Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sisterly Love

This is pretty much a daily occurrence in our house. Some might find it gross but as far as I am concerned any show of affection between sisters is to be appreciated.
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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Illustration Friday - Capable

This week's Illustration Friday topic word is "capable":

This little bear is capable of anything she puts her mind to.

I used markers and ink for this illustration and markers are a lot trickier a medium than I anticipated. I imagined something a bit lighter and  more fluid (to borrow last week's word) but I think I will have to break out the water colors for that.

Here is my initial sketch of the bear reaching for the stars:

I changed the angle a little in the final version to make it more visually interesting. I think in the original, the "reaching" action is more pronounced but my sample audience of a 4 year old girl (my daughter) and a 33 year old boy (my husband, who pointed out the flatness of the original sketch and so was a bit biased) preferred the later version.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

movement and perspective

I feel like most of my sketches use the same static poses and views so I've been trying to practice more movement and perspective variations. I have to admit that I am struggling especially with the fully forward facing and fully backside views. I'd love some tips on how to tackle those.
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Naptime doodles :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


This little cow blankie character is inspired by my 16 month old's favorite toy and I have a few adventures in store for her :-) I think it's simple enough to let me explore conveying different poses and expressions while maintaining character distinctiveness.
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Pinterest: boon or bane for the artist?

In my circle of friends there is a lot of buzz right now about Pinterest. Seems like everyone is joining, pinning and repinning. Most of my friends who are moms use it to get recipes or home remodel ideas. I have an account but have only played with it a few times. However now that I have a bit more free time and also get to do more research for illustration I have been paying more attention to it.

From an illustration perspective, it seems like a great tool for organizing your thoughts,  keeping track for artists that inspire you and even promoting your own work. Just last week I created two new boards devoted to the craft of others as well as my own work. With respect to my own work, my thought was that on Pinterest people who are not my followers will have an easy way to see it and if they do, they might click through to my blog and I will get a bit of exposure.

This all sounds good and innocent enough but just I was beginning to get comfortable I started coming upon a slew of articles and blog posts about Pinterest's copyright policy and as is common with social networks and the fine print, things started looking very scary.

Silvia Liu, an illustrator I recently started following on Google+ did a very nice post on the value of Pinterest from the artist's perspective but put a cautionary note with blog links that present a much darker picture.

This article from Direct Match Media forwarded to me by my friend Kristy Davis really drove the dangers home for me. More specifically this part of Pinterest's service agreement sounds down right terrifying: as the content owner whose content was pinned on Pinterest you grant them "worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services." I do realize that as the content owner you can opt out of being pinned directly from your site but if you are an artist and someone saves your image and then uploads it directly to Pinterest there is nothing you can do. I guess you can put a huge watermark on every image???

I still see value in Pinterest for me as a consumer but I am on the fence about how I am going to proceed from here. I have to be honest, and say that I use Facebook a lot and even knowing how atrocious their privacy policy is, I still end up posting a huge amount of personal information there. I try to keep abreast of all the privacy changes and keep my friends list pretty tightly controlled but I also understand that once the info is out there, it's not that hard for strangers to get a hold of it. The difference here is that on Facebook I am dealing with information that I and others willingly provided to them. All of us on FB are opt-in users. Pinterest, on the other hand assumes that everyone on the web is a willing Pinterest user unless they actively opt out.

The jury is out, but from now on I will think long and hard about whether my pinning something from a site I like will likely benefit or harm the content author.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Illustration Friday - Fluid

This week's topic word for Illustration Friday is "Fluid." When I read that I immediately thought of fluid motion, or music. This is a super quick sketch I had time to do over the weekend when the kids napped. It's in colored pencils and ink and I have to confess that I haven't worked with colored pensils since I was a kid. I had a lot of fun with this though, and I think I will be exploring this medium a bit more in the future.

The skanner is still sitting idly among the piles of papers, documents, and computer wires that will be our office once my husband finishes sorting it out, so for now I had to resort to taking a picture with my phone again. But I really wanted to get the sketch out there and not miss my first Illustration Friday right after I promised to do one every week.

Let me know what you think!
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Thursday, February 16, 2012


I just checked off one of the to-do items on my list and joined the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators! I am so excited to explore their site and join in on the discussions. I feel like I am making progress. I just wish everything else was just as easy :)

It turns out there is a regional conference going on in two weeks in Pacific Grove. Hopefully I can figure out a way to attend.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A postcard from Mexico

We came back from Mexico about a week ago. We had a blast and my daughter got to serve as my model and my muse :0)
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Old Sketches

Just thought I'd post some of the sketches I did over the last couple of years for a Russian language kids' magazine. I've posted them of Facebook before and most of my friends have seen them but they do establish a baseline of where I am starting at and hopefully I will improve from here:

Following a dream

I am an interaction designer and like what I do but as fate would have it starting last month I am getting a chance to enjoy being a stay at home mom for a bit. I am also loving having more time to dive back into art. Mostly I am illustrating stories and characters inspired by my oldest daughter who just turned 4. In fact I love it so much that I have decided to use this time in my life to try to take my doodling to a more serious level with the goal of breaking into the field of children's illustration. The purpose of this blog is to chart my progress, get critiques  and meet others who are also attempting to realize their dreams (assuming anyone is interested enough to read this).
I have some formal training but have not really put it to use in the past oh 10 years or so, so assuming I am starting from zero here is my high level plan of action:
1. Practice, practice, practice - commit to sketching every single day. Participate in Illustration Friday every week. Have my work critiqued by others and accept criticism gracefully :)
2. Find support - join a critique group, look for illustration forums and blogs.
3. Research the industry - make use of almanacs and illustrator yearbooks, join Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
4. Look into other avenues of getting my work out there: greeting cards, etsy, pinterest, cafepress.
5. Post on this blog at least twice a week to keep myself accountable, even if it's nothing more than "kids were monsters so got nothing done."
6. Don't be shy about promoting myself. This one is going to be a toughie for me...

I know this list is incomplete and I will adjust it as I go along.

Any major undertaking takes time and I am giving myself a 12 months timeframe and defining success as having something of mine accepted for paid publication. Ultimately I'd love for illustration to become my primary career and to also be able to work from home and spend time with my girls as they grow up. In this economy, however, we'll be reassessing my ability to not seek a full time day job on a month-to-month basis.

I will post any and all of my doodles here but... we are just finishing up a remodel of our house and the scanner is not hooked up to the computer yet and might not be for some time, so for now I will take pictures with my phone and post them that way. Better than nothing and I am sure my readers (aka Mom and hubby) won't mind.

Wish me luck!