Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Final Yearly C.T.! Favorite Pieces of 2014: One from Creative Tuesdays, One Otherwise

Hi Everyone!

So for today's C.T., I am going include two pieces: My favorite piece of the year not posted to C.T., and my favorite piece of the year posted to C.T.  I know Mister Toast said ideally the piece could be from C.T., but could also not be from C.T. if it was just a strong yearly piece, so, I've gone ahead with both.

First, here's my new piece.  Well, not new, but new for C.T.!  This is "The Sengi Shrew in Thai Elephant's Clothing," and probably my favorite little illustration of the year (he's also now on my business cards).  I did him with watercolor, and Japanese Pentel ink brush pens.

Sengis are these really cool little African Mammals.  I saw an article about them in the spring and was blown away with how interesting and cute they were.  They're Elephant Shrews, but genetically, they are actually more Elephant than Shrew, despite being teeny itty bitty.

So, I decided that I had to draw one.  I started drawing him while getting food in this L.A. Restaurant called "Leela Thai," which is amazing decorations and art featuring eleborately dressed Thai elephants.  I thought this little African Elephant Shrew would look neat in Thai Elephant's Clothing.  So, here he is hanging out in finery (maybe he went overseas to meet his larger Thailand based cousins), and also using his trunk to play with a teensy Lotus Flower.

And next, is my favorite piece that I submitted to C.T., for the theme of "I want to go...!"

I am honestly tied between this as a favorite, and the one I did last time with the "Shar-Pei Diem" pun, but this one was a ton of fun to make, and I love Australian Animals.  So, the punny "Wom-Batter Up" Wombat won.  I also was thinking about this piece as I sold the original at the Holiday Fair I did at one of the places I teach at, and it was fun to have this happy little guy go off to a home where he can inspire the little boy he was a gift for, to play ball :-)

I never get to blog as much as I'd like, but C.T. is an inspiration to blog, to make work, and to check out amazing stuff being done by other artists.  I've probably said it before, but that's one thing I really like about the Internet.  The possibility to connect and have a happy supportive community of web-friends making art, even if you are all too far to connect past the pixels of a screen.  Anyway, I'm really happy Michael/Mister Toast has been running the blog again this year, and I'm honored to get to be a part of the collective and post on the very cool themes ^_^

So, here it is as my favorite 2014 C.T. submission!  Perhaps these unusual little marsupials and other creatures I draw can all come up in a future drawing :-) I do have an idea for a future project involving all Aussie animals, but then again, it's also exciting to discover cool animals worldwide (such as the African Sengi).  Maybe I should suggest one of these ideas as a C.T. theme for everyone :-D

And now, without further ado, here are some links!

It's Tuesday of this challenge being due, and it's down to the wire, but if you are running late like me you can still submit at the link below:

Here is the Creative Tuesdays overall link:

And here is my link to my website, with the patterns and fun animals section, which showcases both of the little dudes I posted about above:

Thanks for reading, and hope everybody is well!  Merry Yearly End!  (And many virtual hugs for you all)



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"Dreams of December" for "Creative Tuesdays"

Hi All,

My post will be a bit un-orthodox, but I hope fun!  Or, mostly fun.

My "dreams of December" are not actually Christmas related, but more life related, in wanting to be able to be happy and enjoy things.  I finished the picture below and wanted to submit it for C.T.  Like last time, it prominently features a Shar-Pei wrinkle-pup.

I started this a while ago, and decided to make sure to get it finished for the C.T. theme.  I didn't want to rush and do a specific holiday picture and do it poorly, so I decided to pour all my energy into finishing this off-beat submission for the theme (in addition, since a lot has been going on with me I knew I'd have a chance of finishing something I started, but that starting something new was likely going to be impossible).  

In terms of something specifically December-y, I hope to print up card and print versions of this to sell at a December Holiday Fair I'm doing through work.  In terms of "Dreams of December," well, it would be a dream to wear a fun outfit, to frolick around with a magical and wrinkly dog friend, and to play while flowers rained down on you.  

More practically, this entry is a bit of a reminder to myself to try and "Seize the Day," and keep punning ("Shar-Pei Diem" instead of "Carpe Diem"), both in art and in life.  Some really stressful situations are going on in my family life right now, so I guess my "Dream  of December" (knock on wood) is for things to be better all around, and for myself and everyone I love to be able to seize the proverbial day.  That's something necessary for December, when we turn between years, and overall in life, and yet, it's so hard to do.

Anyway, although I didn't finish the below submission for C.T. specifically, I'll submit it as a Part II. to make sure I stay totally on the December/Holiday theme.  Another "December Dream" of my own, and I'm sure everyone's, is to have a Happy Holiday Season.  I'll let the silly and punny card caption and characters speak for themselves.

Incidentally, that's a wish I have for all of you great peeps over at C.T.!  To have a happy, fun, enjoyable holiday season, with perhaps some animals thrown in (of course, if you like animals, and/or kitties and owls).

And now, for some links!

The main C.T. link by Mister Toast is at:

And, here's the link to submit, and you still have a bit of time today, a day later than the usual "Creative Tuesdays" day, on Wednesday December 3rd!

I will get to looking at everyone's work tomorrow, and have not forgotten.  From the Day after Thanksgiving until Today have been rather mad/stressful/a bit of a shock, and I was out of town Back East.  I'm back in California for a Spell until later in December, and as soon as I'm fully re-settled I'll comment on peoples' work.  I've glanced around and seen some great work (a Christmas kitty, if I recall!), but I"ll look at the "December Dreams" more thoroughly tomorrow.

Best wishes, and thanks for reading my very long (even more so than usual), hopefully a bit silly, and definitely a bit somber post.  But I do truly hope your holidays ("howl"-idays, if dogs are involved?) are a "purr-fect" hoot ^_^

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Ho Ho Ho," for the Christmas Themed Edition of Creative Tuesdays!

Hello, Everyone!

This week's Creative Tuesdays we had an option of three sets of Festive Words or Christmas Phrases we could use in our submissions.  "Ho Ho Ho," "Good Tidings," or "Christmas Wonder."

So, for once, I did not draw a Koala for my submission (although the temptation to create a Santa Ko-ho-ho-ho-ala was tempting).  Because I love wrinkly dogs, and I met one that inspired me last week, my piece has a Shar-Pei Santa.  I met a Shar-Pei puppy, she was adorable, and now I am working on a couple of different Shar-Pei pieces.  First one below.

My friend who saw me working on this remarked that these are the least "ho ho ho" looking dogs there are, but, I disagree.  Their eyes are super puppy-dog-ish, and if they pout the wrinkles appear to exaggerate their mood, but overall I think they are cute and cheery, wrinkles and all.

In this design, I wanted to make it a Christmas-y one that also blended elements of doggy things, hence the Gingerbread Bone he's sitting on, and the Gingerbread Bone Lettered "Ho Ho Ho."  In addition to the Christmas-y pattern around him, I also gave him a Santa Hat and a Snow-Dog.  

(If this Shar-Pei had magical powers and was hiding away, maybe he'd have a sad sibling sitting outside his doggy door, sadly singing, "Do you wanna build a Snow-dog??"  "Frozen" reference for any one else into animation and/or that particular movie, which, I still probably sadly like just as much as my elementary school aged students).

This was such a fun illustration to make!  I will be doing a holiday fair at one of the places that I teach, so methinks I will print up a few cards and prints for sale of this doggy.

And now, for some links:

The overall Creative Tuesday Blog run by Mister Toast is at:

The link to submit today (the last day) for the worded Christmas themes is at:

Below is my Instagram link for any C.T. people I am not connected with, in case you are on and want to follow one another:


And finally, the link to my website.  I'm linking to the section this my Shar-Pei will go into, even though I haven't uploaded him there yet.  Even more fun, is that I am using my Yoga Koala (for the found object assignment) that I created here for C.T. as a bit of a logo on my site, which I just re-did.  He can be seen at the top left corner of all the pages.  Thank you for the inspiration, Mister Toast!


Thanks much for stopping by, and hope everybody is well (-:

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recap: "Dork Diaries Of A Wimpy Kid" Workshop at the Burbank Library, and Designer Con!

Whee!  So, I"m too tired to go into detail about all of it, but, the summary is: I did a workshop for kids at the Buena Vista Burbank Library (teaching them how to write and draw comics) on Thursday November 6th, and then on November 8th and 9th I tabled at Designer Con in Pasadena.

These events were both super fun, and I am le tired.  So, I"ll do a quick photo recap of what went down.

Whenever I teach, I give the students printed out little books that are self-published zines, which I write and do the drawing tutorials for.  We read along with the text and the pictures together, they work on the lesson, and then they have a little book to take home at the end of class.

Below are a couple of sneek peak examples of the lesson the kids did at the Burbank Library, which focused on character designing.

All that text is c. 2014, written and produced by me, Donna Letterese, etc.

Anyway, the kids did a great job, and it was a ton of fun.  I love teaching in the afterschool programs I teach at regularly, and getting to do library workshops is also great.  Jenny Darwent and Donna (another Donna!) were wonderful librarians, really sweet and great with the kids, and lead the first hour of the program splendidly.  The first hour was focused on the kids learning from the "Dork Diaries" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series and making their own comic journals, and the second hour was spent with my teaching them the character design/newspaper comics lesson.

They were nice enough to let me keep the giant poster that was printed out for the event, and it really was an honor to do it.  My name is on the poster, and it's a little hard to see in this photo, but it's there ^_^

And next, is my (even quicker) recap of D-Con!  It was a lot of fun, overwhelming (but not in a bad way; in a 300 vendors way), and a sensory overload.  It was both the first time I had attended and tabled at it.  At some point I am going to be writing up a recap for it as a guest blog for the Academy of Handmade (a really cool handmade/makers guild I recently joined).  

But until then, I will post this little photo collage of me at my table, and a few closer up shots of some greeting card-toons I had for sale, some original works, and some Polymer clay toys/Marsupials.

Thanks for checking out my blog, and until next time.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Pun-Up Zine! Sneak peeks of pictures of the funny animals and people and captions

Being released soon!  Really excited about a few new illustration zines I have coming up.

Wanted to post a sneak peek of this one, which I'm calling "Pun-Ups" (or perhaps the "Funny Anima-zine") as this zine consists of different punny images and captions, all featuring illustrations of animals, and animals and people.

Some are sweet, and some are snarky.  I also made a card version of that first one; I feel a little amoral making it as it's an apology card for when someone's been a jerk, but, I couldn't resist a hedgehog pun.

Scroll down and check 'em out; yay for sketchbooks, zines, and illustration overall ^_^

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Minty" for Creative Tuesdays!

I finally got my entry for "Minty" done just in time, and I quite like my little character so much that I might want to re-draw her again as a regular character, or possibly sculpt her!

My "Minty Marsupial" is below:

She is a "Merry Minty Marsupial." as she's so Christmas-y and Seasonal.  As per the theme (and what I explained over on my Instagram page), she is a Koala with Peppermint ears, Peppermint leaves making up her skirt, holding a Peppermint candy-cane, and drinking Mint Tea.

Also, last month of October was #inktober for people online who wanted to draw and tag their ink work with that hahtag.  This month apparently a popular hashtag is #dinovember.  I love Dinosaurs, and while I will in the future just keep posting actual Dinosaur character drawings, this one is my second #dinovember drawing as the koala is wearing a shirt with a Christmas-T-Rex.  Also eating a Candy-Cane.  Or should it be a Tea-Rex, given the C.T. theme?  Hrmmm, just given myself more ideas of silliness...

Anyway, without further ado, some links!

Here's the link to the overall Creative Tuesdays Blog:

Here's the link to submit to "Minty," for this week's challenge.  You have until today, Tuesday November 4th, so there's still a tiny bit of time!


Below is my Instagram link for any C.T. people I'm not already connected with on that site, to get connected with in the future:


And lastly, here is a link to an event I'm doing this weekend!  It's Saturday and Sunday November 8th and 9th, out in Pasadena (near Los Angeles), and it's called DesignerCon.  I'm Booth 1031.


I've been going mad trying to draw originals, print cards, and make Sculpey figurine toys for it.  I'm making a lot of Koala characters for it, and I think I may just add Miss Minty Koala to that lineup :-D Creative Tuesdays is such a fun co-op, and I love how it gives me lots of ideas and inspiration that carries me through the two weeks in between each theme and everything we create.

So, that's all for now.  Thanks for reading, and hope everyone is super well!

:-), Donna

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pre D-Con Zine Peek!

So, I will be pushing my zines and minicomics less at Designer Con than I will at specific comic and zine festivals.

But that being said, below is a sneak peek of "Matters of the Harp," my minicomic which is kind of like a Mr. and Mrs. Smith story, but with clams.  One works for Heaven, one works for Hell, and they both have drama with a dramatic Dinosaur who is an actress.

I'll have issues 1 and 2 at the festival, and when I start doing conventions in 2015, the drawn out version of issue 3 will finally have been scanned and printed ;-p