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!

February 2022 Newsletter

Hello February!

SHOP UPDATE

As a reminder, my art is now available at Society6 and INPRNT!

I just finished a new illustration for my personal portfolio project! “The Guardian!”

“The Guardian”

And it’s now available as a print on INPRNT!


ART

I spent a lot of January working on The Guardian. It takes a lot longer to finish pieces when I don’t skip steps… like creating thumbnails and value studies…

Early value study

A lot of the fun of this piece though was going back to working in a larger format and using pen and ink for the linework! I did the color digitally still, since it’s so forgiving and I have no confidence with applying color theory. I get to change my mind a lot this way! I will probably do some pieces in watercolor again, I finally brought out my paints for the first time since last spring! But I think digital coloring might still be my favorite… I’m super pleased with the palette I created in the end. I love fun complementary pop of color!

I also tried to work in my studio more to start the year. Instead of exclusively working for the couch in the living room… Although I should say, my studio has a couch instead of a desk. I like to be comfortable! But it makes a big difference, as it is definitely easier to focus in the studio, and it doesn’t have a TV…

Plus, I’ve been trying the Pomodoro method for time management. I thought I could write like a big dedicated blog post about it, but I stuck with it for like a week. Which honestly is pretty good for me. But I now like setting a timer now for focused work. I’m just way more flexible with it. Mostly just being more intentional with how I break up my day for different tasks. But nothing too rigid since creative work can ebb and flow so much. I mean, if I’m feeling stuck I can still set a timer and sketch for half an hour. Just to do something… But also I’ve gotta have longer breaks. I’m an artist! I need lots of time to scroll my phone and get inspiration!

But mostly I have a lot of stuff I’m wanting to work on right now, and it can get a bit overwhelming. So between a weekly planner and setting a timer, I’m definitely finding a better way to focus and stay on a single task, but still find balance to work on multiple projects. Yay!


BOOKS

Wheel of Time progress report: I’m halfway through book two. It’s still good, I think. That’s all.

I’ve been reading a lot of graphic novels and a few manga recently.

Kaiju No. 8 (a manga) was a lot of fun. A blend of Pacific Rim, One Punch Man, and My Hero Academia. It’s not my favorite, but I enjoyed it and preordered volume 2! I also got a manga where the conceit is basically “what if Harry Potter went to Hogwarts but secretly couldn’t do magic and was a total gym bro?” Haven’t read that one yet but it sounds wild!

Then I read the 1st volume of the original Spider-Man. It is so ridiculous. And dated. But I loved it. It was so fun. OG Peter Park (and Spidey) was a mess and kind of a bully?! I’m very disappointed The Living Brain villain hasn’t made it to a movie…yet. A 1960s super-computer on ball-bearing wheels! THE HORROR!

Amazing

After than I jumped to Ultimate Spider-Man from the 2000s. Oh boy. Dated in a way I lived through is a special kind of nostalgia. Yikes… Also I didn’t realize how much Brian Michael Bendis influenced the Sam Raimi movies. That I also still kinda love. Because I was a teen in the 00s…


THE REST

We have now watched all the Spider-Man movies (up to the new one). It’s also been a trip, and fun to compare to the comics. Apparently we just missed out on Garfield’s Spider-Man originally? Possibly because of Spider-Man 3. As well as dismay and confusion on how a superhero series could be rebooted so soon (HA!). But now that I’ve seen them, he might be the best Spider-Man? It was just so fun, and pretty good! Spider-Man Homecoming, which I originally loved, seemed now like just a mini-Iron Man movie, and not nearly as fun in comparison. But it was still okay. And Far From Home was better, which is encouraging. Also Martin Starr (Parker’s teacher) is the BEST.

Spider-Man Far From Home

We’ve also been watching a lot of classic kung fu movies. It’s always a good choice for a Friday night, and apparently Amazon Prime has a solid selection. Executioners from Shaolin is amazing, and formally introduced us to the work of Liu Chia-Liang and Lo Lieh. So good! I think at this point we will watch anything they are involved in.

From The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, 1978

Lastly, I started baking desserts at the start of the new year. And I’ve managed to make a different dessert every weekend, so far! The best was chocolate sugar cookies, but I also bought a donut pan and baked donuts are legit. I’ve always wanted to try baking more, so the pan was motivation. I have a major sweet tooth, but I don’t always want cookies or brownies or something. But there are few foods I love more than donuts. So yay new hobbies!


Have you tried a formal time management method? (Are there others??) Have you picked up a new hobby for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

January 2022 Newsletter

Hello January!

SHOP UPDATE

This is a big one! I’ve closed my Etsy shop!

But…what?! I just re-opened it!

Indeed. But with it back open, I’ve remembered just how involved (and expensive) running and Etsy shop can be…

And I’d rather be making my art!

So what now?!

I am now an artist on INPRNT! If you aren’t familiar, it’s a site for artists to sell art prints. I applied over the holiday and was accepted! I love a lot of the artists that sell on INPRNT already, and have ordered prints there before. It’s definitely quality! They only do prints, which is my main focus so most of my NEW work will be available on INPRNT. Speaking of, this month’s shop update is on INPRNT now! Check out my INPRNT shop here!

For most everything in my Etsy shop, its now been moved over to Society6 and is available as mini prints! I haven’t updated my Society6 shop since I stopped doing surface pattern design work, but I do love Society6’s products (I legit have so many of my own mugs and throw pillows around the house, is that bad?). Plus, while most of my illustration work will go on INPRNT, I do like that with Society6 I can offer new mugs or home goods (or even puzzles now?!), which can be a lot of fun! Check out my Society6 shop here!

I’m really excited for this fresh start to the new year!

ART

I’m so excited to be able to focus on making art again this year. For me, that looks like a lot of courses online (I’m slowly working through about half a dozen right now), working in my sketchbooks (gonna try to draw everyday… mostly), and creating new art!

I recently came up with a list of 12 illustrations that I want to make… Mostly because I thought I’d need a portfolio to apply to INPRNT (I didn’t) and I wanted to challenge myself to make new work in my newer style for the portfolio… Anyway, I still think its a neat idea. I’ve created like art checklists when doing pattern designs. But I’ve never planned out a collection for illustrations… So I’m still gonna try it!

Its going to be a handful each of: landscapes, character driven illustrations (I’m thinking very comic book like and fantasy or scifi inspired), single panel comics with my comic characters, and some cuter kawaii style pieces (dunno what yet! But its gotta be cute!).

I have no idea how long it will take to make that all, but I’m excited to focus on it and get started!

BOOKS

I did it! I have finally read The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time. FINALLY. And it was actually pretty good?

I’ve started the next book in the series already, which is promising. But I’m sure I’ll have to take many breaks. I’ve still got The Expanse to work though, among many others…

I also read the first Hellboy omnibus graphic novel on a whim. Knew nothing about it, but I liked the cover art. Oh man, it’s so fun! I didn’t expect a gothic noir beat ’em up. But its perfect. Story is wild, art is unbelievable. So excited to keep reading the series!

NOT BOOKS

If you remember, I started reading The Eye of the World again because I was so hype for The Wheel of Time TV show trailer…

Well…we watched it…

It’s not great?

I might watch season 2 because Moiraine and Lan are awesome. I like the cast. And its a very pretty fantasy show. And we don’t get many fantasy shows… But also, its just not good. I can deal with changes for adaption, but they are so much easier to deal with when they actually make sense. Yikes. But it makes the book seem extra good in comparison! So that’s nice…

Also, being in the South for the holidays this year has been wild. It’s been weird being away from friends and family, to be sure. But also we spent the whole time sitting outside, and going on hikes in the very humid, still very warm weather? I know I’m not supposed to be surprised by it. I didn’t expect a snowy Christmas, but I also didn’t expect shorts weather either. The locals seem to think this is unusual, so I don’t feel bad also thinking it’s very weird… I mean, I’m gonna enjoy it. But I’m also ready for the supposed cold weather that should be arriving any time now!


Hope you have all had a delightful holiday! Happy New Year!!













Annual Review

The year is almost over, so now its time to look back at the work I’ve done in 2021, and look forward to some of the goals and areas of focus for 2022!

(Basically, care to join me as I do my own annual review?!)


Comics

I started making my lil’ comics in 2020, but this year I’ve stayed pretty consistent with it! My most recent comic on Instagram was #27! So not too shabby! I did slow down to sharing new comics every other week, so I’d like to maybe get back to doing it weekly, but also I’m terrified of running out of ideas. Sooo, no promises. But definitely a goal…

I also created my cast of characters for my comics this spring– Sam, Pandy, Ghost and Chuck. I like not having to create new characters each week, and starting to sort of build their personalities as the comics go on. I would love to start doing illustration prints of my characters outside of the comics (so kinda like my single panel comics but focused on a single character). Mostly the issue is finding time with everything else I want to do as well.

Basically though, comics definitely became one of the main focuses for my work this year. Creating characters, and single panel comics, and reading other comics (basically homework!) and taking ecourses on making comics, I’ve definitely been making some strides and hopefully that will mean continued improvement into next year! Yay!


Illustration

So in my mind, this area encompasses everything I work on that isn’t just in my sketchbook, and isn’t a webcomic. My landscapes, abstracts, and other illustrations… basically anything that I’d put in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of, this year I reopened my Etsy shop! I redid basically all of it, the photos, products, packaging, printing…ALL OF IT. It took months and was slowed down by our move across the country earlier this year…but I’m super pleased with how it turned out!

As I’ve mentioned before I’m planning on doing another mini shop update with new prints next month. My goal for next year is to definitely create enough illustrations that I can do quarterly shop updates. They probably will all be mini updates, just a few items each time, realistically. I’m just focusing so much right now on learning new stuff that I’m not making nearly as much finished work as I would normally. But that’s okay! It’s better than nothing, and I’m not going to feel bad about wanting to improve either!

I am hoping though that next year I will be able to slow down the focus on courses and learning new stuff and instead spend that time on putting it to practice and making new stuff!

I really want to focus on character-driven illustration moving forward. To tell stories and have some sort of narrative in my illustrations, and include a bit more like “whimsy” to them. Either like scifi or fantasy elements or humor. I don’t know. It’s definitely pushing my creativity, having so long just like a “draw what I see” approach. But its the kind of work I want to make, so I’ve just got to do it!

I actually don’t even quite know what I want it to look like. I’ve been working a lot of like very cute and kawaii characters most of this year, working in colored pencil in my sketchbooks. But lately I’ve been working in a more realistic style for figure drawing, to practice anatomy and like comic book style inking, so that I could work towards more cartoony stylized characters in the future. So it gets a little overwhelming trying to work in all three styles, and seeing how they work together and what I want my work to look like moving forward. It may just be a combination of all three. I’m not sure. But I also don’t want to rush the learning process, either. So I guess we’ll just see!

I do know that I want to work in ink, digitally, and in watercolor. I love working in ink, always. And I’m starting to get more comfortable working digitally too. I haven’t used watercolor since we moved, so I’m sure I’m a bit rusty. But watercolor is just so fun and I’m sure it’ll look pretty awesome with inky illustration work. I was working on gouache a bit at the start of the year. And I like it, but its just not as much fun. I’d rather focus on ink drawing, with watercolor, than just painting. Its just different. And thats okay. So yeah, definitely want to focus on these three media next year.

I’m so excited!


Sketching

Last but not least, my beloved sketchbooks…
I FINALLY got comfortable with and consistent about working in my sketchbook this year, since I’ve been doing so much focused learning and trying new techniques. I love my sketchbooks!

I did so much in color pencil and I think that might be my favorite way to just like play in my sketchbook. So I definitely want to do that more next year too. I’m trying colored lead for my mechanical pencils too so I can keep my sketches lighter than when I use traditional graphite. And its so much easier than worrying about a pencil sharpener! Yay!

Unfortunately my scribbly colorful pencils sketches aren’t very A E S T H E T I C. So I haven’t had too much to share. But I’m trying to get over it, and share some of my favorite sketches anyway. So look out for that on Instagram, at least.

I did create one sketchbook tour this year with Mosstober. So that was a fun challenge. I’d love to create another pretty sketchbook to share in a tour again for next year. But it’d need to look cohesive, and I’d need to actually finish a sketchbook. So…maybe it will have to wait until October again next year. But we’ll see. I have a dedicated figure drawing (like character design) sketchbook right now that is a mess but might be interesting to share when it’s finished (let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see?).

Also, side note, I recently got a copy of Mike Mignola’s The Quarantine Sketchbook book… Oh man, that is some serious goals for sketching. Like good grief. I’m just going to carry that massive book around everywhere I go next year and maybe I’ll like absorb some drawing wisdom… just wow. (Not an ad, obviously. Just really excited.)


Favorite Artwork of the Year

Okay, last bit for the review. I did this last year, and really liked it. So I’m doing it again! Picking out my favorite work of art from this calendar year. Woohoo!

The Slinky Cat

I mean, it has to be… I’m pretty sure when I made it I was like “this is the best thing I’ve ever done as an artist” and “I’ve peaked as an artist.” I made it super early this year (that was this year?!?) And it is everything I want my artwork to be. Happy, silly, fun, a lil’ weird. Cute. Inky. Colorful…

…Like what am I even doing now?! I need to return to the simple joy that is The Stretchy Cat… BRB gonna go rewrite my goals for next year… Okay just kidding. But still. I still love it. I’m still so proud of it. Best piece of the year for me.


Whew. I think that’s everything…

So let me know what you think?! And feel free to share any of your creative goals for 2022 in the comments!

Happy Holidays!

The Shallow End – December 2021

Hello December!


Art

100 figure drawings in 30 days was ambitious… I think I got a third of the way through, but that included a lot of small scribbly pose ideas that weren’t really gesture drawings or very helpful. I quickly realized this was a quality over quantity issue, needing better structured practice, like hand studies, and expression practice, so that ultimately I can draw complete and detailed characters. I’ve definitely improved, being too embarrassed to share the early work. But its getting better! I think I’m getting better at the technical side of drawing characters. Now I struggle a lot with ideas, creating interesting poses and branching out from drawing everyone in sweats or flannel… But I’m working on it! Still practicing, and so looking forward to feeling comfortable creating interesting characters for my future illustrations!

As always, its hard to find balance and structure in my routine, between comics, illustrations, and sketchbook practice. Making sure I have time for it all. But the good part is that I enjoy all of it and I’ve got the time! I think…


Not Art

I started playing Animal Crossing again in November. (Suddenly it is no longer a mystery why getting my to do list done each week was a lot harder than normal… Oops!) I finally burned out again around Thanksgiving, when I proceeded to play Skyrim nonstop. I played so much, I was grateful to go back to work that Monday after. But honestly, it was so fun to play again after years!


Books

I finally got to new chapters in The Wheel of Time! We started watching the show, and I knew just enough to be very confused. So that gave me all the motivation I needed to read more of Eye of the World finally. I don’t love the show, admittedly. I get why they are making a lot of their creative decisions, but I just don’t agree with them. Mostly the way they handled the beginning (since I know it sooo well) and character motivations. But I can’t even be like “the book is better” because I don’t love it either and certainly haven’t finished reading it. But I do love fantasy, so I’m intrigued enough to stick with both.

I also read Magpie Murders last month. I think after rewatching Knives Out I was like, I need more mysteries in my life. So I tried Anthony Horowitz, having read some Alex Rider books growing up. And it was very like, cinematic, in the way he writes (I believe he writes for TV too). So it was a lot of fun and I’m super excited to read more mysteries now! Yay!


Thanks for joining me in The Shallow End!

Mosstober 2021 Sketchbook Tour

Finally! A new sketchbook tour!

This sketchbook was for the October daily drawing challenge generally known as “Inktober.” Normally I come up with my own theme for the month, but this year I decided to try the prompt list provided by Mossery for their version of the challenge called “Mosstober.”

Set Up

I thought emojis would be fun as inspiration, and I wanted to work on drawing cute, simple drawings, since that was what I had been focused on so much recently. It’s not intuitive for me to draw that way, but I really like it, and I thought it would be an interesting way to approach the challenge. I also wanted to use a larger sketchbook than I normally gravitate towards — this was a 9″ x 12″ Koh-I-Noor sketchbook with smooth Bristol paper. I sketched in mechanical pencil, for each drawing. Inking was done mostly with the Sakura Graphic 1 ink pen, but I also used the Pentel Arts brush pen in black, and later started using a gray version as well. White was sometimes added in with the Sakura Gelly Roll white pen.

Thoughts

If I had to do this challenge again, especially focusing on simple, cute, almost kawaii-style drawings, I would definitely not stick with blank and white. Color is such a big part of what makes kawaii art so cute, and it felt like an extra challenge to keep it monochromatic. I had to use the white and gray inks, just to keep things readable. In one way, I liked the challenge to approach value very very carefully. But on the other hand, some drawings just look sooo weird, because they don’t have any color.

I also got so tired of drawing what felt at the time like a lot of food themed pieces. I struggled with getting so literal with the prompts, and coming up with new ideas. I think that shows, especially in the later pieces, or on drawings where I missed a weekend prompt and had to catch up two or three in one day. I probably could have planned ahead a little more, but I’m used to just “winging” it for Inktober, and not following actual prompts. I think if I do it next year I might brainstorm general ideas for each day in advance and so on the day of the drawing I can just focus more on the drawing itself.

I also struggled to stick with the kawaii element of the challenge. Eventually I started getting a bit tired, and I know one day I just drew absentmindedly (probably while watching a soccer game), and was like “shoot this isn’t cute at all.” I still like it, but it’s not kawaii! Oops. Not a big deal, and if there was ever an experiment in how do I draw when I’m not thinking about it, I think it’s safe to say I know the results…

All in all, I learned A TON from Mosstober. I’m so glad I did it, even if it was super challenging, pushed my art and creative skills, and didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped. I still had so much solid practice, learned a ton about my current strengths and weaknesses (I learned I still struggle with figures (poses, expressions, etc.) so I’m working on that a bunch now!). I loved getting back to working in ink too! I definitely want to do more of that in the future! And now I have a super awesome dedicated sketchbook to all things Mosstober… let’s take a look!

Sketchbook

Day One

I realized very quickly that without color I was going to need to do something to make it more detailed and not end up with just super simple line art. Shading and textures were a way to add interest while keeping it cute.

Day Two

I like this one. After day one, I started thinking about how I could to use ink to create interest in my composition.

Day Three

Isn’t he fun! I’m so impressed! Haha. I just had fun with this one, and started incorporating the white gel pen to help keep the composition readable.

Day Four

One of my favorites! I love all the little detail in this one! And I have very little practice drawing cute characters, so I’m very proud of her watermelon dress.

Day Five

I don’t love this one. Drawing four legged animals isn’t my strength. But I tried! I like the flowers though, so that’s something.

Day Six

I love this one! He’s so neat! (Although I was so mad when magnifying glass came up later as an actual prompt, I was like, “nooo, I already did that! And it’s awesome!”)

Day Seven

This is when I remembered it was October too, and wanted to draw something with a Halloween focus. Making this detailed composition clear in black and white was a challenge, but I think it turned out well!

Day Eight

It’s me!

Day Nine

Another black and white challenge but I like it a lot! And I’m super excited about their backyard movie night. Robot vs Dinosaur!

Day Ten

I liked working on this one. I just liked the idea of it being a very slow day at the popcorn stand.

Day Eleven

Yikes. I don’t love this one. I focused more on the scooter, and abstracted the kimono to represent Japan (Mt. Fuji in the background). It just seems very messy and I just don’t really like it. I dunno.

Day Twelve

Friggin’ magnifying glass. So here we have to detectives in love. Because why not?

Day Thirteen

I like this one! I wasn’t sure which would be better – solid black boat, or solid black water. I obviously went boat, and I think it worked out okay! Whew!

Day Fourteen

This one makes me laugh every time.

Day Fifteen

Oooh, I hate this one. I just got my ink brush pen at this point and it was much darker than I expected. Also I tried to draw a rabbit differently than I did on day one. Still not great.

Day Sixteen

This would be so fun in color! I really liked drawing all the candy elements for this old witch with her gingerbread mailbox.

Day Seventeen

I love this one. I feel this one.

Day Eighteen

Again, I remembered Halloween. Spooky scary petit fours. Yum!

Day Ninteen

A chicken sandwich felt morbid, but it was all I could think of… until I thought of this guy.

Day Twenty

More food. This time food I didn’t know anything about. So I just used the three circles as inspiration, and…yeah, I don’t love it. It’s fine.

Day Twenty-One

I LOVE THIS ONE. It isn’t very kawaii or cute, but it’s super cool. If I do say so myself.

Day Twenty-Two

Yeah this isn’t kawaii at all. It’s very much how I draw when I’m not thinking about it. It’s…okay. I like the pastry. (Also, I guess that emoji is used for the Eiffel tower since it doesn’t have it’s own emoji yet?)

Day Twenty-Three

Heh.

Day Twenty-Four

I’m clearly starting to give up. I don’t know how to draw dragons. This was the best I could do from imagination…

Day Twenty-Five

I’m definitely running out of ideas. I mean it’s cute…I’ll give it that…

Day Twenty-Six

A koala eating the moon, like a cookie. It looks less cute and more tragic. Like he knows he shouldn’t be eating THE MOON.

Day Twenty-Seven

Egg dog. Yup, I’m losing it…

Day Twenty-Eight

Okay, I tried a little more detail and having fun with the prompt. I kinda like it!

Day Twenty-Nine

Penguin bowling! This one was actually fun, and I enjoyed adding a bit of detail to it. Plus, I like penguins!

Day Thirty

I really like this one too! I think I used black and white really well here. Yay!

Day Thirty-One

The finale! I LOVE THIS ONE. Like, I’m still proud of it. It’s detailed, cute and very kawaii-style. Like, about time! I did it! Yay! (Why couldn’t they all look like this?! Oops!)


So there it is! My Mosstober 2021 Sketchbook Tour! Which one is your favorite? And do you like the kawaii-style (like the ghost or the steampunk man), my original style (like the Eiffel tower), or the pumpkin (which was something else completely!). Personally I really liked working on kawaii drawings, and developing that as an option for illustrations in the future, but the style of the pumpkin might be my personal favorite for exploring in more detail. That inky comic-book look is just soo satisfying! …Let me know what in the comments below!