Monday, November 28, 2011

Updated website coming...

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Here's a snap-shot of what I've been working on lately.  I'm updating my website.  I'm excited to be adding a bunch more content, including a sketchbook page as you can see there.

My website name has changed as well.  It wasn't by choice.  Long story short, someone bought up my name when it expired and there's now a junk website up at  I spent some time trying to resolve the problem, but in the end I had to just get a new domain name.  Sooo, my website is now at  It's still my old website right now, but I look forward to uploading my updated version real soon!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is now enjoying getting into the holiday spirit!  I've got my Christmas tree up :)  How about you?

Friday, October 14, 2011


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So here's a sketch I did the other day when doodling in my sketchbook.  I don't think I've tried to draw a "wizard" before.  This is sort of the archetypical one that I picture.  He looks a little dark and dangerous, which I hear wizards are.

I have to confess, drawing the beard was probably the most fun.

My actual sketchbook often actually gives me inspiration for the classic fantasy stuff that I like to draw.  I don't think I've shown it before so here's a photo:

  I made it out of an old presentation portfolio that I had been using to show my illustrations.  It was a little cumbersome as a portfolio (it was the kind with the leather strings that tie around it) so I ended up shelving it for a simpler to use portfolio.

  But I loved the thick leather it was made of and wished I could use it somehow.  It occurred to me that I could use it to make a cool sketchbook.  I modified the shape a little, sewed drawing paper into it, glued magnets inside the front flap for the closing device, and voila!

  I always feel inspired just by pulling it out and looking at it:)  When I fill the pages completely, I plan to remove the pages and save them, and sew new pages in.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

keeping busy.

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Hey everybody,

  Well, I've been kinda busy of late, but I'm finally putting something up here on my blog.  I did have a nice little assignment for a small publishing house the other week.  It looks like it might be leading to some more work too--yay!

  Here's the illustration:
  I was excited to do the finished piece entirely as a digital painting.  It's for use in a reference/educational kind of book.

  In other news, I'm really enjoying my new animal drawing class I'm teaching at OCHSA.  Such a fun class and I'm learning a lot myself, of course.  This week we're headed to the zoo!  Fun.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back in SoCal

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  Hello all,
  Well, I'm sorry I've taken so long to post a new blog since my trip!  I guess I'm still in denial about being back to "real life" after my trip.  AND school has started back up again so I'm plenty busy with that.  This is week three of the semester.  But before I get talking about school, here's a sampling of photos from my trip!

 Big Ben!

Super delicious fish & chips in Bath!

Sheep at the B&B in the Yorkshire Dales!

Abbey ruins in York!
 Cream tea near Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales!

Hobbit-ish tree near Bolton Abbey!

Typical charming pub in Stratford-Upon_Avon!

The real "Lady of Shalott"painting at Tate Britain in London!

  Yes, the trip was so good that I felt compelled to use exclamation points after each of those photo descriptions.  Sigh.
  For further details feel free to ask any questions about my trip:)

  Other than that, as I said, school is back in full swing so that is keeping me busy.  I'm teaching an Animal Drawing class for the first time at OCHSA.  Pretty cool!  Also teaching beginning figure drawing and the art elective class, as usual.

  I also have an illustration assignment for a small publishing company that I've been working on.  I've given them the rough and the final is due in a couple of weeks.  Maybe I'll post something from that next time...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Post-Comic Con thoughts & Vacation plans

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First off, I wanted to say that I probably won't be posting new blogs for the next couple of weeks because I'll be on vacation in the U.K.  Woo Hoo!  I leave tonight.  I'm a long time anglophile and this will be my first trip to England, so I'm super excited!

As for how Comic Con went,  wow.  Lots of craziness!  I showed my comic sample around, but I don't think that anything really solid came out of it.  I think that the San Diego Comic Con has just gotten too big for a little person trying to break in at that event in particular.  I did have a lot of fun though.

The highlight was probably getting to talk to Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, at his table in the Artist's Alley section of the con.  People who have followed my blog for a while know my love for The Last Unicorn movie.  So cool to meet the author of the original book!  He was super friendly, and signed a copy of the new graphic novel of the book that came out in 2010.  I was kinda star-struck.

My next goal for my Snow comic is to show it around at the Long Beach Comic Con that happens around Halloween.  I just got notified this morning that I was approved for professional free passes, so I'll definitely be headed there!  It's a much smaller event, so I'm hopeful that I can have some quality networking opportunities for my work there.

After that, there is another event called the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank that I'll be headed to with my stuff.  That one starts November 18, which just so happens to be my birthday.  Perhaps that'll make me extra lucky there!

Alright, gotta get going to catch my flight.  I'll bring back pictures :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cover design mock-up

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Here is a mock-up of the cover design I think I'll use for my comic/eventual graphic novel.  I got excited to finally design and use a border pattern for this project since that's one of my favorite things to do:)

I looked at some examples of manuscripts dating from the middle ages as reference for designing the border and the font for "Snow."

On Thursday of this week I'll be heading to the San Diego Comic Con and look forward to having samples from my comic to show!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another comic page!

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  Hey everybody,
  Here's another page from my comic.  What could be happening??  I will be adding text boxes eventually, but you can fill in your own play-by-play for now.

  I plan on showing these sample pages at the San Diego Comic Con and it is less than two weeks away!  Ready or not!  (that reminds me, I wonder where I put my Galadriel costume...)

  In non-art related news, I just have to give a big shout-out to the U.S. women's national team for their un--believable win over Brazil this morning in the quarterfinals of the Women's World Cup in Germany. Definitely one of the best soccer games I've ever seen.  Really.  Now they just have to carry onward and upward to win this thing!  (sorry to gush about this on my art blog--I played soccer in college and have a deep love for the game).

  'Til next time...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some Comic Progress...

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  Happy Independence Day everybody:)  Right now it will be July 4th in exactly 10 minutes.

  Well, here is some progress on my comic.  This is from the same story I posted a page for a few weeks ago.  I'm happy with them but hoping I can gain some speed and really start to roll these out faster!

  Are you wondering what is happening in the story??  Well... there are dwarves... and that looming shape in the last panel is a wolf!  That's enough to tantalize you for now:)

  Oh, also I thought I would show you more of a peek into my process.  I posted thumbnails of all the pages for this opening portion of the story last week.  Well, as I take these to the finish, I just blow up the thumbnails, put them on my home-made light table, and draw the tight drawings on top.  Saves time and helps me keep the compositions as strong as they were in the thumbnails.

  Here's the blown-up thumbnail for the tighter page above that I just drew on top of:
  That's all for now... enjoy the fireworks tomorrow:)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How baby comics are born.

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  Here's a page of my thumbnails that I did this week for the comic I'm working on.  The thumbs are actually about 2 1/2 x 3 1/4" for each little double-page spread.  This is the first excerpt of my longer story (graphic novel).  Proper planning is such a timesaver in artwork & writing, and I can't imagine trying to tackle this story without it!

  I'll probably blow these thumbnails up and actually draw right on top of them over a light table.  This helps keep the compositions as dynamic as they are in the thumbnail stage.

  Still an intimidating amount of work to be done in the next few weeks... but it feels good to have my basic layout and compositions sketched out.

  I need to figure out the cover artwork... and I want to have at least some of them painted/colored as well.  We'll see!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pirates are fun.

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Hi everybody,
  These are some sketches I actually did a couple of weeks ago after I saw the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie (part 17?).  I guess I would put the movie in the category of "have low expectations, and you won't be disappointed" :)  It was easier to follow at least than the other recent ones.  I did have fun though.

  Anyway, I've actually been a fan of pirates (not real ones, mind you) since I was little.  See photo:

  That's me on the left :)  How awesome is that?!  The tattoos and facial hair is courtesy of my Mom and a Sharpie.  Not sure how old I am in the picture... 6 maybe?  That would make it around 1981.  My sister to my left chose a more demure Arabian princess costume of some sort.  The pirate thing was definitely my most favorite Halloween costume as a child!  You can tell I'm really feelin' it.

  And here is a photo of my super cute niece from a few years ago doing the pirate thing (a convenient excuse to post of picture of Katey):
  She is way cute, but I don't think she's as into it as her Aunt Cara was in similar circumstances:)  

  How do you guys feel about pirates?  Still cool?  Or "over it"?

  'Til next time.

  Oh, P.S. I've added a "Subscribe by email" function to the blog, so be sure to subscribe so you'll be notified when I've put up a new post!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Jury Duty!

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Just a quick note to say I'm sorry for not posting recently.  I got picked for jury duty (!!) which lasted a week and two days and finally ended yesterday.  No, I can't tell you about the riveting case.  Yes, I missed my final art classes with most of my OCHSA students :(  I have my final final (does that make sense?) on Thursday.

Also, I picked up my Mom from the airport for a visit and she's staying with me until June 15th.

Sooo, a few things keeping me busy.

I did have a meeting with the new writing group I've joined, in which I talked about my current progress on my graphic novel story.  New pictures soon, hopefully.  I have been fleshing out more of the plot points.

I'm still planning on bringing some part of this work to the San Diego Comic Con.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer weather and I'll get back to you soon!

Monday, May 16, 2011

a rough day for the dwarves.

Pin It Now! Hello all,
Well, I'm trying to get a-going on panels for the story I'm working on so here's a couple of panel sketches. Briefly, it's kind of a re-telling of Snow White. Here's the seven dwarves not having such a good time. I don't usually do compositions with a lot of characters, so it's fun to challenge myself in this way. A bit depressing to stare at for a long time while I'm drawing it though:|
In other news, my teaching is winding down... So much to do here at the end of the semester. It always gets done somehow though.
After school ends, I'll be working more on this comic thing, as well as teaching a summer art class for kids. What are everyone else's summer plans? Trips? Lollygagging and lounging? Workin' hard for the man?
I don't mean to make anyone jealous, but I'm actually going on a trip to the U.K. for a couple of weeks right before school starts back up. I've never been before and couldn't be more excited!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The might of Thor!

Pin It Now! Okay, so in honor of the new Thor movie, here are some concepts of what Thor might look like. Of course, I'm not really doing the comic book Thor. This is Norse mythology Thor.
With facial hair... without... hard to say what looks better. He's quite the brawny man-in-repose though :)
Anyone see the new movie yet? I haven't yet but plan on it.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Pin It Now! Okay, so I know the first dwarf looks really sad and haggard. But I made it up to the dwarves in the next one. Look at him in his heroic glory!
I've been drawing some dwarves for the story I'm working on and so the two appearances pertain to the story. I decided once again to indulge my Norwegian side and make these dwarves from some sort of Norse culture.
I'm still spending a lot of time on the writing aspect of the graphic novel I'm working on, but I like how it's coming together so far. I've formed a writing group with some fellow creative people and we met for the first time over the weekend. Looking forward to that being a great help.
That's all for now!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Illuminated Letters

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This is a bit of a change of pace from fantasy character drawings, but this is something that I also really enjoy doing: illuminated letters and page designs. I drew the above letter this week kind of as an example for one of the drawing classes I teach (but more just because I wanted to have fun drawing it :)
I love the style of ancient illuminated manuscripts, as well as Norse and Celtic design motifs. I thought the Norse style (and Viking ship) would be well-suited to my last initial of "N", since I am a quarter Norwegian.
The intricate border design is taken from historic carvings found in a church in Norway, though I had to design corners to link the sides together.
The ultimate illuminated manuscript to my mind is, of course, The Book of Kells, found in Ireland. Here's one of the more famous pages, the "Chi Rho" monogram design, that's formed from the first two Greek letters that spell Christ, that look like an "X" and a "P" combined. By the way, total random side-note: it's because an "X" is the first part of the word "Christ" in Greek that the abbreviation "Xmas" came about.
And speaking of like holidays, hope everyone had a great Easter! Yes, I am 35, but my mother still sends me an Easter basket from New York. Thanks, Mom!! Mmm, Cadbury Cream Egg deliciousness!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

still here...and went to a fun art event!

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Hello all,
I've been absent for several weeks on my blog, but I'm still here. A combination of factors are to blame: moved to a new apartment; starting a new art project that involves writing a story as well as drawing it; busy with some events.
The new art project is a graphic novel I'm trying to get going. I haven't done much in the way of comics/graphic novels before so I'm learning as I go. And right now I'm needing to spend some time writing the story that will be illustrated. Hopefully I can post some pictures related to that soon. My hope is to get a sample chapter done in time for Comic Con this July.
Here's a fun thing that kept me busy over last weekend. I attended a 2-day Illustration Workshop with amazing illustrator Jon Foster.

Jon Foster is an artist I've noticed and been a fan of for a number of years, having seen his work in Spectrum's Annual, as well as on some book covers that have caught my eye. I was really excited to have the chance to take a workshop with somebody I would love to emulate, within driving distance in Pasadena.
Here's some more of his work:

and this:

Pretty cool.
He was a really down-to-earth, helpful, humble guy. He talked about his own journey to where he is now, and gave a lot of hope to those of us who feel like we should already have "arrived" with our illustration careers. Jon talked about his process, talked about the importance of thumbnails, and talked about how he approaches value and color (values first, then colors).
Jon demo-ed an oil painting the first day, then took it into Photoshop and demo-ed digital painting the second day. Oh, and he also had all of us in the class do a series of thumbnails for a cover of Midsummer Night's Dream that he looked over and critiqued.
Overall, it was super inspiring--and raised the bar yet again on how I need to push myself to get better.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


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Well, I've been working on some other stuff that I'm pretty excited about... but not sure I'm ready to post any of that artwork right now. In the meantime, here's a couple of cyclops sketches I did today.

I started out planning on drawing either trolls or ogres. As soon as I can figure out the difference. But then I felt the need to make my troll/ogre like creature have only one eye. Hence, a cyclops. I guess I also felt the need to have him grinding bones--though it's supposed to be giants that do that, right? Ah... I'm always muddling my mythologies.

By the by, I'm moving this weekend (different place, same city) so I'll be pretty busy. Hopefully I can still get a new post up but if I don't, that's why.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Pin It Now! Okay, so this week I've got some fairies to post (just for you, Sean!). For some reason I felt possessed to add some snarky gender commentary--if you can see to read it. Feel free to ignore it. Or add additions in the comment section :)

I found I could only picture fairies with butterfly-type wings. And mine all seem very benevolent in nature. I think the historical view of fairies has been that they have more of an impish, even malevolent nature. Or maybe it just depends on what kind. Anyone have an idea about that?

In other BIG news, I received notification this past week that I was accepted for "professional" status for Comic Con in San Diego this summer! You have to go through these steps of proving that you are a professional in the realm of games, comics, fantasy art, etc. I've never applied before and wasn't sure my credentials would be enough. Yay, I've been officially recognized! Now I need to really push myself to brush up and prepare my portfolio of work to show, as well as mentally prepare myself for the absolute craziness that is Comic Con.
Anyone with any helpful advice for me, please share.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Pin It Now! This week I thought I'd go for something on the cute side: gnomes. I saw an ad on a bus for that new movie, Gnomeo & Juliet, and it put them in my mind, I think. I don't know much about gnomes really. When I was a little kid I do recall that I had a little 4x5 or so notebook that had these really cool gnome illustrations on the cover and some of the pages. Who knows where that little notebook (or should I say gnotebook) went, but I think I'm trying to harken back to it here.

Not sure what the deal is with those pointy hats that gnomes wear. A bit like dunce caps. Anyway, I think they have somewhat of a scandinavian origin (gnomes that is, not dunce caps), so I was thinking of that somewhat with their costumes. I have no idea why I gave them pointy/curly shoes though.

In other news, I am trying to get myself tickets to Comic Con in San Diego this July and having absolutely no luck. Any of you fortunate jerks out there going? I failed to get regular tickets during the last ticket sale window. So now I'm trying to get "professional" tickets. It's quite a process, I'm finding. But I've sent off what documentation I have to prove professional status and am hoping I get chosen/they haven't run out of pro tickets yet. Until next time...

Monday, February 21, 2011


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Here's the next thing I've been sketching. I didn't post anything last week so I'm doin' a two-fer this week with the Elves post. You're welcome.

I haven't really tackled any fantasy creatures in the bird realm (well, unless you count Pegasus) so I thought I'd go for the Griffin. It's bit tricky melding the two animals (eagle + lion) in a way that looks natural. I'll be doing some more sketches to continue to try to nail it. In the meantime, this is what I have so far.

Elves, but not the Keebler kind.

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Well, I got a little off-track in my scheduled posts, but here's some stuff. I thought I would tackle some drawings of elves. I spent some time trying to get a handle on what my concept of elves was like. It's pretty much in the Lord of the Rings vein, I guess. Tall, stately, somewhat androgynous...

The couple was drawn around Valentine's Day. It's sort of "Hey, you're pretty, I'm pretty, let's do this," right? The lady above them isn't so happy about it ("But... I'm pretty too!")

The second page is just some of the earlier sketches I did while trying to figure out my concept for elves.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Unicorn. You betcha!

Pin It Now! I guess it's about time that I posted some sketches of unicorns on my "fantasy" art blog. I mean, they are right up there with dragons as the ultimate fantasy art subject matter, right? I will confess, I had a couple of cheesy unicorn posters in my room as a kid. Oh, and this blog is turning into a movie blog as well as art. Last week I mentioned Adventures in Babysitting.
Well, I can't mention unicorns without mentioning my all-time favorite animated movie from my childhood, The Last Unicorn. Such an awesome movie. It has a sweet soundtrack performed by the group "America" that I enjoy to this day. Wow, confessions!
Does anyone else out there remember Last Unicorn? There's also a really cool unicorn in the fun-tastic '80's movie Legend, starring a youngish Tom Cruise. Anybody out there seen it?
OK, that's all for now. I'll try to be more on time for next week's blog post:)

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Pin It Now! Well, I had fun with these sketches. I happen to love Norse mythology. I'm a quarter Norwegian so I enjoy connecting to it. This page of sketches concerns the Valkyrie. These are the female warriors who gather the bodies of the brave who die in battle and take them to Valhalla. Not the most fun job, I guess...
Any other Norse mythology fans out there? Not that it's really related, but anybody excited about the Thor movie that's being made? Thor actually just always makes me think of the awesome 80's Elizabeth Shue movie, Adventures in Babysitting. There's this young girl in it that's obsessed with the comic book character of Thor and dresses up like him. Total classic movie.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lady Faun

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Well, the other week I posted a faun drawing, specifically a male faun. Which is what you usually see. So this week I thought, how about a lady faun, which you usually don't see? The only instance that's coming to mind is the first of the new Narnia movies that came out: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I think there might have been some lady fauns in that... or maybe it was just lady centaurs. Definitely one of the two.

I've noticed that putting "Lady" in front of the creature name immediately makes it sound like a women's basketball team. Hey, maybe they do play some b-ball from time to time:)

Anyway, back to my drawing, I was thinking of her in Greek mythology terms. So that is what inspired the style of her clothing and look -- a Greek kind of look.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

and yes, a dragon.

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Well, mixin' it up on my fantasy art blog and posting a dragon sketch. Crazy! I actually do love drawing dragons, though I always feel sheepish if I tell that to someone. Except my high school art students. You don't have to explain why you make drawings of dragons to 9th graders. Which is awesome.

I will note that the ears on this dragon came about because a friend commented on the fact that I never seem to draw ears on my dragons. Well. This one's got some ears.

Any suggestions for a background for this piece? Also, what would you guess he/she's looking at??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finally, a faun!

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Alright, here's this week's sketch. I figured, this fantasy blog needs to have a faun drawing finally! It's not quite finished, as you can see. I plan to have him holding a pan flute or something of that nature.

By the way, I've always been a little confused about what the difference is between a faun and a satyr. I know, this stuff keeps you up at night, right?? I've heard that they are the same-- as in one is just the Greek version, and the other the Roman version. Anyone out there that can give me the facts??

Okay, that's about it. Busy week since the school where I teach, OCHSA, is have a big art show of student work at a gallery (OCCCA) in Santa Ana. It's gonna look great though. The opening is tomorrow night:) Wish us luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

a blizzard, and another dryad sketch

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Hello all,

Well, I'm safely back in SoCal after surviving the "Blizzard of 2010" on the east coast! My family is all over there in beautiful Upstate New York and I wanted to spend some time with them during the school break. I flew out of LA on Dec. 26. I had a connection in Philly and flew right into a blizzard! I ended up having to spend two nights there before I was able to finally get up to NY. I had planned a little side trip into NYC, but that ended up being a bust due to the lost time.

But I had a great time with my family:) Got to do a little skiing, enjoy the winter beauty of the Adirondacks, and, of course, spend wonderful time with my loved ones.

As you can see by the drawing I've attached, I'm still on my Dryad kick. I'm not regimenting myself too much regarding the subject matter of this blog. If I feel like sticking with one thing for several weeks, obviously, I will:) Wow, I sound so defiant! Well, I was a "strong-willed child" :)

Have a great week everybody (especially teachers facing returning to the classroom this week!) I know... there's no sympathy:)