Friday, August 22, 2014

Blue Fairy

This summer has been filled with a wide variety of freelance projects which have kept me very busy (a mural, 11 illustrations for a film, a YA book cover, and jewelry design, phew!). It's been awesome, but every so often I need to work on something for myself. I've been plugging away at this little series of Blue Fairies, and finally the trio is complete. All three fairies will be traveling with me to Illuxcon next month. Come meet them (and me!) at the Friday/Saturday Showcase.

(Click to view larger)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Deer Park Library Mural

This summer I was commissioned to do a mural for the library at Deer Park Elementary School in Centreville, VA. Prior to this, I had painted backdrops and murals with students (at summer camps and schools), but never tackled one all on my own. Eep! Exciting! The librarian and principal were very open to my ideas, and after sending sketches back and forth we settled on a design and they placed their giant 250 square foot wall in my hands.

Here is a piece of the wall, all taped off and ready for primer!

I transferred my sketch by projecting it in sections onto the wall and tracing it in pencil.

Using regular old interior house paint, I kicked things off by doing a night to day fade across the wall (about 40 ft long) using a big brush and gradually mixing dark blue and light blue paints together.

Next, I painted in the green landscape - that's me up on top of the ladder, take THAT fear of heights!

Then came the real fun! I started painting in some details of the Reading Tree.

Here is a progress pic - things are filling in! Also, big shout-out to my mom who came and helped for a couple of days by painting in and around all of those flowers!!

The lions are sleeping under the Leo constellation.

A baby bunny meets a worm! Also, you can see I was using a muffin tin to mix smaller batches of color.

Dinosaurs arrive to terrorize the non-fiction section! Also, an airplane and a reading monkey.

I used a lot of paint and destroyed a lot of paint brushes in the making of this mural.

Finally, after about 3 weeks of painting, it was time to take off the tape and be done! Here are some final shots.

Non-fiction section

The Reading Tree in the reading area, plus me! Hi again!

I managed to quickly get these last shots just as it was getting dark out.

I'm going to miss climbing that ladder every day.

In the end, everyone was happy with how the mural turned out and I learned a lot from the experience. It was fun to do something different, and be challenged to simplify my style a bit in order to paint on such a large and rough (cinderblock) surface. 

And now the next question is - what to do with all of this leftover paint?

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Mouse in Love

This year, for the first time, I decided to submit a piece to the SCBWI Tomie dePaola award. I have admired author/illustrator Tomie dePaola for pretty much my entire life (his "Strega Nona" was a fixture in my childhood library), and when I read this year's challenge I got so many ideas, I had to go for it! The prompt was to create a six-panel sequence with a clear beginning, middle, and end, showing an original and consistent character. So here it is, a little love story.
(Click to enlarge)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Work Selected for Showcase 100

Exciting news! My "Swans Rescue" piece has been selected for inclusion in the Showcase 100 project, and will be part of a show in central London in April, 2015, along with a printed publication. This is the first time that the folks over at LCS and Hire an Illustrator have put something like this together. I'm thrilled to be a part of it!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fairy Scouts

On sunny Saturdays in spring, the fairies and the hares go scouting for freshly sprouted mushrooms. With their large ears, the hares can actually hear the mushrooms as they pop up through the earth - it is said to sound something like a very quiet belch.

Graphite and white chalk on Strathmore toned paper.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Fairies

I am working on a little series of fairy drawings, which may turn into a little series of fairy paintings. More to come! (Click to enlarge)

Graphite and white chalk on Strathmore toned paper.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wizard Painting

 I have recently been re-reading the Harry Potter series (which I seem to do every few years), and I was inspired to do a little wizard painting. He is not any particular character, but I think he could live in the Harry Potter world. In any case, here he is, just for fun. 10.5x7.5 inches, mixed media on bristol paper.

And here is the drawing that started it all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Awesome Con DC!

This past weekend I exhibited at my very first convention! Up until now, I have only been an attendee at conventions (Comic Con in NYC and San Diego, CTN, Illuxcon, etc). As a recent DC transplant, I was looking around for artsy stuff to do in the area, and saw that my illustrator friend Marc Scheff was listed as an Artist Alley exhibitor at Awesome Con. I wrote him a "Hey dude, I'm excited that you'll be in my town" email, and he wrote back asking if I'd like to share his table, and that's how it all went down!

Here is Marc at our table. Day 1! My stuff is to the left. He was selling his beautiful art book and some sweet mugs.
Awesome Con is only in its second year, but it grew exponentially from last year, filling a HUGE hall at the Washington Convention Center. I sold prints from my Russian Fairy Tale series, my artist sketchbook, and a few folks even bought original drawings. The convention was definitely focused on comics and pop culture fan stuff (Dr. Who was everywhere!), and by the last day it was pretty clear that it was my cute stuff (bunnies, turkeys wearing hats) that this particular crowd was most interested in. To test my theory, I drew a cuddly hedgehog and put it out front, and immediately started getting more people coming to look at my stuff (and I sold the drawing).

My cute hedgehog
Overall I had a great time, I got to meet some really wonderful area artists, I am happy with how much I sold, and Marc and I already signed up for a table at next year's convention! I plan to bring more cuddly animals next time around.

I learned that at conventions you may end up doing a lot of sitting around, which can lead to some sweet sketchbook drawings!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Animals of the National Zoo

I currently live just a ten minute walk from the National Zoo in Washington, DC, essentially making the zoo animals my new neighbors. This is, in a word, AWESOME! I have taken to carrying my camera with me every time I visit, and snapping photos of whoever is out and about (it changes every time!). Here are some drawings of my new animal friends - I am excited to keep getting to know them.

(Click the images to see them nice and BIG)

 Andean Bear


 Dama Gazelle

 Goeldi's Marmoset Monkey

 Giant Panda


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Wolf

In the past year or so I have spent a lot of time drawing wolves, thanks to my Russian Fairy Tales series. Here are a few that came out of that process.

prince, Ivan and the Wolf, illustration, drawing
Prince Ivan and the Grey Wolf. This piece made it into my sketchbook, available here. It is from the story of Prince Ivan, The Firebird, and the Grey Wolf.

wolf illustration, wolf painting
Dire Wolf. This piece was done as an exploratory experiment while in a class with C.F. Payne and Gary Kelley. The woods were inspired by a trip I took to The Painted Forest of Oma in Basque Country. The original painting is available for sale here.

grey wolf, drawing
 Above is another exploratory wolf sketch, and below is a monotype (also available for purchase) based on the sketch. Wolves galore!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Interview for The Illustrators Agency Blog

I was recently asked to do a blog interview with Nick Diggory from the UK & Australia-based The Illustrators Agency. Thanks Nick! If you'd like to know more about my schooling, my first commission, and (very important) what I'd take with me to a desert island, you can read all about it by clicking HERE.

You can also follow The Illustrators Agency on Facebook for updates about all of their talented artists.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Firebird Sketchbook: They Have Arrived!

They're heeeere!! My Firebird sketchbook is my first little artist book, filled with drawings and process sketches from my Russian Fairy Tales series. They look lovely all stacked in their box, but I'd love to send them out to new homes. Each one comes signed and numbered, with an optional original drawing on the inside cover. Get yours HERE.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Firebird Sketchbook: Coming Soon!

Here is a little teaser for my sketchbook, which is currently in production and will be in my Etsy store very soon! This has been in the works since the summer, when I finished my MFA thesis on Russian fairy tales and had Russian fairy tale drawings coming out of my ears. The book is 32 pages, and contains a mixture of finished drawings and process work, along with bits and bobs of story. Each book will be signed and numbered.

I must also mention that part of my motivation to get this thing done is that I will have a table at my very first convention in April - Awesome Con! I'll be sharing said table with the ever awesome Marc Scheff, who will be selling his gorgeous new art book.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Firefly Jar ANIMATION!

Hey folks! I have lots of news to catch up on, not the least of which is that I just moved to Washington, DC! I am excited to explore the amazing museums here, and get to know the local art scene. Meanwhile, I am without a day job for the first time in about 7 years! Now that I have this extra "free" time to fill, I am picking up some new skills. I've started to learn how to animate using Photoshop, and am totally addicted. I am perhaps overly proud of this rough little animation, but nevertheless here it is!