Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category


I remember when I first started playing around with digital art and being frustrated at how mechanical everything looked. So I mostly gave it up since I longed for the textures you could make traditionally. More recently I’ve been using Paint Tool Sai which has made the whole traditional look a lot easier. It’s also a plus since I can experiment more in ways I’m scared to attempt hand-drawn. This is actually my second painting since I’m almost done with my first.

I started off just painting some clouds and trying to get a feel for the brushes. I mostly used the same techniques I use for pastel, gouache, and colored pencil. The first painting below was what I finished with, and then I moved it to Photoshop to edit. I was torn between all the versions below, but I ended up picking the third down. Any opinions?




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I think the first thing I notice about people is the vibe they give off.

It’s usually easy to tell who’s insecure. Pain and anger are the easiest ones to pick up on. Sometime I can tell within a couple seconds who struggles with them. Anger tends to coarsen and distort the face underneath while pain deadens and hardens the eyes.

I have a friend with a pretty face. Pain is encrusted, sort of like ice, around her eyes and it spider-webs down the rest of her face. I met her at a low point in my life. She was sitting on a couch reading a book and I drifted to her.

Some time ago I was in her dorm while she was changing her clothes. A large tattoo of a fern was on her thigh and I inquired of it. She explained that when she was young, she would often skip school to stay at home with her mother. Her mother needed her for emotional support.

“It didn’t do much good for my education,” she recalled wryly.

They’d find ferns and violets in the woods and bring them back to replant them in their yard. Then they’d drink tea, or some other beverage.

Unfortunately her mother would later develop Borderline personality disorder, and their relationship changed. After some destruction my friend moved out of her home to live with her uncle.

I talked to her about my own trust issues with some people. How sometimes it seemed like everything was going to be okay until I got hurt again. Like some vicious cycle.

“There were some times when I thought my mom changed and she was better, but she wasn’t.” She glanced at me, eyes cracking over in pain. “Don’t let your guard down.”

To my friend, the tattoo was a reminder that the fern mother was gone, and that she wasn’t coming back. It was also a reminder for her to be the fern mother to her own children should she have them.

“If I have children, I’ll see this tattoo as I’m giving birth to them. And then I’ll remember.”

That conversation was months ago. But it was recently my friend’s birthday, and I still held on to the memory of it. I drew the tiny drawing above for her present. Her mouth curved into a smile at it.

“I can’t believe you remember that,” she said.

I don’t plan to forget.

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More recently it was another friend’s birthday which meant another card. Just mixed some Ultramarine with Burnt Umber for the gray fur, and then some pink (I forget which one) to sweeten it a little. I was pretty pleased with myself about it.

kerliAt least I was pleased until I realized I’d done it on the back of an art trade. I was drawing the Estonian singer Kerli Koiv for a different friend. I suppose I could finish painting it digitally instead. Lesson learned.

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…I’ve been really busy. Between classes, work, freelance work, and trying to have a social life, I’ve been a bit more prone to unplanned naps in places that aren’t my bed.

But I’m enjoying it. I will likely be illustrating another book for an education company, so that’s exciting too.

The sketch above is supposed to be Rihanna. I did it in maybe two hours with a ballpoint pen and watercolor during a desperate break from all my projects. It’s a present for a friend who had her birthday recently. I know you probably don’t read this blog, but happy birthday Cherisse!

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skycroftI’ve recently attended a summer retreat for the youth of my church. Since I’ve been away in Korea for the past year, there were a lot of new faces and it took a little getting used to. But I’ve never seen the youth kids more on fire for God, and I’m glad I got to serve as a counselor. I wasn’t too sure if I was prepared enough to lead, but everything worked itself out in the end.

The above sketch was done while I was sun drying after being being pelted by water balloons (one of the games was “Protect the Counselor”. My group didn’t….). Someone accidentally dropped a big fat balloon in my bag, so my phone is gone. ┬áMy paint set got messy too. Well I needed a new phone anyway…

lunaI did the drawing for Luna sometime in the winter, and I realized I never actually got around to painting it. She and Professor Slughorn were my favorite characters, and I think Evanna Lynch was just perfect for her! I used watercolor, then gouache for the hair and background, and then colored pencils for the nice texture.

I miss Harry Potter =(

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It’s been a while since I’ve illustrated anything! The Fabriano hot press paper I used reacted pretty badly to the water. I’m hoping that was just a fluke, but I think it’s back to Arches for me.

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What I’ve been doing for the past couple days

IMG_0475 IMG_0490

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