Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Day to Remember

SooOOoooo......I finally felt like making something and writing something. 

This was my day today.

Saying farewell to summer. Or to state it in the positive, although it requires a lot of effort (because as you may know I am not a fan of not-summer which means RAIN RAIN RAIN here): saying hello to Autumn. With Winter close on its heels.

But for now, it's still summery.

Here's a day in pictures.

With captions!

Autzen Stadium. They're lurching along....sorry if any of you are football fans. 

People buying mass quantities of beer today. Post-game fervor. 
I don't follow sports, so I don't know if U of O won or lost.
But there will be much beer-quaffing tonight, I reckon, regardless.

Outside our downtown Green Grocer Market, The Kiva.
Man, I think this is so funny. I rarely park by bicycle out here. 
Wouldn't be so funny if some sports-and-beer-addled driver plowed into
my only-car-is-a-bicycle!
I plant my two-wheeler at the upside-down U-shaped
bike racks up against the store. Off-road.

Stopped at Market of Choice on my way home.
It is a swanky grocery, deli, and more store. 
My plastic still works here though.

 I am so serious.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Illustration Friday - Shades

Whoo! Just under the wire yet again for this week's IF challenge.

Couple of rare birds, maybe? yuk  yuk yuk (how often do owls wear gigolo sunglasses, hey??!)

Ack! I submitted this on thursday night but somehow...SOMEHOW!...the link I entered was directing folks to a famous author's site - Dan Santat. Oops! So here's last week's which could almost qualify for this week's challenge word ('swamp'). But I'm not going for a double-header here. I'll be concocting something new for this week!

Trying out some different things with Photoshop this time around - namely, working with a chalk brush for much of the image. And playing around with some furry effects. Had fun doing this one!

Next comes more learning about how to render water - there are so many ways! I need to just spend some time with different methods. Copy the masters :)

Like Kazu Kibuishi, Jason Brubaker, Dani Jones,Rad Sechrist, and more. Can you tell I've been reading the Flight series? I found Flight Explorer in the children's comic section at our library and I practically sleep with it!

Also need to learn how to create more of a sense of light. Also.....!...I wanna learn how to use Illustrator. Next level for me. And! Learning how to create shapes that meet without linework. I'll always love cartoons and comics. And I've done a little bit of painting, traditional and digital. So much to explore!!

I started watching the Comics are Great podcast this morning where Jerzy Drozd and Dan Santat are talking about Fear and Courage. I left off to work on the above illustration - just after Dan said he taught himself to draw by copying comic books.

YEAH! That's what I'm talking about!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why can't I see my brush tip shape?

If you're noodling around in Photoshop and your brush tip shape inexplicably (?!) changes to a leetle tiny point, the caps lock is probably on. Toggle it off and regain shapes for brushes and all the other shapes associated with the various tools. My keyboard is an old one for Mac (pretty turquoise! with a full ten-key keyboard, which is what I want) that I bought used through NextStep Recycling and the caps lock key sticks or spontaneously decides I need to work in UPPER CASE.

I had wondered if that was the case with my brush tip suddenly 'disappearing' when I typed my question into the browser bar's built-in search engine and my query was ALL IN CAPS.

Here's a web page I found right off the bat to confirm what happened.

The Annoying Phantom Brush.

Happy painting and stuff!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Greeting Cards are now for sale!

Yoo! I did a print run last week and five greeting card designs are ready for you browse and purchase!

I created a Page for them (right up there) where you can click on a Buy Now button.  I've included descriptions and stuff - and you don't need a PayPal account to pay - y'all know you can click through and choose to pay by credit card. Alternatively, you can email me with a list of the items you would like to purchase and I'll send you an invoice direct via my PayPal account. This works well if you want to order a variety of cards. The way it works now (learning all this tonight so bear with me) -- you click on Buy Now and are directed off-site to pay. Every time you want to order a different card. Easy enough but with an invoice, you will receive ONE itemized list and you can pay from that.

Alternatively......and even better really....I just re-opened my Etsy shop. Click on that banner over there! It would really help me build business if you order through Etsy.

Here's a few shots of a couple of the cards in 'real space' so you can have a sense of their scale and cute factors :) I also had fun creating a logo, printed in living color on the backsides.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Illustration Friday - Yield

Here's this week's installment for Illustration Friday!

Yield to your little monster. The monster just wants to help. And to be friends. Really. No matter what monstrous monstrosities the little darling devil-may-be.

Yeah I'm learning stuff in Photoshop! Trying out several different techniques. I realize this one is pretty busy but hey. Monsters like busy-ness. Uh...this one does!

**I will be designing cards for this one....I really need to re-launch Etsy, or sell through this site....or build that website I keep saying I will! If anyone is interested in purchasing cards or prints just email or message me - thanks!**

Monday, March 12, 2012

today I made a cloud

This is one of the things I busied myself learning today: one way to make a cloud! Of course I had to add some mauves and pinks. I even learned how to make my very own cloud brush, woo!

The tutorial I followed is here. There are many ways to make clouds, as you may well know if you've puttered around in Photoshoppe. I'll be morphing this one to fit an illustration I'm working on.

This morning my back went out! Suddenly, without warning, as I was doing my normal stuff around the house. I could barely lift a frikkin' teacup to my face. No, seriously. So I stayed home. Luckily I haven't been bedridden and have been able to sit on my arse-end for lengths of time to mess about with colors and clouds. I was doubtful I would even be able to do I do count myself fortunate.

I even made split pea soup. Good for what ails ya. Especially when it's raining and gusting 40mph winds outside.....yeesh.

A good evening to you all; I'm closing up Shop and going horizontal with a movie and some ibuprofen :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Illustration Friday - Intention

So on sunday it was my intention to be super woman super productive. I did some stuff and laid groundwork for being more productive the next couple of days.....but as for sunday, I did a good amount of schlepping and chillin'.

Learning Photoshop! Learning about every goshdangiddy thang!!

I live in a small studio. That is why I look so biggg :)


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Illustration Friday - Capable

Wooo just under the wire! Here is this week's Illustration Friday, uh, illustration.

After working for several hours on the Paid Assignment for NextStep, I switched gears to do this. Oh man I'm so glad I did! For anyone who has ever, say...learned to play an instrument: do you remember when, after hours and more hours of learning how to place fingers and read sheet music that one day you suddenly start doing it without thinking so much about it? Well tonight was like that with Photoshop, which I'm just now learning. Everything I've learned up until now finally gelled and I was loosened up and I had a LOT of fun coloring this.

When I drew it, I didn't have the plan that it would be a frog stretching across that ravine (or whatever you want it to be). But it seems appropriate and so I'll insert the metaphor of a frog who doesn't realize she is built to leap. Or hasn't dared. Or, you know......that sort of thing.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

no more distractions!

I am going to DRAW!!

right after I eat a bit of chocolate, go to the bathroom, check my to a couple art no! Concentrate!!!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


Okay listen up (if you want)! It's true I disappear down the rabbit hole from time to time and this time isn't exactly an exception, but I brought back a chunky nugget: I landed my first hired illustration gig! It's for the locally owned company Next Step. Lorraine started this company ummm ten (more?) years ago to refurbish technology that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Next Step does outreach, training, and a host of other pretty amazing things. They've hired me to create an iconic figure and a sidekick for print and web (including tshirts..ahhh I can't wait!). The figures will be robots.

Have I ever drawn a robot before this project? (searching memory banks......) NO, I think not! I've drawn a few now though!

It's a very fun and challenging project, and I am learning tons on lots of levels. The thing that launched this was the picture I drew of Yona which is in this post. Yona posted it as her FB profile pic and Lorraine of NextStep saw it and BAM the rest is the history we are making right now. (massive thanks to Yona for connecting the dots on this)

I have obtained a copy of the PEG (you know? no? Graphic Artist Guild Pricing and Ethical Guidelines).

I will be learning Photoshop. And will be learning Illustrator.

I have been reading lots of blogs and websites about the business end of things (that could be misconstrued in other contexts).

I am open to anyone who can assist me.

I'm doing trade for this. WAIT! Don't judge me! ehh heh heh

I now have a kickass 11 x 17 Epson Expression 1640xl scanner (donated to NextStep, routed to me).

I now have a Wacom Intuos3 tablet (donated and re-routed).

CS4 was delivered today (I have not installed it yet, because I spent too many hours fiddling around trying to get the scanner and my Mac to communicate properly and I am burnt on the tech end of things for today).

I have a better chair to sit upon and my back isn't screaming at me so much.

One bigger better filing cabinet, and one other on the way.

And a partridge in a pear treeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

The people at NextStep and the owner Lorraine have been AWESOME to work with.

Here is my first project in PSE (which I had already thanks to Yona's generous sharing, and will now be transferring skillz to Photoshoppe).

I'll save the critique, except to say that I think this is a great first effort and I learned some stuff. I have a lot more to learn - about painting, color, dpi, file size and kind, and software. Oh by the way, this is not the robot I'm doing for's line art from a doodle I really liked and decided to flesh it out a to speak ehhh bad joke it must be getting late.

yuk yuk!

*ps I really mean it, if you can offer suggestions as to what size I should import my line art and what format, should it be at least 600 dpi (I think so), and in TIFF, and in greyscale? I'm using Photoshop first, and the image will be for web, but also tshirts. Do I need to learn color separation for tshirts? I have a lot to research still. arf!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

And now for something....

....a little different!

For the last few days I've been working on a Big Project. I'm preparing a separate blog post about that one! I can say that it involves my first ever client and my first ever official freelance job!!! AHHH!!! But, I needed a break from that, so I switched gears and finished a piece I started a few days ago. I found this website that issues weekly art challenges

Weekly Art Challenge!

and although I missed the deadline for submission to the collective, I thought last week's challenge was great: redo a piece you created last year. And improve upon it (key word here). I did this Lollie in a woodcut many months ago.

Here's the redo

I redid it as a Zap comic book cover!

Well that was fun :-)  I encourage you to embrace your Inner Lollie, whatever that means to you. I love her so! She definitely needs to go in a Tarot deck (guess which card?).

And I anticipate having a scanner reeeeal soon.

ARF!! Sunday January 22 update: I now have an 11 x 17 Epson scanner!! (backstory on that one real soon)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It was a Dark and Rainy Night...

....and my friend Yona was having a hissy fit about the state of the weather. Especially since she'd just returned from a sunny and warm six weeks in Oaxaca. I share her sentiments. (I wish I could put together such outfits and pull them off like she does too, but hey - at least I can draw her in her fabulosity!!) We were hanging out at the library, feryerinfermation.

Luckily for all of us, it was sunny today!!

We've been enjoying quite a number of bonus days here in the Pacific Northwest, actually.

On other fronts: I've been gearing up for the almost sure-fire eventuality that I will have an interview soon for a full-time job at the campus library. Many thoughts on this rattling around in the ol' tin can!

And I yam tard....that is, my brain, it doth tire and gimble in the wabe. And so for now, adieu, dear readers....I am for snoresville soonishly!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Illustration Friday - Grounded


I loved doing this one. Started to really roll once Jane's Addiction shuffled through on the iTunage. I've been reading Calvin and Hobbes again lately (can you tell). Also Amelia Rules! by Jimmy Gownley. It's super fun and our library has several volumes. Another good one is Ottos' Orange Day by Jay Lynch and Frank Cammuso. Also been digging the art of Dan Santat. And last but definitely not least, Jhonen Vasquez. You may know him best because Nickelodeon picked him up to do Invader Zim (Jhonen's....friendly side).

Next I want to start paying particular attention to backgrounds. Sure I'm always looking at them when I'm reading (drooling over) comics and graphic novels. But, Happy New Year you resolution you, now I'll start applying stuff and messing around more. Yes. I will. Mess around!!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Comics Are Great

Wanna know why? I bet you already do. But I bet you'll be more informed, inspired and generally happy about comics if you head over to Comics Are Great and listen to the show. Jerzy Drozd, I've mentioned before, is a teaching artist who loves comics. CAG is one of his myriad projects in partnership with Ann Arbor Library District. In the audio (and visual) podcasts he teams up with other artists around the globe who impart loads of information about everything comic related: creative process, time management, the nuts and bolts of publishing - including self-publishing and webcomics - and a whole host of nifty chunky useful bits. Plus, it's entertaining.

I've been following Jerzy off and on for a couple of years now, ever since I found his collaborative flagship podcast project Art and Story. The byline is "The show that digs deep into the craft of cartooning". Definitely lives up to that claim!! Jerzy and Mark Rudolph, along with Kevin Cross, were a very merry trio and I spent a lot of time listening to them while I drew, painted, or carved blocks for printing. Art and Story rocked!! They recently discontinued the podcasts in pursuit of various other individual projects. All of their content is archived beautifully online and is an invaluable resource. There is a LOT of content.

It's not only for the hard facts of illustrating and the inner workings of All That Mysterious Stuff that I listen to these artists. I remember when I first stumbled on Art and Story. Three guys who are not only experienced, working, successful awesome artists - but who offered their insights in an interesting and entertaining way? No way! I could not believe my good fortune! I loved listening to them banter; it was like three brothers in the next room yukking it up minus the gross machismo. And these guys were never too cool to laugh. A lot. Which I also loved. And they never slammed other artists either.

Jerzy is a live wire. He kinda reminds me of my brother Christopher (my bro would've been 50 this year!! whoah!!). Whacky, mischievous, off-center, but grounded too. There is even a resemblance in their faces. So that's pretty cool! I really get a kick out of how enthusiastic Jerzy is about his craft. You should really watch a podcast for a sense of his personality.

So here are some crappy photos of a mini comic I did, a little love note to Comics Are Great and to the great work that Jerzy is doing. I don't know what's going on with my camera; it doesn't seem to take very good photos of anything in less than full-on summer sunshine anymore. I'm aiming for some scans when I go back to work next week.

Good Lord!
Those pictures are freakin' HUGE!
* Best if you're not on dial-up. I wonder how these would look on an iPhone or other mobile device? These things I have yet to learn.

*I now have a scanner! New shiny pics and not so huge but hopefully big enough.

So this comic needs some back story. I realize that the target audience is very small, unless you are familiar with Jerzy's podcast presence. It would be funnier if everyone already knew the insidey jokes, but anyway:

I was watching Ratatouille. Again. You know how much I love that show!! I always want to send my personal thanks to everyone who made that come to life. I mean it astonishes me. From the opening lines, I thought Wow! Remy and Jerzy sound so much alike! Their inflection and cadence, even their energy. Cracked me up. I started mulling over this, and continued watching podcasts and gathering snippets of information:

Like how Jerzy's choice of superpower, if he had one, would be to shoot laser beams out of his eyes. And how he does believe that anyone can draw comics (which mirrors perfectly Gusteau's adage that 'anyone can cook'!). Jerzy has a tremendous web presence. And he always closes the shows he hosts (and co-hosts) with, "Oh - kay - BYE". He usually wears a black button-down over a tshirt, and 'tributary' is his 'tangent'.

I totally loved drawing this. I think Jerzy will receive it in the spirit it's meant. Gah, I hope he doesn't feel too weirded out or self-conscious! But he's a big personality! I don't know how the hell he does so much all the time, but dude - hats off! And Comics Are Great! And PS - don't forget to take a break now and then.

EDIT! Here's a fourth panel!

Kim Holm was a guest on that episode of CAG. And he loooooves copyright *wink wink*. And he really did say that ideas are crap. So I had to make an extra panel.


Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Lean Into Art

I just wanna do a quick post, because in my next post I'm going to talk more about art podcasts and their creators that tie into this one.

I've just started listening to Lean Into Art hosted by Jerzy Drozd and Rob Stenzinger. They're both working and teaching artists with loads of panache (but not snooty panache) and experience about illustration and comics in particular. This collaborative effort is gaining ground and I hope it continues to soar. I also wish I was in a position to take classes from these guys! But, in typical generous fashion, they're offering a multitude of podcasts that introduce you to their pyramid scheme course structure (ha ha j/k guys) , and a boatload of other stuff that serve very well as stand-alones. If you're into comics, web design, publishing and general skullduggery, these are your go-to geeks. They're fun to listen to, as well.

The other day I listened to the LIA podcast #17 Mad About Design. In it Rob and Jerzy touched on how different their clients are in terms of personality, needs, style, expectations -  and how they would adjust their own response or interaction to suit. Jerzy said that one client was very informal and would call up saying something like,

"Dude, could you just make me a totally awesome drawing of dude on a surfboard wearing nothing but a bandana on his..."

and Jerzy would say something like, "Duuude, like no problemo!" (which is totally, like, unlike regular Jerzy speak)

Rob then shared how some of his clients would sound something like,

"Yes hello Mr. Stenzinger, would you be so kind as to consider our proposal for a project? We would be most delighted to hire you..."

And they talked about how Rob already has the 'long haired creative type guy' thing going, all he needed to do was add a sweater vest, cummerbund - and spats - a cane!

So yeah, I had to draw this......too good to pass up, right? 

(I realize it's a bit insidey, but it'll be less insidey if you go listen to and watch the podcast! do it! do it now!)

I sent it off to Jerzy, since that's the only email I could find on the web, and he wrote back with a really nice thank you.

Lemme tellya, there is a wealth of inspiration in these shows. I will never lack for subject matter! Thanks you guys!

(I hope I do not sound like one of those weird stalker fans)

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Illustration Friday - Highlight

This week's word-topic for IF is Highlight.

I used a Pentel pocket brush for all the linework and some bits of inking. It's definitely a skill I need to practice! Not the most excited about this picture, but that's okay. I like the concept, which is based on a true story:

Last month I was out walking and saw a neighbor and her little dog ahead of me. She was carrying this huge limb and I just started laughing, and snapped a couple photos. I was pretty sure she was going to use it for a border in her yard or something but it's just too good, right? I mean sometimes you DO see dogs dragging around massive branches. I caught up to her after I saw her dump the branch on her lawn next to the flower bed and as she entered her house I told her how funny it was to see that, with her tiny dog.  "OH! ha ha! I didn't even think of that!"

I'd like to draw another picture of this one. When I have more gumption :)