Thursday, June 30, 2011

Puck keeps it real.

While I worked on my book project, Puck spent the morning casually bird watching. 

Here's looking at birds....
...And here's looking at you.
Hilariously, he sits like this a lot:

Relaxing on the couch.
He looks like he's ready to join the conversation.

Watching tv.
We need to find him a tiny cup of coffee and a little paper.

Monday, June 27, 2011

My Big Fat Wedding Updates: The Officiant

Our wedding is fast approaching, and I wanted to write some updates for our friends and family across the country. Today I'll start by telling you a little about our officiant!

Ryan lined up our officiant before he even popped the question.

Keith Apicary:
Gaming Scholar
We're big Keith Apicary fans. He's a character who presents an online show about retro video games called Talking Classics. (You can find all the episodes here. Careful, they're addictive!) 

Last Christmas as we were snuggled by the tree in pajamas, Ryan asked me who would I choose to marry us if we ever got hitched. I said it would be hilarious if Keith Apicary performed the ceremony. And so a few weeks later (and a whole month before he proposed to me) Ryan contacted Nathan Barnatt, the actor behind the character. He asked Nathan would he be willing to marry us if Ryan could arrange for him to be ordained. Amazingly he agreed! Ryan and he have been working out the details and I have no idea what to expect, except to be SUPER PSYCHED. 

A Valentine I made Ryan this year
thanks to Photoshop.
Nathan has several characters besides Keith, and in addition to being a comedian he's one heck of a talented gymnast too. He shows off some dance moves in the video below. While our families are definitely scratching their heads over our choice for officiant, Ryan and I are very excited.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Front Page News!

One year to the day after joining Etsy, one of my prints made it to the site's front page tonight in this treasury.

It feels like a wonderful way to mark the anniversary!

Enchanted Moon, my print that made it!

I have been coveting one of these
bad boys for a long time.

And yes I am acting like a total dork (I'm sorry, it's late and I'm excited). However in life we should set goals, we should pursue goals, and when it's time, we should celebrate those goals. This lovely nod of appreciation coinciding with my one year etsy-versary (it's still late and I'm still excited) feels like a sign that I'm moving in the right direction.

When you're doing what you love to make people happy, it's a dream that grows the more people you share it with. I wish I could take credit for coming up with that, but Kermit said it in the Muppet Movie. I add tonight: Chase a dream, everything else is just killing time. If you've got a talent share it with as many people as you can as often as you can, whatever that talent may be. Whether it's painting, writing, teaching, baking, defending, healing, acting, nurturing, or any number of other abilities. You owe it to yourself and the short time you've been handed here on earth. Celebrate what you can do, it's the easiest way to give thanks for it. And embrace what you can do, don't compare yourself to anyone else, you're not meant to be anyone else. It sounds corny, but there's only one you and for only a short seven or eight decades. Don't foolishly edit yourself and miss out on you. There's no time to wish your life was like anyone else's, because the danger is you could miss out on your own story. There are reasons why you have your style, your perspective, your tastes, your gifts. So share them, enjoy them, and when it comes to your dreams chase them with all your heart.

And now the academy is starting to play the music and before I go I just want to thank my manager, all the people in the casting office, my Mom, my personal secretary Gracie Dunn AND NOW THE MUSIC IS LOUDER, OKAY, I'M LEAVING THE STAGE---I JUST WANT TO THANK GOD, BECAUSE I FEEL HIM IN THIS ROOM TONIGHT----

Cue commercial break.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Happy Monster

Tonight I painted Claus hanging from some colorful bunting. Possibly in California. I'm not certain, at least it looks like a Californian sky to me.

One Happy Monster

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Day of School

A day or two ago I drew a kitchen. I gave it a big, fat retro fridge and checker tiled floors. As I sketched I tried to toss in some of the cheery items that make a house a home: a kettle, a cookie tin, alphabet magnets, and teacups. Then I decided the kitchen belonged to rabbits and that meant a window with a view of grassroots, dirt, and stone (rabbits live in burrows after all).

Finally I had this illustration:

First day of School
Here's how it progressed: 

Pencil Detail of Mama Rabbit
Pencil and Pen
Just pen, pencil erased, ready for painting.
Light washes, ready for details!
The moment is that last look before the little bunny hops off for his first day of school. With his knapsack over his shoulders and his brown paper bag in his paws, he's ready to go! Mom is feeling proud, and baby sister is interested enough to look up from her blocks. To flesh out the scene I added some photographs and reminder notes on the fridge and scattered some of the baby's toys across the floor.

Little bunny and his lunch.
Mama Rabbit and the underground window.
Baby sister and the wooden snail I wish was real.
This will be one of my first actual paintings going up for sale in the shop! I have prints of this already (you can get them here) but starting tonight I will be selling originals on etsy finally. I had hesitated because of the dangers of sending valuable works through the mail, however I have been talking to artists selling their paintings and learning the "do's and don'ts" and I feel confident it can be done successfully. And by successfully I mean arrive in one piece, unbent, unscratched, dry, without getting lost or stolen on the way.

I really enjoyed painting an interior scene, I want to do more of them!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zombies and Toys Feature

Zombies and Toys are holding their Undead Bazaar right now, showcasing different horror artists, crafters, and illustrators. This week I'm featured and you have a chance to win my zombie paper dolls! They also did an article on me including some of my back story and a quick interview. Click here to read what my favorite zombie game is and why Marmalade the Adventure Cat got me illustrating!

Zombie Paper Dolls

The Wedding Set - Love Beyond Till Death Do You Part

This article is also a rare chance to see some of my horror illustrating. I've taken more and more of it down from the internet as my children's work has taken off. It's a bit awkward to post a porcupine eating a sandwich next to a headless horseman.

Now I've gone and convinced myself to paint a porcupine eating a sandwich. And a headless horseman.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jelly Vampire's beautiful advice.

My sister Gracie shared a lovely cartoon with me about what it means to be an artist and pursue a career in art. It can really translate to any creative dream really, and so I hope my writer, actor/actress, and musician friends read this too!

Here it is, Jelly Vampire's Cartoon. (Click on the image to enlarge it). 

One More Distraction

And now when I have 10-15 minutes to kill, I throw together adorable collections like this.

Making treasuries is all too tempting for a person who literally must wait for paint to dry on a regular basis.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

One Fat Little Marmot

Today while cleaning out one of the shelves beside my desk, I uncovered a forgotten portrait of a marmot in a sailor suit. I painted him sometime in January, on the same night I painted my penguin with the red balloon, I believe! Sometimes I have lulls in my painting (similar to the blocks writers sometimes struggle with, but with drawing) followed by bursts of activity. In this case, one weekend I painted 3-4 illustrations, and somehow this poor little fuzzyhead got lost in the shuffle!

Portrait of a Jolly Marmot!

I know what you're thinking: Wait, what's a marmot? 

I'm a marmot!

While there are 14 species in the genus of Marmot, you probably know the groundhog best. You can read more about marmots here.

I wasted no time in scanning my marmot and readying him for printing. You can find his print in my shop!

My interview with the RainyDay Team blog!

Anna at the RainyDay Team blog recently interviewed me and you can read it here! The RainyDay Team is a group of local artists and crafters that I'm a part of here in Washington. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Great Father's Day Idea for DIY Folks!

Recently I began following the creative DIY blog Design Sponge. They have a lot of truly unique projects, and they just shared one for father's day that I had to post here. It's a lovely, yet masculine, Father's Day Walking Bouquet basket and you can learn how to create your own here.

How great is this?

I see this and immediately wish I was on the east coast to make one of these for my Dad with all the flora and fauna he'd love. My father is a nature buff--he sent me a fully intact beehive for Christmas this year still delicately laced over a tree branch--and an antiques admirer. He actually collects wooden boxes and crates just like this one. This is the kind of project I would be scrambling to create for him this weekend were I home in Rhode Island and not separated by enough distance to promise wilting flowers. (Maybe with a little time I can craft a similar, less perishable project for him!).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Boss Troll

I was recently asked to paint a troll in power, and to make it look like a mean, vicious troll. This wasn't entirely easy for me. For you see, when it comes to trolls I've had a life long love of the dolls.

They see me trollin', they hatin'....

However, it was for a noble cause. And so last evening I sketched, penned, and painted a troll in business casual wear. Here's how he progressed:

Boss Troll, pencil with a little ink. I made him as
brawny and slimey looking as possible. 
Detail of the initial sketch.

Boss Troll, fully inked.

Boss Troll with his first few washes. Knowing that predatory
trolls are rumored to live in swamps and bogs
I aimed to give him a froggy kind of amphibian skin.
And here's the Boss Troll illustration completely inked and painted with all his pinstripes, paisley, and knuckle hairs. I painted some mud and dirt splashes into the pants and vest, because really, how can you expect a vicious troll to keep a suit nice for very long?
Boss Troll, awfully proud of his suspenders.
A detail of Boss Troll's face fully painted.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Strange nevers.

I'll be thirty in November, and I've never had a Big Mac, a Whopper, or a beer.

Now, the beer part I'm content to forget. I was raised temperant, I've never had an alcoholic drink of any kind. This is not to say I'm against drinking, I have plenty of friends that drink, Ryan has an occasional seven and seven. I myself just don't and it would go against how my Mom raised me--and hey, what's worth upsetting your Mom, right? I'm a naturally very social person and there's never been a need to turn the volume up on that dial.

However...Big Macs and Whoppers are supposed to be pret-ty tasty. I'm not against fast food either (in moderation). I've just always been happy with the little burgers. And here I am, months away from thirty, about to be a married woman, and I'm still ordering from the kids menu.

I'm going to do it. I'm going to eat a Big Girl Burger.

Tomorrow. Or the next day. I don't know, it looks like they have so much sauce.

The Hawker Cartoons

Last night I put the cartoons I drew of the Hawker family online, really mostly so my sister Gracie could see them. Since childhood I can't resist the urge to show her my paintings and silly comics first, and so much of our humor is shared. She and other folks seem to like them, so I'll share them here too. You can find the cartoons here. Just click to enlarge them as you go down!

One of the cartoons, about Papa's Papa. More can be seen here.
I will warn: some of the humor is adult. Nothing R, but a little on the PG-13 side--but all for ridiculousness sake, nothing very bad. I meant them for grown ups to read, not kids.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Hawker Family Tree

And here's a family tree of the Hawkers (click once to view it on its own, and then click once again to enlarge it to its full size).

The Hawker Family

At last the flu seems to be packing its bags and leaving town! Ryan returned to work today, and I happily returned to the book project I have been working on. Neither of us can quite shake the cough, but the chills, aches, and sore throats are gone thankfully!

While I was ill I passed the time drawing cartoons of an eccentric little gypsy family. I thought I would share the characters here, though I hesitate to show the comics themselves just yet (they are quite silly).

Here are some of the Hawkers, a close knit family of traveling criminals and fortune tellers. This NOT to say all gypsies are criminals and fortune tellers, far from it. However this particular family certainly is.

Grandma Hawker and her pet owl Hickory
Mama Hawker. I gave three of the Hawkers a white
streak in their hair. Each carries a psychic ability.
The triplets: Salem, Peter, and Ivan.
Ivan has the white streak in his hair and so he's psychic.
And incidentally, he's somewhat evil compared to his other triplets.
Vesper Hawker, the teenage daughter of the clan.
She's from Mama Hawker's first marriage.
Pilot Hawker, a somewhat awkward young teen
with an affection for keeping rats as pets.

Clover Hawker, an adorable albino child.
A favorite of Grandma's.
Every family needs a drifter uncle, and Offal is the Hawker's.

I couldn't resist throwing a cute baby in there. Just because.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

And the flu played on.

As I wrote to my friend Amy in an email earlier this evening:

"We are most assuredly dying. We can't seem to bounce back from this flu--although our throats seem to be calming a little. Ryan and I accidentally shared a terrifying late night codeine trip last night as we decided we hadn't taken enough (it wasn't doing ANYTHING to help us) so we each took one more teaspoon and then basically fell asleep to our own individual nightmares along the lines of the super scary part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Gene Wilder goes nuts. Neither of us can remember them. Ryan's was something along the lines of "men broke into our apartment while he was too sick to stop them" and mine was like "my parents committed a series of murders I had to cover up" but they both had the general horror of Gene Wilder rowing. This morning we woke up feeling as though a truck had hit us and our throats were worse (no doubt from screaming in our sleep all night)."

I edited the passage for a strange abundance of "each"s, as my writing seems a little out of it, but basically that was our experience trying to take the codeine cough syrup we were prescribed last night. I would like to add that it did nothing to suppress our coughs or aid our symptoms. When we mistakenly decided to try one more teaspoon it finally began to have an effect, which was solely as a nightmare potion to make our innermost horrors come to life.

We spent the day taking turns making each other soup and tea, passing each other chloraseptic and motrin, and watching Wes Andersen movies. In the last four days we've watched Ravenous, A Fish Called Wanda, Robocop, Total Recall, Pride and Prejudice, Lady and the Tramp, Venture Brothers Seasons 1 and 2, Casino, The Life Aquatic, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Today I started faintly sketching a family of gypsy characters because...I've got Cabin Fever? My body is still sick, but my mind is really tired of it. I'm achy, coughy, exhausted, and more than anything super annoyed that I'm still all of these things.

Here's to hoping the flu breaks tomorrow. Please hope with me. In the meantime, here's hoping tonight isn't a repeat of this.

Friday, June 10, 2011

O For Heaven's Sake: A blog you should be reading!

Hello wonderful folks!

So sadly that touch of flu I had last week was only a prologue to the full blown flu Ryan and I have been suffering from since late Tuesday. We went to the doctor this morning (flu confirmed, money taken, but peace of mind gained) and have been urged antibiotics and fluids. We've spent the past few days in a haze of orange juice, chicken noodle soup, and 80s sci-fi flicks.

This evening has been the first time I've been in front of the computer since Tuesday, and I found that my dear, dear friend Amy had written a fantastic post and I had to share it. She's recently found a new way to get through the day at the job she-is-not-overly-fond-of-as-she-looks-for-work-in-her-Master's-Degree's-field and she shared the method in this post. Amy has a remarkable way with words and the imagery she conjures with her words is nothing short of verbal magic. Her blog, O For Heaven's Sake can be found here and is well worth following! (And going back a few posts, as each is more hilarious than the last, especially if you've ever endured customer service). She chronicles her life as a highly educated lovely person wading through the 2011 economy, with a blind curmudgeon of a dog by her side who is likely to eat any given thing at any given moment.

And now you must excuse me, it's cough syrup time again.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Lady Peacock

My sister Gracie is starting a new blog soon, and asked if I would illustrate something for her header. Even though I have been sick the past two days I'm pretty terrible at just lying around, and so I rested on the couch painting this lovely Lady Peacock.

The blurry cellphone pic I took to show Gracie
before I painted the illustration.
Lady Peacock in all her feathery finery.
A detail of Lady Peacock's pretty face.
Because female peacocks don't have the impressive tails, this proud little miss had one crafted from satin and lace. My sister is a great lover of history and so we agreed upon dressing the peacock in french duds from the 1700s.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to sip tea on the couch and whine about how achy I feel. I am a miserable patient to have, Ryan's a saint.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Agatha Christie and the June Flu

Somehow every year in June I manage to come down with the flu? I would think it was allergies (although let me tell you, it does not act like allergies) except that this has happened in Rhode Island and Washington. So here I sit, sipping fluids, and sketching on the couch.

Last night I didn't realize I was in for the flu, and was laid up on the sofa with a headache reading Remembered Death by Agatha Christie. It was great, I've never encountered an Agatha Christie novel I didn't like. I thought the end was a wee bit thin, but it was still a good story. I enjoy how she paints characters and families and then brings the reader behind closed doors to peer behind the image they portray to society, to see what they're really like. You might think reading mysteries before the advent of DNA testing would be hokey, and maybe they are a little, but I like the fact that the stories rely so heavily on motive, character histories, and secrets.

I somehow often end up envisioning the characters as people I know. Like, Ryan will be the dashing young soldier, Tim and Sara will end up the playwright and his actress wife, Preston might be the police detective assigned to the case, Amy the distracted baker, Gracie the young debutante. I don't do this so much when I read other books, but there is something so casual and 'Clue' like in Christie books. It's so easy to just let my mind wander over the pages. And any read of her books is only about 3-4 hours. We don't have tv and watching the same movies over and over can get tiring. The Christie paperbacks my Nana gave me a few years ago are a great pastime. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Evo 2011

Ryan registered us for Evo today. I don't know if I have mentioned here yet, but Ryan competes in Street Fighter tournaments. This is in addition to his career as an artist for a Seattle video game company, it's something that fills our weekends. Before you give me the "Girlfriend of the Year" award, let me confess it's a lot of fun and most of our friends on the West Coast we met through tournaments. Recently Mortal Kombat released a new version of its game and he and some of our friends have begun competing in that as well. Evo is the championships for these games, held every year in Las Vegas.

We went last year and had a blast. I'm even more excited this year because I have been playing Mortal Kombat myself and Ryan entered me into the tournament.