December 2022 Newsletter

Let me just say that I was surprised by the end of November…and now that it’s over, I’m not sure how much of it I remember… with that in mind, let’s get to it…!


ART

My first goal for November was to work on a new illustration. I started a new sci-fi themed illustration, and so far have most of the pencils done. I had to do a fair bit of practice and study in my sketchbook as well, since I’m still not well-versed in sci-fi motifs. It’s learning a whole new way of thinking. I’m having a lot of fun with it though. And I should hopefully start inking and colors pretty soon, since the background was the most complicated part. By the time I’m inking, most of the big decisions have been already made. It’s just play at that point!

Pictured: A few progress shots of the sci-fi illustration. Also a page of my sketchbook — a recent episode of Bob’s Burgers included a colorful sci-fi cityscape and this is a study of some of the buildings and windows.

I’m hoping that my workflow will be a little faster moving forward. I really want to be able to do a hand-drawn illustrations and digital illustrations simultaneously. I really liked taking breaks from penciling to sketch in Procreate. I’m still working on figuring out how I want to draw digitally — mostly figuring out which brushes I want to use for outlining and colors. I have a lot (like A LOT) of options. So it’s mostly just trial and error and personal preference. Sometimes it feels just hard to decide!

Whereas in previous months I’d been focusing on how I wanted to draw cartoons stylistically, now I’m going to be focusing on the finishing details. So like I said, figuring out what brushes I want to use digitally to outline my work. Also figuring out how I want to add color. There are so many different styles for coloring, just like there are styles for drawing. I tend to keep colors simple, but I do like when other artists add more texture and details in their colors. So it’s just a matter of figuring out what feels most intuitive for me. I also want to explore some physical color media as well. I still like the idea of alcohol markers, and acrylic markers. So I’ll need to make time to work with them as well and see if that’s something I want to use in the future.

I think for December though, my focus will largely be on that trial and error. Drawing in my sketchbook and in Procreate to build that confidence and figure out what approach I like the best. I learned so much during Peachtober, and I just want to keep up that momentum. 

I’m excited about where I want to go with my art, now I’ve just got to make it!


COMICS

I only managed one comic in November… I thought I could get one done over Thanksgiving, but that was silly, and definitely didn’t happen. The good news is that I’m very very pleased with the comic I did.


BOOKS

I’m still reading The Expanse series, slowly but surely. It’s still so good. Seriously some of the best characters I’ve ever read. But I’m also taking a little break to read other books that have been sitting on my shelves for so long now. I’m in the middle of Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I loved his book The Martian, and I LOVE this book too. It’s sooo good.

I’m also trying to read The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett…again. I loved Good Omens, which he wrote with Neil Gaiman. But I’m just not sure I get it. Like, I can tell there are comedy beats, but I don’t always find them funny (or even understand what’s going on?). I really want to like it…but also it makes me feel stupid…

Which is kinda funny, because I felt so smart reading The Martian. Like, “yeah Mark Watney that makes total sense! Good idea!” And then I remember I suck at math and science and have no idea what Weir is writing about really, but he explains it just well enough that I can nod along like… ”hmmm, yes yes, I concur…”

I am silly.


MISC

This is the part where I get really fuzzy on details for November. I know I worked. I got to visit my family for Thanksgiving, which was really nice. But anything before the holiday is just gone. I know we watched a lot of Taskmaster on Youtube. I still love that show…

My family was a good sport and watched some really wild B-movies during our visit. We watched Trancers which was definitely in the camp of “so bad it’s good.” I even watched the first of many sequels when we got back home…Yikes…

OH. I remembered why I don’t remember November… I decided it would be a good idea to watch all the Resident Evil movies.

That was NOT a good idea.

In fact they might be some of the worst movies I’ve EVER seen. They were all consistently terrible. The writing, the effects. Just bad. All bad. I think the second one might have been the best? But ultimately it didn’t matter. Not just because the rest were awful, but they specifically retconned the story of the second movie later on as well. Bad… But really it was kinda fun. Again in a “so bad it’s entertaining” way. Love it. 

So silly.


SHOP

It’s not too early to start holiday shopping! May I suggest gifting some art?! I know Society6 regularly offers sales, and the framed mini-prints would make a cute stocking stuffer! There are also cute mugs! Everyone needs a cute mug for hot cocoa! Check it all out here!

Pictured: my Compass Bloom framed mini-print and my Kant Remember coffee mug!

I also have quite a few larger prints available at INPRNT as well! Available here!

Pictured: The Library and The Guardian prints!


Thanks for reading!

Peachtober 22 Sketchbook Tour

A new sketchbook tour is here! Yay!

Set Up…

October is full of daily art challenges. I’ve done my own prompt lists for “Inktober” in the past. Last year, I followed the emoji-based prompts for “Mosstober.” This year I decided to participate in Peachtober!

The challenge was open to all art media, but I naturally went with ink, since it’s my favorite. For some extra excitement going into the challenge, I used all new (to me) materials — a set of 3 Kuretake brush pens, a small set of Copic markers, and a Midori MD notebook. I’d been intrigued by the markers and notebook for a while, and I’m always looking to try new pens! So I thought this would be a great time to try them all out. As extra incentive, if I finished the challenge, I could get another small set of Copic markers. (If you aren’t familiar, they are fancy alcohol markers for illustration, and are not cheap…)

The last element was the prompts and my approach. I have been doing a lot of practice and study with cartooning this year, and wanted to use this challenge to as a resource for that. I didn’t review the prompts or prepare any sketches in advance. I figured whatever the prompts, they would push me out of my comfort zone and practice a lot of different kinds of cartooning. I had just finished my kawaii online course and Ghost comic, so that was my initial headspace, but I figured I’d practice all kinds of cartoon styles and learn along the way!


How It Went…

Well, I definitely got A LOT of practice…

As for the materials, I liked the pens. I really liked the Copics, at the start. I had a limited palette, but I liked the colors, and I liked how smooth they blended. I prefer flat colors and markers can get soooo streaky. But these markers seemed to largely avoid it… But also, I don’t love them? I still like them, but I ultimately didn’t buy more after the challenge was completed, because I don’t think I’d use them.

I do wonder if maybe the combination of markers and the sketchbook was an issue. I honestly have no idea if the paper was ideal for alcohol markers, and I just didn’t care for the texture and off-white paper. It probably would be a great sketchbook for pencil sketches. I liked the size and layout of it. But I definitely have other sketchbooks I prefer for ink.

With the prompts and cartooning…Oh man, it was like I jumped in the deep end. Each day was a challenge of “I think I’ll draw this for the prompt” realizing I don’t know how to draw this, studying how to do this, practicing it and figuring out how I wanted to draw this and then actually drawing it in my Peachtober sketchbook. Every. Day. Although some days I skipped the study part, and just dove in– knowing I just needed just something done, it didn’t have to be awesome everyday… and it wasn’t…

I did learn so much about cartooning though. 31 days of daily practice and study was a great, albeit exhausting, way to brute force experience. I learned a ton of what I don’t like in cartooning, when playing with different styles. In only took a few days to burn out on kawaii. I think I mentioned it in the newsletter, but kawaii cartoons, among other styles, I tend to prefer in the works of others and I don’t particularly enjoy making myself. Now I know!

Ultimately I learned that I really enjoy simple cartooning (think Adventure Time or maybe Bob’s Burgers), with clean minimal line art. It’s just what I naturally gravitate towards, enjoy the process AND the results (which, both are so important!). I also really like anime-style cartoons, especially influenced by artists like Carles Dalmau. I tried to include some practice in that style as well, but mostly worked on half-portraits so it would fit the page and still leave room for details (that style of character is very tall!).

I also did a lot of study of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, for how to simplify structures and other elements. Originally I was going to focus a lot on composition for each cartoon, but it quickly became overwhelmed. But in studying how to simplify, I eventually was able to do some more complete compositions that I’m really pleased with in the end. I also studied Mignola’s shading, using large areas of shadow to build his images. I definitely pushed myself to add more (as in any) shading in my cartoons, and I think it worked well. It’s not as natural feeling to me, but I loved the effect so I definitely want to keep including it in my work moving forward!

Beyond the style of drawing, I noticed too that for the prompts I kept wanting to find a way to tie-in certain elements. Mostly science fiction. I don’t have a ton of experience drawing in the genre, so this was a fun way to work on it and build that visual library of sci-fi looking elements that I admire. Also on my short list of things I want to learn to draw is monsters. I really only did that once or twice, which is my bad. But it was still fun to try. And I also remembered how much I still enjoy drawing buildings in perspective! So these are all areas I want to focus on in future work, in my sketchbooks, and in illustrations!

Overall, I’d say it was a successful challenge. A stressful, challenging, challenge. But also a great learning tool and practice resource!

I also turned two of my favorite Peachtober drawings into finished illustrations and they are now available in my INPRNT shop! Check them out HERE!


The Sketchbook


Cave. For being the first, it’s still one of my favorites. I really like the line art and fine details. It’s simple but fun. I focused a lot on the composition and while I was nervous about adding a character, I think the little adventurer guy turned out well!


Dandelion. I didn’t like this one at all when I drew it. I thought it was too simple. But now, having drawn so many characters in the challenge, I kinda like ’em and all their little details. Feels like my natural style of drawing and I’m comfortable with that. But I had to do a lot of experiments first before I could embrace it.


Trees. I definitely want to do more experiments with characters in different environments. I don’t think the animals and the landscape have the same style, so in the future, I’ll want to work on making it more cohesive.


Potion. I focused on anime-style cartooning for this drawing and the next.


Boulder. This is based on a photo I took on a hike. I started really studying Mike Mignola’s work here, pushing myself to include the large black shadows. I think they made my usual landscape drawing style really pop! I love it!


Lantern. I tried to add large black shadows again, but also used the Copic markers to do some additional shading. I think it worked well!


Lava. I had fun working on the lava-monster design. The clouds are very Mignola-inspired here, mixing it up from my usual puffy clouds (that I don’t love…) and I really liked this approach!


Tail. I was nervous to do shadows on the main character here. But I’m super pleased with how it turned out. It’s my favorite part! Also drawing the buildings was a lot of fun. I was a bit rusty on one-point perspective but really enjoyed it.


Town. At this point, I’m pretty much just focusing on studying Mignola’s Hellboy, can you tell?!

I didn’t use reference for the town. I think it might have been better if I had. The ghosts didn’t look very ghost-like either. It might have been better to do white windows or smoke…But this kinda stuff is how you learn!


Bun. This is Mister Bun Bun, who I created for a gouache illustration earlier this year. I knew right away I wanted to draw him again. But since it was October I thought it’d be fun to give to him some Halloween flair!


Globe. I drew this guy on a weekend, at my computer, while playing a video game. Like, just could not be bothered…

…Globe? …Theatre? …Shakespeare? …Hamlet? …Pig? …Done.

I adore him.


Sprout. Same.

He may just be a simple potato. But he’s my favorite simple potato.


Sleepy. I was going to do a self-portrait for “sleepy” because I was just so exhausted by the end of the challenge. But it was Halloween! And I was excited for it! So that’s what I drew instead!

I don’t love this one, but I do really like the colors and shading, and I still think it turned out pretty well. I definitely looks to me like it reflects a lot of the techniques I’d practiced all month! Success!


I hope you enjoyed this sketchbook tour! And thanks to everyone that followed along on social media! I really appreciated all the encouragement!

Let me know your favorites in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

November 2022 Newsletter

COMICS

Here are the comics from October!


ART

October was all about the Peachtober drawing challenge. 31 days of ink drawings.

I found it way more challenging than similar challenges in previous years. I think a lot of it was focusing on cartooning, which I’m still learning and not very confident with… although, I did a lot of cartooning for last year’s Mosstober challenge, so I don’t know for sure.

I am glad I did it though. And I managed to finish it! I learned a ton in the process. About cartooning and style. There were a lot of design choices to make each day in how I wanted to approach the drawing. I learned, sort of brute force, how I like to ink my cartoons, shade them, and what kinds of shapes I’m drawn too and what artists and genres inspired me the most and felt most intuitive to learn from and influence my own work…

For example, I went into Peachtober really into kawaii-style cartoons (if you remember the Ghost in the Garden comic…like that!). I still really enjoy the style, but apparently mostly when other people do it. The kawaii drawings I did early on in Peachtober were some of my least favorites to make. But on the other hand, I was reminded what an incredible resource the work of Mike Mignola is for me. It’s not cute, his subjects are usually way darker than anything I do, but his use of simple shapes and linework and large black shadows was so fun to experiment with in my own work and I was usually super pleased with the result. I wasn’t trying to copy him obviously, just learn and apply what I’ve learned to my own drawings and combine with my other drawing habits…if that makes sense…

I also realized that while I know that I would like to make more sci-fi themed artwork, I have like zero visual library for it. As in, I haven’t really practiced it much. So when I wanted to do a Peachtober drawing that used sci-fi elements, I had to study and practice them before I could do the work for real. (This happened with a lot of other elements too. Apparently I have a very small visual library.) I think it helped keep the challenge fun, to use it as a chance to learn how to draw a lot of different things that I haven’t really worked on before. But that probably made it more exhausting, because it did take so much practice and study every day…

And even on days where the drawing was ultimately very simple, it was an interesting experiment in cartooning styles too. Like, it turns out I’m not super into like classic Disney animation cartoons, or Hanna Barbera, right? But I LOVE drawing cartoons like Adventure Time and Bob’s Burgers. But I also still enjoy the anime-style of Carles Dalmau so I got to experiment with that a bit as well.

 All in all, no wonder I’m exhausted! It was a lot to work on and work through, even if very little of that was in my Peachtober sketchbook. But I’m super glad I did it!

I definitely plan on talking about it in even more detail in an upcoming Sketchbook Tour post. So, be sure to check that out later this month! For now here are some of my favorites (and you can see them all on my Instagram!):

For November, I’m hoping to get back into something resembling my old routine. Balancing sketching with larger illustration projects. I would’ve liked to do an illustration this last month, but I was just relieved I got my comics done! So I’ll definitely be focusing on my comics again, and a new illustration. And I think I’ll do something like breakfast sketches again… I think I’m going to move a bit away from fan art studies, and work on intentionally building that “visual library” and practice drawing all kinds of stuff that I want to be able to include in illustrations in the future.


BOOKS

Reading? What’s that??

I started October reading a bit more of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy— because spooky scary, right? But I didn’t get very far, and eventually was just using it to study for Peachtober. Oops. Towards the end of Peachtober I picked up copies of The Movie Art of Syd Mead, and the Beginner’s Guide to Sketching: Robots, Vehicles & Sci-fi Concepts. The former is just gorgeous and fascinating, but the latter is especially helpful. I really enjoyed reviewing the approaches of the artists included. Since I kept gravitating to sci-fi subjects for Peachtober prompts, it became a super interesting resource that I’ll continue to study and practice from, I’m sure. 

If I read anything else, especially not art related, I don’t remember it. Meh.

(I really want to read more… it’s just finding the focus, time, and well, making it a priority… I always feel like there is something else I should be doing… If you have any advice for making time to read, let me know in the comments!)


THE REST

As is tradition, October is spooky scary movie month! I think we watched a horror movie every single day this time! I prefer a bit of ridiculous in my horror movies, so my favorites were The Blob, Lake Placid, and Scream 4. I don’t care for Stephen King’s work, despite The Shining being one of my all time favorites. Prey, the new Predator movie, is excellent (although I kinda viewed it as more action than horror but it was still fantastic!). For the scariest: Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum.

If you have any Halloween movie recommendations, definitely comment and let me know! Especially like, fun not-horror movies? I was trying to find one to watch during the day for Halloween, and could only think of Casper, Hocus Pocus and the 90s Addams Family movies… All great, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve seen them a ton!

I also started playing RimWorld this month. It was recommended in an online course about character design and world building. I’m not really sure why, since as a player you don’t seem to have an exceptional affect on the design or world (that I’ve found yet…) But that said, it’s like Banished (one of my favorite games) with sci-fi flavor text. So naturally, I’m obsessed…but it’s like totally research… right?


Anyway, thanks for reading!

October 2022 Newsletter

SHOP

I have two new prints available in my INPRNT shop!

Ghost in the Garden 

The Pumpkin Patch

They are both available as 8” x 10” prints and start at $15 plus shipping! Check it out!


COMICS

In case you missed it, here’s the comic from September!

The Ghost in the Garden was actually my 2nd comic for September too. It was time to do another single-panel comic, where I usually experiment with style and do an illustration with my comic characters. This was the first time I included just one character, but it was a lot of fun to just focus on a spooky scene for Ghost.

My single-panel comics are usually seasonal as well, so with Ghost as the character, Halloween made way more sense than just like Autumn. I was also taking a course on kawaii-style illustration at the same time. I really admire that style, but never know how to approach in my own work. So I thought it’d be fun to try for this comic, and it totally was! I really liked how it turned out!


ART

Obviously I managed to stay pretty busy in September. I am so excited to be doing illustration work again, and not just sketching all the time. I’m even managing to still do some sketching, like my breakfast sketches, while also working on my comics, and illustration projects. Usually I focus on one or other, so it’s nice to have more balance to do both — the practice and learning part, and the ideas and creating part!

Most of the work outside of my sketchbook has been digital. I do my first illustration drafts in my sketchbook, but the rest of the process has been in Procreate. So I’m kinda wanting do some illustrations in physical media too, like ink and acrylic markers. They are a little more intimidating, since they require a lot more planning in advance, since I can’t edit in the same way as I do digitally… 

I did some breakfast sketches this last week as a bit of practice. I underestimated the patience required. They dry quickly, but not immediately. So it got a little messy… oops! I’m still just learning. I can’t decide if I like it more than gouache. I definitely like that it’s drawing and not painting, but I’m struggling to figure out the best paper for it, and the palette is definitely more limited since it doesn’t mix well… Still fun though!

A breakfast sketch!

I’ll also get plenty of practice in inks this month — it’s Inktober!! YAY!!!

I never do the official Inktober challenge. But I love doing a 31 day ink drawing challenge. I’ve made my own prompts, or picked a theme. Last year I did #mosstober which was a lot of fun, using emojis as prompts. (You can see the sketchbook tour here!)

This year I’ve decided to do #peachtober! Many of the artists I follow on social media are participating, which is how I heard about it. I like the prompts, so it should be fun. I’ve got a dedicated sketchbook, some ink pens ready to go, and a small selection of Copic markers. I’ve never used them before, but they intrigue me, so this should be a fun way to try them out!

I’m mostly just going to focus on making cute characters and compositions for each prompt. The markers will be just to try out shading, without having to worry about color palettes. It’ll be very cartoony, of course. But I’m definitely planning on experimenting with different styles of cartooning, since there are so many ways to approach it. And it’s mostly just a matter of decision making for each part of a cartoon’s design. I don’t have a consistent approach right now, so I’m just practicing a lot to see what looks right and feels most intuitive for my own work! 

I’m so excited and can’t wait to share the results of #peachtober!

Here’s day one! Got it done this morning!


BOOKS

This last month I started reading some manga again, since I’ve been trying some anime-style art lately. It’s honestly been hit and miss. But I did start reading Sailor Moon and it’s been pretty good. I’m actually reading it while watching the show, so it’s been entertaining to compare the two. I’m enjoying them both!


MISC.

This was also the month of video games. I won’t list them all, but I will say The Procession to Calvary was my favorite. It was the most fun, and just absolutely bizarre. It was horrifying and I loved it.

I also started watching my first Korean drama, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? It’s been really good! It’s a super sweet rom-com, but also very very dramatic. I like the characters a lot, but weirdly I think the side characters and plots might be my favorites. Huh. Can’t say that happens often.

October is the month of spooky scary movie marathon! I have no idea what’s on our list this year. But it doesn’t matter. It’s going to be awesome!


Are you doing an art challenge for October? Do you have any movies you love to watch for Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

September 2022 Newsletter

SHOP

I haven’t added anything new lately, but there are still currently a lot of prints available in my INPRNT and Society6 shops! Check it out! (Also I believe INPRNT is running a sale for Labor Day weekend starting Friday, and Society6 is always running all kinds of sales! Definitely check it out!)

“The River Spirit” available at INPRNT

COMICS

I realized I haven’t been sharing my comics here lately. So I’ll try to remember to include the last month’s comics in my newsletters moving forward! Here’s what I made in August!


ART

Where to begin?

My breakfast sketches are going well.

I like starting my work day studying artists I admire so much. It’s usually so encouraging! And I can already see some progress in my own sketching, like building confidence in my line art in my comic strips, and using my brush pens for inking.

But I say usually because sometimes it can have the opposite effect. I start losing any confidence, thinking all my work, even my original art is a pale imitation of those artists. Just trash! Or I can feel intimidated by my lack of success in comparison, or feeling so old (this one is just ridiculous)… Ultimately the refrain becomes “maybe I’m doing this ALL WRONG.”

Yeah, so that’s no fun. It’s a tug of war between “this is so good! I want to be able to do this!” And “this is so good! I’ll never be able to do this!” For some reason, if I encounter this mindset in any other area, like say, running, it’s pretty easy for me to just be like, “yeah, I have goals, but this is where I am right now, and that’s okay, and I just have to keep at it.” Whereas for art sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed that I panic or wallow and it’s hard to make anything.

But I’m trying to keep a healthier perspective, and embrace the learning, enthusiastic, and PATIENT side of things. I don’t want to quit. I’m not going to quit, and ultimately I love what I do. But I definitely just have some patience and confidence stuffs to work through in my art… maybe that’s relatable? Anyone? (And if you’ve got any motivational tips, lemme know!)

It also means I haven’t done any new illustration work like I had been hoping to start last month. I did spend a whole day doing nothing but brainstorming where I want to focus my art. I already know I want to make prints, and know the types of media I want to work with. This was more about exploring the themes, subjects, and genres for the art I want to make moving forward, as well as noticing the patterns in the art I’ve already made. It was a super helpful exercise (and I love making lists/brainstorming). I’m hoping it will give me a great starting point for coming up with project ideas, especially when I feel a bit blocked. I’ve already come up with one idea I’m excited about, just working on figuring out the composition. So I’m not totally art blocked anymore! There is an idea! And enthusiasm! Progress!


BOOKS

Not for lack of time or options, I think I’m back to not reading very much, again. But, I also suspect I’m not great at remembering what all I’m reading either? I know I was reading something earlier and was like “I should mention this in my newsletter!” Except now I have no idea what it was… soooo….

Although, just yesterday I got a copy of the book How to Become a Successful Anime-Style Artist by 3dtotal Publishing. And it has been fascinating! I’m not super into anime, but every now and then I really enjoy it. I think I pre-ordered this during one of my anime kicks. And I love cartoons of all kinds, so it’s been really interesting to read so far!

One part of the book is a feature on artist Carles Dalmau. I’d seen some of his work in one of the Sketching from the Imagination books by 3dtotal Publishing that I read earlier this year (the storytelling edition, I think?). I did a couple studies from his sketches but that was it. I liked it but didn’t look into the rest of his work. But y’all. I don’t know if it’s seeing his work in full color, or that I’ve fully leaned into cartooning…but his work is just SO GOOD. Like, I definitely see his art now, and I’m just like “THIS. THIS is what I want to do!”

…it may have led to one of those mini-meltdowns in my confidence. But, again, on the flip side, I’m just like so excited to find another artist that is so inspiring! Also, I’m kinda learning that those meltdowns also function like gigantic flashing arrows that point to wear my goals are! (Interestingly I learned this way that apparently I really want to publish a book/graphic novel one day! …just sayin’…)

Sooooo…. Anyway…. What have you been reading lately? Any stellar summer reads?


THE REST

I don’t think we’re alone in this but regardless of the weather, it is now basically FALL in our house. I know we’re not alone, because I see the pumpkin spice products on display in the store. At first I got very excited, but then I remembered it was only August. So, really, I’m trying to find the spirit of Late Summer… And I guess it’s just iced pumpkin coffee, and wearing shorts AND cardigans? I don’t know…

I also have all our Halloween decorations ready to go. But I’m trying to decide if September is too early to actually set them all out? Do I just slowly add more and more as we get closer to Halloween? Do I wait until October 1st? Do I just go all in now? What are the rules?!

It doesn’t help that we finally watched The Haunting of Hill House show on Netflix. It was really good…until it wasn’t. Alas. The third act is always a struggle in horror stories. (Although the book version did not have this problem!) It kinda feels like the show was ultimately just a family drama, with horror as more of a sub-genre? I definitely liked the production and it was super creepy throughout. I dunno. I both really liked it. And like it less the more I think about it. But it was worth watching, and a great (albeit super early!) start to our scary movie season!

We’ve also been playing a lot of PC games lately too. That always feels oddly seasonal for me. In our last place, the room with the computers got way too hot in the summer, so we mostly played in the cooler months. Anyway, first I played a lot of Civilization VI. One of my favorites! And now I’ve been playing Final Frontier, which is basically a settlement-building game like Banished. And I flippin’ love Banished. But this game has a bit more complexity to it, which I’m enjoying. And now we’re also playing 7 Days to Die. It reminds me a bit of the game Valheim and Minecraft. I don’t do a lot of crafting, but do a lot of smashing things with my baseball bat. It’s fun!

Anyway…


Thanks for reading!

August 2022 Newsletter

SHOP UPDATE

I’m hoping to have some new pieces to add to my shop soon. But if you haven’t checked out my INPRNT and Society6 shops lately, there are already lots and lots of art available!

And if you have already ordered some of your favorites, thank you! The drawback of using a third-party to manage my art prints is that I can’t see any details on orders. So if you’ve ordered something and I haven’t thanked you profusely, it’s only because I don’t know! SO THANK YOU!!!


ART

I took a sabbatical! Well, I didn’t, Mr. Husband did. I was well intentioned, planning to work some during the holiday, but that was ridiculous. Why wouldn’t I take time off with him if I can?!? That’s why there was no July Newsletter and I was pretty much off social media.

I didn’t make any art during our time off either. It was weird at first. Then it was just kind of nice (I had been struggling with art block anyway, right). But then I really started to miss it. And I started like making notes about what kind of art I missed working on and wanted to make when I went back to work. And it turned out I just really really wanted to work on cartoons and comics again.

GO FIGURE.

But also, it was a relief — that I wasn’t like, “oh man, I really want to start working in oil paints” or “I just want to do pet portraits” or something. Because I tend to get a little distracted sometimes with my art… And it was just like so encouraging that the art I wanted to make was the art that I keep coming back to again and again!

Before sabbatical I was in the middle of rearranging my studio. So when I first came back to work I had to finish getting organized. It was actually great timing though since it let me set up everything to focus on making cartoon illustrations and my comics. YAY!

Now that I’m back at work, I’ve also managed to get my daily schedule organized. FINALLY. It’s been like a year of trying to figure it out, maybe being in a different time zone has me messed up? Anyway, I created a schedule wtih plenty of time for all the stuff I want to do like my breakfast sketches, illustrations, and comic strips.

I’ve even narrowed down the artists I want to study from for my breakfast sketches. I know I’ve had complicated feeling about fan art before, but I’m over it now. The studies have been super helpful, since they let me work on technical skills, focus on certain styles (very cartoony!) and and let me practice without needing to be creative… I don’t want to just be studying the work of others all the time, so I definitely plan on doing my own practice too (like drawing my own characters or cartooning existing characters from other media, for examples). I’m still just a smidge art blocked, which is just super annoying. But that’s the goal anyway.

So it’s A LOT. Studying cartoon art, working on my comic strip, and creating original cartoony illustrations. But it’s all good exciting things and I’m super excited to be back at it and do the work!


BOOKS

Over the holiday, I read Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland comic series. I’d tried it in the past and didn’t care for it, but I gave it another shot and LOVED IT. I just love his art, and the story was fun! It was definitely one of the reasons I was just so excited to start working on cartooning again!

I also read a bit more of The Expanse series, which is always a good time. And I started reading Jane Austen’s Emma again. I’ve only read it once before in like high school, after being obsessed with the movie (the 90s one). I know Emma isn’t a favorite Austen heroine but I really like her. She’s a mess, but just delightful!


THE REST

We went on a fair bit of hiking during sabbatical! My midwest upbringing was not sufficient training for hiking up “moderate” difficulty hikes. Basically, anything called a Mountain is a bit too much for me, despite my best efforts at conditioning. I could do it, but it’s a bit out of my comfort zone. Y’all I work out like it’s my hobby, because it is. And I was not prepared. The locals all seemed just fine. Elderly, children. And me, just wheezing and sputtering like I haven’t been outside before… At one point I was on my hands and knees looking what felt like straight up to the top of a “hill” on our last hike. I was just like, I have to go UP? Up there?! Technically there were something like giant boulder stairs to assist the assent. But I am not a particularly tall gal, so it. was. a. climb.

We made it to the top and it was so early to avoid the heat that we could only stare into a vast sea of fog. Oops.

One of the best photos I’ve ever taken on one of our first hikes. Me, on our last hike, afraid of heights and exhausted from those giant steps. And finally, the view. Which Mr. Husband photographed because I wasn’t going near the edge!

Still worth it! So fun!

It soon became too hot to bother with the outdoors. So Mr. Husband caught up on some video games, and I had us watch an impromptu James Bond marathon over the course of a week or so. That was something else, having not seen them all before, and I could now talk about it for daaaaaays.

We also watched some other classic movies. Yojimbo was incredible. And Tokyo Story and How Green Was My Valley were both suprisingly very good. I mean, it shouldn’t have been THAT surprising (the latter beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture)…but still. I didn’t know anything about either and was so glad we watched them!

Then, started watching the show Paper Girls this weekend! I really really liked the comic so it’s been really interesting to see this adaptation. I think they got a lot of the visuals like spot on, which is so cool. But also, they definitely changed a bit. I’ll have to see how the season ends before I decide how I feel about the changes. I don’t want to give anything away, and super recommend the comic. But the comic is delightfully weird in a way the show just… isn’t. Yet.


Alright, well I think that’s just about everything! And good grief it was A LOT! If you made it this far, thanks for reading!

June 2022 Newsletter

SHOP UPDATE

“The Bunny” is available now at INPRNT!


ART UPDATE

In the last newsletter I mentioned wanting to revisit working in gouache, and adding ink. I actually tried it this last month and I LOVED IT. I had so much fun with each step! It was great! And I love the way it turned out!

I also started working a little bit with acrylic paint markers, for when I want to work in physical media, but would rather draw than paint. It’s not quite the same as gouache, but the results are similar so I like having options now!

A Posca acrylic paint pen study — tried drawing a cartoony tree!
The island is basically from the Titans Tower in Teen Titans Go. 😀

I’m really really excited that working a little differently made the work so much fun again. I felt like this time I wasn’t putting too much pressure on myself and not taking my work (or subject matter) too seriously. I can be serious about my art career AND make art that’s fun, right?! Right.

So I’m doing a lot better with my art block. I’m back to wanting to work on my cartoony characters again, and have a small list of illustration ideas I’m tinkering with to come up with interesting compositions. It’s the hardest part for me, but at least I have a starting point…

Interestingly I’ve noticed none of my ideas include characters. I think for so long I’ve been like “I can’t draw people” so I just don’t think about it. I’m not super confident in it yet, but I feel like it’s definitely an option now, so I’m hoping I can also start to push myself to include characters in my illustration work, not just in my comic. I had talked about wanting to draw cartoony buildings last month, and I do, but the thought of taking on a full composition with characters and buildings is like…a bit overwhelming! But I want to try! …maybe…


BOOKS

I’ve got a stack of books I’m working through for like a summer reading list of sorts. I haven’t gotten very far in any of them, so I don’t want to recommend any yet…

But I have started reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. And I can whole-heartedly recommend it! It’s so good. I’ve read it before, but I started reading it again when I was just so upset with feeling art blocked. I definitely credit it with helping me be excited about the creative process again. It’s just so charming, fun, and brilliant. Also super encouraging. I love it!


THE REST

I finally left the house! Woohoo!

But really though… we took a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains for a vacation with my parents. We stayed in little cabin, played lots of games, watched cartoons, soccer, and old movies, ate a ton of junk food, and went on hikes! So basically everything we do at home! It was perfect! 😉

It really was a nice trip. We hiked up to a waterfall, walked along a really pretty creek, and the mountains — oh, the mountains were absolutely amazing! If it kinda felt like summer before, it definitely feels like it now!


Thanks for reading!

May 2022 Newsletter

ART

I think I’m struggling a little bit with art block. Part II.

Part I, I couldn’t even sketch. Now I can’t seem to do anything but sketch…I’d really like to start working on illustration projects again. But it seems impossible.

I’m still focusing on cartoons, and making my comic. Interestingly, this last comic was a single panel illustration. And I had no problem working on it. Same work flow. Just easier to come up with an idea I guess. It was a lot of fun!

I think part of my problem is coming up with project ideas that sound fun or interesting. And also a lot a bit of lacking confidence to start making new illustrations with this cartoony approach. If I can think of an idea, I usually can’t figure out how to make it an interesting composition or narrative. I don’t think my illustrations need both, but at least one seems necessary…

It’s so frustrating.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of my time not-sketching watching courses. It makes me feel like I’ve been productive, without having done anything. (Oops). So I’ve been re-visiting architectural drawing, since I really enjoy drawing buildings and I haven’t in years, and I really like the idea of drawing cartoony buildings too. And I’m learning more about paint markers, which I really like as a colorful drawing medium. And revisiting gouache too! I’ve always been intrigued with the medium, and actually started using it last year, or the year before? But now I’m learning how to use gouache with ink for outlining, which I hadn’t considered before but sounds so fun and perfect for how I like to work!

One of my gouache paintings

So yeah…now I really really need to figure out what to work on specifically…

I’ve got a style of work that I’m really enjoying, and a selection of media to work in that I’m excited about… I just need to find ideas I’m excited about too…

Uuuuuhhh….

Well, here’s hoping I start working on illustrations again this month.


BOOKS

I finished the book about running. But I think that’s it. Yikes. That’s not much… I did read a chapter in The Wheel of Time series. Meh.


THE REST

I decided that since I’m focusing so much on comics and cartoony styles for my art, that I should start watching more cartoons. Its like basically research, right?

Fun fact: Gravity Falls is the best cartoon I’d never heard of.

I missed it when it came out. I was in college, or just out of college, and was watching Adventure Time (so RaNdOm) and Family Guy (just yikes), certainly not anything on Disney XD? What is that??

Anyway, I tried Gravity Falls on a whim. And while I love cartoons I’m kinda picky about them. So I went into it knowing nothing, and being pretty skeptical. But it’s delightful! It genuinely cracks me up, and the art is so good!

I keep trying to watch Adventure Time again too, since I like the art style, but it feels very busy and hyper, which makes me feel so old. Gravity Falls is fun, but at least a bit more chill about it.

Gravity Falls

Also it’s officially basically summer because I watched The Field of Dreams, then sat outside to watch the sunset and it was warm and a little humid, and the sunset was gorgeous, and it felt like summer, and it was awesome. Yay!


Thanks for reading!

April 2022 Newsletter

SHOP UPDATE

I’ve added two new illustrations to INPRNT!

I’ve also created a sticker in Society6 of my green monkey drawing. And you’re welcome that I didn’t turn it into a wallpaper pattern… (although I kinda love it! 🤣)


ART

A lot of this last month was spent trying to figure out my goals for my art moving forward. I tend to check in every few months and make sure my work reflects my goals, and that my goals reflect my interests right… Because there are a lot of different ways to be creative and they can be very shiny and new and well, distracting!

But I’m still focusing a lot on comics, and cartoons, and concept art. Which for the most part is what I keep coming back to again and again, more or less… So that’s good!

I know last month I had talked about worldbuilding and storytelling with my latest original character. But I’m beginning to realize that I don’t really love storytelling? At least not entirely. I really like narrative artwork, where it is telling a story moment. And character-driven illustration. But I’m just not too worried about the details of a full story. Maybe short stories would be an option down the road, but for now I’m okay with shelving the idea of a larger project and focusing on including more narrative and story beats within standalone illustrations, and improving my work in character design. Largely inspired by cartoons, comics, and manga, but basically simplified and stylized characters, right? (I think I talk about that A LOT!)

I’m also learning a bit about concept art, which has been fascinating as well. From what I can tell, concept art kind of plays with storytelling, being the visual foundation for worldbuilding in animation, movies, and video games. (“The Art of” books for movies usually include a lot of the concept art that would eventually become backgrounds, or set designs, or whatever…). So for illustration, I’m thinking it is going to be a great learning resource for pushing the worldbuilding in my art without getting overwhelmed with formal worldbuilding and backstory that seems to be a bit of a creative roadblock for me lately.

And I guess this kind of focus and learning shows in my newest work, right? I’ve got one illustration with a fun, cartoony character in a vague library setting. And then I’ve got a comic-inspired illustration with a landscape and a little bit of scifi elements. I’m very proud of my helmet design, by the way. I probably spent too much time on it to just cover it all with moss, but it was important!

Helmet and hand studies

So yeah, not really a surprise — working on cartoony and stylized character design, and taking inspiration from the field of concept art to add some narrative and worldbuilding to my illustration compositions. Exciting stuff!


BOOKS

I’ve been reading from the Sketching from the Imagination series, by 3dtotal Publishing. First I finished (AND LOVED) the Anime and Manga book, and am now working my way through their Storytelling book. It’s been so inspiring to see into the process and sketches of so many different, incredible artists. Highly recommend if you are into art books!

I’ve also been reading, for fun, Hal Higdon’s Run Fast, if you wanted to know. Because I’m a fitness nerd. And a very very slow runner… But I’m working on it!


THE REST

What else? I don’t know… I’m back to playing The Division II again. Again. It’s easily got to be one of my favorite games ever. I just don’t get bored with it. And they just announced new updates, so yay!

Also, baseball season might be starting up soon? I don’t follow it too closely at all, but it’s just sounded fun lately so I’ve had a few preseason games on. So that might be fun to watch more of this year. It’s not quite time to watch The Field of Dreams (which I decided last year is my official kick off for summer)…but soooon…I’m ready!!

Just have to get through POLLEN SEASON first. What the heck?! That was so not a thing in the midwest! EEK!

(Also, should I be making sports-themed art?? I feel like maybe…?)


Thanks for reading!

March 2022 Newsletter

SHOP UPDATE

So I haven’t added anything new to the shops lately… I’ve been thinking about maybe adding at least a few of my comic strips to INPRNT and/or Society6… but I don’t know. Is that something you all would be interested in?

Part of me is like, that’s weird. Who displays comic strips? But then I was framing a bunch of old prints I’ve collected, and bought a few new prints from other artists, and like at least half were comic strips from artists I enjoy…

So yeah… do you buy comics? As prints? Books? Other merch, like shirts? Not at all? I won’t consider any feedback a promise to buy…I’m mostly just curious how other people enjoy the medium! So, let me know in the comments!

Comic #31

ART

Honestly, it feels a little odd not having updated my shop last month. Like, what, was I not working?!? What was I even doing?!

Yikes…I was definitely working. Just looks a bit different now…

I have to remember that slowing down and focusing on quality is not a bad thing. I really like my workflow right now. Taking time working on drafting out values and composition. Knowing that I can experiment and play and create new illustrations that maybe don’t make sense as a standalone print, but may become something really really cool in the future…

Like this original character! She doesn’t have a name yet, nor her cute fluffy sidekick. But I definitely want to start incorporating them in some fantasy and/or science fiction illustrations. Maybe do like a comic page illustration with a bit more narrative elements? I think that would be really neat, and it’s kind of the plan! I’m really excited to make more art with them in the future, and have all kinds of ideas for worldbuilding and stuff that I hope to expand out and include in some of my future illustrations and offer as prints in my shop!

Also I’ve been spending a lot of time in my sketchbook. Again. Always. I know it’s something I’m always struggling with, but it’s also really really important.

I’m trying to get more structured in some ways — like I’ve divided my sketchbook into different drawing prompts of things I like to draw, and things I need to practice. I’ve also loosened up my expectation for sketching too — it doesn’t have to be some amazing finished piece (but also it’s cool if it is), and I’m becoming more open to drawing fan art.

It’s weird, but when you practice drawing from an old master painter it’s a “study.” When I draw like a favorite cartoonist or comic artist, it’s “just” fan art. I originally made a choice not to share any fan art as an artist, but it kinda stifled my sketching…because fan art is a lot of fun! And it just felt off limits (still not gonna sell it though). But now that I’m thinking of it more in terms of practice and study and learning, I’m drawing A LOT more. I don’t know if I’ll share it specifically, but it might pop up now and then in a neat sketchbook spread. And I think that’s okay…

Hand studies! Super fun cartoon edition!

So definitely keeping busy!

I will say my plan of “breakfast sketching” has gone out the window. I’m just not a morning person. I always resolve to become a morning person. I try to structure my days around traditional office hours. But I am a late-middle-of-the-morning until middle-of-the-night kinda gal. Oh well. Maybe I can make an evening decaf coffee and enjoy a baked donut for dessert and that can still count in the spirit of breakfast sketching. 😀


BOOKS

Wheel of Time progress report: I finished the second book! YAY! But also now I need a major break to read something else…

So instead I finally finished Book Four of The Expanse series! FINALLY. And I just started Book Five. It takes me forever to get through them, but I love this series so much. It’s just so fun. And I can definitely take breaks in the series and come back to it without feeling lost, which is nice. Hopefully I can do the same with Wheel of Time…


THE REST

President’s Day weekend is our Action Movie Marathon tradition. This year we kinda let it take over the whole month. It started with The Rock, quickly turned into the rest of the 90s Nicolas Cage trilogy (with Con Air and Face/Off). A few other John Woo movies, all the Mission Impossible movies. Crank, which was absolutely bizarre, ridiculous, and also a lot of fun, turned out to be our favorite despite originally sounding so dumb. (…so it’s like the movie Speed? But it’s just a guy?…) And we did watch a LOT of bad, dumb action movies. The Blood of Heroes (the guy from the show Silicon Valley talked about it on Stephen Colbert’s show and made it sound WAY cooler than it really is). Chuck Norris’ The Hitman was just a mess. Just a lot of bad movies. It was a good time… But, it’s not really fun to watch our usual action movies right now, so to end the month we returned to our beloved kung fu movies and watched Kung Fu Panda and Drunken Master– classics!

We’ve also started watching a lot of rugby again with the Six Nations’ Cup. I still don’t understand most of the rules, and especially the last game we watched (one team was down multiple players for reasons even the commentators didn’t seem to understand). But it’s still pretty entertaining, and easy to watch in the background while playing video games or working on an art project.

And now that MLS has started up again, and the Premier League still going on, we’re watching more soccer than ever. This is our first season living away from our home team, which is weird. We were like, do we watch the local team too? Is that allowed?? We decided it is, because they are separate conferences anyway, so at least watching the local team is introducing us to half the league…because our team just never plays them (such a dumb set-up). So now it’s even more soccer to watch! SO. MUCH. SOCCER… YAY!


I thought this was going to be a very short newsletter, but it turned into a sort of ramble. Oops!

If you’re still here, thanks for reading!