Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Great Big Storm

The Great Big Storm, indeed. When I wrote this book and made the dummy last year, the effects from Hurricane Irene were still very fresh in my mind. A lot of my friends, family, and collegues were hit hard. I was inspired by the way communities came together to rebuild, and it was refreshing to see that among devastation, there was also hope.

Sandy brought on even more devastation this year (I guess she didn't want to be outdone by last October's snowstorm). My family and I were very lucky. We didn't have power for several days, but we had good running water and a gas stove...not to mention about twenty pumpkin scented candles.

Some people lost more, others lost a lot more, and then there were those who lost everything.

And yet we see communities coming together, we see politicians (at least in the tri-state area) truly not caring about politics even though it's so close to Election Day. Before we get back to normalcy, there is a part of me that cherishes the aftermath. Not the fallen-trees-and-live-wires-and-smashed-roofs part, but the part where time stands still enough for people to remember what is truly important.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Diego y la Reserva de la Biosfera

I recently finished up a long-term project that I am very excited to (finally!) make this next blog post about. I had been working through Summer '12 with some very nice Americans who were in the Peace Corps, stationed in Xichu, Mexico, in the Sierra Gorda. The town of Xichu is located in a Reserve under CONANP, or Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas. You can learn more about my client's mission through watching this short video:

My job was to help design and illustrate a children's book for the schools to circulate among the students about their role in protecting the environment that surrounds them. The story they wrote (in Spanish) "Diego y la Reserva de la Biosfera," was about a boy named Diego, who, with his classmates and community, cleans up the litter around the river that runs through their town. I really love this story the kids wrote because it serves as a reminder that change starts with us. I feel fortunate that I was chosen to be a part of this project-- and proud that a little piece of me is floating around somewhere deep in the Sierra Gorda!

And without further ado, here is the finished product:

Obviously, it's in Spanish. You guys get the gist though, right? Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sorry I dropped off of the face of the Earth, everyone. I've had little projects here and there that I didn't want shown on this blog until they were finished or used by the client. Here is one of them. It was for a political campaign over in California. I usually don't like to get involved with political matters, but I didn't think this had too much mud slinging going on, and I got to work with a really wonderful TV Producer. Since the turnover time was pretty fast for 5 illustrations, from sketch to finish, I did the paintings digitally. Someone else animated the illustrations and edited everything together, and this ad aired in San Diego over Memorial Day weekend. It was a really great experience.

You can go here to see it!

Here are the stills from it (one sketch and all finishes).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Book for Earth Day

Earth Day is today, everyone! I don't know what it's like in your neck of the woods, but here in New Jersey, we have received some much-needed precipitation after virtually a month of relentlessly sunny weather (no complaints here on either of those counts).

Many of us are familiar with the more well-known books celebrating Earth Day, such as Chris Van Allsburg's "Just A Dream" (Houghton Mifflin Company), or, perhaps most famous of all, Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" (Random House, Inc.), but here's one of MY favorites (from Worthwhile Publishers). It's a lot of fun, and very, very clever.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Happy Earth Day Weekend (And Arbor Day Week)!

We've come to that time of year. Both Earth Day and Arbor Day are upon us. I was always a little baffled at the difference between the two holidays, so close to each other and seemingly so similar--why wouldn't they just be the same day? Naturally, I did what any scholar would do to research the matter: I Googled it.

And I found that Arbor Day came first (but is always the last Friday in April), a day established to appreciate the natural environment and, traditionally, show that appreciation by planting a tree.

Earth Day came a little after, with more of an emphasis on the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" motto. It was meant to make us mindful of our overconsumption of resources and creation of pollution. In a way, Earth Day has actually expanded to the other 364 days of the year, as we are so conscious of how very "Green" we are being.

Both days are respectable and come from the purest of intentions, but I actually find the idea of Arbor Day to be more generally positive (and totally romantic!). Though I won't be planting a tree this weekend, I plan on giving a hearty squeeze to the Magnolia in front of my house. Oh, and there's this:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Drawing from the Model

One of the things I miss most about art school is the regular opportunity to draw from a live model. Often, the models we got to draw were yoga fiends, so they were able to hold some really great poses for up to ten minutes. I would try to get everything down way before the ten minutes were up, though, because I liked changing the model's age and body type to create more than one character. Personality was something I liked to play with, as well...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Back from Chicago!

As some of you may know from past blog posts (or from knowing me personally), my boyfriend is now officially a Sailor in the US Navy. To state the obvious, I am very proud of him. Not only has he completed the first phase and earned his title, but he was chosen by his peers as Honor Recruit of his Division. When I heard this I was pleased, but in no way surprised. Over this past weekend, his family and I got to spend a day with him after the graduation ceremony. Although I do wish we had more time, I'm grateful nonetheless for the time we did get, and I consider the 12 hour drive to and from Great Lakes, Illinois, so, so worth it. Besides, now I can actually call him again, which is a refreshing change from the past 2 months. I'll try to keep my military alphabet going, though!

With Russell after receiving his Honor Recruit certificate

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Lake

I've been working on a project very recently that's sort of been in the "idea" phase for quite a few years. Finally, I got the time to pound it out, and, since I never know when I could be suddenly very busy, I seized the opportunity. You may notice this is a slight shift from what I usually do, especially being that there's not a quirky character in sight. There are people in my reference photo, but I wanted this scene to just focus on the lake. I haven't done a larger scale traditional landscape in a while, and my fingers were crossed...
I began with the underdrawing and friskets, and continued to lay down color until I was happy, but it isn't finished yet. Once I do all feel I should do in watercolor, I go in with acrylic paint. Some areas will get pretty dark, and some will just get tighter with glazes. I think it makes the colors look richer in the end. Here is the reference photo I put together from the photos I had taken. For the finish, I've taken some "artistic liberties." Or, to put it more frankly, I DO WHAT I WANT.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

V is for Victor

Yesterday, February 3rd, was the final day of my Sailor's training (so now, he's officially a "Sailor"). Today I sent out his final "letter" letter. I was stumped at first as to how I would approach this little finale of sorts, when the answer leapt out at me from the blank card: Victor! Duh. Congratulations, Ship 11, Division 065! And everyone else in the other Ships and Divisions! You made it!

I told you to expect more from these two! I wasn't bluffing. Don't worry, more will come from them, and the remainder of the alphabet. Hooyah!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This post is brought to you by the letter "X."

I am determined to do this alphabet out of order, I guess. Really what I'm doing is trying to avoid "Alpha." But maybe I'll surprise myself and do it next. Anyway, folks, today's letter is "X" for "X-ray." We've all had days like this snake, here, though our candy-induced tummy aches are usually a little less severe due to the fact that

Friday, January 27, 2012

S is for Sierra

And so we come to my color sketch for "S." As sierra is Spanish for mountain range, what was the first thing to pop into my head? A mountain goat, obviously. Bleat on, everyone, and have a great weekend!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hedgehog Love

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! It's the Year of the Dragon, which just so happens to include yours truly! During this time of year, I always find I have a whole lot to be thankful for (especially for the past five years). So, to show a little love for the New Year, here's my contribution. Enjoy it in good health. I hope it makes you feel all fuzzy prickly inside.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I shall call him Geoffrey!

I didn't know why at first, but my past "B for Bravo" color sketch left me feeling like it slightly missed the mark. In my next color sketch for "G," I figured out why. I left out a character element. The "B" itself didn't have quite enough life to it to carry the idea. I hope I remedied that, though, with my new letter. G is for Golf, everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2012

B is for...

Back from Boston and, boy, that bus was barely bearable. I meant to bounce right back into blogging, but I was going bonkers from sending out my first round of promo-pieces. And coming up with "b" words...which brings me back to my military alphabet. More specifically, "B." For Bravo, of course.

There are many things to applaud today, speaking of Bravo. Dr. King for one, and all he's done for our humanity. For another thing, at least in New Jersey, the sun is out and brilliant, maybe just for him. Finally, I'd like to send a great big round of Bravo over to our troops and our military all over the world. So I suppose, to be COMPLETELY American today, I'll just sum it up for one great BRAVO to the freedom we have to fight for our dreams, however big or small they may be...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

F is for Foxtrot

I've decided that the only way to go with this military phonetic alphabet is out of order. I do what I want! This just went out today. What better way to portray a foxtrot than with actual foxes, right? Besides, up until 1957, the code for "F" was just "fox." So here's a little throwback to that:
Not sure if the "F" is obvious enough, but maybe the letters could vary more in style and tightness (the "R" was quite a bit tighter). Again, these are really only color sketches to what could become a larger project. Hope you enjoy!

***Also, a minor correction: My apologies. I mentioned in an earlier post that "B" was Beta, when it's actually "Bravo." Incidentally, that would be MUCH more fun to illustrate.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


Already, I'm breaking my own rules. I told myself only to send fun military-related material to the Naval base in Great Lakes. Does this look like a letter of the alphabet to you? That's because it's not.

I do quite enjoy the company of this cat though, and I really ought to name it. Expect more to come from him, by the way.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anchors Aweigh!

Graduating from Pratt was not the only major change in my life for 2012: my boyfriend of five years decided to pursue his dream of becoming a part of the US Navy. While it's a great institution to be a part of, basic training can be bleak, repetitive, and lonely. He tells me in his letters that the two best things that can happen to you are getting mail and getting a cookie at lunch. Obviously, I write him letters (no other contact allowed!), but I am an illustrator, and feel I must step up my game a bit.

I'll sometimes sketch out Navy or military-related drawings that serve a dual purpose of helping him remember things like the military alphabet code, where letters are represented by words. For example, this blog could be called "don't forget the double 'echo.'" Or that the leaf on a lot of the Navy "stuff" is from the Oak...

These drawings are really not what I call "finals," more like ideas to build on for future projects. Here's the first letter from the military alphabet I did. I chose "R," which is "Romeo." (I also chose "R" because it's the first initial of my sailor's name, and because "Alpha," "Beta," and "Charlie," are, for now a challenge I don't want to attack!)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Beginnings!

Just when I was beginning to get used to writing the date "2011," Father Time pulled a fast one on me and I have to get used to the idea of it being 2012. It'll be July before I have it down. Ah, well, Happy New Year, everyone!

Likewise, just when I was beginning to get used to having a student's lifestyle forever (I went to Rutgers for two years prior to Pratt), I graduated. After seven semesters at Pratt Institute, my seemingly endless career as an "art student" finally came to a close just in time for the New Year. For most, graduating is both exciting and terrifying. And leaving the school you thought you had come to resent is actually a lot more difficult once you realize just how much you truly loved it. In the beginning, graduating in December for me was peculiar, because I felt a bit like I was in limbo: I was a man without a country. I had my first senior semester in Spring 2011, and my final senior semester in Fall 2011. I soon realized, though, that it was more like having dual citizenship: the best of both worlds. I had come to know and befriend the seniors of both 2011 and 2012. Not only that, but ending school in December means that you have up until January 1st to unpack and unwind. You have time to get your s**t together. It's easier to hit the ground running. Which is exactly what I plan on doing. Here's to 2012.