PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- If you stop by a coffee house around the Valley or a famous Phoenix landmark, you may see a woman quietly drawing in the corner. It started as a hobby, but Aileen Martinez turned it into a full-time job by chance.

On a cool and crisp fall morning, she sets up her office in front of an iconic Phoenix building in Heritage Square.

Aileen Martinez

"It's hard for me to draw from my imagination," she said as she sketched the Rosson House.

So, for a few years now, she has traveled around Phoenix and the state drawing places and people -- live and in person.

The Westward Ho, Melrose District, Piestewa, and the Suns Arena (now Footprint Center) dot her Instagram page, appropriately named Look See Draw.

"It's always interesting drawing people," she said. "Sometimes they catch you, and it is awkward, so sometimes you have to take a pic and draw off of that."

Aileen went to college for art. In one of her classes, she had to carry around a sketchbook for a semester. "I would take it everywhere I would go," Martinez said. "And I would just draw on location."

Recently, she was teaching art at a local school, and this hobby was just that, but Aileen wanted it to be more. "It's something that I have always wanted to do," she said. "I think the difficult part was getting started."

Commissioned home drawing

Enter the pandemic. Aileen was laid off from her teaching job and found herself bored at home. So, she took a leap of faith, hitting up the farmers markets to sell her drawings and doing commissioned paintings of people's homes.

"Kinda, if you are standing near the edge of a pool and kinda just get pushed," Martinez said. "[It] knocked me over, I had to go for it, and I'm glad I did."

Aileen never uses pencils, only ink. She said that forces her to keep going and learn to work around a mistake that she cannot erase. It's the same process she uses in life and her career. "So it's kinda like the process of letting go and going for it, and editing as I go along," she explained.

Martinez is selling a calendar of her drawings. You can find out more on her website,

Aileen Martinez Rosson House

"It's hard for me to draw from my imagination," Aileen said as she sketched the historic Rosson House in Phoenix.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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