Thursday, December 27, 2012

"The Ballad of Sir Dinadan" in progress- detail

A detail of the beginning of this illustration. I am starting with a limited color palette because this scene takes place at night. I'm quite happy with how it is coming along.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sir Dinadan

A sketch of a two page spread illustration I started last month. This is from The Ballad of Sir Dinadan, by Gerald Morris. He is one of my favorite authors for young adults. He has a whole series of Arthurian legend adaptations that are fantastic.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Addicted to SketchUp

Remember back when I was doing this

Well, I found out that there's an infinitely easier and more enjoyable way of 
making a city maquette. Google SketchUp. And there is a free version!

I am having so much fun with this. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A couple of things:

I finally have a business email address! It's . I feel professional!

Secondly, I've decided to start participating in Illustration Friday beginning with tomorrow's topic. If you haven't been there be sure to check it out; it is a great community of artists. I'm always telling myself I'm going to start submitting weekly, but I never do. So maybe if I announce it here, I will actually keep my word.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Fall

I hope everyone is enjoying the change of seasons. It's my favorite time of year!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Just a few doodles and sketches from faces in some magazines.
I've got a new illustration in the works, more on that soon!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Have you had an ego boost today?

Don't get rid of old artwork.

You know, that pile of work from high-school or college or (insert time period) when you first felt like you were a "good artist"? The stuff that may or may not cause you to cringe at the sight of it?

Keep it!

While organizing piles and piles of artwork and supplies this afternoon, I stumbled upon lots of old drawings. Some which I had forgotten even existed. And yes, some of which made me laugh at my younger self a little.

No, I'm not going to post any. Good try, though.

Do you know what's great about all this past art? No matter how I happen to be feeling about myself as an artist today, or next year, or whenever... I can always pull out these drawings and paintings and be reminded that hey, I've come a long way. My skills have improved even when I didn't think they had.

I don't know if this is more true for younger artists than it is for experienced ones. But my guess is that we as artists, illustrators, or designers will never stop learning and improving.

So, are you in need of a little affirmation as an artist today? Go pull out that dusty old sketchbook or project from three years ago and smile in satisfaction!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sketch Dump

Here are some doodles from this week. I'm committing to taking the time to just draw every week. It should be a no-brainer for every artist but sometimes it doesn't happen for me. Everything has been so focused on making portfolio pieces that I've not let myself have the time to work the drawing muscles. So here we go.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Onward and Upward

I've been learning a lot over the course of the last few paintings I've done. Such as you can't make every piece precious. I started out believing that everything I do should be good enough for the portfolio; if it is wasn't, then I had failed somehow. But I'm finding that's not necessarily going to be true, and that's okay.

There are parts of this piece that I like. Parts I don't. Parts that should have been planned better. It could use a little more work, but I'm already thinking about the next thing.

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Angry Ogre

This guy here had to be re-done for my billy goats painting. I kept changing my mind about what he should look like, and therefore kept painting over him until he looked incredibly overworked. So when the rest of the piece is all done I will stitch this ogre into it in Photoshop. I'm much happier with the look of him now.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

City Building

You might find me to be a tad unfocused when it comes to the amount of different projects that I post here. But sometimes when I have an idea, my mind can't rest until I at least begin it and get the structure of it down.

I've wanted to do a cityscape painting for a while, but I was having a hard time visualizing what I wanted the city to look like. So I started building it. Just out of white tape and foam core....and it's turned out to be pretty fun. Of course it's not going to be elaborate, but I'll be able to look at it from any angle and light it any way I want. A great source of reference (for the basic building shapes, anyway).

Now back to painting for a while!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Next Thing

My imagination is starting to run away with me. Not complaining though. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Billy Goats Gruff Progress

This is still in a rough painting stage, but I'm liking where the color scheme is at. Now onto the detail phase.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trying new things

I rarely experiment with different types of media these days. After finding one medium I was comfortable with (acrylics) I've pretty much stuck to that. But I discovered (by accident) a few days ago that a set of toned drawing pencils which I bought years ago are actually water soluble. So that's what I've used as a partial 1st layer here- drawing with the pencils and then using a brush and water to blend it. I may end up painting over parts of it, but it has an effect that I like so far.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Drawing drawing drawing

This is one of those ideas that I could't get out of my brain. So I just had to submit and draw it so that I can clear my head and move on to my other work.  Don't know whether I'm going to paint it yet, we'll see how it goes.

It did free up some creativity though, because as soon as I was done drawing this I was able to make progress on the Billy Goats illustration. More on that soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finished Piece

I'm finally done with this piece, and I'm very satisfied with it. I've posted it on my portfolio website here.

This kind of whimsical, fantasy stuff is something I really want to do more of. It's so much fun! I will be designing my postcard this week, and hope to get them ordered soon so I can begin sending them out to the companies on my mailing list.

I made a few adjustments to this piece in Photoshop after I scanned it in. As I looked at the painting something didn't seem quite right. The cliffs and castle in the background were too saturated and did not look far away. So I made a new layer, used the magic wand tool to select it, and overlayed a transparent white layer to give it some atmosphere. I think it made all the difference.

Also, something I learned today (which you probably already know if you payed attention in Photoshop class, unlike me): When I posted the piece to my website, the colors were so bright, they looked radioactive. Then i found that if I chose "save for web and devices" in the file menu in Photoshop, the problem is solved! It's the little things in life, really.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Well, I guess I won't be working on that painting right now.

No no, don't get up. Please make yourself comfortable.

No art today. There are several things that are almost ready to post. Probably later in the week! 
Hopefully at that point I also won't have paints strewn all over my table. Or a cat laying on my paintings. He's lucky he's pretty.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Things are coming along!

I'm finally at a stage where I feel good enough about it to show the whole painting. It's needs some more work, especially on the cliff and the castle. I like where it's headed, though.

I've started drawing out Three Billy Goats Gruff. The ogre came out nicely scary! It took several tries to get the goat horns correct on the biggest goat, and I ended up needing to make a maquette to see how to draw it from the angle I needed.  Good thing there was some Sculpey handy.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Journey

I started up this (new) blog back in February, and began to think about where I was as an artist and where I needed to be. Goals were set, and since then I've been working toward meeting those goals. I continue to work on my portfolio, and have several pieces in the works that will eventually go on my portfolio website.

Of course not all the pieces I start will end up there. It's good to have an eye for what is portfolio material and what is not.  The swamp painting from a few weeks ago, for example, is not portfolio-worthy. I am learning that not everything I do has to be perfect (how ever much I want it to be), as long as I recognize the imperfections and learn something--and have fun doing it. Learning never ends.

I've set up profiles on several networking sites, and am trying to keep myself as visible as possible on them:
Jacket Flap

My mailer has become my central focus. I see this as the most necessary item on my list right now, and as soon as I complete it and mail it out I will most likely begin creating another one (and round and round it goes).

Below is the postcard I made in college (3 whole years ago!), which to this day continues to make me laugh. I didn't really know what kind of illustration I wanted to do then. This postcard (which I never mailed out, thankfully) really only happened for the purpose of the college assignment

When I compare the now to the college years, I see huge improvement. But my ultimate goal is still a while down the road. The motivation is there, though, and I'm trying to do something every day to get one step closer. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Back Home

It turns out that motion-sickness medication is a bit of a detriment to my ability to draw in the car. I attempted to do a nice drawing of my Ogre for the Billy Goats Gruff project but he didn't come out looking how I wanted.

I did get some sketching done on while in the hotel, though. Here's one that I think I may use for the back of the postcard mailer I've been working on in previous posts. Or at least something to this effect. We shall see when I figure out how I want to lay out the back of the card. This has been fun!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Car rides mean drawing time!

I am leaving for Illinois tomorrow morning to visit family over the holiday weekend. And since I will be a passenger for most of the drive, I am looking forward to having several hours to draw.

I'm quite thankful for this because lately I've been thinking so much about art and daydreaming about where this career might take me that it's been difficult to focus while trying to do tasks that aren't art related. Hopefully some quality time with my imagination and sketch pad will give me an outlet.

Hoping to post some of the sketches from the trip, but until then here is a progress shot of my latest piece. I really think this will end up being my promo mailer if it keeps going how it is. I'm planning to do a small vignette of the girl kneeling down petting the wolf to put on the reverse side of the postcard.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I know a large number of the creative community has posted and re-posted this already. But for any of you artists who have not seen Neil Gaiman's commencement speech to the University of the Arts,  please take the time to watch this. It's brilliant and inspiring because....well, because it's Neil Gaiman.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Here is a detail of the first stages of this painting. Going well so far!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mothers Day

Life has been crazy lately. It happens sometimes, but I finally have something to post. 
Here is my week-late "Happy Mother's Day". I made this as a gift to my Mom-in-Law :-)

I've forgotten how much fun flowers are to paint. 
This was a very nice break from my other work!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A doodle and some cats

I will be starting to paint my wolf-and-girl-with-castle (I need a better naming system) piece tonight. I am also a good way along drawing the Billy Goats Gruff illustration on its painting surface. In the mean time here is a quick little drawing I did the other day.

And of course I had to post this. Within minutes of going into my studio one or both of the boys always end up there with me. This photo was taken after they tired themselves out by rustling through my papers and chewing on the ends of poorly hidden pencils.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Just a little fun fact... the piece that I am working on (shown in my last post) was inspired by the photo above, which I took on a hike in Colorado. Sometimes I look at my landscape photos and imagine things that are not there (or not possible). And out of it comes a painting! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

New work

I've made some progress on the piece I showed the above sketch for in a previous post. It now has some characters. I have a feeling this will be a lot of fun to paint.

Below is a--scribbley--comp of the Billy Goats gruff illustration that is next in line. The sketch is only a couple of inches wide, really just meant to give me a feel of where I want each element to go. My next step will be to cut a proportional piece of watercolor paper and begin drawing it out in more detail and with more accuracy. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Taking a Photo Break

I don't consider myself a fantastic photographer. These are just some photos I've taken of lovely places I've visited over the years. Some of them are within walking distance of my house; others are on the other side of the country. These things always inspire me. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's my last post on this one, really.

I take a lot of pictures when I'm outside, in hopes of being able to use them for reference at some time or another. This is a good example of how I work up to an idea for a piece I suppose, because the forest swamp painting I've been working on the last couple of months began with the photo above.

Then it became this sketch.

And then it became what it is now.  Done with this for now,  on to other things!