Thursday, May 7, 2015

Love Bug...Bug

My roomie's mama is getting her husband of 30 years! They never had a real ceremony, and now that they've got so much to celebrate, they're doing it in style this summer!

I was commissioned to make the illustration for the wedding program. This little guy--a "bug bug"--has a story. The two met while carpooling to med school in an old yellow Volkswagen Beetle. Thus, the love bug. The wedding is grapefruit-colored, so I did some color tweaking in PS for two versions.
And because cute is always good, she asked me to add some little buggy details like wings and teensy legs. Yay! Anthropomorphism!

Oh, and this is my first ever foray into the territory of gouache, which was MIND BLOWING! So flippin' hard to blend, but once I gave up on gradients, I really got into the groove. I can see gouache being excellent for shape-based, UPA-style tv animation BG's and the like. Also for Brittney-Lee style illustrations. Excited for the future!


More Weddings! So Why not some Penguins?

Because seriously, why not?

A friend of mine is getting married and made a VERY wise top her cake with penguins--birds who mate for life and ALSO happen to slay when it comes to cuteness.
I didn't put too much time into the sketch for this guy, I knew off the bat that they should be fat and round (two qualities that are always desirable!) and then I lit into the sculpey.

Finding some tulle at the dollar store to top her with was the finishing touch.

Miniature Murals and Garden Graffiti

I've always dreamed about doing murals, especially on the sides of whatever house I currently inhabit (to the chagrin of my fellow inhabitants, at times). Never have I made good on those threats, until now. However, my first mural is on a much different scale than I ever expected, being completely contained within a tiny 7" concrete cube.

The cube is technically a planter. It is soon to be planted with all manner of tiny succulents to the cumulative effect of a miniature urban garden. I'll post pics, of course.
Can you imagine this filled with itsy flora as if lovingly cultivated by bitsy gardeners?

It belongs to a dear friend of mine, who requested a graffiti mural to complete the 'urban rooftop' vibe of the future ecosystem, and every component of the mural is personally significant to him--from the characters, patterns, colors, and graffiti tags laid in on top. Each element tells a story which is known to him and a few of his closest.

One of my favorite parts was playing with the metallic gold acrylic over the concrete. It has a beautiful effect, and I'm sure you've seen many DIY-ers playing with metallic on concrete all over the internet.

 One of the other fun spots was creating an adventure-time themed medallion design to wrap around a corner. Having never seen the show, I had to do my fair share of research to make sure I properly captured the characters.

I also have always loved Katsushika Hokusai's image of Mount Fuji and the Great Wave, so when my friend asked me to incorporate ocean themes, I got right to work taking that iconic image and tweaking it to utilize the bold colors and natural concrete texture I was working with.

For the graffiti piece, I wanted to attempt something along the lines of one of my favorite graffiti artist, an Angelino who goes by Cre8. He works in Koreatown, teaching art classes and graffiti techniques to kids in some of the worst schools of LA.

I liked this "muscle beach" piece he did in Santa Monica, and sketched up a piece in a similar style.

After doing my first "graffiti", I'm chomping the bit to try more...maybe with actual spray paint instead of a teensy tiny filbert paintbrush!

Anyone got a boring house that needs a little personality?

Butterfly Madness...enabled by Martha Stewart and an excess of free time

Two friends of mine have shown me an undeserved and illogical amount of generosity over the last three years, and I wanted to create something to show them my gratitude.

I recently went through a phase of exploring uses for paper butterflies in interior decorating, and landed on a piece of wall art that utilized their delicate, 3D forms to create a larger story.

This piece is about how what they gave on my behalf was instrumental in my own personal growth and recovery from deep anxiety and depression--in a way, the "life they laid down" led to an abundance of life within me.
Hopefully the shape evoked by this crowd of butterflies, as well as the gradient of saturation and their crescendo of elevation from the canvas can communicate something to that effect.

If not, who doesn't love butterflies?
Done in oranges to complement their light blue living room wall.

The first butterflies are directly on the canvas, but then they start poking out on wires as they fly farther. Like an idiot, I thought I was going to individually cut each one. Ha. Ha. Ha.
Then I found out Martha Stewart (my spirit animal) makes a nice butterfly paper punch. Which saved my life.

The wires were punched through the canvas and hot-glued to the back, which was REALLY time-consuming. Sooo instead of glueing each butterfly onto the free end, I resorted to tape. Good 'ol Scotch tape. Which worked just fine--they're so light it was more than enough adhesive. And it took MUCH less time...

Due to the nature of the piece, in the stage before adding the butterflies, things began to get quite...hairy. This thing below was sitting in our room for about a week looking like it really needed a shave. Ew.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Magic is in the air...

Christmas time is here! OH MY GOSH!
Just to celebrate, here's a forest nymph who's ready for the yuletide celebration!
And some of my favorite North American birds, whisky jacks! (Not only do they have a fantastic name, but they are also very friendly and will land on your hand to eat seeds up in the snowy Canadian mountains…)

As for the technique, I'm still trying on Photoshop painting, and for this piece tried to emulate another artist's process. I think I learned a lot! Still got a ways to go, but step by step, right? :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's Play in Leopard Print!

Today Franny and I went on a walking adventure around Old Town. But I had just been using my flatiron, flour (!), and enough hairspray to patch the ozone layer to try to get my hair looking like Elsa from Frozen. She's my Halloween costume this year, and I need to tease this normally whip-straight dark blonde mop into something marshmallow-white and floofy! Well, floofy might not be the right word. Fiesty? Yes. Fiesty.

Insert teasing comb. Ad nauseum. Now mix in enough flour to make my hair the envy of every polar bear. Snow white. Delicious.

The point is, I wasn't in the mood to shower (surprise surprise), but I couldn't go out in public looking like a wampa. So I threw one of my Grandma's old scarves on my head and called it passable.

THEN it was like "Well if we're gonna dress like crazy lunatics we might as well go all out!"
So the two of us had fun dressing up kinda wonky, then waltzed around Old Town Pasadena for about 3 hours just kickin' it.

Then it happened…we stumbled upon this dangerously good sale at Cotton On and I found the perfect match for my crazy outfit--a dolman-sleeve leopard print sweater. It was love, and it only cost $10.

So then I doodled up what I (wish I) looked like this afternoon. Teehee:

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Drawing again? WHAAAAT?? And of course it's Chris Sanders who got me going...

Ok. I have no explanation as to why I got into a super intense drawing mood late this evening…after not picking up a pencil for months. Ah well, why question it?

Anyways, perhaps all it takes to get me into a creative mood is to copy two or three of Chris Sanders' exceptional sketches. That's what I did, then BAM! I wanna draaaaawww!

When I copy another artist's work, it's like drinking a large glass of their style. It's in me! I then draw until it drains out of me bit by bit. (Hopefully I retain SOMETHING…)
You can see that this first sketch is a lot more Sanders-y in it's style, proportions, subject matter (wink), etc.
The second one - the ballerina - is more me combining the Sanders influence with some other things in my artistic repertoire. More 'me' I suppose. Meh.


Monday, July 21, 2014

5 o'clock and letting it all hang out...

Somewhere, somewhere, it's 5 o'clock and the work day has ended.

But for these carefree mermaids, the day was filled with exhausting play. So now they've swum out to a distant rock jutting out over the water to stretch out, untie those annoying seashell bras, and just spend some time not really caring about anything. Sounds great, eh?

Christmas in July

Ah the glory of old sketch books. Gloooooria gloria gloria in excelsis Deo as they say.
Here's more Christmas fun that emerged to remind me of what life is really about when I'm most bound to forget it…CHRISTMAS! No really, that's what life is really about.

Ok maybe that's a bit of a hyperbole but I'm trying to make a point. Ok?


Because that's how one feels upon smelling (yet another…) Bath & Body works candle entitled "Evergreen". It literally smells like Christmas tree mixed with someone's absolutely imagination-perfect log cabin in the snowy woods. Mmmmm…

Aaaand one last one inspired by Bath & Body Works (where I no longer work… *weeps*)

Cashmere Glow…anybody know it? A delectably warm and fuzzy blend of peach, vanilla, and a touch of musk. Basically like a dessert + warm blankie. Um, paradise? Well, definitely a LOT of people's idea of paradise. So yeah, she looks happy. What more can I say?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Birds of a Feather Gettin' Together!

My beautiful cousin, Gloria, just married the most fabulous over-sit-foot man ever…Phillip!
Together, they have way more spunk than the universe knows what to do with.
Understandably, they had to have an AMAZING wedding!
And they did. The entire reception venue was a hand-built "enchanted forest" complete with real bark lining the walls, a lighted entrance tunnel made of young evergreen boughs, and mossy accents to complete the ethereal picture.

I was recruited to make the cake topper--two little love-birds nesting together. (Gloria has always had a thing for Disney birds…)

Having discovered bread-clay as the next best thing to actually eating bread, I ventured forth:

And here's the gorgeous couple about to enjoy their birdie-topped cake amidst the enchanted greenery:

Bread and WHAT?

Start with:

Mix in some:

Mess around for a bit...

And you get:

A tiny figurine!

No for reals…bread + glue = awesome air-dry clay that's super malleable, dries hard, and is totally fun to use! Add some acrylic color on top of your sculpture, varnish it with some sculpey or liquitex glaze, and kaPOW! Instant figurine!
Sure beats paying an arm and a leg for the fancy-schmancy clay at the craft store! Sculpting, here I come!


This particular sculpture was inspired by a particular CANDLE from Bath & Body Works (I know I know, it's out of control…but I don't work there anymore, so maybe I'll recover…maybe?). It's called "Mint Chocolate":

…Might as well be called "heaven". It literally smells like a York patty. Tasty. Wintery. Refreshing. Mmmmmmm.

After smelling the candle, I drew this:

Yes, that's how I felt :)
Then, after discovering bread clay, I decided this gal needed to come to life in 3D, so she jumped off the page, rolled around in some paint and glaze, found herself a cute little Parisian cafe table to sit at, and plonked the whole setup on top of some crooked cobblestones to enjoy her Mint hot chocolate latte in the crisp winter air.

Perhaps my itch to sculpt came from seeing Chris Sanders, the incredibly talented creator of Lilo and Stich, come out with a new mermaid figurine. As a big fan of his sketches, I loved seeing how his art could come alive in 3 dimensions, yet stay true to the spirit and style of his original drawings! I had to try it for myself. I expect many more sculptures to come :)


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Snow Fairy Invasion…Merry Christmas!

If you've ever seen the fabulous movie "Barbie in the Nutcracker", then you'll understand where this is coming from. If not…get yourself on this train, my friend! Anyways…

These little snow fairies flitted into our house one cold December evening and have been dancing around the kitchen, sprinkle glittery ice and Christmas-time cheer wherever they go!

Modelled after ballerinas, they're about the size of your hand, pure white, and encrusted with glitter (it's hard to tell in the photos). They spin and twirl as the drafts flow through the house.

May your home also be graced with magic this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A quick Christmas sketch

I was recruited by my volunteer organization, Northwest Neighbors, to make a Christmas party invitation.

I thought some happy angels would make folks want to come and fest with us, thus this design was birthed. It was a first draft which, due to a deadline, I simply polished up with some color. I'd have liked to spend a little more time working with the design, the color, the line quality, blah de blah. But that's why it's a sketch :)

Enjoy! And God bless you with Joy this Christmas!!
Celebrate with us :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Japanese Cherry Blossom

They call it "The Little Black Dress of fragrance".
That's right folks...

Japanese Cherry Blossom, America's #1 fragrance since its humble beginnings in 2007, was my inspiration for this next piece in my BBW series of paper sculptures.

The fragrance--a soft blend of florals, asian pear, and cedarwood--has both sophisticated yet feminine qualities. As one of the first BBW fragrances to incorporate more nuanced, perfumey notes like cedarwood or musk, it broke away from the previous generation of simpler, fruit-centered fragrances that featured a strong single note. To avoid the realm of fruity-tooty, I wanted to create a woman who was both soft and sweet, yet elevated and refined at the same time.

What think'st thou?

And, just for fun, here's the silhouette. I love focusing on a strong silhouette to make the design work. Lots of detail, things sticking out here and there, shape language, etc.
Fun fun fun!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Paintbrush in hand is better than two in the bush...

I've been itching to pick up a paintbrush again for a while now, and have just had trouble getting over that initial investment of energy to set up the supplies, get started on a project, etc. Amazingly, I got a free easel from a woman at church, which got me more than halfway to the starting line. 
It finally happened last week as I was hanging out with my soon-to-be roomate Frances. We spent the whole day together and while we were digesting dinner and reading on the couch, the mood hit!

I set up my easel, resuscitated all my emaciated paint tubes and derelict brushes, and went at it with gusto. I didn't really care what it ended up looking like...not having put a brush to canvas in almost a year, I just wanted to feel the bristles pushing the paint around again!

This is what I ended up with about an hour and a half later.
Of course it's not finished, but what art ever is?
Here's Frances, reading away as the candles are burning: