CTN Expo Wrap Up

The CTN Expo was a lot of fun again this year, although the attendance was about three times the size of what it was last year yet the floor space was the same, making it very crowded. Jamie and I didn't get to see any of the panel discussions this year because we were manning down his both, selling prints and books, and answering portfolio questions to the many students who were seeking advice.

It is difficult to give advice actually, given that the animation industry has changed so very much from when Jamie and I both began our careers. Well, to be fair, I'm not sure my 'career' in animation ever 'started' - I worked at Calabash Animation for many years in Chicago on many commercials and short films, and then went into games after I moved to California, while Jamie began his career in 1981 at the age of 17 working at Hanna Barbara...big difference! Even so, I think we both have some perspective on how to survive as an artist; it was nice to share some of that perspective with the students and new grads. Jamie's advice is so good that HE should have a panel discussion. He's certainly talked me down off a ledge more than once (actually more like twice a week). I imagine students would benefit from some iron clad Jamie tips for how to protect your fragile artist soul.

Speaking of fragile artist soul, here are a few life drawings from the past few weeks. I have been very busy at work lately. I have been contributing design work to game pitches, mostly background game board paintings and a few other things.

I was going to crop these in Photoshop, but I kind of like how noir the the photos turned out. haha

Some of the things on my desk right now are: a Christmas card, a reworked sketch for my Seasons piece, "Winter", a sketch for an elaborate blog header illustration, and some fairy and faun sketches.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my readers. I am truly GRATEFUL that you visit my blog. It encourages me endlessly and feels so good to know people are actually paying attention. THANK YOU.



Jamie will have a BOOTH at the CTN Expo this year! # T-05. The convention begins this FRIDAY and runs through SUNDAY evening in Burbank, CA. I will be there helping out at his booth and answering questions. Since this is an animation based convention, we are excited. Last year's event was fantastic! This year should be just as amazing - lots and lots of panels with leading animation industry legends. It should be pretty inspiring!


Reliquary Class at Ulla Milbrath's Studio!

This past weekend I took a class taught by the talented artist extraordinaire Ulla Milbrath, whom I met taking classes at Castle in the Air. Ulla teaches regularly at the Castle in the Air and also at her incredibly inspiring home studio, filled to the brim with handcrafted projects and antiques of all kinds.

I was inspired a few years ago by the reliquaries I saw on her blog after googling 'reliquaries'. I found these amazing pieces Ulla made, and discovered, even better, that she sells them at the Castle in the Air and other places, AND...she teaches classes in how to MAKE THEM.

She finally offered a class that fit with my too busy schedule, this past weekend. I couldn't wait! What a treat it was! Ulla taught me how to make each one completely from scratch using illustration board, mica, pieces of my own art, hand dyed ribbon, and - a new skill - soldering the pieces together. If you aren't familiar with a soldering iron it's like this: a very hot iron, who's tip is as hot as volcano, which you use to melt pieces of metal wire, which you then manipulate into pools of molten hotness and try not to spill on either your hands, clothing or art piece. How thrillingly DANGEROUS!

Details below each piece:

"Luna, Reliquary portrait"

Luna is a painting I did a few months ago and sold as a print at the APE festival. For this application, I printed her out on heavy stock and cut carefully with an xacto knife around the edges. The original has fairy wings and extends to a partial view of her torso, but since this is a small piece, I sacrificed those areas for the reliquary (Perhaps sometime it would be cool to try making another one with real cicadia wings!). The cut out illustration is sitting on top of a blue fabric I lightly dusted in clear glitter and on top of that a few pieces of luscious moss. Tucked in between the moss and Luna are a few vintage flowers and a few pieces of dried baby's breath. The outside is soldered metal, which attaches the mica covering.

Learning to solder the outside was a bit challenging and intimidating, but also dangerously FUN. I can see how it becomes addicting. Melted metal is so SAUCY! haha

"Daisy, Reliquary Portrait"

This is the very first piece I made, also using a painting I cut out and altered in order to fit the reliquary. It's still not quite working the way I want it to. But learning is all about making mistakes and trying new things. I hope to try alternate versions of this one too!

"Mossy, Reliquary Portrait"

The tiny painting of a woman inside this piece is something I painted a few years ago. Again, I cut her out very carefully, made the box, glued together...AND, for this one, cut some glass for the very first time to make the covering. Honestly, I am in awe of the vast knowledge Ulla has in all manner of techniques! This one is a bit bigger than the others, so I thought I'd show the context by photographing it in a few places. I left the edges un-soldered (is that a word?) because I like the way the copper tape works, but also because I plan to go back and tidy up the fabric edges and trim in the back.

Displayed next to my very small collection of Ephraim Faience hand made pottery and a pretty photo of my sister. :)

I am really excited about making more reliquaries. At the moment I don't own a soldering iron or other materials. The way I'm feeling is that the strongest one is the "Luna" portrait. I would like to try her with some cicadia wings. I also hope to make several more fairy portraits and reliquaries - maybe I'll even be able to finish some by WONDER CON! :)

Thank you so so much to my friend and inspiring artist Ulla Milbrath for spending an entire weekend teaching me the techniques involved. She worked really hard - I imagine it must be difficult to be teaching others while in your own studio, resisting the urge to make your own creations! I am deeply appreciative.


Clover and Luna concepts, close...but not close...

"Luna", 8.5x11, pastel and gouache on paper

"Clover", 8.5x11, pastel and gouache on paper

These are two experimental concepts for characters in a book I am working on. They are fairies, although they don't have wings in these portraits.

I have been obsessed with face painting and floral adornment for some time now, and would like to apply the idea to my story; for me portraits are a good way to figure out mood until I land on something that feels right for my story. I'll also do the usual character proportional line up sheet, etc, but for now I'm feeling out mood and experimenting with technique.

And, these, sadly, are not quite what I'd like. :( They are a bit too cute, a bit too young. Back to the drawing board.

But, having said that, they were totally FUN to draw, and I may even do some more. In fact, next weekened I am taking a reliquary class at Ulla Milbrath's studio, and have thought about making LUNA, into a reliquary.


Purrcasso Charity Benefit

I made my first donation to the Purrcasso Art and Craft Gala benefit for the Berkeley Humane Society. This year is extra special due to the tragic fire that damaged much of the shelter and killed many cats and dogs. Please come by Saturday evening for the auction on ORIGINAL ART by bay area artists!!! ALL proceeds go directly to the shelter.

November 6-7, 2010
Saturday 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Sunday 12-4 p.m.

2865 Seventh Street, Berkeley

Learn more at BerkeleyHumane.org

Here is my contribution to the auction.

"The Good Ship Purrcasso", 8x10", gouache