Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Stamp

In between work, art classes, holiday shopping, and testing for my 2nd degree red belt in Tae Kwondo, I've had little free time. What time I've had, has been occupied with a new type of art project for me: carving (of a sorts)!

We decided to personalize our holiday gifts this year with a hand made stamp. We wrapped all our gifts in stamped butcher-block paper and even made a few cards as well. I originally wanted to create an image-based illustration, but ran out of time and settled for typography that reads Happy Holidays both right-side up, and upside-down.

Revised recipe

Here is the less-spicy version of the pumpkin cookie recipe, as promised! I also tweaked the sugar levels slightly since it IS a cookie and the holidays should be as sweet as can be.

Merry Christmas!

My recipe has been posted

My recipe has been posted on They Draw and Cook! Yay! It's been such fun watching all the different recipes appear on the site every day. It's like a very unique advent-day calendar: what goodies will opening the door each day reveal. I can't wait to see who the winners are.

What a great Christmas Eve present to me! I had a blast working on the drawing and testing cookie recipes. Below are some photos I took while I was creating the piece. They're not the greatest, since they were only taken with iPhones, but it's always fun to see the process.

The first of three versions of the mouse putting a cookie in the oven. I decided I wanted him leaning over more.

Take 2, but overlapping the center mouse more then I liked.

Final Line drawing

I started by laying in the background elements, then went straight to the foreground, since i'm still hesitant with the dark colors

Then, I started laying in the color on the main pumpkin and the snow in the middle-ground.

And more color...I was trying to mimic a white pumpkin with orange patterns from my reference photos, but by the time I finished tweaking colors to accurately highlight the focal point, this effect got very subdued

Working on the focal point, even though the background wasn't quite finished. The pear-shaped gourd has the door and window in a different position then the final drawing, which I didn't correct until the end. It had created a horrible tangent in the drawing with the pumpkin in the foreground. The carolers were also added to give more life to the scene.

Mostly final color.

The concept for my primary pumpkin.

The reference photo for the primary mouse, so I could get the lighting to look as accurate as possible, while stylized.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I recently discovered that I made a rookie chef error. During the recipe testing phase of my entry for TDAC Illustrated Holiday Recipe Contest, I made many variations of this recipe, all with the spices I had on hand. All of my spices were at least a year old (most more), and not as potent as fresh spices. When I remade the cookies with new spices after running out of what I had in stock, I found the recipe WAY too spicy.

I should have realized that during the testing phase. I started with half the spices in my current recipe, but felt that I could barely notice them, even though there cumulatively seemed to be a large amount of spices.

There isn't much I can do about the contest entry as it stands, but I can go back and adjust the recipe for my own edification. And for all my faithful blog readers, I will post the revised recipe once I make all the final adjustments.

If anyone HAS tested the recipe, I would appreciate your feedback on the cookie as it stands and any recommendations you may have on tweaking the spice levels.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas project

I'm currently working on a new art project unlike anything I've been working on in the past couple of years. It's for all our Christmas gifts, but I don't want to say what it is just yet because I know some of the recipients read this blog.

I will give one major hint. To help speed this project up, I had to buy a new toy: a Dremmel! Woohoo! I was very excited about this, since I've been wanting one for a while. If I had a Dremmel in October, I probably would have carved a pumpkin based on my Proverb sketch. Maybe I will next year.

My husband was vastly amused by the stereotypical gender role reversal: the female member of the family was more excited about the purchase of power tools than the male member.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

it is DONE! or Illustration Friday: Savour

I've been very quite for the past month, but I have been working hard!

I worked all month (read: weekends and sporadic nights) on my recipe submission for They Draw and Cook's Holiday Recipe Contest. Not only did I work on the illustration, I made LOTS of pumpkin cookies in search of my perfect cookie. My coworkers sure enjoyed that part of my project.

It's been fun, exciting, nerve-wracking, and exhausting, because it definitely came down to the last minutes before the submission deadline. I achieved most everything I set out to do with the piece. I have strong characters, strong composition and focal point, and I added/modified things up until the end to make it just right. I also used dark colors, which is still the hardest thing for me to do. I wanted to hand-letter the title, but I knew when to throw in the towel and fall back on my graphic design abilities.

Friday, November 19, 2010


We went to the military museum for our last Drawing on Location class of the semester. It was a lot of fun, but I really need to learn to draw faster. My teacher said i'm just putting too much detail in, but it's so pretty! all the little gears and cogs and nuts and bolts... very distracting. And very fun, even if my second tank drawing couldn't actually shoot anything due to the warped barrel.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I have a recipe!

Woohoo! My recipe got posted on They Draw and Cook! It's so exciting.

I've been waiting (impatiently) for it to get posted and I was very excited when I saw it this morning. I didn't post it here, because I wanted it to be a surprise. I will post more on the creation of it later.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sketchcrawl 29: Los Angeles @ Home

I've been busy working on my bathroom the past two weekends. Between that, work, and classes, I'm pretty worn out. So driving to Venice Beach for Sketchcrawl didn't seem very appealing. Furthermore, I keep driving past a pumpkin patch everyday, and have been wanting to get to one to draw. I went to the Pierce College Harvest Festival and had fun drawing buildings and flags.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Illustration Friday: Old Fashioned

He was less enamored then she at the fabulous old-fashioned apron and bonnet in the trunk.

I was out of town visiting family, and had our cousin return with us for a couple of days. I kept doodling this duo while I was away, trying to get them exactly like I saw in my head. It came out fairly well over all.

Still experimenting with mixing marker and colored pencil. What I'm liking so far is when I nail the value I want in marker, then all I need to do is match the value with the color of my choice. Any lighter/darker colors will work to cover up any mistakes I make with the marker as well. You can barely see all the attempts to get her back arm in the right position now. Still need to pop the darks more, and possibly more saturation of colors.

I also forgot to draw the trunk in the background...maybe I'll go back and add it later. and possibly flowers on the apron.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sketchcrawl 28 and Forest Lawn Photographs

When I posted my sketches from Sketchcrawl 28, I forgot to post the pictures I took. Here they are, along with some pictures I took at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, where I went with a friend to see the gallery exhibit Menagerie. Enjoy!

Illustration Friday: Acrobat

Just a quick sketch this week! This little guy is my interpretation of my friend Clayton's drawings of the Monkey King he did in class last week. I still think his drawings are cuter. The monkey had a bigger head, more chibi-like, and he rode a cloud. How can you not like that?

I used an 80% gray marker on this! woohoo! One day I won't hesitate with the darker colors.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sketch Backlog

A few post-worthy sketches I've missed posting in the last month. Not as many as I wish I had, but better than none at all.

Chantry Flats Landscape Drawing - part 2

I went to my second landscape drawing workshop at Chantry Flats. It was a ton of fun, and I met some artists who were new to Karl's workshops. The weather was beautiful, not as hot as it could have been this time of year. The only negative is that I got a minor sprain when I was crossing a boulder-strewn stream. Ooops. My coordination, or lack-thereof, strikes again.

I had only two pens, and a whole bunch of markers with me, so I was really focused on composition of a scene and tonal values. My favorite drawing was the last one of the day, of the fallen log in the stream. Strong focal point, strong contrast, variation of line directions. The only change I'd make is not putting the log so dead center, but that's a minor change. I felt these were much stronger than my previous Chantry Flats trip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Illustration Friday: Proverb

"Mighty oaks from little acorns grow"

Woohoo! Two Illustration Fridays in a row, even if they are not posted on Friday. This topic wasn't inspiring me for some reason until I looked at the Wiki list o'proverbs. Once I did that, I had a ton of ideas. The hubby helped veer me into the direction he wanted--"Treants please!"--and I still got to draw what I wanted: a cool and gnarly oak tree! Now I need to learn carving in less then a month so I can transfer my cool treant onto a pumpkin.

I still want to add some highlights and some extra darks, but this is plenty finished to post.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Illustration Friday: Dessert

Illustration Friday....or last-minute, day-before (a new) Illustration Friday. Something like that.

This image is a teaser, however, because it is only part of the entire image. I'm working on the coloring of it so I can contribute to They Draw and Cook, a website I've fallen in love with, because I like to draw and cook as well!

I am also experimenting with combining the toned paper drawings I've been loving as well as my colored pencil/watercolor combo. We shall see how it goes. If I like it, I may do more pieces of this nature.

What is he cooking? You'll have to wait to find out!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sketchcrawl 28: Hollywood and Highland (belated)

Last weekend I went to my third Sketchcrawl! It was a lot of fun meeting up with a number of familiar faces as well as some new ones. Hollywood and highland had a lot of tourists to sketch, with some crazy outfits. There were also many cool buildings, but the pillars with the elephant statues caught my eye immediately.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Planes of Fame

I never knew I liked planes so much...or drawing them! I had a great time at the Planes of Fame museum, although I did not like that it was an hour-twenty drive to get there. Not to mention driving back. I never did get to see the Japanese Zero, which I was really interested in. Some of my favorite planes I saw that day were the aircraft ones, with hinged wings that fold for storage. I'll have to draw them one day.

I am really slow at drawing the planes, but that's ok, because I'm learning object construction in perspective. Each of these drawings was 1-1.5 hours long. I need a better highlighting pen..the strong white highlights were done by the teacher; I did the wimpy ones. He also said that I need tobreak out my 80% gray marker and hit the darks in key locations to really make the drawing pop. He did the darkest grays in the second drawing. I only need to draw 98 more planes until I start to get really good at drawing planes.

I want to go back at some point, but I think next time, carpooling!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Nethercutt Museum

Haven't posted in a while, but I've been drawing. I've been exhausted. It's rush season. Besides for work and regular weekly classes, I haven't been doing much but catching up on Psych. I love that show. Even more now that I've regularly been to Santa Barbara and really like that town...

But enough digressing. Our drawing for composition class went to the Nethercutt car museum on Saturday. These were the two good drawings of the day. The rest were side and front studies to get an understanding of basic proportions, as well as trying to figure out this whole drawing in perspective thing. I was starting to get comfortable with it by the end of the day, but the class was over way too soon for me. In fact, I added tone to the second sketch on the way to dinner that night with friends. I still need to post some older sketches from this class, as well as some other random drawings I've been doing.

In other art-related news, I finally designed my website! It only took 4 years to come up with something I was happy with that was a balance of illustration and design. Now the hubby and I need to work on building the site. I will keep you updated on the progress, but nothing will probably happen for the next two weeks, since it's crunch time at work and I'm brain dead by the time I get home.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

More ripples!


#466 (SOLD)

I had so much fun with the ripplesketches that I did two more. I did have a bit of computer trouble, so I got delayed in both scanning and posting them. In fact, I got them on the ripplesketches site before my own blog, so I already have one of them sold, #466, my farewell shrimp. Thanks Ursula!

I am amazed at the turnout in participation over at the ripplesketch blog, both from artists contributing time, creativity, and art, and from the people donating to the foundations. Over 500 pieces of artwork and over $3,000 raised so far! Our online community rocks!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My sketch sold!

Woohoo! My Illustration Friday sketch for ripple sketches was number 202 and it sold! Thanks Laya!

So far the Illustration Friday community has helped raise over $1500, which is a fantastic ripple. Another great big thank you to Kelly Light, who organized this fantastic project and probably didn't anticipate the extent of the response from the community.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Illustration Friday: Ripple

"Let Go!"

This week's Illustration Friday is a special one.

The topic "Ripple" was suggested by Kelly Light:

"This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Ripple" and I ask you to consider creating your work this week as a small 2.5" x 3.5" sketchcard. The subject should pertain somehow to the Gulf - the oil spill - the oceans and the creatures that live in it and around it."

Essentially, artists donate a small doodle/illustration, interested parties donate to one of the two organizations that Kelly has chosen, and the people who donate the money get one of the doodles. Pretty cool, huh?

I had a couple of concepts, but this is the only one I've completed so far. If I get around to another one, i'm going to try to work more scribble-y then this one. I tried working in a new way: I made my white board into a toned surface then used ink, warm gray markers, and colored pencils to create the illustration, combining my traditional style with the pen-and-marker drawings I've been doing the past two months. Oh, and of course the pretty white gel pen for popping the highlights.

"If we all do small acts together- we can cause a ripple- and it can grow. We can DO SOMETHING."

Below is my sketch page trying to figure out the concept of the fish out of water. The hardest part was trying to figure out how to render the oil puddle and strand. Hurray for gray markers!