Monday, December 23, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Alice Through the Looking Glass

One of the larger projects I worked on a while back that I’ve not blogged about is based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). These stories are rich with fantastic description and lend themselves to endless visual interpretations, which is evident in the countless versions by illustrators, well known and not.

The first phase of the project was comprised of several illustrations of scenes and characters from the books. A few initial sketches:

The final illustrations began with elements painted in watercolor with added colored pencil on scraps of hot press paper:

These elements were scanned and brought into Photoshop where they were further refined then composited with scanned in textures, handmade papers, and vintage graphic elements to create the final collages (more examples available on my website):

When I first embarked on this series of illustrations, I had assumed that they would be the end product. However, a few weeks later, I enrolled in a children’s book illustration class and the possibility of experimenting with animation was tossed around. As illustrators, no one in the class really had any serious previous experience, but most of us were ready to dive in and teach ourselves how to set our art in motion using After Effects. I decided to revisit the Alice series as my subject.

Roughly, I spent about five weeks going through tutorials on to learn the software. Meanwhile, I painted more components for some of the scenes I had in the back of my mind, and created an accompanying series of postcards:

Once several of these were done, I plunged into creating the “film.” Instead of planning the entire project and making a storyboard, as is standard practice, I began with a rough idea of a few short scenes or vignettes based loosely on the stories, and the project grew organically as I strung the scenes together. Rather than try to deal with dialogue and mouth-syncing in this initial effort, I made it a silent movie with title cards. The soundtrack is an early 1930s recording of Argentinian tango music I happened to stumble on.

Little did I know how addictive digital animation would be. I did know it was a lot of work and very time consuming, but I didn’t mind, and I was determined to learn as much as I could within a few weeks. Working on it a few hours daily, I spent about five weeks total to create an animation that is just under three and a half minutes in length (click image to view animation):

I guess it didn’t turn out too badly for a first crack at such a project (though, by now, I've seen my own film hundreds of times, so all I see are its flaws and limitations ;) ). However, with little to lose, I was encouraged to enter the piece into American Illustration’s first International Motion Art Awards competition. I was absolutely thrilled that it was selected. It also received a very nice write-up on Motion Arts Pro Daily—thank you, David Schonauer. Since then, “Alice” has also been screened at the Louisiana Film Festival, ASIFA-Atlanta’s Roll Yer Own Independent Film Festival, Dragon Con Independent Film Festival, and the Atlanta Shorts Fest. It has also been recently selected for screenings at ASIFA-Atlanta’s Best Shorts of 2013, Surreal Salon Six (a juried competition of pop-surrealist works) and will appear on the next season of PBA 30’s Atlanta Shorts program. I am truly amazed by all of this and immensely grateful for the support I've received—thank you!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creative Quarterly Journal Issue 32

El Vengador was chosen a New Talent winner in the recently published CQ 32. Thanks again to the judges and publisher Charles Hively!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Applied Arts Magazine

I recently received copies of the 2013 Student Awards issue of Applied Arts from Canada. It is an honor to have my work featured among the winners—thanks again to all the judges!

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Yetis?? Arrrr! (yes)...

I've been working on various promotional projects lately, but the addiction to making simple paper toys has flared up again, so here are two more yetis to join the monster toy line-up.

A fearsome pirate:

And a playful dad:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Illustrators of Our Times group exhibition

I am greatly honored to have some of my work included in Illustrators of Our Times, a group exhibition that opens this Thursday at Cazenovia College near Syracuse, New York.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Anorak Magazine

The past couple of days have been quite rainy and gloomy, but there was a little bright spot from across the pond waiting in my mailbox yesterday—a copy of Anorak Magazine’s Games Summer Special issue!

Anorak is a really cool and beautifully designed kid’s magazine independently published in London and is aimed at children age 6 and up. This is a “keeper” magazine printed in vegetable inks on thick, matte recycled stock. It can be a little tricky to find it in the States, but it’s worth seeking out—or better yet, order issues online.

I first came across Anorak online this past spring and knew I would have loved it as a kid, so when a call for entries for the Games issue came up, I couldn’t resist. Like all the issues I’ve seen, this one is chock full of neat stuff, so I'm very happy that my Yeti paper toy is in it!

A huge thank you to Anorak founder/editor Cathy Olmedillas for including my work in the Games issue!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

SCBWI Southern Breeze Featured Illustrator

It is an honor to have a recent piece, Yeti Mountain, on the cover of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Southern Breeze chapter's summer newsletter! The great folks at Southern Breeze were also kind enough to interview me as the issue's featured illustrator. Thank you so much!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Creative Quarterly Journal Issue 30 + 31

Opened the mailbox and found a copy of Creative Quarterly Journal Issue No. 30 + 31 waiting for me today. My endangered species series, Without A Trace, was chosen as a New Talent winner, and Mountain Gorilla is its representative in the magazine (two other pieces are also runners-up; a big thank-you to the judges and publisher Charles Hively):

I should post more soon about the process I used in making this series. I would love if I could get it published and donate part of the sales to a conservation organization, such as the World Wildlife Fund. It wouldn’t necessarily make a huge difference, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about and wanting to do for too long. Very sad news this past week that the African Western Black Rhino is now officially extinct.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Applied Arts Magazine Student Awards

I am so pleased that Baba Yaga is among the winners of this year’s Applied Arts Magazine Student Awards! Thanks so much to the judges and coordinator Sarah Palmer at Applied Arts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

AOI Illustration Awards Shortlisted

Why did the chicken cross the pond? To get to the other side! (Sorry.)
I am happy and grateful that my Baba Yaga illustration has been shortlisted in the UK-based AOI Illustration Awards competition and will go on to the next round of judging in the Children’s Book New Talent category later this month. Thank you judges!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Yeti Mom, one of an ongoing series of monster paper toys:

See the whole gang here on my website.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

American Illustration 32

American Illustration 32 has posted its winners online. I'm happy one of my pieces is among the Chosen winners to appear online in the Archive. Thank you judges!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Just wanted to post some pix of a little book I recently received of cocktail recipes. The Best Illustrated Cocktail Recipes is a collection of concoctions selected from They Draw and Cook (sister site of They Draw and Travel, featured in my last blog post).

I'm happy to say that my illustration of Halloween Cocktails made it into the book!

The illustration (pen & ink and watercolor):

The book makes a great gift for the aspiring bartender (or anyone who likes spirits). Check it out here at Thank you so much, Nate and Salli. Cheers!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Audubon Zoo, New Orleans

A little map I made of Audubon Zoo in New Orleans is up at They Draw and Travel. All the animals are watercolor and colored pencil with some digital enhancements.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nature Morte

Inspired by the carcass of an Eastern Hercules beetle I found in my yard, I painted an imaginary floral still life to honor and display it. It is 16" x 20" in gouache on canvas, with faux gold leaf applied to the wooden frame. I also constructed a small box lined with rose-colored velvet to hold the insect.

This work has been accepted by the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles Illustration West 51 competition:

Months later, I found another of these gorgeous beetles alive on my carport:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3x3 Magazine Student Annual 9

Recently received the latest issue of 3x3 Magazine which features the juried annual Student Show no. 9. I am so pleased that two of my pieces made it in—thank you judges!

A funky take on the Russian folk tale, Baba Yaga:

And part of a series of animal illustrations from Without A Trace, a handmade artist's book on endangered species: