created her own world, did what she liked, and was really successful at it. Wikipedia calls her a “pop artist”, which seems an appropriate title, they also say you can see her headquarters from a plane because it’s decorated with rainbows, stars, and hearts, how amazing is that?

I had to do a piece about “teens” a while back, of course, it’s really based on my own experience as a teenager in the 90s. Even though Lisa Frank skews younger, I found myself thinking about her when I started working on the piece. In some ways she sort of bridges the gap between childhood and adolescence. When I was 15 even though I tried to deny it, I still loved rainbows and unicorns, and you know what? I still do! Here is how that piece turned out:

I’m happy with it, I think it really encapsulates my own teen years. From Manic Panic to baby hair clips.

Here’s one more Lisa, for the road:


Lisa Frank hot air Balloon! What?


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10 responses to “Re-Post: I Heart Lisa Frank

  1. mkz201

    Take it easy. The wedding stuff will get done one way or the other and you want to be able to actually walk down the aisle.

  2. I love Lisa Frank but she has definitely “sold out” if that is even possible with her wack ass designs. I still remain a fan, last year I purchased an old school kitties in hightops sweatshirt off her website. It’s awesome! She’s crazy in person. She did a signing once at FAO Schwartz when I was younger and I just happened to be there with my parents. Of course I stood on a long line around the store to get an autographed 8×10. I think it’s gone though because I moved 9 years ago from my childhood home so it possibly could have gotten thrown out along with the rest of my sweet LF collection 😦

    • Oh my gosh, I would have loved to see her in person! She is kind of hard to find any info on, and I always wondered about the woman behind the rainbow animals. I’m still waiting for her to re-stock the unicorn beach towel she used to have for sale on her site—I kicked myself that I didn’t order it all summer!

  3. sara

    I was the kid that wore plastic Lisa Frank button covers on a flannel shirt to school. And I may or may not have gone on a shopping spree on her website a couple years ago…
    You might like going through this site:

    Take it easy!

    • Those button covers sound awesome Sara—and so is that site! I ordered a bunch of stuff from the Lisa Frank site last year, it was really exciting! I now have loads of stickers and folders covered in rainbow kitty—what more could a girl want?!

  4. kristen

    wish i still had my sticker books! feel better! please stop doing things that make your back hurt!

  5. kelly

    so, last year in november i pulled out my back super bad. it was terrible. and my friends just brought me coffee all day. and it was good… but the floor sucked. especially b/c my room was a mess. It wasn’t like i PLANNED on pulling out my back and laying on my floor and trying to finish two essays due that day.

    use hot and cold. that’s my advice.

    • The floor especially sucks when cats keep coming over and sniffing and sitting on your head, but it’s slowly getting better, and these disposable heat pads you can wear for 8 hours are pretty awesome! Thankfully I don’t have any essays to write—that would really stink!

  6. jennifer

    What happened to your back?

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