Come Here, Cupcake

First and foremost, fantastic freelance. 

My marvelous and amazing friend Crissi Langwell is an author, with a few books under her belt already, and for her latest, she decided that what she really wanted was for me to do the cover art. She hooked me up with the manuscript so I could get the feel for the story and i was immersed in a lovely tale of a young woman living in the fog-shrouded town of Bodega Bay, and her adventures with baking, and love, and magic and...well, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but the story is as sweet as the title would lead you to expect, spiced with mystery and garnished with passion. I loved it and *I* got to do the cover illustration for it! 

So, after chatting with Crissi about what she had in mind,  I went out to Bodega Bay to take some location shots for reference. Even though I've been there 100 times or more, and I could find photos online, this way I could find the view I was imagining and get the feel down, and it's only a short drive away so it seemed silly not to. Plus, an excuse to go out to the ocean, am I right?

The next day I sat down to make some thumbnail sketches, both along the lines of what Crissi and I had discussed and a few other ideas in keeping with the theme of the book. I was going to post photos of them, but honestly, the photos I have were taken in bad lighting and the sketches were pretty light, so the quality just isn't good. But this one was the one she liked best. She saw it and she practically squealed. She said it was exactly what she'd been imagining.  On the one hand, it IS nice when I can create something that my commissioner hadn't even really thought of that they love, but when they can tell me their idea and I can bring it to life for them, it just fills me with joy. 

Anyway, I will now tax this coffee shop's wifi by trying to upload the sketch that she approved.

I often run into problems going from sketch to final product -- when I am doing my sketches, I work looser and go more for the feel than having everything super technically perfect. Then I usually use the sketch as my starting place for my drawing, and at that point I sometimes run into problems and discover anatomical issues and perspective problems. This experience was no difference. I ended up, before I was done, redrawing both characters entirely because oh, his legs and posture were weird and then her pose was coming out too stiff and I could NOT get her face right and I fought with it for AGES (and of course, every time I really planned to lock myself away for a weekend and work on the illustration, California would hit me with another heat wave, making my un-airconditioned apartment unsuitable for getting anything done) and so I finally went back to the drawing board with her too and fixed a few pose problems that came up along the way. And then I ended up visiting Bodega Bay midway through the process and realized that, because I had taken my reference photos on a rare sunny day, the illustration was reflecting that, which didn't fit either the feel of the book OR the feel of the town and that I really needed to make it foggy. 

So here's the cringe-worthy version I couldn't get to work: 

And after some blood, sweat, and tears (I won't lie, mostly sweat. Stupid summer.), here is the final version: 

She was so stoked with how it turned out, she spent most of the night I sent it to her immediately formatting it into her cover. And this is the final result:

This is so exciting! That book is going to be on like, bookstore shelves! And I drew that picture that's on it! *squeals and runs around in circles* And the author loves it! *swoons*

Anyway, I think my apartment may have cooled down enough that I can stop living in this coffee shop, so that's a wrap for tonight. Tune in next week for exciting pictures of what I do all day at work...when I'm very very lucky.



Building Tracks and Setting Goals

It has, yet again, been months since my last update. 

Yes I know. 

My mom pointed out that she hadn't seen any posts of my work art. 

I guess that keeping my work art for personal use only is a habit I developed when working at Inventionland, but I am no longer required to keep my designs confidential so I should probably be posting photos of the pictures I produce. 

I have been working on a process to help reboot my creative drive and it seems to be helping. It is a process that involves me getting back in the habit of setting clearly outlined goals for myself -- goals that would otherwise simmer in the back of my mind, unrealized, in the eternal limbo of the projects i will work on someday. I've been outlining larger monthly goals and smaller goals to address each week. 

This week's goals included updating my website. So here we go. This is a goal I intend to keep on my weekly checklist, so if all goes to plan (which, let's be honest, nothing ever does), I will be adding new material on a semiregular basis for the forseable future. 

I am a professional and I need to start acting like it. 

Because acting is the first step towards being. Or something. 



Oh yeah, I have some shirts

So, I have started posting some of my shirt designs on my Redbubble and Society6 accounts! (I also have prints of my other art posted.)

Here are a few things that I made. 

I'm currently brain-dead and inarticulate. 

Here look pictures. 

More other things soon when brain is more good.



My Defense is That it Has Not Yet Been a Year.

Also, I had this goal of next posting when I started posting designs in my stores and it took a while to get my act together for that.

This post contains none of those.

Instead I thought I would start with some of the sketches and whatnot from the past many many months.

I accepted that I love foxes and coffee. Who doesn't?

I made some exteneded doodles of insects and leaves:

I realized how passionate I was about pancakes:

Dragons are great:

And so's my bff, who inspired this girl knitting life into a sketch that I intend to make into something more at some point when I get around to it...

And...I did a few studies because I always find that I need practice. So much practice.


...more soon. No REALLY. I PROMISE.



This and That

A few bits and pieces from the last while:


After my work illustrating the animated short I finished this past winter, someone who saw the show asked if I would be willing to do an illustration of their house for their husband's birthday. So, um. I did. 

I had a lot of fun with the vegetation. 

My niece had a first birthday and my sister asked if I could do an illustration for her party invitation. The party had a woodland theme running heavy on foxes:

That's about it on the commissioned work. I haven't really done much art stuff at the new job, but I have been starting to work on some of my own stuff which I will hopefully post some of soon.