Plein Air Gouache/Catalina Island

This month I've lived in San Francisco for exactly 18 years! I can hardly believe it's been that long, longer than any other place I've lived. In all that time, I had never visited Catalina Island, 17 miles off the shore of Long Beach, just south of Los Angeles. 

The view from our hotel, especially at sunset, was gorgeous! 

I normally sketch in either pastels or oil, but I didn't want to carry around an easel or heavy materials. Gouache is so easy to pack, light to carry in a backpack, and easy to clean up on site. 

I also started a new sketchbook made of kraft paper. The paper has a nice base tone that I like for gouache, but I don't care for how much it absorbs the pigment. I end up using more paint than I normally would and I never really got clean color in the sky areas. I will continue to fill up this sketchbook, though. I will likely gesso a few pages with a base of casein or acrylic for future sketches. 

Little ticket booth for "submarine" rides out in the bay. I'd love to try it, but we were there to sketch this trip.

The view from the main beach in Avalon. Just a quick sketch before we watched the Kentucky Derby!

The staff told us that on Mondays and Tuesdays cruise ships arrive. There was an uptick in visitors, but even then it wasn't too crowded. 

On our final day, we sat and ate breakfast on the second floor of our hotel, the Vista del Ray. After breakfast, we sat and sketched for awhile. This was our view. I was working pretty quickly on this one, trying to get all the little details recorded.

I hope to come back and do more exploring of the island. It's rather large and apparently there are hiking trails and another small town on the other side. 

Thanks for looking!


Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice, and Merry Christmas!

Winter solstice is here but maybe, somehow, a real life Rudolph is out there lighting the way. 

Merry Christmas to everyone! Thank you for reading my blog and commenting! 

Let's all make 2018 a year to remember. 


Reliquaries/ Initial Concepts for dimensional pieces

I've been working on a large series of what will be dimensional pieces using a variety of materials, oil paint, gold and silver leaf, clay and ribbon. They will, hopefully, have some depth by lifting cut pieces off the base. I am a little nervous about cutting the pieces, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

Here are are a few concepts which I adapted from a few of my inktober pieces, the concepts pertaining to traditional memento mori.


THIS series, "Seasons" is going to be much more complicated. Here are a few concepts I'm playing with. The scalloped edges may change when I finally paint and assemble the pieces. Good to have a plan, though.

Please stay tuned for more! 


Inktober 2017

I'm not really an inking artist, so I thought this year I might try learning. The biggest challenge so far has been getting used to the materials. I've been experimenting with different papers, inks, pens and brushes. 

Also, I wanted to focus on one subject, memento mori. I've lately been looking a lot at medieval art and especially love reliquaries. So beautiful and creepy! 

I usually started with a sketchbook drawing which I then retraced using a lightbox onto new paper (usually using a colerase pencil - my favorite)

I filled in the dark areas with sepia acrylic ink for this one.

But I wanted to see what I could do with the materials, so after I painted the acrylic ink above, I brushed on a thin layer of tan acrylic on top to seal it. I like the way it makes it look more weathered and imperfect. After the acrylic wash was dry, I used pro-white and black gouache to model some tones. 

Not sure I liked the way I drew the drapery on the ghost, BUT I did enjoy this technique a lot.

For this one I was mainly interested in a white shape against a black background. I spattered on some prowhite after it was dry to get a speckled effect in the background. 

Thanks for taking a peek at my inks! Hopefully by next year I'll have learned a few more techniques. I plan to keep trying out various ways to ink throughout 2018. (and continue on a few of my other projects...coming soon!)


Star Wars "Forces of Destiny" Animated Shorts

I recently painted several key backgrounds for the animated series
Star Wars "Forces of Destiny". The shorts were produced by Lucasfilm and directed and animated at Ghostbot. I thought I would share a few of the backgrounds I was lucky to paint! 

The rest of the bg's are on my art station site:  here

The shorts are available on Disney.com and also youtube


Updated Website and Portfolio

I spent the last week updating my portfolio and website. It was a tough job because previously I had a slide show and I wanted something more simple, like a scrolling page. I use squarespace templates for my website, but I found that trying out a new template was no easy task! The site used to make it easy to test out new templates by filling in your existing samples into the new template, but with the updates now that is impossible. You basically need to redesign your site in order to see what a new template would look like. Oi! I finally decided to reconfigure my existing site to reflect the ideas I had about my portfolio presentation. 

Regarding portfolio content, after working for a long time, portfolio editing can be really difficult. I've accumulated so many pieces of art, have so many projects going, and I like to sketch and paint all the time, work that is not connected to professional endeavors. In addition to that, I have been freelancing for about a year now, which means I have been working on several short term projects for various companies. So how to update my portfolio? 

I think a good solution is to create a general overview leading a website front page. I think of the rest of the headings as "deep cuts", more in depth. There are a lot of ways to represent various interests, like galleries of character work, environments, and storyboards, but in the end I decided to try out categories based on projects. I'll try it out for a while. Hopefully it is easy to navigate.


Thanks for looking! 




One of the best art discoveries I made was in art school when I stumbled on a volume of Cicely Mary Barker's "Flower Fairies". It led to research into her and her life and other artists I also admire, mainly Jesse Wilcox Smith and Margaret Tarrant. I love the playful, beautiful ethereal versions of fairies out there, but I am interested in juxtaposing the prettiness of nature and it's endless color schemes with an anarchy and punkiness in character, which is closer to how I understand Nature, anyway. I have so many more ideas; hopefully I will be able to realize them throughout this late summer and fall. Thinking I might even try "inktober" this year. 

Thanks for taking a peek!



Season 3/ Disney Junior Palace Pets!

Season 3 of Disney Junior's Palace Pets has begun! Once again, I worked with animation studio director Alan Lau at Ghostbot on the shorts, this time primarily on color scripts. 

For this season, the color scripts were abbreviated; they function more as color roughs of key frames. For each short I did six panels. Here is one example from "Tunnels of Fun":

For a few of the episodes I also designed key environments. Here are a couple from "Tunnels of Fun" that I enjoyed working on. The underground tunnels were a challenge to make appealing. In the end, it all came back to thinking about the high end world that the pets live in, so of course they would have gems embedded in to the very ground they live on! :) 


Here are a few screen shots of "Tunnels of Fun". Turned out pretty cute! You can watch the new shorts and the previous two seasons at Disney Junior.

From an art direction perspective, keeping colors in a certain saturation spectrum helps lighten the mood and makes the tone of the show feel airy, light, not too scary or ominous which can easily happen with underground lighting. 

I love the shine that the animators put on the gems. A cute touch! 

The way the pets pop out of the tunnels is fun to watch, also. The animation has a nice feel of gravity - great work! 

Thanks for checking in! Enjoy!


Not On My Watch!

Another punk fairy in my series this summer. 

My original drawing was more complicated. When I started to paint it, I saw that the scene was too busy and it seemed like she was going after the ladybug instead of rescuing her. I chopped and cut some things out of the scene to make it more focused. 

Another one coming next week!
Thanks for looking.



I've been working on a series of fairies...more to come!


For the sketch, I usually spend a lot of time messing around with shapes, the silhouette of the character, the intent/concept, and details in the costume. Scale is something I'm playing with, too, in this series. I am establishing the size of these fairies compared to bees, dragonflies, and other winged insects, all of which are also relative to flowers and other botanicals. My meditating fairy might be too large for the scale I am considering. Anyway, more to come. Enjoy!

If you are following my "Little Mermaid" reboot, I am still working on that story. It is currently deep in the writing phase, so I have no artwork to show.  Hoping to have the story wrapped up by August so I can move on to thumbnailing pages! 


"The Little Mermaid" update/Viking Prince

UPDATE: I am in the throws of writing the script for this story this summer. Hoping to have my story locked down by mid fall, October, so that I can finally start penciling! 

For some time now I have been developing several stories of my own, but have decided to focus solely on my version of "The Little Mermaid" told in the Viking era. Originally I set the world in the Samurai era, which I still think would be pretty cool, but since I have roots in my Scandinavian heritage, I decided the project would be a cool way to learn more about the era of my ancestors. 

I am planning thorough research on my little mermaid character, but I really wanted to design the main viking character first, since he would firmly set the era in place for my story. I'm really glad I spent so much time working on him since designing the character brought to mind some interesting story twists and ideas that I hadn't thought of previously.

I imagined he is a prince of the village (if vikings really had "princes") and expected to help navigate and organize raids. He is reluctant, however, since he has a strong interest in music. He would be much happier roving around with local musicians but his father does not approve.

Here is some exploration for the character:

And finally a story painting. I spent a lot of hours on this painting, but in the end, I am still not sure about this style and color palette. I may go back and repaint this more graphically after I finish my Little Mermaid designs.