Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Offering

I completed this drawing today. I love the feeling of longing and isolation. After finishing, I coated it with clear gesso to protect the linework from the numerous layers of paint.

The Offering will be part of a small exhibit of new pieces at Galiara, a gallery in San Francisco, sometime next year.


It's been a while since my last post, so here are a few choice pages from my sketchbook. Most are pen and ink (SKB 1000) but markers and watercolor pencils are beginning to stake a claim. Enjoy.

Also, here's a peek at my "idea book" and a few thumbnails.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New Illustrations

Two of my illustrations hit newsstands this month; both portraits: Dorothea Dix for Cobblestone, and Virginia Hamilton for Ohio Magazine.

Cobblestone wanted Dorothea Dix shown directing a crowded hospital ward. With the complicated composition and large number of figures, I decided to combine a traditional drawing with digital paint and color for more flexible editing.

Ohio Magazine wanted an image honoring Virginia Hamilton’s legacy as a pivotal figure in children’s literature. After sending several sketches, the art director and I fell in love with the concept of a field filled with book-like flowers. With the simpler composition, I created the illustration using traditional media, my preferred method.

I’m so proud of both these pieces; many thanks to my art directors, Debra Porter at Cobblestone and Lesley Blake at Ohio Magazine, for giving me the chance to create them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oprah Selected as Staff Pick in Breakthrough Competition

My illustration Oprah in Saudi Arabia has been selected as one of twenty staff picks in the Richard Solomon Breakthrough Competition. It can be seen here.

Be sure to also check out the grand prize winner and four finalists.

Congrats to all the artists.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Work and Piranha Shop Parlor Show Details

He Worried His Friends Only Liked Him for His Golden Scales, 2011
Mixed Media with Gold Leaf on Board, 6"x10"

Here's my latest piece, for a show at the Piranha Shop Parlor running from Friday Sept. 23 through Saturday October 8 (1022 S. 1st Ave, in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood).

The curators asked artists to include at least one work featuring a piranha. Most people see a fearsome fish; I see a misunderstood, bejeweled creature. Piranhas appear to have gold glitter integrated among their scales, finally giving me a chance to play with gold leaf.

The floor of my studio is a lot shinier now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Don’t Mind People Grinning in Your Face (Portrait of Jack White)

I started working on this piece for an assignment for my second Tutormill class, Realistic Portraits with Tim O’Brien and Nathan Fox. The illustration had to fit Rolling Stone’s format as a possible cover. The heart and soul of a lot of White's music comes out of the Mississippi Delta Blues tradition so I decided to show Jack as a Blues musician from the ‘30s.
The finished piece is gouache, graphite, ink and acrylic. I’m considering adding textures, grease spots and cracks digitally to create the illusion of an old photograph, but I’m still on the fence. Any feedback on this (or any aspect of the illustration) would be awesome.
In case you’re wondering, the title comes from the name of Jack White’s favorite song, a blues anthem written by Son House in the ‘30s. I think it suits the starkness of the portrait and Jack White’s independent attitude toward life.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Great news; My illustration of Oprah’s influence on Middle Eastern woman has been accepted into the Society of Illustrator’s West annual show. The original is currently hanging at the exhibition at Gallery Nucleus until January 31st.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back to (online) school

Like many artists beginning their careers, I have taken a part time job. This helps pay the bills and prevents me from losing all ability to relate to the outside world.

Now that I have a part-time job, every moment for art creation become much more precious.

I’ve noticed that my productivity totally goes downhill when I don’t have a deadline. Personal deadlines don’t count for me; my inner disciplinarian voice is the same voice rationalizing why I stayed up reading instead of making art.

To raise productivity and sleep depravation, I am taking classes through Tutormill. Tutormill offers students the chance to take a class with two mentors of the student’s choice. All of these mentors are professional illustrators including Scott Bakal, Nathan Fox, Marcos Chin, Yuko Shimizu, Edel Rodrigez, Tim O’Brien, etc. My first class, The Power of the Idea, focused on improving illustration concepts (definitely one of my weaknesses). Scott and Yuko went above and beyond offering tons of great advice and feedback.

I chose the six-week format; it gives the student one week for thumbnails and an additional week for the final illustration. For the Power of the Idea the student is given a single word to illustrate. Some of them have restrictions of what imagery can appear in the final illustration to really push your creativity.

Assignment 1: Utopia

Assignment 2: Battle

Assignment 3: Peace (no doves, flowers, or hearts)

One of the biggest challenges was time management, hence the digital push but I'm happy with the work. I'd like to add more polish to these, especially the utopia and battle images, but I'm proud of how far I was able to push these.

I'm currently taking a portrait class on Tutormill that will be wrapping up soon so there will be more fun illustrations in the near future.