New art: Chomp!

I've added a new art to my illustration gallery. It was based on a sketch I did back in January that i particularly liked and wanted to see how much further I could push it. It ended up being a very interesting study in technique and style.

Here are the two pieces side-by-side:

original sketch

original sketch

finished illustration

finished illustration

There are definitely elements I love about them both.

Original sketch: graphicly simple. The tugboat registers very distinctly, without any excessive shading/highlighting and the monster is large, but the angle of his face makes his mouth a smile as well as a chomp, so he is friendlier from the get-go. The toned paper offers an interesting take on all the colors, and there is something interesting about the ocean having very distinct marks of color.

Finished illustration: vibrant, dynamic angle, interesting textures. I love the tentacles and I achieved my goal of distinct edges and losing edges in some parts of the sea monster. The glow in the water is very nice as well. I like the sky, but in combination with the water it is VERY blue. The candy was added as a last-minute touch after a suggestion by twitter art friend @CarlShinyama. With the new angle on the mouth, the kraken was looking too scary and this added an amusing, off-the-wall element to the picture that takes it to a new level. My least favorite part would probably be the smoke stack, which is not as boldly black as the original sketch.

Which one is your favorite?

New artwork: woodland nursery - meeting


I ran a survey on my facebook page to see which animals I would draw next for the Woodland Nursery series. The two favored animals were raccoon and porcupine. I had a great time creating them and was happy with their look, although I wish the porcupine's face ended up a touch cuter. i liked his face better in the original sketch. Oh well. It was also interesting trying to work out composition and placement of background images around all those spines. 

Like the others in this series, this one is a gift; unlike the others, this one is NOT for a nursery! Shocking, I know. I created this for a coworker and friend who was visiting from our India office. We had a lot of fun on our adventures together and many really good conversations. I knew from the start that I was going to give this image to her, so the characters just evolved into a...well, ...a meeting. Hence the creativity on my naming scheme. 

I chose this as my illustration friday image for sight, because while you can have a meeting without sight in this tech era, it's just so much more meaningful in person! 

Kraft Illustrated Recipe Contest

I've been swamped the last few days! I entered the TDAC/Kraft Illustrated Recipe Contest! I am super happy with how my illustration turned out. Check out my entry on their website here.

I'm really trying to push the limits on integrating my illustration work with my lettering work. I think I made great strides with this piece, but it was a lot of trial and error. To give you an idea of all the work behind the finished piece, here's a shot of some of the sketches, lettering trials, and the seperate portions of illustration. I'm very proud of the fact that I tried to minimize my colored pencil work to the three figures. 

Woodland Nursery 2 - Wolf

In the style of the first woodland nursery picture, I've created a second image. I played with graphic shapes in the background, while focusing the rendering on the animals: wolf and squirrel.  I had a lot of fun with this one. 

Amusingly enough, this is a wolf picture for a little boy who is named Edward--and I believe he was named after the vampire in the Twilight series. Go Team Edward! Go Team Jacob!

Illustration Friday: Prepare

He was prepared to enter the water, but he was not prepared to meet a new friend!

I had a lot of fun with this one, even in the initial sketch stage. I think that the only thing that would make this illio even better is a yellow duckie tube around the belly. It's tempting, but I'm not sure if I want to possibly mess up the illio for that.

The scanner is down for a couple of days, so I had to photograph it. I will post a scanned version of this once technology is back online...possibly with a duckie tube.

UPDATE: He has an inner-tube!

(still a photograph)

5 years in the making...

I finally completed our collages from our trip to Japan in 2006. It was a fun process, even if it was very start-and-stop.

I used matte medium to decoupage the bits and pieces of the receipts and maps and ticket stubs from our trip, then used colored pencil over the textured acrylic. Once done, I sealed the colored pencil with more matte medium, which caused it to blend together more while remaining transparent enough to see the collage below.

Hungry Giraffe

Artwork! I had fun with this one, and I tried to push the darks more than I'm normally comfortable. The second image was my initial scan before I went back and reworked the dark areas. I'm much happier with the revised image. And this guy has already found a new home, for a friend's birthday!

And to give me a direct tie in to Illustration Friday, I'll pull in what I told my friend earlier last week when it was still in progress, "He's not finished...he just hasn't been spotted yet!" (i know, bad pun)

Illustration Friday: Stay (Prehistoric Surprise)

This little guy has gone to stay in friend's nursery. Their theme is, unsurprisingly, dinosaurs. He was supposed to be smiling at whoever was in the cave, but he ended up looking more surprised than happy. Our friends were very happy to receive him as a baby shower present.

This may be a loose interpretation of this week's theme, but it is a rare occurrence for me to post finished, full-colored art.

I originally planned to crop this much tighter, but when I was at the frame store, I ended up liking the look of the panoramic matte rather than the standard 8.5x11. Luckily, I gave myself plenty of bleed area to try out different framing options.

I feel I've sufficiently mastered the dark-medium-light variant of basic composition. Next composition must be different, so I can study all 6 basic variations of foreground-middle ground-background lighting arrangements.

Baby bug illustrations

With my eldest sister's first child on the way, I got a bit carried away creating original artwork to decorate the nursery. She was very obliging to pick a theme at which I excel: cute insects. I couldn't be happy with just one insect. I created 5! She was very excited to receive them, and they are already framed and hanging on her wall.

I think my favorite is the bee, but I really like them all.

Two of them are also doing double-duty as her baby shower invitations and thank-you cards.

Avatar! (not the blue kind)

I am finally finished with a project I promised my husband many months ago. A new avatar for his online presence. The direction he gave me: a viking ninja robot. The robot got lost somewhere along the way, but I mostly got the viking ninja, in stereotyped fashion. He was pretty fun to work on, although the drawing got put on pause many times for other projects.

Like many of my pieces, I overworked the rendering and am still not completely satisfied with it, although there are parts I really love, like the folds at the waist and the belt. The rest is kind of stiff, although I felt I learned a bit more about skin tones in the process.

Hopefully the gesture drawing class will help me loosen up on my process/rendering.

Illustration Friday: Deja Vu

deja vu!

Yes, your eyes do not mislead you; there are two of him. This project is over four years in the making! We went to Japan with our friends in August 2006 and while we were there I collected all my ticket stubs, receipts, pamphlets...everything! They've been sitting in a paper bag for 4 years, being sporadically relocated throughout the house. Every time I saw them, I kept thinking, "I should do something with these..."

I knew when I saw this week's IF topic that the time had come, so I bought a canvas 2-pack and pulled out my matte medium and started tearing and pasting and sketching. I had no clue if this would work, or if my colored pencils would stay on top of the matte medium, but I had hope because my friend and great illustrator, Siri Weber Feeney, works with colored pencils on top of gesso. A number of hours later, I am at a point sufficient to post, although I am not finished yet. I ran out of matte medium just short of finishing the second collage, although there was enough done in the area I was planning on drawing over. I plan to add some loose sketches/doodles across remaining portions of the canvas, and maybe add a bit more color. I just wanted to get this posted with lots of time for feedback before a new IF topic was posted.

The two guys are not identical: the legs on the original sketch looked off, so I shifted them when I transfered the sketch the first time. It still looked off, so I ended up going back to the original placement for the second drawing. I guess some times, it all depends on the angle you are looking at it.

As far as the inspiration for the drawing? Simple: we saw him in Japan! It was one of my favorite photos that we took in Japan. I would like to say that I took it, but we had 2 cameras and 4 people, so I don't know for sure. I love the juxtaposition of the modern and traditional. If anyone happens to know this random guy photographed, please tell him a couple of Americans think he's really cool!

it is DONE! or Illustration Friday: Savour

I've been very quite for the past month, but I have been working hard!

I worked all month (read: weekends and sporadic nights) on my recipe submission for They Draw and Cook's Holiday Recipe Contest. Not only did I work on the illustration, I made LOTS of pumpkin cookies in search of my perfect cookie. My coworkers sure enjoyed that part of my project.

It's been fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, and exhausting, because it definitely came down to the last minutes before the submission deadline. I achieved most everything I set out to do with the piece. I have strong characters, strong composition and focal point, and I added/modified things up until the end to make it just right. I also used dark colors, which is still the hardest thing for me to do. I wanted to hand-letter the title, but I knew when to throw in the towel and fall back on my graphic design abilities.

Illustration Friday: Old Fashioned

He was less enamored then she at the fabulous old-fashioned apron and bonnet in the trunk.

I was out of town visiting family, and had our cousin return with us for a couple of days. I kept doodling this duo while I was away, trying to get them exactly like I saw in my head. It came out fairly well over all.

Still experimenting with mixing marker and colored pencil. What I'm liking so far is when I nail the value I want in marker, then all I need to do is match the value with the color of my choice. Any lighter/darker colors will work to cover up any mistakes I make with the marker as well. You can barely see all the attempts to get her back arm in the right position now. Still need to pop the darks more, and possibly more saturation of colors.

I also forgot to draw the trunk in the background...maybe I'll go back and add it later. and possibly flowers on the apron.

Illustration Friday: Muddy

I was sick for a good portion of last week, and I'm still trying to get back to my normal operating schedule. Still have a stupid cough. It's been wet and rainy and cold here, but the perk of that is the mountains are starting to look so green and beautiful. I really enjoy my drives to and from work right now.

I think that the guy looks a little weird, but he looks different then the faces I normally draw. I keep trying to expand my range of expressions and features. His face was the result of a drawing session with some friends. We did 2-minute drawings and one set of them were blind/continuous line drawings where we couldn't look at the paper. We really enjoyed the results, which were often funny and Picasso-like. This one was my favorite:

There is a certain quality to the scribble that I lost in the top drawing, but it was still fun working with an image I don't usually draw.

Illustration Friday: Clumsy & Marvin the Marvelous duo

Marvin the Marvelous donned his pointy hat, secured his wand, opened the door, stepped out, fell on his nose.

This Marvin piece seemed perfect for this week's IF topic: Clumsy. For those who don't know, this is a project that I'm working on with my husband. He gives me a sentence each week and I have to illustrate it with my wizardly character, Marvin. I'm planning on doing one a week in between working on my first children's book project.

Marvin's character is a work in progress, and I'm using him to explore getting more movement and expression in my work, as well as more detail. I've always loved those wonderfully complex characters with elaborate outfits and gadgets and stuff everywhere.

I'm not quite sure what's up with the perspective on the's wonky, and it is what happens when I freehand a background in ink after developing the character. I also couldn't decide which angle I wanted to draw Marvin at--the anticipation or the fall--so you get both! His arm also got slightly disjointed when I redrew the image on bristol using my light box. The bristol board is thick enough that with a light box I get a general idea where the line is, but it's not extremely precise. I ended up just redrawing the hands rather than tracing them.

Next time: make the color looser, and ink AFTER color.