Friday, December 5, 2014

#Inktober Giraffe

So, I'm not going to do ALL of my inktober posts.  You can check out my instagram if you want to see them.  I am, just going to blog my favorites.  Probably.  I make no guarantees.   Though I really should blog more consistently.  I'm working on it.  Be patient.  And if you want more, comment!  It helps motivate me.

So, this is my giraffe before digital coloring, with just ink and some orange col-erase pencil. (it scanned in a bit brigher than real life)  The scan looks much better than the dark grainy picture I snapped with my iPod late at night when I finished it though.

and after digital color and cleanup

 I initially didn't mean to put as bright of a background color behind him and was going to tone it down, but it just didn't look as good.  It works really well with him, and it is now one of my favorites.  He's also up in my zazzle shop as prints and bags and tee-shirts and purses and magnets and pillows and a sketchbook and all.  Ok, shameless plug over.  :)  I really do love zazzle though, they have great coupon codes regularly, they have great quality products and they have amazing customer service.  I am my biggest customer, seriously.  I buy more stuff for me than anybody else does.  lol!  It is just so much easier than when I was trying to make etsy work for me.  I may only make a percentage, but it is waaaaay less work and less risk. 

So, how do you like the background?  Too bright?  Too distracting?  Who knows because your monitor is different than mine?  Comment away, I love to have other insight.  I'm still learning with color...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#Inktober Owl

I have been trying to blog more often, with more of my artistic content.  So, have you heard of #inktober?  It was started by Jake Parker as a way to polish up inking skills.  (He also started the #artdropday).  I took a week long illustration class from Jake at a Writing and Illustrating For Young Readers a few years ago and soaked up some of his genius, at least that was the hope.  He's one of those ridiculously talented/practised artists that can draw so effortlessly that he makes the rest of us look bad.  But anyway, I digress. This is inktober day 1.  With many more to follow.

 This owl is a sort of compilation of a couple of cute owls, and as such is not a specific breed of owl.  He was fun to draw and has a different look then my other Owl that I did in pencil.  (he is very specifically a barn owl)

Ironically an owl was the first thing I drew with that last hashtag media bandwagon I jumped on.  Weird.  Either way, that #365drawing frenzy gave me great fodder to digitally color and turn into nice finished polished pieces later.  And as I seem to sometimes need a push to produce artistic content in quantity, it seemed like a great idea to participate in this one too.  And goes along with my newly defined outlook and identity as artist first, and illustrator of books as an extension of that.  As opposed to primarily and almost solely identifying as a writer/illustrator of children's books.  Of which I have worked on for a long time, but have not published or even tried to publish any thing as yet.  Which was getting really discouraging.  Also since I had an almost single handed focus of working on my dummy book, I was taking hardly any work to a final polish.  I think I was too narrowly focused on a long term goal with very long term payoffs.  So although I will continue to eventually finish and then submit my dummy book, I am going to play at being an artist just for the sheer joy of creating content that I personally like to create and look at and polish my skills in the process. And not limit myself to other possibilities. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Vote for your favorite, and enter a giveaway for a free magnet!

So I thought I'd combine both a giveaway as well as a survey. Let me know your first and second choice for a background (even more helpful if you can tell me why you chose them) and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a free big magnet from my zazzle shop. You may vote once, but you can enter the drawing multiple times as long as you follow or like me on that site. Sites are as follows: Instagram (, Facebook page (, tumblr (, and my blog ( Shares, reblogs or other social network shoutouts also count for an additional entry, just mention which you did. If you prefer being contacted by e-mail (if you don't plan on checking if you won) leave that, but it is not required, otherwise I will just tag the winner in all the ways I am able. If unclaimed after 72 hours, I will do a second drawing. Contest will be closed on Monday, September 29th at midnight MST. Thanks for your input! This will help me decide which image to upload to zazzle.


So, after getting lots of great feedback on facebook and instagram, I have edited and made some changes to reflect new and improved options.

the all diamond option

and the duo tone (less contrast) and bigger (less busy) chevron

Also, you may notice (after I have uploaded these everywhere else) that the original soft blue and aqua blue have been switched in the new collage pictures...  oh well.  Also the teal and the "new" aqua blue next to each other makes me realize they are nearly the same shade of color, just different values.  Oh well.  The perfectionist in me is squirming, but not enough to go back and fix it EVERYWHERE.  I am drawing far too much attention to myself already.

Anyway, thank you for any and all of your input.  My brain gets stuck in a rut sometimes and so its nice to have a piece of your mind to shake things up a little.  I will probably put up a few different ones on zazzle (including plain backgrounds)...  

(edited) CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED  Three different backgrounds are up in my zazzle shop.  The teal diamond pattern, the duo tone sage green chevron, and a new one a soft blue with white polka dots as backgrounds to this bunny.

 The winner of the drawing was my friend Julie Olson who is an amazing illustrator.   Check out her blog here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

On the golden section, or when artists get nerdy.

actual Golden Section
Did you know you can get all sorts of nerdy about art?  I mean using ugh, math and all.  I had a class in college that introduced me to the mathematically ideal ratio or the Golden section.  The Fibonacci sequence.  Apparently you can find it in music too, but that is not my forte, so I don't know the first thing about how that works.  I do know you can find it in art.  Leonardo Da Vinci was a big proponent, as was Albrecht Duhrer and you can find it in classical architecture too.  (like the pantheon and stuff..)  And I know there are more, but I'm too lazy to google it right now.

I had an art professor that was pretty enamored of it too, and thus introduced yours truly to the enigma of the golden section.  It was pretty hard to implement though when the only way I had of knowing the ratio was to draw out a fairly complicated geometric drawing.  (I am not describing it here, mostly because I don't know if I remember how to draw it.  It involved a ruler, a compass and a T square.)  A while ago (it was actually waaaaay too long ago to be blogging about it now, don't worry about it!)  I randomly found an obscure site that sold Fibonacci gages that would hold the ratio as you moved it, taking all of the hard work away.  And I had to have one.  I first bought a far too expensive and unexpectedly flimsy one.  After much disappointment I returned it and upon further research I stumbled across an etsy shop that also sold fibonacci gages.  They were smaller, but the owner very sweetly agreed to custom make me a larger one.  Not only did I have a vastly superior and sturdy tool, but it is gorgeous too!

even though its gorgeousness is masked by a grainy picture in poor light..
This is the origin of the 'rule of thirds'.  The rule of thirds is just easier to estimate and describe and thus encoporate.  But really it is just a dummed down version of the Golden Ratio.  Now I just need to incorporate it into my art more.  On purpose instead of accidentally. 

this is an accident.  a happy one of course.

Tutorial: cute, functional and temporary hem for growing kids.

This post was written at least a year ago... but I figured I should post it anyway.  It still applies.  This was inspired by "growth strips" sewn into petticoats and dresses in from what I am guessing to be around the late 1800's to early 1900's.  (I guess, but I did not look it up, feel free to correct me if you'd like).  Think Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House on the Prairie or discontinued Victorian era Samantha (American Girl) doll's petticoats, just merged with modern jeans.

School will be starting again soon, and thus the mad rush to clothe your children for the school year.  I sort of hate shopping, so I want to get it all over with as much as possible.  Which means buying jeans that are too long for my children.  I've resorted in the past to simply rolling the hems up (since I knew they'd grow into it halfway through the year, if the knees held out until then).  But I thought of this and had to try it out instead.  It is actually deceptively simple.

Put co-ordinating thread in your machine and a heavy duty needle.  Measure from the bottom about 2" and fold (and pin).  Sew 1/2" away from the fold.  Repeat for as many tucks as you need.  Each tuck shortens the jeans by 1 inch.  Super simple!  Then when it needs to be let down, you just unpick them starting from the top.