Day 42: Wintermoon


Wintermoon (1996 or 1997) Digital collage using altered Paintshop Pro "tubes" (clipart brushes).

Intended as a desktop background. Done for fun, and I ended up being really happy with it, except for the black rim around the moon, which is from a "moon phases" tube I made without thinking what I'd really like to use it for. Not all night skies are black.

Plans to re-do in the future. Maybe.
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Days 40 and 41: Portrait and Nimbus


Portrait (1989) Pencil on paper.

If you were a young woman during the mid-1980's, you may well guess who this young man is. If not, well, the hair is pretty typical of pop musicians of the time. It's one of my best pencil portraits. Still.

Nimbus (2007) Work in progress - current state is a digital painting, incorporating some source photographic elements. Worked in Adobe Photoshop over a scan of the pen and ink study.

An angel, or a djinn, or some other winged, supernatural being.

For the hell of it.

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IllustrationFriday: Day 39: Milo?


Milo? (2007) Digital. Family snapshot, cropped, re-edged and digitally edited in Photoshop, with added text.

The Illustration Friday theme this week is "Remember." This piece, which I have been working on variations of for a couple of years, is the perfect thing. There were two previous versions (in 2002, I think), but this time I started from the original snapshot and reworked towards the real feel I wanted, which was something evocative of the golden cast of good childhood memories.

There really was a puppy named Milo, but I don't know if this was him. He (and his other dog family members) beloged to my aunt and uncle, who were forever fixing up this enormous old house of theirs. We lived nearby and my uncle was pretty close to his sisters (my mom and aunts), and he was really a great influence to have in my life, since my mom was a single parent at the time. The snapshot was taken in early or mid 1975, I would have been about 4, before I went into kindergarten in the fall. Most of the dogs, my aunt, my cousins and the house, were still around into my teens. My uncle wasn't - he died on my sister's birthday the year after this was taken.

I don't know if he took this picture or if my aunt took it. I don't really care which dog it was. It's a little bit of a lost time, and that's why I keep it.
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Day 38: colorplay

Untitled (colorplay) (1997) dilute gouache on bristol.

Another quickie, just for fun with color. Kind of looks to mee like a parrot in motion.


Day 37: Snow Fairy


Sonw Fairy (2002?) Gouache over pencil on marker paper (don't do this). Some retouching to fix paper rippling that didn't scan well.

I had to do some serious retouching of this quickie, because I chose to use dilute gouache on marker paper, and, of course, the paper rippled badly.

It's another anime/manga influenced piece, and I did it super-fast to fill a frame when decorating a new apartment a few years back.
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Day 36?

Day 36 was called on account of thunderstorms and my taking too damn long to finish the piece I wanted to post. That one will be up in a week or two. My muse bit me on the ear, and I have to do Much More Work on that one.

Many appo-logies for the incon-weeeniences.


Day 35: Nikon Eyes

The Girl With the Nikon Eyes (1997?, 2007) Original: pen and ink with later coloring using gouaches on bristol board. Digital version: Scanned, filtered for increased focal impact. Not retouched otherwise.

This may actually be an older work - I didn't date it, it may be as old as 1991 or 1992, in pen and ink form. I know I colored it around 1996 or 7. In any case, I was reading quite a bit of cyberpunk of some stripe or other at the time, and was particularly taken with the idea of camera-implants in place of eyes. I was also fond of anime. Still am.

The original image was okay, but not focused on the subject enough, and I was never able to really make it work, even when I gave in and colored it. The coloring helped, but not enough. The digital editing finally did the trick, though it took several iterations and layering of focalized blur and lighting effects to make it pop the way it's always been supposed to.

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Days 33 and 34: tablet sketches

So, I spent the weekend digging around in boxes at Mom's and finally located my stylus. It was cunningly hidden in the bookshelf box for my copy of Adobe Illustrator. I'm so happy to have it back, but it's been so long I may have to relearn using it. A stylus is a thing between mousedrawing and using a pencil on paper, a bit of both and a little disconcerting to get used to. These are what I came up with today that was worth saving:


Wry Girl (2007) wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator, stock brushes.
She's really very Lynda Barry. I didn't figure that out until I was done, but there she is. Maybe I was channeling or something... This is my first sketch with my tablet since getting it unpacked after a year.

Hope (2007) Adobe Illustrator, stock brushes, sketch from photograph with my good old Wacom ArtZII.

This is a quickie, illustration version of the IF subject theme for last week. My photographic version, really the first part of the process, is day 31. I thought I'd go ahead and finish what I started, even if the week is over, so here's what was in my head to begin with.

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day 32: Irreconcilable Differences


Irreconcilable Differences (2007) Digital, mouse drawn in Adobe Illustrator.

My entry for Illustration Friday this week. The theme is Polar, and I got this strong feeling of "polar opposites" in human relationships and this is the quick result. Two people, so different in personality and views that they cannot even face each other. They are shown with simple lines, and backs turned, color and line expressing their essential difference.
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Day 31: Gifts of Fortune


Gifts of Fortune (2007) Digital photograph, no manipulation. No flash, black and white.

This was meant to be my Illustration Friday entry for last week, but it took me all week to get just the right image. I wanted to do it using traditional photography techniques, or as close as I might be able to come with a digital camera. The theme last week was Fortune, and my feeling about it was to do with the power of family being a profound demonstration of fortune in my life. My second child took four tries, and I consider him a gift - even though both children are treasures, it was much more difficult to achieve that gift the second time, and I had given up trying when we finally got him.

He's my good fortune.

Also, you will note that this is a day late. I took about 4 dozen images last night and only got it posted today. My apologies, today's will be up shortly.
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Day 30: Birth Announcement


Birth Announcement (2003) Gouache and inks on bristol board over pencil. 11x14.

Celtic knotwork and calligraphy panel, meant to mark the brith of my first child.
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day 29: Wings


Wings (1999) Pen and ink

Design for articulated angel wings, anchored and supported by a set of 18th century stays.

I designed and built a set of wings for a freind for Halloween 1999, and this one of the design drawings.
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Day 27 and 28: Red and Blame


Red (1999) Digital revision of Blue.

A pretty simple color-change revision, but fairly interesting on its own.

Blame (1999) Final digital version of Blue.

Some filtering, cutting through to a layer underneath that contained Red, and text, which was copied from a core dump message.

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Day 26: Recipes for Disaster


Recipes For Disaster cover (2000) "cover" art for webzine, digital, collage.

Cover art for splash page of a goth-themed cooking webzine I maintained from 2000 to 2002.

Composed of scans of some funeral-themed dessert plates and the elements from the chapter heading plate I posted earlier. The web project actually grew out of the print project, and they ended around the same time.
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Day 25: Penny


Penny (2007) Digital, Adobe Illustrator.

First - the inspiration is a ferret we live with (it's impossible to own something that habitually escapes). They are very calligraphic creatures, they almost seem to have been designed with brushes in mind. Odd, as their hair would certainly make a good artist's brush.

In any case, as I have spent a good bit of my time doing both pen and brush calligraphy, I have wanted to try and capture that essential mustelid line, which is so liquid, moreso even than Steinlen's cats. This would be my first attempt, consider it a figure study. It's all done with vector lines in Illustrator, mouse guided, as the stylus is still in parts unknown (I ought to just order a replacement).

If I ever get my sumi-e brushes unpacked, I'll try a real brushwork portrait of her. I'd be ashamed if I did not. Pixel pushing is a skill that still feels like cheating to me, no matter how hard it is and no matter that my hand still guides the tools. Maybe it's the "undo" feature that makes it feel that way.
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Day 24: James, Sleeping


James, Sleeping (2007) Sketch, 7x11. Pencil on drawing paper, finger smudged/erased shadows and highlights.

This is a simple sketch of my sleeping infant. I can't tell you how weird it is to draw someone who is sleeping in your lap without disturbing them. I think I did well, for a quick, rough sketch.

I'm going to be doing more life-drawing exercises, and some of them will be good enough to post here.
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Illustration Friday: Spring


Spring (2007) Digital painting, incorporating collage elements from original reference photographs. Photoshop 5, mouse, and digital camera.

I'm leaping into Illustration Friday wholeheartedly, if a little late this week. The theme is green - and I think I captured what I think of when I think of green.

The seedling is a basil seedling in my kitchen garden. I was going for a feeling of deep, bourgeoning greenness and life, as we usually have here in late April or May. I'm thinking I might have got it, though the skies are all early April.

I did all the masking/drawing/painting with my mouse, as my tablet stylus is AWOL (I love moving). I only used a few filters - fresco, high pass, and gaussian blur. All else is done with the basic photo retouching tools, and a couple of brushes. The tree is real, but doesn't look anything like that, the leaves are parsley, made into brushes, and the statice on the ground is the pink-frosted top of my redbud tree, or at least it started that way. The clouds were photographed today -4 photos-, and layered and cloned and smudged around until they were right.

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Day 23: August Hunt


August Hunt (2004) Pencils, ink and gouache on bristol board.

Final composition of this piece, most of the comments are the same for the structure. However, the colorwork presented its own problems and challenges.

I had to match the two different blues in the arc of sky, and the gilding of the figures had to be done after the underpainting, so I referenced the pencil composition and the original work (which I was intentionally imitating) at every brushstroke. I had some difficulty with the lake and the stream, and I'm still not completely pleased with them. The rest of the landscape was fairly straightforward to color, as I've done many landscapes in gouache and watercolor, some of which I even like.

While the horses may seem clumsy, when compared to the original manuscript illustration, they are stylistically identical, and seemed, in the original, to have been created from templates. A typical technique involved pouncing powdered pigment through a pinpricked template to create a stylistically standard underdrawing. This enabled the master to concentrate on the fine colorwork, and his apprentices to do the bulk of the layout work without constant supervision, and without affecting the continuity of the piece.

I did not use pouncing to transfer the pencils to the final board, I used pressure transfer and overdrawing of the penciled design, as I did not wish to destroy the pencilled sheet.

The horses were colored from photographs of real horses belonging to the owner of the piece and her closest friend. The dogs are drawn from life - one is a breed standard pug, and the other is a pug mix, with a long snout. The owner does, indeed, possess brilliant red har.
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Day 22: Herod and Salome


Herod and Salome (2003) 8x10 pen and ink Illustration, some digital cleanup. Intended for print.

This is one of a set of several pen and ink illustrations made from photographs of 12th century stone carvings, which were done for a small-press publication on the clothing of the era. I used about 10 different photographs of the particular piece as the source documentation, and I'm not even sure I consider it art - this feels more like a technical illustration of an extant artefact than my own art.
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Day 21 (late): Starfield


Starfield (1997) Digital painting, seamless tiling design.

An early version of this was made for my site, then later I tweaked and improved it to this, for a site design suite I put together for my sister. It's one of two I made that I'm still quite happy with. Both are essentially textile designs that were generated for web use.
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PSA: Days off

I took Saturday and Sunday off for the holiday. Unintentionally. I thought I would have time, but I didn't.

Today's art will be up later.


Day 18: Untitled


Untitled (2002) Digital photograph, some retouching.

Here's another clear winter day photograph. It's very much a non-religious Chrsitmas card sort of image, but it works. That was a good photography day.
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Day 17: Doubletake


Doubletake (1987) Study for serigraph. 9x12. Gouache and pencil on paper.

I may still have one of the serigraphs around here. This was the study for a series of 50 three-color, poster-sized serigraphs I did as my final project in my favorite design course in college, and my prof got the progressive set. The stencil film was hand cut, and I had to resize and manually do color seperations (black, red, silver) from my study. I did it the old-fashioned way, using a grid and a photocopy of the 9x12 design. I wish I still had the butcher paper I drew the seperations on, for cutting the films, but I cut through them to cut the films more accurately.

I'd love to do it again - and I mean the whole old-fashioned, hand-cut stencils, messy, dirty, unrefined silkscreening technique. I did another run of a different size with photo-sensitive stencil medium and I don't like it as much, it feels like cheating. If I'm going to do that, I might as well just print the things out on a printer, or send it off to a printing service. Serigraphy, for me,is about the process and getting my hands dirty.

It's now the oldest one here. It's twenty years old.

Note: yes, this one is late. I spent all of yesterday making tortillas and prepping dinner. I think I'm happiest when I'm getting my hands dirty. I'll do today's in a few minutes.
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Day 16: Infant Figure Study


Figure Study of My Son (2003) Pencil on paper.

Pretty straightforward - my contstantly moving infant son had passed out on the floor, I picked up a pencil and my sketchpad and whipped out a sketch. It came out well enough to make me happy, and I really ought to do that for the second baby, Real Soon Now.

One of my most prized things in my family's collection of photos and keepsakes is a polychrome crayon (as in crayola-64-colors) sketch of me done by my mom's friend Nadia when I was about 6. Photos only tell what you looked like, but portraits and sketches tell how others saw you. Which is more valuable?
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Day 15: Erishkegal


Erishkegal (2000) Digital painting, incorporating collaged photographic elements and text.

I was reading a lot of paleohistory and books about Sumerian religous texts. I felt, all along, that Erishkegal (the goddess of the underworld and gaurdian of the dead) kind of got the short end of the stick during the world's creation. She certainly isn't happy in the Songs of Innana, she obviously feels cheated, and is envious of the real life that the love/fertility goddess gets to have.

I wanted to make a portrait of her as the bride of the underworld. This is it.
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day 14: Girl

Girl (1996) (three stages) Pen over pencil underdrawing, dark areas filled with black marker, with red marker to add color, then the image was photocopied and strategically erased.

I saw a similar pose in a magazine and wanted to try drawing it. The final image turned out wiht an entirely differenct fell (not surprisingly) than the inspiration image. I played with techniques, since the drawing itself is not technically challenging, and I wanted to do more with it. I inked the sketch, filling large areas with magic marker, then I photocopied the inked image and made it as dark as I could, deciding to use the surplus toner as a sort of scratchboard, except that I used a pink eraser instead of a stylus.

It came out pretty well, for a piece of "office supply art."

Textual interlude: Toy design

Hey, where's day 13? There is no day 13. Look! My April fool joke was a lack of posting.

I'm thinking making a few plush Gregors. Okay, stuffed Gregors, as I suspect a plush cockroach wouldn't really work. Maybe an edition of 5. Or so. With accessories... Anyone interested? They'd auction for a starting price of about 30 dollars.

I'm also considering some more dolls. Still percolating, though.

More Later.