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?

TDAC: Asian Vinagrette

I have a new recipe over at They Draw and Cook!  It was a fun one to work on in between other projects, although i think the vegetables stole the show, even though they were added as just an additional graphic to the main recipe. I had fun working with a vertical layout in the typically landscape space, but it may be difficult to read. So here is the recipe turned right-ways for easy visuals:


I have another small project i'm repurposing some of these graphics for, but more to come on that later!

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.

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.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!

My first post of 2010 is both good and slightly unfortunate. Good because you get a finished artwork post; slightly unfortunate because this is the fleeting turtles illustration that I entered in the SILA Illustration West didn't get chosen. Oh well...I plan on doing better next year and hopefully enter multiple pieces. I think that will definitely help me increase my chances of getting a piece of work into the competition. I still may enter it into the Communication Arts illustration competition, but i'm not 100% sure i'm going to submit...the deadline is in just a few days.

I feel that I've improved 10-fold over the first SILA submission I entered in a few years back and I'm hopeful that my future entries will show as much or more improvement from the current piece. It probably also didn't help that I was entering into the unpublished category, which is the category with the most entries and the largest range of styles. I can't help thinking that I really need to get some artwork published, even if it is for a small publication.

I got a really awesome gift from one of my friends this year: Do it Later! A 2010 Planner (or Non-Planner) for the Creative Procrastinator. I'm excited to see if I can fill it up or use it to motivate me and keep me going strong with all my plans for the year...including of course keeping everyone entertained by my sketches/doodles/artwork :) It's going to sit right on my desk and glare at me whenever I'm sitting there, asking me why I'm writing on my blog rather than working on art... hmmm... i should go.

Without further ado, the art:

Happy Holly Days!

The old year is ending and this will be the first year I've actually created a holiday-oriented illustration! yay!

This has been a busy year with work as usual but also with all my new classes. In addition to a half year of taekwondo twice a week, I've taken many classes at The Animation Guild:

Traditional Animation Basics 1 & 2
Life drawing (twice)
Animal Drawing at the LA Zoo
Character design

I started the year strong with my sketchbook, and although it dwindled off as the year progressed, I hope to have renewed drive in the coming months. I'm planning on posting daily sketches again as well as working on my first children's book (which won't be posted)

2009 blog recap:
82 posts
115 comments! woohoo!
40 daily sketch posts
16 Illustration Friday posts
Posts with most comments: Illustration Friday Flying and IF Germs at 8 comments each; IF Germs also generated the most visits in 1 day: 54

Goals for 2010 blog:
1. Post at least 116 posts: one for each comment in 2009 plus one (for effort!)
2. Post more than 41 daily sketches
3. Post more than 16 illustration friday posts.

To everyone who has commented this year: YOU ROCK! thank you for all your feedback and I hope to grow my blog more in 2010.

Have a happy holiday season with family and friends!


I have entered the completed Fleeting Turtles as an unpublished piece into the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles annual competition, Illustration West. It's been about 4 years since I last entered this competition. I didn't get accepted then, so I'm hoping I've improved enough to get accepted this year. I don't know whether or not I should be showing this work before the show, so I'm going to keep the finished piece a surprise until I know the results.

I will give you a teaser:

I had a lot of great feedback from friends and family on final tweaks to make my illustration as refined as possible before entering it into the competition. I thank them all for their great input and suggestions!