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!


Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #1

I’ve finally gotten around to posting the Artist Trading Cards I drew for the last Doodle Swap I participated in. For those who don’t know, Artist Trading Cards are 3.5 x 2.5 inch mini artworks. The Doodle Swap Project lets creative-type folks sign up, draw a batch of cards however they like, send them out, and get some back in return.

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #4

This time around I kept it simple: dragons. Well, little bitty dragons at least. They’re sketchier than usual since I had to rush through them to get them in the mail in time. And after all, they’re just “doodles,” right?

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #5

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #2

I don’t know why I’ve been drawing little bitty mythical creatures lately. I guess it’s a palate-cleanser from the more formal client work I’ve been doing. Or I’m just doing warm ups for some more big dragon art that’s waiting in the wings. Either way, these guys just make me happy, I hope they do the same for the people who found them in their mailboxes.

Doodleswap #12 Tiny Dragon #7

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

Sketchbook time!

But before that, just a reminder that this weekend I’m participating in the MS Society’s Chesapeake Challenge walk, so it’s your last chance to make a donation for a free pet portrait. It’s looking like it will be a bit of a scorcher out there too…  Get all the details here, and do it today!

I’m going to make a confession here: I love school. I’ve always loved school. I like taking classes, I like learning new things, I’d probably be in school forever if I could. One of the things I like about taking classes is that it’s quiet time to sit back and passively take new ideas in, giving the parts of my brain that are always solving problems a little break.

If it’s a lot of factual information, I’m actually not all that passive about it. (I am one of nature’s obsessive note-takers. And not the interesting, oh-so-pretty artistic kind of notes. I filled an entire steno pad with my cramped chicken-scratch at the last training conference I attended.)

But if it’s more abstract, theoretical, or subjective information, I don’t write a lot of notes down. That’s when my pen does other things.

Sketchbook from May - part 1

Sketches like these actually help me focus and process what’s being said when either a) it’s not something that I need to capture exact phrases for or b) I’m starting to zone out and would otherwise be falling asleep. I’ll typically keep a separate page — or as in this case a separate notepad — handy to separate these meanderings, a habit I picked up in high school when a rather nasty math teacher kept yelling at me about doodling in my notebook. (I got straight A’s in that class, you bitter old hag!)

This time around it wasn’t Shakespeare or philosophy or even math, but a training seminar at my office. It was a good seminar, but loooong 4-hour sessions meant I needed to stay focused. So, time to sketch! Fortunately I have plenty of little sketchpads in my office, gleaned from years of attending design conferences. 🙂

Sketchbook from May - part 2

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my Sketchbook Project book with me, because I really liked how some of these came out. It was a 4-day class, so there are more sketches to come!

Drawing Day part 1

In case you didn’t know, yesterday was Drawing Day! Actually it’s the whole weekend, which is good for me. Yesterday had the most perfect, beautiful weather and I just couldn’t stay inside drawing… or even hunched over a sketchpad outside. By the end of the day, I was as exhausted as my cat, who for a change sat still long enough for an extended portrait.

Tinkerbell sleeping

She’ll be showing up at my RedBubble site shortly (and yes, that’s not all just “fluff,” the little tubbo…) I did a few scribbles in my sketchbook too, trying to decide on what sort of things to put in my Sketchbook Project book. I fear the challenge there will be picking subjects that I can draw in such a relatively small space… good practice for the pet portraits I’m doing for my MS fundraiser (this is the last week to participate, now with lower donations for art!)

Drawing Day 2011 sketchbook page 1

Today is “exercise and more gardening day,” weather permitting. But there will be some more drawings tonight… especially if it really does rain today, which looks like pretty good odds at the moment.

On a personal note: WalkMS Chesapeake Challenge

Quick Sketch - Tink

Why is my cat giving me such a look? Probably because I’m not paying enough attention to her. And what could me more important than pampering the cat?


This year, I promised myself I was going to do something for myself and for others: I’m going to participate in the Walk MS Chesapeake Challenge. This event is 2-day, 30-mile walk that supports the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Money raised goes to support research, advocacy, and services for those affected by MS. I have a page set up there for donation sponsorships, and I’m hoping a few of you will help out.

Challenge Walk MS - Walk With Purpose

Why am I doing it? Aside from a need to get off my rear and and get some good exercise for a change, it’s to support a good cause. Our lives have been touched by MS. My husband’s mother suffered from very severe MS symptoms and was housebound for years. By the time I met her she was about to get out and about (with assistance) thanks to new breakthroughs in treatment made possible by ongoing research efforts like those at the MS Society. Sadly, she passed away before she ever became my mother-in-law; I have a friend today who benefits from even newer treatments who will hopefully never go through what she did.

Because this is such a large event, I need to do fundraising on a scale I haven’t tried before. For that I’ll need your support. And just in case the warm glow of making a tax-exempt donation to a very worthy cause isn’t enough, I’m sweetening the pot a bit.

  • For a $40 $30 donation in my name, I’ll draw a quick sketch of your favorite pet (similar to my cat above) from a photograph you provide, and e-mail you a digital file ready-to-print. This is a picture of one animal… all pets welcome! See below for some samples.
  • For a $60 $50 dollar donation, I’ll do the same as above, AND mail you the signed, original sketch. This is a small, 5×7-inch drawing, perfect for a standard snapshot picture frame.

How can you take advantage of this amazing offer? Just go over to my donation page at the MS Society website and make a donation in the appropriate amount. Be sure to include your name on the donor list so I can confirm your donation and put e-mail address in the “Personal Note” section — I need it to send you information on how to get your drawings!


Why only pets?

  • So I don’t go insane trying to draw everything!

What if I have more than one pet/there’s more than one pet in the photo?

  • Additional pets in the same picture require an additional $10 per pet. If you want two separate drawings, the second one would be an additional $30 $20 for digital only, $45 $35 for the original artwork.

What kind of sketches are we talking about here?

  • These will be black-and-white drawn with archival inks on bristol paper, and may include inkwash. Yours will be signed, but won’t have the extra text on it that you see here. They are sketches and studies, in addition to the sample above, there are some more samples below… and more on the way.

How do I get my sketch?

  • After your donation is received, I’ll send you an e-mail with the details, but in short you’ll need to send me your address and a good, clear photo of your pet, either by e-mail or by post, and I’ll take care of the rest.

When will I get my sketch?

  • No later then the end of the July, probably earlier. I need to spend as much time as I can before the walk getting into shape for it, so I may not start any of the drawings until afterwards.

What kind of photo should I send?

  • Your favorite photo of your pet! I prefer if you can send a picture that was taken with natural lighting rather than a flash, but I know that’s not always possible. I can’t draw details that I can’t see in the picture, so keep that in mind.

Can I use my drawing on my website/as my logo/in a book?

  • Donation incentive drawings are intended for personal use only. I can provide a release letter if your local photo printer requires one.  You can include it on your personal webpage but I ask that you include a link back to my website If you want to publish the image commercially — or you’d like to commission a custom illustration — please contact me and we’ll talk.

Is the MS Society site safe to use?

  • I’ve never had any problems with it. Be sure to print out your receipt for your tax records. If you don’t want to get recurring messages from them be sure to go in after your donation and check their directions for customizing your privacy settings. But DO be sure that I have your email address… if I don’t contact you within a few days of your donation write me a message

Where are those sample drawings you mentioned?

  • Right here!

Quick Sketch - Old Faithful


Quick Sketch - Tony

Any other questions? Drop me a line at… and thanks in advance for your support!

Something’s Fishy…

DoodleSwap #9

Just when you thought I’d given up on drawing anything but flowers, it’s time for something a little different.

I’ve had the fun of participating a few times in the Doodle Swap Project, a group of artists and designers and other creative folks who create tiny works of art and send them to each other. The “Doodles” are in the form of Artist Trading Cards, where the only limitation is that the finished size is relatively flat and 3.5 x 2.5 inches. The theme for this round was “Under the Sea” and I’ve been getting some lovely interpretations in my mail the last week or so from the other artists involved.

DoodleSwap #9

Mine are all ink sketches made with Micron pens on bristol paper, based on photographs I’ve taken over the years… most at aquariums, but a few are from a trip to the Caribbean we took a few years ago.  Fish are so alien compared to the animals we see all the time, so many interesting shapes, colors, and patterns. I don’t even have some of the more exotic varieties in my collection here.

DoodleSwap #9

Quick little projects like this are a refreshing break from larger, lengthier projects. Plus, they’re a source of ideas for other things. I may do something more with these scans before I put them aside completely. In the meantime, enjoy the whole set!

DoodleSwap #9 DoodleSwap #9



DoodleSwap #9 DoodleSwap #9 DoodleSwap #9


DoodleSwap #9
DoodleSwap #9

Sketching on the beach…


Sketchbook: On the beach, Mexico 2011

We recently escaped the cold winter weather for a week in warm, sunny Mexico.  Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh…..

The fact that it was snowing when we left home made the trip all the sweeter. 🙂

I did a little bit of sketching, but I spent more time snapping photos. Some of them will be fodder for the drawing table, some were just for fun. But this particular sketch was drawn from a lounge chair on the beach while taking a little breather. I have a few more sketches to post, watch this space…

Sketchbook: Single palm, Mexico 2011

F is for Fantastic Fun!

One of the things I like about being at RedBubble is the great community of other artists there. I recently had a chance to collaborate with a whole bunch of them in a project to make a child’s alphabet, each of us illustrating one letter or number. The project is wrapping up and soon a set of prints will be making a grand tour of various schools and child care facilities starting in Scotland.

My contribution, as you can see above, was the letter “F” and it was great fun to make! It and all the rest can be seen in this thread at RedBubble, where you can buy cards or prints if you like. In the meantime, I’m working on my own somewhat simpler alphabet project and hope to have it done soon.