Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Pin It Now! Sorry I haven't posted. Hope you are all having a great Christmas! I'm off to NY tomorrow to stay for a week with family so I'll be out of commission for a bit longer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

more dryads

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So here are some more dryad sketches. I kind of felt like the earlier one looked too much like a woman was just standing in front of a tree. For the next one, I made the woman more transparent to try to make it seem like she was more of a spirit. Then I tried combining the tree with the woman more -- kind of half-tree, half-woman. I think I like the last look best.
What do you think? How would you picture a dryad?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

quick Dryad sketch

Pin It Now! Kinda late on this week's post. We all understand how busy things are, right? Anyway, here's just a quick sketch I did the other day. I was trying to visualize a Dryad, that is, a tree spirit or nymph. More opportunities for flow-ey, cool hair:) And you know how I love to draw trees...

How is everyone doing on their Christmas preparations and general holiday doings?? Busy, busy, busy!

Gotta make time for art though, right?


Monday, December 6, 2010

yeah, I know...

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Wow, totally late on my weekly blog post. Tomorrow, okay?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas comes to Middle-earth

Pin It Now! Well, here's a fun one I just did. I had an idea about creating a Lord of the Rings themed Christmas image for a card. I mean, good excuse to draw some Lord of the Rings stuff, you know? LOTR is kind of the ultimate fantasy subject matter, so when I thought about creating some sort of fantasy-themed Christmas image it seemed like a good idea:)

I thought it would be nice to feature some of the "lesser" characters of Lord of the Rings. Boromir has his dark side, so to speak, but it's nice to seem him just having a good time with those fun guys, Merry & Pippin.

Is there a Lord of the Rings character that you can envision having a Christmas moment? Do tell... Or perhaps you'd rather think about who you'd like to cozy up next to at the fireplace. Gosh, this is turning into tawdry fan fiction. Sorry!

Anyway, hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I had a good time at some friends' house, though I did end up being seated at the "kid's table." I'll take it as a compliment;) Now Christmas is hurtling toward us! Where does the year go?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Or how about a kelp forest?

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Hey all,
I've still been mulling and sketching ideas for the background of the merfolk scene this week. I think I want to move in a different direction and go for a kelp forest kind of look. I'm still thinking of making this an undersea spin on Midsummer Night's Dream, so I wanted to try mirroring a forest setting.

What do you think? Should there be some sort of architecture in the design as well?

In other news, I was in Burbank over the weekend for the CTN Animation Expo. It's kind of like a smaller, more intimate version of the massive Comic Con of San Diego. I saw lots of awesome work, had quite a few great conversations, and got to show my work around a little bit.

Well, I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving:) I hope you are surrounded by good friends and find lots to be thankful for. I know I have so much to be thankful for in my own life.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hmmm, backgrounds.

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This week I was doing some sketching trying to figure out a background for the merfolk scene I posted before. You would just need to imagine those three merfolk figures in one of these backgrounds. I don't know if I am quite feeling like any of these really nails it. What do you all think?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


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Oops, I'm a bit late on my post for this week. Please forgive me because, hey, wasn't the merbaby cute??
So this time it's some Minotaur sketches. I'd love to turn one of these into something with a background of the Labrynth...
What do you think would be the right weapon for the Minotaur to use? A sword doesn't seem right. An axe? Tell me your thoughts, please.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Now THAT'S a hot merman.

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Okay, I will put up a "normal" post with some new drawings tomorrow, but in the meantime... I went ahead and drew the version of my merman that you were all waiting for. See, now he's really hot. To (mis)quote Dorothy L. Sayers in Gaudy Night, now "He's not a merman, but a mer-miracle."

But now that I've drawn a baby mermaid/merman, just don't ask me exactly where merbabies come from ;)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Mermaids... I mean, Merfolk!

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Okay, so I'm a little late on this week's post. Had a trip out of town over the weekend.
As you can see, I'm still working on the merfolk stuff. I say merfolk, because I've got a merman there. You don't see those so often so I thought I would draw one. I showed the right side of this drawing last week, since that mermaid was more finished. I didn't originally intend to make a little scene, but it seems to have turned out that way:) To me, it comes off as kind of an under-the-sea version of Midsummer Night's Dream. Merfolk versions of Oberon, Titania, and Puck. Of course, a friend suggested that it looked more like some sort of love triangle stand-off ("I'm done with you, Donald!!) :) Hey, however you'd like to interpret it.

Oh, and I want to say a thank you to "Sparks" for answering my burning question of last week, about the proper plural of Pegasus. The answer apparently being that Pegasi is not correct because Pegasus is indeed the proper name of a particular flying horse from Greek mythology. So there is no proper plural other than just saying "flying horses." Finally, I don't have to stay awake at night wondering!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So is it Pegasi?

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Lookee here, several sketches this week. I know, I'm spoiling you. But I do have a burning question: is the plural of pegasus actually pegasi? Or is it pegasuses? Please help me out if you have an educated answer for me.

Besides the pegasus or three, I did some mermaid sketching this week. Lots of fun playing with the flow-y hair and curving shapes. I guess this gal is a queen of some sort? Let me know if anyone has a story idea.

Lastly, I've got a tree drawing. Tree drawings are just something fun that I always enjoy doing.

I suppose everybody is gearing up for Halloween? I'll actually be out of town for the weekend. So you may or may not get a blog post out of me. It will have to be either early or late. We'll see...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pretty Arthurian Lady

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Okay, so these sketches are from a prompt from to visualize the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend. I figured it could be dual purpose since I'm working on mythological subjects. I haven't done many "romantic" figures like this exactly in a while, so this was pretty fun. Also, I love drawing swords... I have a couple of swords that I've bought because I "need" them for illustration reference purposes:) Well, see... here's me using them!

Is there another aspect to the legend of King Arthur that you would like to see visualized? And what do you think about the various film and tv versions that have been done? Any Excalibur movie fans? That is some shiny steel!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


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Well, I don't have a page o' sketches for you, but here's one of a pegasus that turned out cool. I'm still keeping my mythological creature theme.

Also, I thought I might offer up some art book recommendations from time to time. I have, um... a lot of art books. I've purchased many of them over time. Some have been given to me by people that know me pretty well:) Many have been given to me by my artist mom, and the two that I'm going to mention came as cool gifts from her (thanks, Mom!)
So, here are two that I often reference when I'm drawing horses, so I'm recommending:
-Draw Horses With Sam Savitt
-The Allen Book of Painting & Drawing Horses by Jennifer Bell

You should be able to find used copies online. Super handy!

Monday, October 4, 2010


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Okay, so this week I've been continuing sketches from creatures I did last week. Here are some more I worked up for Centaurs. I focused on doing some lady Centaur drawings, since you don't often see female Centaurs. I pulled out a bunch of my old horse drawings and my horse reference books. I love drawing horses, but haven't done much in a while. It felt good to get the feel for them again.
I'm still focusing on the characters, rather than the backgrounds at this point. I'm still working out story ideas for what could be going on in these pictures.
I'm still taking suggestions for what other creatures I should draw next too! :) Oh, and any story ideas for what could be going on. I got some good tips last week-- thanks to my facebook commenters!

Monday, September 27, 2010

What's your favorite fantasy creature?

Pin It Now! Hello all,
So this week I've been working on sketches for a series of fantasy/mythological creature illustrations. Here's a page of some of the sketches:
I'm planning to whittle them down to my favorite one for each type of creature, and then turn that into a painting.
I'd love some reader input though... what is your favorite fantasy creature? (if you don't have a favorite fantasy creature, when did the child inside of you die? :) Just kiddin'! ) What do you think is a must have in a series of fantasy creature pictures?
Mine is probably a good ol' dragon! I've done a couple of dragon paintings before, and I'll definitely be doing a new one for this series.
Another question is, what should be happening in that scene with the creature of your choice?
Hope you are staying cool wherever you are. Wow, is L.A. hot right now!

Monday, September 20, 2010


Pin It Now! So I'm trying this new thing of posting something new every week. Sunday is supposed to be "new post" day, so I'm a teensy bit late.
A few changes have been going on. You may notice if you have sharp eyes/sharp memory that I have changed my banner phrase. It used to say "Thoughts and updates about my journey as a children's book illustrator" and now it say "Thoughts and updates about my journey as a fantasy illustrator" Over the summer I decided to make a few shifts with my art goals. I've been pursuing the children's illustration thing for a long time. But I've come to think that I would feel more comfortable switching my focus to the older age crowd. There actually is a fair amount of crossover between the two, but there is a difference. I've felt this change brewing for me for a long time.
At this time I'm working on creating some new work that fits this new focus a bit better. I'm looking into Wizards of the Coast-type stuff, games, comics, etc. We'll see where this goes, but I'm excited!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

When I grow up...

Pin It Now! Here's a fun picture that I don't think I've posted before. The above paper is one of those worksheets that you fill in when you are little that asks about what you want to be when you grow up. I'm not sure what age I was when I filled this one out -- 2nd or 3rd grade? My mom dug it up some years ago and I actually hung it on the wall at my graduate illustration show for fun. It hangs on my studio wall now.

It's a little hard to make out, but if you look closely you see that I talk about wanting to be an artist when I grow up. The best part is where I answer "Why do you want to be that?" and one of my answers is because "I'm good at it." Wow, I envy the confidence my littler self had!

I was actually really surprised when my mom showed this to me. I didn't remember writing that at all when I was little. I remember being kind of a reluctant artist really. I certainly always drew, because my mom and sister did so I was always around it. But I didn't really get into it until college. Going into college, my memory is that I majored in art (as well as Criminal Justice of all things) almost by default because I didn't know what I wanted to do.

Growing up, I think I saw my older sister Christa as so much more of an artist than I was. She seemed so much more gifted than I was. On top of that, I was a serious tomboy and pretty much wanted to be outside playing sports of any kind rather than inside drawing. Funnily enough, my mom used to set a kitchen timer to get me to draw (draw for 30 min., etc. and then you can go outside and play). Her trick worked! Now I love to draw:)

Anyway, it's funny now to look back and see the path I've taken to art.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

back from the Conference

Pin It Now! So I'm back from the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA. Above you see the name placard from my spot in the Portfolio Showcase. So, how was it? Um... overwhelming, inspiring, intimidating, fun, informative,... Yeah, lots of things. A bunch of my illustrator friends were there and it was nice hanging with them. The workshops and speakers were generally inspiring. There's always a fair amount of repeat information, but there's always some new stuff too. I think my portfolio looked good out there, but I didn't get any solid bites from any editors or art directors (unless I get contacted later, which could happen).

I guess one of the things I came away with was a resolution to try again to broaden my horizons somewhat with my art. Several people mentioned to me that they thought I might be a good fit for the adult-aged fantasy market. Comic-Con would be a good place to explore those options again, though this year's event just passed unfortunately. I've been to Comic-Con a couple of times before, but felt kind of overwhelmed and wasn't necessarily sure how I fit in. I think I'm ready to give that fantasy market another look though.

I think before I start creating some new work, I might spend some time just reading current fantasy to familiarize myself with what's out there. I tend toward classic fantasy & sci fi, so I'm not that up to date on what's in the market these days. Anyone have any tips for me?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Storybook Map & SCBWI Summer Conference

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This is a pen & ink drawing I did the other day as a storybook map for Jack & the Beanstalk. As a kid, I always loved maps included in books. I think I may go ahead and color this one as well, perhaps with digital watercolor.

In other news, I'm gearing up for the big SCBWI Summer Conference in LA next weekend. I'm excited about my portfolio and the conference is always really inspiring and fun. There's always the hope too that I will make some good business connections and maybe even get "discovered" and hit the big time! :)

For the conference this year, other members of my monthly illustrators critique group, the "OC Illustrators", will be there as well. We're going to wear these fun little buttons with our group's name on it, to advertise ourselves. Go OC Illustrators!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Pin It Now! Here is a piece I recently finished that I had been working on for a while. I really enjoy creating Celtic knotwork designs, but haven't done much in a while as I've been concentrating more on my straight up illustrations. I got an itch to get one going though this spring. I didn't know if it would really turn into anything but I'm really happy with how it came out. I'm going to use it as the new front page piece for my illustration portfolio.

For anyone interested, the actual size of this artwork is 5 1/2" x 7". I drew this by hand by first marking out measurements using rulers, compass, etc. I then divide up the larger pieces into more manageable shape sizes. I figure out the patterns I'm going to use and I draw them using a mechanical pencil that I periodically sharpen to a point by rubbing it on a scrap page of paper. I also use bits of tracing paper and graphite transfer the basic shape of repeating sections. The whole process is rather meditative but very enjoyable for me. Kind of like putting together a puzzle, if you enjoy that sort of thing.

This piece got kind of smudgy as I worked on it, so I also had to spend quite a bit of time doing clean-up on it in Photoshop. Oh, and I did the tree on a separate piece of paper and placed it in the center in Photoshop as well.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

new digital painting

Pin It Now! Here is the digital painting version of the drawing I posted a couple of months ago. I had a lot of fun painting this one. It was fun to do something that had a border again too. A while back I used to use a lot of borders with my illustrations, but I had gotten away from that for a while.

And speaking of stuff I haven't done in a while, I also have a very intricate Celtic page design I'm working on. I have a number of Celtic & Norse designs on my website, but it's not something I have done much of in a while, though I really enjoy it. Anyway, the one I'm working on is pretty much the most intricate one I've ever done. I look forward to finishing it so I can post it.

In other news, teaching is finishing up (yes!) so I'm looking forward to having more time to focus on my artwork. Though I do teach a couple of summer classes as well... Not as rigorous as the regular school year though. I'll be preparing my portfolio for the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA in August. Big opportunity to show my portfolio and seek new work.


Saturday, May 15, 2010


Pin It Now! So I teach a figure drawing class at Orange County High School of the Arts and often we use students as models. This is a drawing I did during class of a student of mine from one of my other classes. She was a great model! I LOVE getting a chance myself to draw during figure class. Sometimes it's hard to wrest myself away when I'm really enjoying a drawing I'm working on :). This drawing was done with black and white charcoal.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


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I had never done scratchboard before, but last semester my director suggested we do some in one of the art classes I teach. Scratchboard is really cool! This is one I did recently. I like how the hatching gives it kind of an 19th century engraving look.

Teaching is good for keeping you on your toes and trying new things:)

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Pin It Now! Did this other spot illustration drawing recently and enjoyed how it came out. Right now I've been working on a digital painting of a dragon. Sigh. Me and my dragons:) It's in the ugly middle stage right now, but I think it'll work out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

it's a faun... and a couple of fairies

Pin It Now! So here's one of the sketches I did a little while ago to build my portfolio of black & white line art/spot illustrations. Any excuse to draw gnarled trees:)

Friday, March 5, 2010

some new stuff

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Well, another long silence, but I've been working on some new stuff that I'm very excited about. I finished work on the assignment I was doing for a small publishing company and I'm very happy with how it turned out. And they like it too--even better! The project was a version of Jason & the Golden Fleece from Greek mythology. I did a series of 8 black & white drawings for the story. I'm also supposed to be doing a color cover for it, but right now that's on hold (they have a blk&wht cover made up for now from one of the drawings). Above you'll see one of the drawings. It was fun and I'm hopeful that it will lead to more work both with this company and beyond that to others.
Cara :)