Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve!!  Here's hoping that 2012 turns out to be a great year (and not the end of the world)!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Animal Encounters Part 4

Another blast from the past!  I think this is a mule or donkey - I can't remember.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Photo with Billy and Emily

Upon my niece's direction, here is a drawing of Billy and Emily with their parents, taking a family photo together.  And the cackling aunts are giggling in the corner.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas with Billy and Emily

Billy and Emily had a great Christmas this year!  The highlight for Billy was the set of toy drums he received (not great for the rest of the family and our hearing), and the highlight for Emily was a Dorothy from Wizard of Oz costume, complete with a toy dog Toto.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Holiday Run

My mom, sisters, and I did a 6 mile run around DC on Monday.  It was a beautiful day and pretty fun (for a run of course) and we rewarded ourselves afterwards with some Potbelly sandwiches (which my mom mistakenly called Fat Belly).  So here is us as pugs, with my oldest sister in the lead (she organized the run), my mom second (running for her is a breeze), my middle sister third (in the middle of one of her sprints), and me last (notice my tail and tongue are down).

Monday, December 26, 2011

Outer Space

I did this quick sketch during the holidays, as dictated by my 4 year-old niece.  I asked her what I should draw and she said Sunny and bunny should be in outer space, near Jupiter.  I enjoy making Sunny and bunny into Michelin tire men.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Inappropriate Christmas Gift

Sunny wanted to pop out of a gift box as a surprise and I'm afraid she got her ideas mixed up and ended up doing an inappropriate Christmas gift to the horror of bunny and the shock of Santa Claus.  Scandalous!

Friday, December 23, 2011


Just a quick sketch for this week's Illustration Friday's theme of Messenger since I'm busy preparing for the holidays today!  Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Keeping An Eye Out For Santa

Christmas is almost here!  Sunny and Bunny can't wait and are keeping an eye out for Santa.  They're a bit concerned as to how he's going to come down the chimney when the fire is blazing.  Sunny is also hoping Santa won't notice that she ate some of his cookies.  Tsk tsk Sunny.

Animal Encounters Part 3

Another blast from the past at the zoo!  Here we've got some magpies up top, some chubby lil prairie dogs in the middle, and a sad lil donkey at the end.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Animal Encounters Part 2

Another blast from the past at the zoo.  Here are some seals and owls.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Octopus Defeated!

I didn't want to leave Sunny and bunny in a lurch in my last post for Illustration Friday's "sink" theme, so I decided to make a happy ending for their octopus adventure.  Sunny is grilling up some octopus while bunny is relaxing with a cocktail.  I think bunny deserves it after being a bad ass and saving Sunny's large butt.  They're a little bruised and sore, but happy to be alive and about to eat a huge feast!

I'm also using this for an Illustration Friday post for the theme "grounded" since Sunny and bunny are grounded on the beach after their ocean adventures!

Friday, December 16, 2011


This is for the Illustration Friday topic "sink."  Sunny and bunny are sinking in the ocean as a result of an octopus-related adventure.  Sunny's tail is coveted by all, including a ginormous octopus.  Don't worry, bunny has her back and will rescue her!  At first I was going to have the octopus grabbing Sunny's leg, but I liked the image of her getting pulled down by her tail.  Makes for a much more roly poly posture too.

See the continuation of the octopus adventure in my next post here.

My Sister, The Little Spoon in Color and Block Print - Process

I decided to redo My Sister, The Little Spoon (original ink drawing here) in color.  I also did another block print, but I think I could've done this without it since I ended up tightening up lines and brushing over it.

First I sketched it out in pencil.  I tried tracing at first but I hate tracing paper.  I hated it as a kid, and now that I've tried it again I have renewed my hate.  So  I had to freehand it, which was fine for the most part but I had difficulty getting the face right.
I did a block print for just the blanket.  I contemplated doing it for the carpet and walls but decided to keep this one smaller and quicker.  I kinda like the look of the ink sketch with the stark single color print on the blanket.
Then I painted in the rest using my gouache paints.  I like watercolors better than gouache generally but when I'm doing the ink prints, I feel like gouache is safer for layering with the ink but to get the watercolor effect is tough since the gouache dries so quickly.
I decided the blanket looked too messy and so I smoothed out the ink using just water and a brush, and then added some outline to the blanket and pattern.
Looking at the finished product I realized that I probably wasted time doing the block print since I could have just painted this.  I think I might use the block prints in a different way going forward - like above with just the ink and the single color print.  It's a bit more stark and stylized so the imperfection in the print doesn't look so unusual like it does when it's juxtaposed with traditional paint.  I dunno - I'll just keep playing around with this and see...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lurker at Sea in Color and Block Print - Process Post

So I decided to redo Lurker at Sea (original ink sketch here) in color and use a block print (my current obsession).  I thought the block print would work perfectly for the waves.  It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be (even harder than the stamps!) but I learned a lot along the way.

First I traced my old Lurker at Sea on tracing paper after lining the shape of the linoleum block as the outer boundaries.
Then I tried transferring the drawing onto the linoleum block.  Uh that didn't go so well and most of the lines were too blurry to make out.  I redrew them on the block.
Next up was carving up the block.  This was my first time carving linoleum.  It's way harder to carve up than the Speedball Speedy-Cut Block I used for the pug stamps and at the end of the carving my right hand and wrist hurt so much!  Is there any way to do this without getting carpal?  On the other hand (hehe), in some ways linoleum was easier than the Speedy-Cut because it was easier to get some really thin and small cuts.  The Speedy-Cut is so soft it gives too easily sometimes.

I forgot to take process photos when carving (the throbbing in my hand must've made me forget), so I took some photos of the carved up block now.  It has a bit of ink residue on it.  I also included my muse in these photos.

Pug on pug
She's really sleepy and used to me putting objects on/around her and sticking my camera in her face.
It's a little curved now I think from the water after I rinsed off ink a few times.
It took several tests before I got the block to where I wanted it.  I had to carve a lot deeper than I thought.  After a test stamp I'd go back and carve some more and then do another test stamp.  I got a little impatient and decided to move forward after I got a semi-decent print.  I can always go back and clean it up more, and I was planning on painting over some of the ink anyways.
Those white dots bug me on the whale.  I think those were little linoleum nubbies that got stuck in the paint.  Argh!  Another lesson I learned is that you need the right paper to do a print.  I wanted to do it on watercolor paper since I planned on painting the whale and boat but the hot-pressed paper I had showed too much texture in the waves.  I had always planned on painting over the whale to add some dimension to it and distinguish it from the waves since I only have one blue-colored ink.  So I decided to paint over the waves too.  I may try another one on different paper and keep the waves strictly as a print, since I love the look of an ink print.

Next up I just used water and a brush to smooth out the whale.  I love ink.  It has such a great transparency to it.
Then I smoothed out the waves a bit and added some outlines using a 0.1 copic pen.
Then I used my gouache paints to paint the boat, pug and bunny.  I also added some layers of blue, green, and purple to the whale and waves. (Sorry for the crooked photos, for some reason I have real issues with making things straight.)
Here's a photo with the original ink sketch, the carved up linoleum block, and the finished product.
And here's the finished product.  The last thing I did was use a white gel pen to clean up the whale eye (I messed up the block print with that - I had carved out a piece for the white of the eye but I guess it wasn't deep enough) and the waves.
I really enjoy doing block printing but it's hard on the hand and more labor intensive than I'm used to.  I will definitely be doing more later on.

Lurker at Sea in Color (Plus Block Print)

I redid Lurker in Sea (original ink drawing here) using a block print and then layering some pen lines and gouache paints.  I also did a process post here

I'm also using this for an Illustration Friday theme of "fluid" since I'm traveling and I thought this fit nicely with the theme. I also really enjoyed doing this with a block print and trying to get the waves to look as fluid as possible in their stylized way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Animal Encounters Part 1

Another blast from the past.  This is from a series of drawings I did during a zoo visit when I was younger.  I have a soft spot for animals and I always enjoy drawing them.  Here's a diagonal Indian rhino

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Attempt at Block Printing

I recently have become enamored with block printing.  I have an idea for it in one of my paintings that is still in process (still in stage one - idea in my head) and wanted to try some small stamps first just for fun.  I discovered two things: (1) This is way harder than I thought, especially to get an even thin line; and (2) I really need better lighting in my apartment because my eyes hurt after staring so closely as I carved these up.

So my first attempt was a full bodied pug, but I had issues with getting the thin line just right and lost a lot of details in the face.  I should've started bigger, because it was really hard getting in some of those narrow crevices.  My second attempt was just the head of a bow tie pug.  That one was much easier to do.

Here are the stamps.  I got lazy at the end since it's getting late and used a stamp pad to ink it instead of using the block printing ink that came with the kit.  Although now I kinda regret it since the ink stained the stamps a bit.

Practice makes perfect of course so I'll continue to play around with these.  It is fun to do but it was just harder and took longer than I anticipated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lion King

Another blast from the past.  I was obsessed with Disney as a kid, both from a viewer's point of view and also from an artist's point of view.  My dream when I was little was to be a Disney animator.  I draw pictures of various Disney characters all the time when I was younger.  When I went to animation summer school my love for Disney was looked down upon by the other students who preferred the edgier or artsier stuff.  I was so sheltered and while I now love all sorts of different art and animation, I still think there's nothing wrong with holding onto a bit of that Disney love.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Madame X

I came across an old sketchbook of mine from high school at my parents' house recently.  It made me feel totally nostalgic as I walked through memory lane.  I think I'll post some of my old drawings on here.  The sketchbook had mostly animal drawings but had some other random stuff.  I have always loved John Singer Sargent and was especially obsessed with his paintings when I was younger.  Here's a very simply lined profile of Madame X.

Arrested Development Chickens

Who knows.  Maybe that's really how chickens sound and move.  Maybe Lucille, George, Lindsay, and Gob had it right?

I've been rewatching Arrested Development episodes recently and those chicken interpretations crack me up each time.  I can't decide which I like best - I'm undecided among George's, Lindsay's, and Gob's.  Such a great show!

Friday, December 9, 2011


This week's Illustration Friday theme is "separated."  Sometimes a little bit of separation is a good thing.  I think my pug believes that there's a secret exit in the bathroom and anytime I go in it I might escape and abandon her.  I've tried reassuring her that that's not the case and that I am fully capable of peeing by myself.  But she disagrees.  On both points.

Monday, December 5, 2011


This week's Illustration Friday topic is "brigade."  I just came back from a week long vacation where I totally zoned out and relaxed so I really struggled with an idea for this one.  Of course I'd have to do a pug brigade, but other than that I had no clue what to do.  So here's the idea that finally popped in my head.  A pug brigade for Operation Raid The Trash Can.

On another note, I finally got a real scanner so instead of taking photos of my drawings, I can now scan them easily!  I'm super happy with it so far, but it does take up a bit of space and I'm still figuring out how to use it. I still tweak my pictures a bit afterwards because I like higher contrast and exposure.  But at least the lighting is finally even!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pigeon Moocher

Pigeons are always trying to steal food.  This poor little squirrel is trying to protect his lil acorn from the curious pigeon.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Persimmons Can Be Dangerous

This post is in honor of my middle sister's birthday today.  Happy birthday!
My sister was picking some persimmons from a tree in her backyard recently and one plopped on her face and gave her a black eye!  My family felt bad for her but also found this incredibly hilarious.
I encouraged her to eat the persimmon.  Her face had cracked it a bit.  I told her she should own that persimmon and punish it by eating it.  Show it who's boss.  And she did.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Run or Nap?

This post is in honor of my oldest sister's birthday today.  Happy Birthday!
My oldest sister is an avid runner.  She actually ran a marathon one weekend and then a half marathon the next.  Madness.  Sometimes she tries to convince me to go running with her.  Sunny and I would rather nap.

Advantage to Having a Pug #5

#5 - Free vacuum

I mean you still have to vacuum for dirt/dust/etc. but don't worry, your lil pug will clean up any piece of food or crumbs you drop.  People say that pugs are food driven, but maybe they're just trying to be nice and helpful by cleaning up after you and making sure no food gets wasted?