Wednesday, December 27, 2006


While I have the free time, I've decided to get some practice doing speed-paintings. The CGTalk forums' Daily Sketch thread has some good ideas for topics. This one was "Mom":

It took me a little over an hour from blank screen to aliens. I don't know exactly how long, because my watch seems to be in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Instead of sounding the alarm to let me know that my hour is up, it decided to count up instead. I wonder if it's time to get a new one... :P

Anyway, enjoy the alien family.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


I went on a short field trip to an atrium on the campus where I work. I used to hang out there occasionally as an undergrad -- they used to have a koi pond, and the atrium was a lovely warm green space to walk through in the middle of winter. Eventually, stupid people decided that the atrium would be a good place to release budgies and other small birds. I don't know if this was planned by the administration or whether people just started dumping their pets there. The result, though, was that every time you walked through the atrium you risked being pooped on by the increasing bird population.

I hadn't been back there in a few years, but when I visited the atrium a few weeks ago, it hadn't gotten any better -- in fact, it seemed worse than before. The entire west side is covered in droppings and feathers. I walked along the east side to the south side, where I discovered a citrus tree of some kind. They don't grow here, so I stopped for a few minutes to draw the fruit:

The fruit is quite large. It's probably a grapefruit tree. A particularly lumpy citrus was lying on the ground:

I managed to make it out of there without any birds relieving themselves on me. I miss the way the atrium used to be, and it's too sad to visit it now and wonder why no one seems to want to reclaim it and make it a nice place again.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hoppy Holidays!

A last-minute Christmas card, improvised in Illustrator:

I thought it might be nice to give the in-laws a card. It took me an evening and a bit of work, and turned out pretty well.

Have a good holiday season, everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006


I haven't really been working on any seasonal stuff this year (or any other year, really...). It's not my thing. However, I did have to attend an end-of-the-year meeting, where I ended up sketching a bit. Here's the Flower Hydra, sort-of like a cross between Bob the Angry Flower and the Three Stooges:

I discovered that an art store in town I don't usually go to (partly because they are more expensive than my regular store, partly because the last I was there they charged me the wrong amount for pencil crayons) has the PITT brush pens I've been getting online in a wide variety of colours. I guess they are now the most convenient store for me to go to, and it's been several years since the wrong-price thing, so I guess I'll be buying more of my art supplies there.

Anyway, while I was there I picked up the landscape-colours pen pack, which is what I used to colour the Hydra.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I'm just not doing a good job with the sketchcrawl pictures. I'll post up the first two (also the best two) and hope I get the rest cleaned up sometime. The holidays are sneaking up awfully quickly, but I can hardly get anything done. As usual, the apathy is killing me.

Since I spent the Sketchcrawl day moving my friend, then running errands around town, then attending my other friend's ornament party, I wasn't able to sketch in any interesting places as I had planned.

Here's a planter in my own backyard. I don't know why the previous owners had deer skulls nailed to the garage, but I've just left them up.

And this is a birdfeeder at my moving friend's parents' house:

I think they turned out nicely with a bit of pencil crayon colour. I never got a chance to drag along my little watercolour set, I just added the colours afterwards, as best as I remembered. I think I like the look of pencil crayons in the journal.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Joker

Finally. Ladies and gentlemen... the Joker.

This picture was a LOT of work, from beginning to end. I started out with a very quick sketch of an exaggerated facial shape, but when I got to refining... I went overboard.

But you know what? I'm really pleased with his creepy self. Although it's always a bit of a let-down when you release something onto the net, and it slinks away silently. I've been feeling a good deal of self-pity about my skills lately. Neil calls in Angst Thursday because it seems like it happens every week. I call it Onks Thursday because I like to say "onks!"

Aaanyway. On to the next project, whatever that might be.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Return of Journal Sketches

Still working on cleaning up Sketchcrawl 12 stuff. Okay, actually I'm doing no such thing. Yesterday I was going to do some comics, but I ended up doing push-ups in the basement every 10 minutes (don't ask; Neil is planning to try doing 600 push-ups in an hour, but I haven't done a push-up for a year now and I thought I'd start with 60 push-ups in an hour). So I worked on that thrice-accursed Joker picture. I can't ink after doing push-ups anyway, exercise makes my hands shake.

The good news is, I think I finally fixed the problem I was having with the Joker's face. Mental note -- correct proportion problems BEFORE you get into detail work. Why is it that I am a repository of good advice I never ever follow myself? ;_;

So until I get the Joker, the comics, or Sketchcrawl pictures finished, you're stuck with stuff from the old journal.

The pigeon was roosting on a window ledge outside one of the buildings on campus. I wandered into an empty classroom to look at the view, and there it was.

There were a couple of pigeons there, but this one stuck around while the other one flew away. I wish I hadn't done such a bad coluring job with the grey marker.


Drawing a spoon was one of the Everyday Matters challenges. I don't find the challenges all that interesting -- I naturally gravitate towards things like shoes and spoons anyway, when I'm starved for subjects. It's wandering about outside and drawing things that bugger off after they've bought their coffee that's a challenge. But I like looking at other people's journals and I am easily swayed. So now I have a spoon. I like the markers here... but I don't like the pointy tip. Why did I make the tip so pointy?

This, on the other hand, just turned out well:

It's a self-portrait. I don't know if the resemblance is all that great... but I like the results anyway.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Journal Sketches

Although I did a bit of sketching this weekend for Worldwide Sketchcrawl 12, I haven't cleaned up and scanned all the sketches yet. I did, however, scan a few small things from my first journal sketchbook, which I completed on Friday. I can't believe I've been keeping a pen-and-paper journal for six months! There's still a few pieces in there that need cleaning up and scanning, but the sketchcrawl drawings all went into a brand new book.

I noticed this weekend that an artist friend of mine had a hand-bound sketchbook. I've been saving some covers from unwanted hardcover books (if they're in the recycling bin in the loading dock, they're fair game) so that I can do the same thing sometime. Wouldn't that be awesomely cool?

Anyway, here's a few things from early November, that I never got around to scanning. First off, another meeting doodle:

I was playing with my then-new brush pens, sketching out a co-worker's hand. Some parts turned out well, some didn't. Why is one of the fingers pointy?

This hat caught my eye on the bus:

I wish people would wear more exciting hats, especially on the bus. But the only place you see fun hats any more is at the ski hill. This hat wasn't even all that colourful, it just had a striking pattern of stripes.

Last of all, I went to the bar with a bunch of grad students in early November. One of them had just finished passing his PhD defense, and in our department that meant that he had to buy beer for everyone in the deparment! This grad student was very popular and had been there for a long time, so nearly everyone showed up to drink his beer.

Of course, the people there were all students and researchers, and they talked about their research all evening long. I understand some of it, but a lot of it is too specific to their projects to be easy for me to follow... so I took advantage of the fact that they were all sitting around and I drew this scene:

The guy in the middle was a pretty good sport about the whole thing (although he did move his arm around a bunch... which is why it isn't as good as it could be). I didn't capture his face very well -- it was quite dark in there, and the light was behind him. I was mostly interested in how the light shone on his sweater, anyway.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I experimented a bit more with watercolours this weekend. This time I tried to paint more of a scene than a single object (although it's still a still life). This is my favourite chair, where I have coffee in the mornings and like to read and knit at other times. It's a Poang chair from IKEA. My husband and I each have one, and they don't really match. I'm sure that says something about us.

Anyway, there are a few things I like and dislike about how this picture turned out. I like the chair, and the contrast between the orange chair, yellow floor and green wall. I like the way I mixed the black (I have no black) and the way the reflections turned out on the armrests.

I don't like that I completely screwed up the underdrawing. Specifically, I don't like the part where I made the piano look weirdly tiny because I put it too close to the chair. I don't like the way the paint turned out on the piano. If I was going to re-do this, I'd ignore the piano, the fuzzy white cube you can barely see on the right, and maybe the lamp. It would be a stronger composition with just the chair.

I'm pretty neutral about the floor. Neil likes it. He says the blotchiness is a nice effect.

By the time I was done with the chair, the natural light in the living room was fading fast. It's December and the sun sets pretty early here. I wish I'd made the colours more varied and interesting... but I'm not quite at the point where I'm ready to go crazy with shadows. And to be fair, my furniture is fairly bland.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Take Your Daughter to Work Day

"Ned the Closet Monster was starting to enjoy "Take Your Daughter to Work" Day. The quest for an afternoon snack had gone well. He was just going through Mrs. Sneadley's chest of drawers, looking for a nice dinner camisole when the bedroom door swung open..."

I've been working on this for a couple weeks now... if you don't include the preliminary sketch I made several months ago. I'm at that stage where I am so sick of looking at this drawing... and yet... I can't help but love the kid with the sock. I imagine that closet monsters live on socks and other choice morsels from our wardrobe.

This is pencil crayon on top of marker, an interesting if time-consuming technique I may or may not have the patience for. If I had to go back and do it all again, I'd pick a different colour for the carpet.

Someone suggested that this would be a good concept for a childrens' book. I'll have to give that some serious thought. If I can come up with a decent plot, I could see this becoming a real project.

In the meantime, enjoy the cuteness!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Damned if You Do And...

It's odd, but there are two situations during which my blog suffers: when I don't draw and when I DO draw. When I don't draw, there is no reason to update the blog because I have nothing to update it with. When I DO draw, I'm too busy finishing pictures to take the time out to scan and upload them.

You're damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

So here's a couple of pictures to tide everyone over until I get my butt more properly in gear. I'm gearing up for the Sketchcrawl next weekend, but I don't know what I'm going to do about it, since everyone and their dog seems bound and determined to schedule things on that day. I will be helping one friend move house in the morning, possibly attending a craft party in the afternoon, and there's a department Christmas party I am skipping out on in the evening. So I don't know -- either I will do a lot of work and not a lot of drawing, or a lot of drawing and not a lot of work.

Anyway. Back to some pictures.


Now that that's out of the way... Here's a yoga bunny. I was trying to draw a mascot for Lagomorphosis, and she popped out. I may colour her up and put her on the banner, if I finish all my other drawings and projects soon.

Moving on, here's the inks for what I think may become my Christmas card this year, if I manage to colour it by the end of the week:

It's the Santa Burglar! Ever wonder how Santa gets down your chimney in the middle of the night? I always used to, when I was a child. Eventually I decided that the original Saint Nicholas broke into houses, just like a burglar. In my imagination, I always thought of him as a youngish man dressed all in black, who broke into your house and left you presents. This was long before I moved to Canada and became acquainted with the North American Santa. Anyway, this guy is how I imagine Santa Burglar today -- a mixture of jolly old man and semi-military special-ops gnome.

Last of all, here's a picture I did for the November Drawing Jam. The reference photos were of Leslie Bianchini, a famous Playboy centrefold from the sixties:

I don't know if it's me rebelling against all these nude models that the Drawing Jam guy seems to pick (they used to alternate men and women, but there hasn't been a male model on there since I started participating), but more and more I re-imagine all these girls as monsters and fantastic creatures. Anyway, I used a photo of a milk snake as reference for the markings on the tail. It makes her look like a snake in leopard print.

I'll try to scan a few more things in tomorrow or the day after. Not only do I have a ton of drawings to finish, but we've had a problem with our house for the past couple of weeks. We developed some holes in the house (in the middle of winter!) and mice moved in. We've been catching and releasing mice for two weeks now, and I haven't felt like doing a lot of scanning when I have a bit of downtime. I hope the mouse situation is resolved now (we sealed the holes and drove all the mice out to a nearby ravine), but there is still a bunch of stuff left to do before Christmas so... no guarantees.