Friday, September 30, 2011

Illustration Friday: Hibernate

For the I.F. theme of "Hibernate," here is a spot illustration of a girl and her trusty stuffed bear.

Although, since he is technically a stuffed Koala (how surprising of me to have drawn, I know)-- she is excited that he does not have to hibernate for the winter after all! Being Aussie creatures, their climates are temperate enough that hibernation isn't necessary. Leaving aside the fact that live koalas tend to sleep for around twenty hours a day, such restrictions don't apply to plushies.
So, once this girl and her toy throw on scarves and bundle up, they can go traipsing into the snow-- without once ever having to worry about finding a warm cave to hide in for the winter.

To see more spot illustrations of mine, please go to:

To submit or see more "Hibernate" submissions at I.F., please go to:

Thanks for reading, and have a great Friday!

Can't sleep; headache will eat me

Presented without comment, sans this sentence and the title-- ouchie, ow, ow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

¡Viva España! Para la Avenida de Inspiración

I love that this week's challenge comes from an I.A. member who got to travel to Spain (-: Super cool, and hope the travels were magnificent and fun! Traveling is always an inspirational thing, and it of course ties in perfectly to the theme of this community blog :-D

Dance was the theme I decided to go with for this theme. Below is my submitted romantic greeting card, in which one character travelled to Spain to visit the other.

The boy's outfit was meant to be in the style of Flamenco costuming (a famous style of dance from Spain), and the girl's outfit was meant to be more in the style of Baile folklórico (a famous style of dance done mainly in Mexico and Central America).

So, since their outfits reference dances from different countries, I'd like to think she threw on her dancing best, hopped a plane for quite a few hours, and visited her gentleman caller/pen-pal (email pal?) in Spain. And that once together, they'd be able to properly teach one another all those various dance moves that it would be difficult to communicate either virtually or vocally.

How they managed to climb, not freeze, and dance upon one of Spain's many mountain ranges... well, I'd say it is a mystery or impossible, but the great things about cartoons and illustrations is that the impossible can become possible, and whimsical, all with a few strokes of a pen/pencil/any medium a person chooses.

I took liberty with the outfits color-wise, so the background and the snowy mountain-tops they're standing on would pop more. Yellow wouldn't come out in a traditional Flamenco costume (I don't think?), but I thought it complemented the reds, blacks, and grays-- so, I hope it is okay I chose color vibrancy over color accuracy.

Spain and Mexico are two places on the top of my travel list. I really want to go to Mexico City, in particular, and I want to see as many cities as possible in Continental Europe (Paris, France is the only part of the Continent I've been to; when I was twenty and in school in England six years ago I got to France, Ireland, and Scotland each once).

I went back to London in 2009 after saving up like crazy, and I had wanted to go to Italy in 2011 and visit my good friend, and the cities my family is originally from-- but it hasn't yet happened. It would be amazing to see everything, everywhere, really.

So, anyway. This challenge was a very fun one in which to partake. A good reminder to get back to travelling, and sort things and schedules out enough to make it possible.

It's funny, the latest I.A. challenges have almost been like New Years Resolutions-y, in that they keep reminding me of things I love and need to return to doing. Which is pretty cool, since the whole theme of the blog is to be inspired! I'm always inspired by the different ways people interpret the challenges and everyone's starkly different art styles. And the themes are always great fun-- I just really appreciate that these past two have struck a particularly deep chord in the realm of inspiration.

I'll end my late night rambles by including some links:

To see other romantic cartoon greeting cards at my site, please go to:

To submit to Inspiration Avenue, please go to:

Happy Inspiring, and hope everyone is well -- whether snug at home, or out adventuring in some new place.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"Keys" for Inspiration Avenue

As someone who loves music and used to play quite a bit of it (alto sax for five years, viola for seven, and piano for six-- I miss playing, and my younger days of band and orchestra rather dearly, to be honest), I love to draw lots of music-y things in pieces and cards.

So, for the I.A. prompt of keys, I had to submit this card in which this boy and girl are seated upon a drum that's placed upon Piano Keys!

I also figured that the treble clef shows the key of the songs they're playing, which adds to the theme. In any case, it's a fun challenge, and it will be very exciting to see what other people come up with! Keys are such an inspirational thing to think about, not only for music-- but in terms of opening doors, having a key to a new life, a new world, and many possibilities (-:

This was also a cool prompt because it reminded me of how much I miss playing music. I rented my alto saxophone for so many years I ended up owning it, and I still have it-- a prompt like this is a good reminder to go back to pick it up and get back in the swing of practicing.

I love music, and was doing it pretty seriously from elementary through the beginning of high school. I obviously changed gears somewhat, and am focused now more on art and writing (and sometimes theatre)-- although I do sometimes wonder what would have been if I had stayed with the world of music, more than the world of art/cartooning/illustration.

It's not always necessary to choose, though-- and as I said, owning an instrument is a great incentive to get back to playing it (-:

Now for some links:

To see other cards alongside this one at my site, please go to:

To see other I.A. submissions for this challenge, please go to:

Other I.A.-ers and readers, how many of you chose piano keys for this challenge, and have played music yourself? I am interested if anybody has stories in this realm!

Hope everyone has been having an inspirational week! Inspiration unlocks the "key" to art creating-- had to get a pun in there, although I'm not quite sure it counts as a pun because it is only a tiny bit of a word play, and more of a very true statement :-p

Friday, September 23, 2011

Creative Tuesdays: Morning!

Posting on a Friday for next Tuesday-- but dates can always be flexible, no? If you're tired enough, dates will start to blend together. Maybe that confusion will unblend with coffee... you know, I was trying to make a coffee and blended drink pun, but I am too sleepy. I'll stop my silly rambles and continue onto the previously scheduled point.

I thought it would be appropriate, given how my other post today (for I.F.) is grayer/much darker in color and thematic tone, to brighten things up for the weekend with this post for the upcoming Creative Tuesdays Challenge!

As the theme is "morning," I thought a card depicting a proposal (or at least a sweet moment) at sunrise would fit the bill. I'd say it leans more towards the proposal-y side of things, though, as the caption to this card is:
"I Think It Would Really Be Quite Hand, If I Could Only Have Your Hand!"

And, onwards: links are below!

To see more romantic cards I've made, please go to:

To submit to Mister Toast's Creative Tuesdays for the theme of "Morning" for this challenge, please go to the most recent link on Tuesday, September Twenty-Seventh, at:

Thanks for reading, and Good Morning, Everyone!

Illustration Friday: Ferocious

I did this piece some time ago, but I felt it would work for the theme of "ferocious."

It was for a noir-themed gallery show, so... yeah, it's pretty dark and I think fits the noir bill. I think it fits the theme of "ferocious," because you have to have some dark/ferocious/pretty awful stuff going on in your heart if you can be mean and threaten scared little creatures.

The entire title of the piece is "It Was Then He Showed Me How To Kill Kittens" (abbreviated usually as "It Was Then He Showed Me...," with the obvious darkness being these two kids with weapons on the street cornering alley cats. Although, there was supposed to be an added layer of darkness because the kids are so young, and "killing kittens" used to be an unfortunate meme/euphemism. Nobody got the dark joke though, so it usually has been interpreted fairly literally. In my mind, perhaps this was some sort of dark initiation thing the kids were asked to do, but they both chickened out before anything else.

It's weird; I make up stories for a lot of the things I create, but when the things are sadder or more macabre I sometimes like to imagine future instances where the characters are in a better place. Motivation to draw follow-up illos, I suppose :-p

In any event, to see this and other color works at my site, please go to:

To submit to I.F., please go to:

And for a greatly inspirational story about a little puppy named Harper who has a new lease (leash?) on life, please read this!

Given how sad the drawing I did is, and given that I am an animal person, I thought this real life story would be a good pick me up from a downbeat post. Also, as the theme is "ferocious," Harper's sweet face and story shows that not all big dogs (esp. pits, which she is) that get sterotyped to be ferocious actually are (-:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspiration Avenue, and Illustration Friday: Autumn Splendor, Mesmerize, and Secrets!

These two little girls in this double post (showing a greeting card) appear mesmerized-- when I made this card, I thought that they were busy with two things: A) Getting ready for Falltime and school (hence the amount of orange coloring in the illo, and the characters carrying too much in the way of backpacks), and B), Sharing a secret. Secrets can be exciting, and I felt that especially the girl on the right seemed mesmerized.

The caption is, "I Could Never Carry On Without You!" And yes, it's a backpack/carrying pun.

In any event, I feel that the card for Inspiration Avenue's theme of "Autumn Splendor," with them returning to their Fall and Autumn studies (and the girl on the right is dressed for it too!), and with the windy swirls in the background.

I think it also works for Illustration Friday, as the windy swirls in the background can perhaps have mesmerized them-- or, as I said earlier, the secrets they're keeping may just be enough.

I'm a fan of "Pretty Little Liars," a well shot and acted (And even at times written) teen drama that has a lot to do with secret keeping. "The Pierces," a duo sister singing team that are wonderful (both recorded and live; got to see them last winter!), sing the theme song for the show.

It's called "Secret," and one of the lyrics is, "Look into my eyes-- now you're getting sleepy; Are you hypnotized, by secrets that you're keeping?" And, anyway, I thought of that song in connection to the rambles in my head-- which, are now rambles on paper. Or technically, on screen.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some links!

To submit to this week's I.A., please go to:

To submit to this week's I.F., please go to:

To see other family and friends cards I've done, please go to:

Keeping on theme, I do hope everyone's Autumn is off to a splendid start, and that anyone reading has something mesmerizing/exciting happen to them this weekend!

(-: As for me this weekend, I'll be busy manning my booth at ArtCycle L.A. all day Saturday. Whee!

For anyone in the area, it's 2:00 PM until 10:00 PM, on Santa Monica Boulevard between Virgil and Vermont.

Hope to see some local peeps and have some fun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For the Forty-Second Edition of Creative Tuesdays-- Kitchen --!!

For this week's Creative Tuesdays, the theme is "Kitchen." I've been drawing like a madwoman and making new cards for a Festival this upcoming Saturday in which I am selling cards.

So, I made sure to also create a card that would for sure fit the theme for "Creative Tuesdays" this week. I had lots of fun drawing and coloring this one, and it was a neat challenge trying to come up with a quirky way to interpret the theme.

I haven't yet decided what the caption for this card will be, or whether I should caption it at all. "Punny" sayings are what I generally go for when I write the greetings inside. That said, sometimes people prefer blank cards for personalization purposes, so I make those too. But C.T.-ers, if you have any suggestions for something to be written inside here, please, let me know!

In any event, this is a Kitchen and Breakfast scene. Mom has curled her hair, sat down to relax, wait for her hair to set, and to caffeinate/read the paper in the interim. Daughter decided to make breakfast, and for unknown reasons, balance the plate of food on her head. Maybe she has dreams of modeling, and didn't have a book around to practice with?

In any case,the two are happy and amused by one another. But both appear to be unaware of the sudsy water overflowing from the dishes in the sink getting washed-- even the little girl missed this, despite the fact that some of the bubbles ended up in her hair.

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

To submit to Creative Tuesdays for this week, please go to:

To see Mister Toast's Blog overall, please go to:

To see other cards of mine about family and friendship that I've made, please go to:

And last, but not least-- for anyone who may live in or be near the L.A. area, here are the links for the aforementioned festival for this Saturday that I'm making cards to sell. It will have lots of fun things, like art, food music, and an emphasis on biking/public transit/not using cars as much so we can save the environment:

And that, as they say, is that. Happy Tuesday, and Happy Creating, Everybody!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Illustration Friday: Boundaries (Or in this case, lack thereof)

For this week's I.F., the theme is "boundaries." So I've submitted a piece I did a while ago, entitled "It's Not Easy Being Queen," where boundaries have been crossed; one woman is in complete control of another.

Even though it looks like the two are in a relationship, to be honest, the chains, and the seated girl being slightly terrified, were all meant to be metaphors.

As it's art, anyone looking at it is free to interpret it as they wish-- although I did want to get my disclaimer to the world out there, and explain that this piece, overall, was meant to show an abuse of power. Keeping on I.F. theme, such abuses often involve crossing boundaries.

The title of this piece is a reference to the idea of "Queen Bees." Not just the kind that rule the hive, but the human female kind. There are Queens that rule, yet they manage to rule with kindness... and then, there are the Regina George/Miranda Priestley/Anna Wintours of the world. Befriend or work under such a person, and your automatic reply will eventually be "How high?" after she asks you to jump, and Lord help you if you question such demands-- no matter how inappropriate or insane they may be.

I came up with the idea pretty much through having seen "The Devil Wears Prada" one too many times; from everything I remember when was in college and did a research project on relational aggression among girls; and from... a composite of things. I've already typed a lot, so perhaps I'll just step back from here, so one's own conclusions can be drawn.

In any case, to submit to Illustration Friday or see other entries, please go to:

To see more color works of mine, please go to:

Hope everyone is well this weekend <3

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Inspiration Avenue and Web of Whimsy: Patterns, and Villains going Ker-Plunk!

I am a huge lover of patterns, so this is a fun challenge for "Inspiration Avenue!" Also, as one of the characters in my piece is having a hissy fit and jumping up and down, he is going "ker-plunk" which each stomp of his feet. So, it works for "Web of Whimsy," as well.

I've submitted a piece I did for a "Harry Potter" themed contest, but I put my own spin on it. Combining old fairy tales with "Harry Potter" (pretty much a new fairytale in and of itself, with all the lessons it teaches and magic inherent in it), I decided to go with "Rumpelstiltskin." The name of this piece is, "Is Your Name Volde-Stiltskin?"

When I created it, to give it an old timey feel, I spent quite a bit of time mapping out the patterns of the various bricks present in the walls. I also made a point of patterning the floor with Owl-esque tiles (in commemoration of Harry's beloved Hedwig), and while not exactly a pattern, I had to repetitiously draw the spools of spun gold.

In the original "Rumpelstiltskin" story, Rumpelstiltskin loses his bet and is enraged when the girl in the story is able to figure out his name. It's an old fairy-tale, but here's the link if anyone doesn't know it:

So, as you might have just read, Rumpelstiltskin would have been given the girl's first born child in payment for him keeping her secret-- that she was unable to spinstraw into gold, and that he was doing it for her. But she guesses his name, and he is a sore loser. Hence, him having a manchild fit and stomping in anger through the floor.

In "Harry Potter," you can't say Voldemort's name without fear of summoning him. So, in a weird way, I kind of thought the two villains were connected. Obviously Voldemort is far more powerful and terrifying, but they're each scary in their own way-- and, I had fun combining them.

In this piece, Harry is the Prince the girl has married, Ginny is the girl trying to keep their first born, and the baby they're holding up I suppose would be James, their firstborn. Voldemort is Rumpeltstiltskin. Or, "Volde-Stiltskin." So he's a much smaller, less scary, and angrier version of himself. Normal Voldemort I don't think would ever be caught dead (well, caught dead ever if possible, because eternal life was his endgame-- but I digress) having a tantrum and stomping so vigorously that he'd fall through any kind of floor.

So, anyway, there are my submissions! Now for some links.

To Submit to I.A., please go to:

To submit to Web of Whimsy, please go to:

To see more Color Pieces on my Website, please go to:

And lastly, for any fans of Voldy/serious snark, he has a Twitter. Yes oh yes, Lord Voldemort tweets. He can be a bit mean, but sometimes his tweets are just brutally honest and funny. I thought I'd include this bit of internet silliness for any Tweeps or serious "Harry Potter" fans:!/lord_voldemort7

Thanks for reading, everyone --!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Illustration Friday: Mysterious

This Friday theme is a widely interpretable one. So, for "mysterious," I've submitted a card with a few elements of mystery.

Are these girls actually onstage? Why the green music-noted curtains surrounding them, if they're not onstage? But if they are onstage, why is the stage floor made of hearts? How would one ever hope to balance while doing ballet, or even walking around to perform a theatre show, with such an uneven, heart-shaped floor? Mysterious. Perhaps the stage designer didn't think everything through.

The girl on the right has a sly look and smile on her face. Why so mysterious? (Am I quoting the Joker from the second most recent "Batman" movie? No wait, that's "Why so serious?" Never mind. Have had a tiring week, so forgive any incoherence in my blogging.) She looks like she is up to something, or perhaps just very happy. But, it's hard to read her expression. Mysterious? Mysterious.

And, lastly-- how does the girl on the right have hair made of music notes and staffs? Even curiouser, how do she and her friend pull those notes out from her hair to then hold them and play with them? Hrmm, hrmmm...

I poured as much playful mystery as I could into this card, and I hope people are amused by the bright colors and randomly "mysterious" elements that abound here.

And, onward.

To submit to I.F., please go to:

I must post this card and other new works on my website, so I'll link to my cards section of my website another time. But for anyone curious to poke around overall, it's at:

Thanks for reading, and hope everyone has a great weekend (-:

So far, on theme, Los Angeles's weekend looks to be foggy and mysterious. I'm rather liking this San Francisco-y weather, though, so I'm excited. Knocking on wood it keeps feeling like Autumn.