Mermaid in ink

Mermaid in inkThis drawing took longer than I thought it would… and I’m still not completely sure it’s done. But I’m posting it for Inktober anyway! I’m having fun inking with the brush instead of the pens… although I used technical pens for the seaweed in the background.

Drawn with Pentel Color Brush and Micron pens on Strathmore vellum surface bristol.

“Artist at Play” – new art!

Artist at Play - in progressLast month, I created a new piece for the Work+Play show at the Land Gallery in Portland — a group show in celebration ICON, the Illustrator’s Conference. Here’s a peek at the drawing when it was still in progress on my drawing table. I think this is the fastest I ever finished a piece this intricate — probably because I created it by throwing together all of the things I like to draw the most (except for myself… I’m not big into self-portraits!) and not thinking too hard about it for a change. Although I’m reserving the right to go back and tinker with the colors later….

"Artist at Play" If you’re in the Portland area, the opening/reception is Friday, July 11 starting at 8pm — but the show will be up for the rest of the month… and for a limited time there will be small prints available. I’ll post details about that when I get them. UPDATE: Until August 24 you can buy 8×10 prints from In the meantime, it’s kindofa big image, so click on it to see it bigger, and have some more details below! (also viewable on Behance)

"Artist at Play" detail"Artist at Play" detail with self-portrait

More DoodleCards – Fantasy People continued

Here are a few more of the “doodles” from my “Fantasy People” set of trading cards. These were all just quick little drawings — warm-up exercises, really — rather than finished artwork to share with some of my artist friends. Maybe I’ll turn them into something more, or maybe they were just a fun practice project. In either case, I hope you enjoy them too!

#6 Fairy — Fantasy People series

#5 Dryad — Fantasy People series

#7 Gnome — Fantasy People series

More Trading Cards

I finally have some new art to share, once again thanks to the DoodleSwap!

#1 Elf — Fantasy People series

#2 Fairy — Fantasy People series

This time around I had a new toy to play with: Copic Markers. These are refillable alcohol-based art markers which are a dream to color with. I only used a handful of colors to make these cards, but you can bet that I’ll be adding more to my set before long.

#3 Imp — Fantasy People series

#8 Dwarf — Fantasy People series

I’ll post the rest soon!

Artist Trading Cards: Tiny Gryphons

Tiny Griffons ATC #8 Chickadee

Where did the summer go? Oh, that’s right… between client work, an illustration-heavy project at my day job, and general craziness all the way around, I’ve had very little time for “just for fun” drawing. That’s one of the reasons I like the Doodle Swap Project, a little club of artists and designers who all make tiny trading-card-sized artworks for each other. It gives me an excuse to do some quick, small, simple drawings that I don’t have any time to overthink because they have to get out the door fast.

This time around the theme was “hybrid animals” — chimera, creatures made up of two or more different unrelated animals. Perfect timing for me, since:

a) the idea for little gryphons that are a cross between songbirds and housecats (instead of the more traditional eagles and lions) has been kicking around in my head for a while, and

b) “Backyard” and household fantasy creatures are the theme of my Sketchbook project book. More about that one later…

So, this was a little bit of two birds with one stone. Or something like that. Here are the first few of the cards, I’ll be posting the rest soon. They’re all 2.5 x 3.5 inches, drawn with ink and watercolor pencils on bristol paper.

Anyone else think that these will make nice little notecards? 🙂

Tiny Griffons ATC #7 Crow

Tiny Griffons ATC #6 Robin

A touch of fantasy

Here’s a quick piece of new art from my RedBubble site! Sometimes I’ll jump into one of the many challenges or drawing jams there to try something a little different with my style and tools. This time, instead of using inks I made the drawing entirely in pencil, and colored it all in Photoshop. It’s just a quick little study, which is why the background is so very bare.

I’ve been busy dusting off some of my art to make some new items for the Critterwings store… keep an eye out for new announcements very soon!

Illustration Friday: Breezy


Caught in a Breeze
click to enlarge

Getting back into the swing of things, I was feeling inspired by this week’s Illustration Friday topic. Of course, it’s not exactly seasonal — around here we just had what everyone is hoping was the last big snowfall of the winter before spring starts seriously springing — but the word “breezy” always brings to mind those crisp autumn days when the wind just picks up the leaves and swirl them around. Wouldn’t it be fun to hitch a ride?

She’s a little rough and quick, but I couldn’t resist dressing this inked sketch up with a bit of quick color.  I have a hankering to draw more fairies, but costume design has always been a bit of a challenge for me. Hmmm… maybe that’s why I want to do more of it.

Illustration Friday: Poof!

Let Me Check My Notes…
Let Me Check My Notes… (click to enlarge)

So many possibilities for this week’s Illustration Friday topic! I decided to go with a post-poof moment this time. I hope the effect comes through ok with only inks, no time for color this week. Or a background!

I think I may be reading too much Girl Genius lately. Last week I lost an evening of productivity when I got book 7, despite the fact that I’d already read it online. I love the humor in the drawings and the writing, but there’s also an intriguing mystery afoot with lots of interesting characters. Phil Foglio has a great loose style that just works, with tons of little extra details hidden in the background. I deliberately avoided too many stylistic swipes in the finished drawing, but the influence is obvious in my thumbnail sketches:

Let Me Check My Notes… thumbnail sketches

Interesting (or not) trivia factoid: these sketches were done in the dentist’s chair while waiting for the NovacaineTM to kick in. The note in the corner was a leftover snippet from a trip earlier this year, and in no way intended to be a slur against taxis in general.

PS: More mad-science-y fun can be had at Narbonic… another clear influence at work here which I will have to re-read when I have a week free sometime…

Illustration Friday: Canned

 Canned - Sketch

I got a little overly-ambitious with this week’s Illustration Friday topic, so the drawing is still only at the sketch stage, but I was just so tickled by the idea I couldn’t help myself! (Plus some of my drawing time was eaten up by the arrival of the new Girl Genius book…) Who wouldn’t like to have a pantry full of canned gremlins, bottled genies, and vacuum-packed-pixies. Even I don’t know what she’s got in some of those jars… but she’s clearly been very busy! Click the image to enlarge it.

All of my drawings go through a stage like this: I’m tightening up the composition, working out the perspective, and figuring out as many of the details as I can in pencil so that when I get to the inks I can just concentrate on building textures with the ink lines. Thanks to my light table I can scribble as much as I want with the pencil and not have to worry about marring the surface of the paper for the inks. Sometimes I’ll paste in elements or photocopy them and move them around until I’m happy, or use an overlay of tracing paper to establish the shading and lighting without obliterating the linework — some drawings have so many layers of tracing paper on the sketch they become difficult to transfer over to bristol for inking. Right now I’m thinking I need to do something else with the lower left corner before it’s ready (maybe move the edge of the table? Or maybe that little guy in the front needs a buddy…) but I’ll have to sleep on it.

Gonna try and finish the inks over the weekend, I’ll post them as soon as  I can!