Sunday, November 17, 2013



I got an art pen! I didn't even know what an art pen was and now I have one and it is fantastic. Let me back up.

An incredibly generous and awesome friend gave me an old Intuos recently, which as been so useful with Corel Painter because my other tablet doesn't detect pen tilt (the angle at which you're holding your stylus while you paint), and a lot of the Painter's brushes use that function for rotation. Then I noticed that one of my teachers was doing crazy things with his stylus during a demo, and he told me it's an art pen - a Wacom stylus has a rotation function. I guess this is hard to explain if you haven't used on or seen one in action, but it pretty much behaves just like a real paint brush - you can rotate it in your hand and the angle of the brush on the screen rotates with the stylus. It. Is. Great. Sketch!

This guy has a fascinating face. Also he eats people (on tv). Can you guess who?

I need some more practice with it, of course, I just got it yesterday, but already it's just so awesome to be able to paint digitally and have my tools behave more like traditional media. Sorry for all the italics, I'm really excited about it!!

Anyway, that's it. Just wanted to rave about the new pen (and I'm trying to post more sketches.. if I only posted work that I'm totally finished and happy with, well, you already know what that posting schedule is like, don't you)!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 11, 2013


Hello there!

Sorry I've been absent for a bit (I think I start every post with an apology - sorry! hah), it's been a really busy semester. I have some things to share, but today I have to keep it short because I need to get back to work.

So I've been learning Corel Painter, and let me just say, I love it. It's exactly what I hoped it would be: a digital painting program that can (pretty well) imitate traditional techniques. Now that I've been working with it for about 10 weeks, I've finally found a couple of workhorse brushes I really like and I've figured things out enough that I can get work done without thinking too hard about how to use the program.

That said, I'm still not as comfortable with it as I am with Photoshop. So: practice practice! I did a warm-up painting this morning before starting my homework, it took about an hour (probably a little more, I think, I forgot to time myself). I thought I'd share:

Poor Libby Masters.

Be back soon, I hope! Thanks for reading!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Flight Risk

 Hey guys -

I did some album artwork for my friend Erik recently! It was a fun project - I did the drawing and he dropped in the text.

Back cover, text not added yet

Photo credit: Marie Sescon

You can check out and buy his album here.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


SO. I completed two oil paintings last semester. And I've only shown you one! (It was the one of the girl watering the tiny tree with the red watering can.) Here's the other one. It's my fave. Actually they're both my faves. Is that fair?

Oil on canvas, 16x20"

It took me all semester! Like, literally, it was due in maybe the third week and I didn't finish it until week fifteen. But it was worth it, I think. I learned a lot, including the fact that I'm a really slow painter. And also that I really like painting with oils!

That's it. Thanks for comin' by!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Drawn Together at Fairyland

Hey there!

I participated in an event on Friday at Fairyland in Oakland called Drawn Together.  It was a live drawing/art sale fundraiser to support their outreach program. My friend Annie Wong and I got there early, picked a spot, and got to work! It was nice to have people stop by to see what we were doing and talk to us about the park and our work.

Later in the evening, there was an art sale with all of the pieces that had been created by the artists in attendance. I'm happy to say that my piece sold! It was very exciting to watch everyone get excited about buying original art and supporting Fairyland.

Unfortunately I didn't think to bring a proper camera, so all I have are a couple of low-quality phone pictures. I also forgot to take a picture of the structure I painted.. oh well. If you ever go to Fairyland (which you should, if you get a chance! They have adult events sometimes, or if you have a kid you can take them anytime) you'll see it.

I painted the brick house from the Three Little Pigs. Ink and watercolor, and I'd just gotten a flat watercolor brush, so I was having some fun with that:

(it also got dark out towards the end, another reason the photo isn't great)

We only had about two hours, so I got as much done as I could (and I'm a slow worker). Here's a photo of my piece on the wall at the art sale (with Annie's awesome painting of the dragon right below it):

It was a great way to spend a Friday evening!

Thanks for reading!


P.S. If you're the person who bought my piece and googled my name or something, say hello! I'd love to hear from you. The art sale was so hectic, I couldn't see who was buying what!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sketches & events

The semester is coming! And with it, the knowledge that everything I kept putting off this summer now needs to be done in a week. In case you're wondering, even my dreams are stressful at this point. It's my own damn fault!

Anyway, I took a break this weekend, braved the closed-bridge traffic, and went to hang out with a friend in Petaluma. We ate sandwiches, sat in the sun and did some quick sketches. It was nice.

Petaluma Historical Library Museum

A tiny, adorable barbershop

I recently bought a Pilot Parallel pen after watching/reading reviews such as this one and with the recommendation of a very talented artist in my family. Did I mention I'm learning calligraphy? After a lifetime of admiring it, I'm finally making a serious attempt to learn it, and it's been a lot of fun so far. I haven't posted any of it here yet, but you may have seen some of it over at Bastard Secretaries.

Anyway! I decided to try sketching with the parallel pen, and it's fun to use that way, too. I recommend it, if you're looking for a calligraphy pen!

Some things that are happening:

I'm participating in Drawn Together, a fundraising event at Children's Fairyland in Oakland this Friday, September 6th! They have invited a bunch of artists to come draw/paint/etc. and they will be selling what we make to raise money for Fairyland's outreach program. Also: food, music, and a chance to get all nostalgic over the awesome stuff in the park that you haven't seen since you were a kid (who else still has a big neon plastic key somewhere in their house?). It's 21+ and you can buy tickets here ($15).


APE is coming! That's the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco on October 12-13, 2013. It's pretty indie-comic oriented, and that's right, I don't make comics! But I do hang out with some awesome people, and together we will have a table. Check out these rockstars:

Shirong Gao
Annie Wong
Molly Maloney

If you want to come visit us, I believe we will be at table #640. Or just wander around and find us, there will be a lot of other awesome artists there for you to see! I'm busy making some stuff to sell right now, so if you also wanna buy something that I made, I suppose that can be arranged.

That's it! Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bastard Secretaries

Hello friends!

I have a new site to share with you! My friend Shirong and I are going to post our lettering-related exploits on a Tumblr we've created called Bastard Secretaries. Please give it a look if you're interested in that sort of thing! There may be some cross posting between this blog and that one, but there will definitely be some stuff that I won't put here - things that I don't feel warrant a whole post - practice work, sketches, that sort of thing. You can also view Shirong's beautiful work on her site:

And since we're talking about lettering, howsabout a card I made recently?

Ink and acrylic on paper

For a lovely friend and her lovely fella who, you guessed it, got hitched. Silvery detail via Instagram:

Thanks for reading! I've actually been holding out on you, I still haven't posted my favorite painting from last semester - coming soon!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer sketches

So.. I'm not a big sketcher.

I'm working on it, but it's not something that comes to me naturally like it does with some people. Luckily I spent a couple of weeks visiting Oregon this summer, and the beautiful weather beckoned me outside with my watercolors. Here are a few pages from my sketchbook:

Good times! I recently got one of those brushes that holds water in the handle (how did I not know they existed?) so I'm hoping to get some more ink and watercolor sketching done before the summer ends. I just love the textures you get with watercolor - even the quickest stroke of color is interesting.

As always, thanks for reading!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

No bees!

And we're back!

I may have taken a little summer break there, sorry. I know I said more posts were coming soon - my concept of "soon" clearly needs some adjustment.

So! This here's my final from the editorial illustration class I took last semester, in which I tried to curb my instinct to render everything and kept it kind of graphic (like the illustration in previous post - I decided to try and stick with that style for another project). The assignment was to pick an article and do a magazine cover, spot, and two-page spread illustration for it. My article was from the New York Times, and I borrowed the title from Discover Magazine for the cover layout.

There it is! It was a lot of work (we had to do a million concept sketches.. maybe not a million, but it felt like that many) but it was a great exercise and I'm maybe a little less overwhelmed by having to come up with concepts for illustrations than I was before. Success!

I'll be back soon.. really. Promise.

Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 17, 2013


Hello there!

So here's a thing I did for my Editorial Illustration class last semester, in which we were assigned articles (or chose our own) and then, you know, illustrated them. Our teacher also went over a lot of other aspects of being an illustrator, such as the business side of freelancing, managing your time and workspace, etc, and it was really, really informative. Thank goodness for teachers with experience working in the field! It was a good class.

Half page illustration, digital

This was for an article about drones, if you couldn't guess. I was experimenting with a simpler, less-rendered style; I fought myself every step of the way to keep it stylized, and I think it turned out alright. Every assignment in this class was me trying to figure out what I want my illustrations to look like, so they all looked kinda different and half of them were not very good. But that's what happens with experimentation!

Thanks for reading!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Five months later

Oh man. I've been terrible. It's June? My last post was in January? To anyone still following this blog, thank you for sticking with me through long absences!

It was a busy semester, and yet I don't have a lot of stuff to show you. But I do have a couple of things that I'm really happy with, so hopefully it'll be quality over quantity!

I'll start off with the piece from this semester that got into the Spring Show (!!), the Academy of Art's annual juried exhibition, along with a couple of older pieces from Digital Painting last spring. I took Situation and Environment this semester, an oil painting class. This one was a homework assignment.

Tiny Tree  oil on canvas, 16x20"

It was a lot of fun to paint this one, but it was also very frustrating at times. This semester was the first time I attempted to paint (in oil) a complete painting - figure(s), objects, surroundings. And that was the point of the class, so I did learn a lot, but it sure was a big jump from just painting portraits. Anyway, I'm happy with how it turned out! And a big thank-you to my friend and her tiny tree for posing for me.

The other two pieces that got into the show you've seen already, if you checked in here about a year ago:

Oldies but goodies, I guess. I'd tell you all to go check them out along with a bunch of other really great stuff at the Palace of Fine Arts (!!) this summer, but it turns out the show was only up for two weeks (!!! in a bad way) so.. yeah, bummer.

Anyway, thanks for checking in! There will be more soon, I promise.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Fee Fi Fo Fum etc.

You guys, it's winter break! And a long one, at that. But classes are starting back up soon, and my brain is getting back into work mode. That means I'm finally posting an illustration that's been pretty much done for a month: my Jack and the Beanstalk final from perspective class last semester.


We were given a paragraph from the story to illustrate. First we did a couple full-value visualizations (super thumbnails!), then line work, then finished full value, with shadows and a reflection, color optional. Viz and line below:

It was interesting to work off of the full-value visualization, sort of like everything was planned out but not quite right. That candle in the back was lit in the version I submitted in class, with related shadows and bright reflection in the picture glass, but as cool looked, it distracted from my original lighting scheme, so out it went. So anyway it's there for a reason.

I'm excited about spring semester! Hopefully I'll have lots of fun things to show you. Hope you're all keeping warm.

Thanks for reading!