Wednesday, November 14, 2012


A friend of mine posted this on facebook. Trying hard to not think about how many of these mistakes I make, all the time. Click Through to read all seven. It's well worth it.

by Kristina Gehrmann.

1. Selling yourself as a beginner

I found a prime example of this in a forum for artists seeking work. The thread title was „Starting-out artist looking for a chance",, and the thread told that the artist is „looking for a client for whom I may draw" and has  „just graduated from art college". We all were at this point once, but usually it takes too long to realize that „beginner" is the wrong mindset, even if you are one. Such statements sound like excuses and are guaranteed to weaken your position. Don't make excuses. Do not justify your work, and do not justify your prices. This is a tricky habit to acquire since we're not very confident by nature, but remember the image you want to project, no matter what your actual experience level, is this: 'I am a professional illustrator. I know what I am doing. I am successful. I'm on the same level with my client and in an equally strong position. I am not a clueless servant but a business partner and expert who finds problem solutions.' To recap: you are not looking for a „chance". You are not „allowed" to draw for the generous benefactor client who might even pay you a little. You are a professional business (regardless of your actual experience and portfolio) acting as such, and deserving to be treated as such.      

~ read more 
meanwhile... here. I went to another life drawing session over the weekend. (NSFW)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All Quiet Like

My latest post over at the Inkpunks, a bit about twitter:

"....My own relationship with twitter has been a shifting, morphing thing. In the spring of 2010 I was trying to get back into art making by drawing every day. I happened to discover an active twitter community of artists doing the same thing and sharing via the hashtag #draw365. I am absolutely certain I would not be where I am now if it was not for that online creative community being a place to get my my feet under me again as an artist...." ~read more 

Also, and this is purely random, today is the second day in a row that I've walked over to the local rose garden and just smelled the roses.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

new scanner, life drawings (NSFW) & sore leg sketches

Finally got a scanner with a bit more room to move around in. This one. With an 11x16-ish scanning surface.

So now when I break out the watercolors on the big pad of 14 x 17 inch paper, I CAN SCAN IT. Mostly.

Here's from a recent life drawing session.

marker, pen and watercolor on 14 x 17 inch paper
pen and watercolor on 14 x 17 inch paper

And also on just regular old 9 x 12 inch sketch paper, something the old scanner would have winced at.
ball point pen on 9 x 12 inch paper

Just for kicks, here's a few sketches doodled this weekend while driving home from a race in Southern Utah. I thumbed through a running magazine and drew from the photos in it's glossy pages, trying to take my mind off my sore legs.

micron pen over several pages of sketchbook

Excited to have a scanner again. Planning on using real drawing-on-paper stuff in some of my upcoming work. (Ooh, btw, have you seen this Wolverine movie poster?)

And, that's all. Just had to share.

Now for randomness... here's an open letter to a beloved busy person. It's a must read.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Art Nerd Post, J. H. Williams: Batwoman + Wonder Woman

My latest Art Nerd post is a bit of a fan girl squee because BATWOMAN IS TEAMING UP WITH WONDERWOMAN!!! And artist J. H. Williams is fabulous.

Batwoman makes a house call to Wonder Woman. Batwoman #12. Art by J. H. Williams.

Artist J.H. Williams, who came to Batwoman in 2009 with Greg Rucka, has a whole flickr set dedicated to his work with Kate Kane donning the cowl and gives this glimpse into how he created the cover for #13 (with grievances about the final design decisions.). In addition, he has this to say about artistic considerations for working with these two major icons in one storyline:
“We’re super excited to be tackling Wonder Woman for a bit in the upcoming arc of ‘Batwoman, but also feel a sense of trepidation and responsibility, with her probably being the most iconic female hero of all time in comics. We needed to approach her with reverence and respect. And also wanted to give her a sense of purity in how she is drawn, something clear in her appearance, overt and forward. Now doing this, and then setting her next to Batwoman produces fascinating juxtapositions of their styles and nature of their characters. Batwoman being shadowy and a bit withdrawn, Wonder Woman being bold and vibrant. They do have things in common with their sense of purpose, but yet also things that make them quite different from each other, and them coming together brings out complimentary aspects much in the same way Batman and Superman do for each other as characters. The result is a compelling union of two iconic women that bring balance to how they can be perceived.” ~J.H. Williams, via Comic Book Resources.
~read more

So this issue is SITTING RIGHT HERE BESIDE ME but I haven't had time yet to do more than thumb through it and drool just a bit. Mostly, I love that on the first page Kate heartbreaks just a tiny bit over Diana.  More later.  Here's a preview.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

rushed and talentless (plus misc)

Ha! Just kidding with the title. Well, only sort of: it sums up the two thoughts on my mind right now.

First, in Episode 44 of 3chicks review comics, Kelly Thompson talked about Catwoman #0 with art by Adriana Melo and commented that the art is just not very good and maybe was that there was a time crunch to get the issue out so she was rushed and not able to perform to her usual standard. (The cover of that issue by Guillem March had already raised a ruckus previous to hitting the shelves.)  Catwoman #0 is in a stack somewhere here on my desk, I just haven't had a chance to open it and make my own opinion. But rushing to get stuff done is something I'm have a love-hate relationship with.

Second, Over at Muddy Colors, artist Greg Manchess shared a few thoughts about Talent:

"...There’s no evidence that talent actually exists. Nothing in the DNA studies points to some mysterious gene that can be identified as a talent for art, photography, painting, basketball, pinball, running, medicine, etc. Talent is built, not possessed. If it’s in the epigenetic material, it would’ve been there since the dawn of man. Clearly, Cro-Magnon man did not have a gene for ping pong.... Loads of creative people believe they have a gift for what they do. Frankly, they just have a poor memory for remembering that when they were young, they were training themselves to learn. I’ve followed quite a number of great creative people who will simply tell you they have no talent, never did, and had to work their arses off to get to where they are. Trust those guys." ~read more

And now the misc: I have a new Art Nerd post about starting my own pull list at my comic shop including Saga and Captain Marvel: 
"Admission: I’ve never bought weeklies at a comic store before. (Was always intimidated about plunging into the middle of a story line and getting lost in some crossover.) But when I heard about two new and intriguing comic series coming out I jumped at the chance to get in on the action from the beginning. First, over at Image comics, Brian K. Vaughan has teamed up with Fiona Staples to create Saga, an epic sci fi/fantasy for mature audiences that tells the story of Alana and Marco, new parents on the run from authorities in a galactic war.  Then in the Marvel Universe Kelly Sue Deconnick is writing a brand new story arc for Ms Marvel, now as Captain Marvel! (Art by Dexter Soy.) Two vastly different comics both of which I’m enjoying immensely so thought I’d share with the FN crowd." ~read more 
On that note, a few more things I've added to my pull list: Batwoman, Stumptown, and Transfusions. In addition, Captain Marvel is now being drawn by Emma Rios, which I am quite enjoying. Plus I just got my hands on the 5 issue run of Caitlin Kiernan's Alabaster Wolves, which I got mostly for the cover art by Greg Ruth and ended up loving the story and interior art as well.

Alright, that's all for now. Back to work. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

stuff on my mind right now.

One of my IMC friends, Marc Scheff, put this together the other day. It's been on my mind a lot lately. (Here's the high res version on his website.)
via Marc Scheff.

I spend a good amount of time "drawing" right now. But not so much just doing the studies and sketching I used to. I need to fix that.

BTW, here's my latest BookLifeNow post, on Finding Balance. (Finding time to sketch more fits right in there).

Meanwhile.... I need to do something about my computer, cuz I get this problem almost every day now :-/

Monday, September 17, 2012

client freelancer relationship.

"Sir, 'we're not the taco stand"

(But, honestly, sometimes I do feel like the taco stand.)

As an aside, here are two BookLifeNow posts very much on my mind lately: Dealing With Burnout, by Lillian Cohen-Moore, and Time Is Your Currency, by Bear Weiter. Then fellow IMC artist Nick Kay does a tough love critique of a common fb "artist" meme. Then there's Mike Monterio waxing eloquent on the topic of f*ck you, pay me.

I have a hard time talking about money. I have a hard time asking for money.  Also, I have a hard time saying no.  Some lessons come slowly.

Anyhooo... in other news,  Here's an illustration that I did.. wow, back in February. It just went live over at Scapezine (with Liz Hahn's story, "Chrysalides").  I truly do love how this one turned out.

Feeling, lately, that I'm in a rut. Need to shake it off.  Get my balance back. Get my head back in the game.

Monday, July 16, 2012

grist in the artistic mill

Over at Tor there's a lovely write up of what artist Dave McKean has been doing lately: Science, Belief, and an Origami Crab. (via his panel at the SDCC titled: Dave McKean: My Two Years with Dawkins, Christ, and a Small Crab Called Eric:)

So many reasons to like this artist, but this excerpt in particular caught my heart: 

“I’m not a scientist and I’m not a believer, but I’m fascinated by belief.” For [Dave McKean], it’s all grist for the artistic mill."
Yeah, that pretty much sums up my own grinding process, too.

And now, here, a lovely ink piece by Dave:
winged, by Dave McKean

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Storytelling with Ian Mccaig.

Today over at the Inkpunks blog I posted about what Ian shared at the Illustration Masters Class on how to take a character idea and flesh it out into a whole storyline:
"The very first question Ian asked, for every character idea I pitched to him. was: “What does your character WANT”. (A bit of a tricky question, I found.) Once we had established what my character wanted Ian used a three act structure to help me nail down the plot line with pivotal steps strategically placed along the way.* He used Star Wars as his example (of course) and so I’ll do like wise.
Okay. Here we go... " (read more)
(Meanwhile... I really haven't had much chance to go and revisit the story I started there. I'm working on exciting stuff coming up in other places: Currently finishing illustrations for issue 2 of the Fireside magazine and art for the Geek Love Anthology. Gearing up to do the internal art for Dark Depths by Wendy N. Wagner. And I just got new fiction from Lightspeed to work with. Loving all of it. But aiming to look at ways to make sure I carve out time for little start of a something that happened at the Illustration Masters Class.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cairn at Slater Woods.

One of the things I loved about the IMC was everyone working from the same handful of assignments.  Innumerable ways each could be interpreted, everyone bringing their own particular skill set and working method to the project. Several people working on the same story but with incredibly diverse outcomes.

The story that I picked, Our Human, was also tackled by quite a few very talented individuals at the IMC (like Nick Kay, for example) and was illustrated for TOR by John Jude Palencar.

One of the other assignments was The Cairn in Slater Woods. (A story involving a red-headed ghost, a cairn, and a forest with bottles hanging from trees.) Here is Marc Scheff's version, a work in progress look at Lauren K Cannon's interpretationPaige Carpenter's take on it, and also Mark Williams.

And here is the version that Irene Gallo commissioned Eric Fortune to do.

It got me thinking.  About finding "my ways" of doing things. "My Style."  Just something that's been on my mind a lot lately.  So, on a whim, I tried my own hand at Cairn in Slater Woods:

Not displeased with this first try. I may do another couple of versions. For diversity. for practice? I may try my hand at all of the other IMC assignments. For diversity. For practice. For portfolio building.
Just a thought.
(In my copious spare time, yah?)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I recently started going to the local life-drawing session, to brush up on some rusty skills. Initially I was just using a ball point pen on paper. But that got boring after a while, so I started playing with mixing pen and watercolor pencils, then, finally, I decided to break out my old (long unused) fold-able travel sized watercolor palette.

I'd forgotten how much I miss this.

Last night was the session where they do one long pose with the model in costume.  She was wearing this amazing wide pleated green skirt that hung in heavy folded drapes around her legs. After a few initial pencil studies, I started painting, aiming for artistic interpretation and exaggeration rather than realistic rendering. 
Here's what came of it:

I am not displeased, and looking forward to doing more.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

illustrating Ghost River Red.

Ghost River Red by Aidan Doyle just went live over at lightspeed magazine. It is a stunningly rich story: when it showed up in my inbox with a request for an illustration I could hardly contain my self. Every part of the story is lush with incredible imagery and symbolism. And COLOR. Oh the color. (Read the author interview here for more about it). Many thanks to John Remy who helped me with some image reference for the story.

Here's few snapshots of how the piece came together:

I started out sketching in the forest setting and experimenting with various iaido sword fighting stance:

I really wanted to show the fact that Akamiko was elderly (an awesome aspect of the story),  so I  tried several variations with gray or white hair:

I ultimately went with a dark haired Akamiko for design purposes. And finally limited myself to one sword as well (that was also hard: the story has some pretty powerful symbolism linked to the various colored swords):

Halfway through, I realized the image would be stronger if I flipped the whole thing:

A bit further along I realized the image would be stronger still if I flipped Akamiko:

And, finally finished. 

created in Photoshop, cs3, with an intuos 4 tablet.

Monday, June 25, 2012

what summer looks like.

when you are a fledgling freelance illustrator with a young kid at home.
Me, working on my laptop, next to my kid, playing games & doing homework on his laptop.
(anyone got any great suggestions at keeping an 8 yr old entertained while you work? I'm running out of them)

Life Drawing

This needs to happen more.

life drawing session at the Illustration Masters Class

recent drawing session at the Tucson Drawing Studio

recent drawing session at the Tucson Drawing Studio

recent drawing session at the Tucson Drawing Studio

from the session at the IMC

from the session at the IMC

from the session at the IMC
Many thanks to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, the Illustration Masters class, and the Tucson Drawing Studio, for getting me back into it after so very long.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Illustration Masters Class. After the Fact.

IMC faculty: Rebecca Guay, Donato Giacola, Dan Dos Santos, Ian McCaig, Gerald Brom, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Greg Manchess, Scott Fischer, Doug Alexander, and Irene Gallo.

It's been over a week since I got home from the Illustration Masters Class: took me this long to just catch up on sleep and try to get back into the 'real life' routine.

What a ride that was.
I went to the IMC with some ambivalence over what I wanted to get out of the week. I'd selected Adam-Troy Castro's "Our Human" because the story was profoundly intriguing to me, but found myself struggling to draw the alien characters. I hoped to get experience with creating a graphic novel but the emphasis of the IMC was more for painting than comic art. My initial attempts to take a scene from Our Human and panel it out were very disappointing. What was I thinking anyways? In last minute desperation I came up with a quickly roughed out single image that could be my back up for an illustration piece if the comic idea totally fell through.

My first Critique session was with Julie Bell, Donato Giacola, and Gerald Brom.  They all completely ignored my pathetic story panel samples and went right for my last minute illustration sketch. To my surprise, they liked it! They were intrigued by the graphic nature of the piece and it's spooky tone, we had a great conversation about ways to deal with the content etc...  WIN.   

Julie Bell, Donato Giacola, and Gerald Brom

But I had spent all that time trying to work Our Human into  graphic novel. And even though the emphasis of the week was more on painting, so many of the instructors here had lots of experience in sequential art as well...  (Did I mention I had ambivalence over my goals for the week?)  I was pretty sure I could pull off the single illustration with time to spare, so I decided to get some feedback on my poor little comic panels as well.  There was a few open slots left in a crit session with Irene Gallo, Scott Fischer, and Doug Alexander, I threw my stuffs up on the wall there to see what they'd say. This crew went immediately to my comic pages and Doug walked me through a better panel layout, focusing on content, point of view, visual clues, etc.  ::AWESOME::  I was set.

The Our Human single illustration sat untouched on my desktop while I worked over my panels, revisiting the dialogue in the story, working at ways to tailor the written scene into sequential art, getting additional feedback from Dan Dos Santos, Greg Manchess, and Boris Vallejo.

 Everyone kept saying "Make sure you talk to Rebecca Guay and Ian McCaig, they really know comics".

So, on the second day I finally caught up with Ian.

The first thing he asked when I showed him my work in progress was: 
"Why aren't you turning one of your own stories into a comic?"
That was not what I expected, at all.
"You have story ideas, right?" He asked.  Well sure, don't we all?  But they're just ideas, characters, not fully formed, not ready for THIS. "Of course they're ready, I'll help you" Ian said.  Well wow, how can I say no to that? He sat down with me and I pitched a few of my story ideas to him (which was intimidating, to say the least). Together we picked one and he walked me through the ground work of laying the plot line (more about that later).  After that I scurried back to my laptop, this time to open a word document where I spent until 4:30 am outlining my story. No more aliens. Now I have a young tormented young girl with some difficult genetic traits, who's about to have all her bridges burned.

Then I hit a wall. The next morning I was exhausted, struggling to write the story and come up with scenes to panel out, overwhelmed with imagery I wasn't sure I could pull off in the short time remaining. I didn't know what to do. I talked to Brom. I talked to Rebecca. I looked at all the work the other students were doing (so many awesome people there). I took a nap. Then, a bit sheepishly, I put the word document and the new character studies on the back burner and went back to the illustration for Our Human.

Tall eerie aliens against a desolate landscape, standing watch over their waste of an atrocious human...  Oh yes, I love the images in this story.

(It wasn't until after the fact that I saw John Jude Palencar had gone with a similar theme for his illustration of the story. That was a humbling comparison.) 

But what was I going to tell Ian when I saw him again? (He had been so excited...)  Also, I really LIKED brushing off that story idea from so long ago and working on it. What do I do with that?

Well, I multi-tasked the rest of the week. Devoting all my official working hours to Our Human, but  keeping that 'other thing' warming on the back burner as the days progressed.  (Doing quick character sketches and thumb-nailing scenes during lectures and down time.)

(Did I mention I didn't sleep much during this week?)

By Wednesday evening, I finished the final for Our Human. So Thursday, the last full work day of IMC, I dived back into the comic. I managed to pull out two sample pages. The story is still very much in the rough stages.  I suck at knowing what to put in those word bubbles. I'm still working through characters studies and setting... But it's a start. And not a bad launch point for exiting IMC; a whole new project to keep working on. Now to finish the story.

Anyhow, there you go. My IMC experience.  I'm looking forward to next year. (More pics here)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Aliens for IMC. First round of character studies.

In about a week I'll land in Amherst Campus for the Illustration Masters Class

Out of the list of assignments given us by Irene Gallo, I selected "Our Human" by Adam-Troy Castro (Copyright 2012 Adam-Troy Castro).

Here is my first round of character studies for the various alien races from "Our Human" (images produced by arrangement with the author.)


(click on the images for a larger view)

Character 1: the leader, a militant, armored, quadripedal alien.

Character 2: the translator, a  secretive, reptilian, bipedal alien.

And also: a village full of primitive, mystic, three-gendered aliens:

This is me just working out the feel of the various characters. (Any and all feedback is welcome: I found attempting to draw aliens to be unexpectedly difficult.)

Next, I will be doing thumbnails to panel out a scene from the story into a two page comic. I have several scenes in mind, so I'll have to play around a bit to find that one which I'll nail to the wall on that first day in Amherst for the initial critique.

So there you go. #Amdrawing.

Friday, May 25, 2012

IMC: starting the prep work.

Well, I've picked my Illustration Masters Class assignment

I'm going to be attempting cover art and a two page graphic novel segment for Our Human, by Adam-Troy Castro.  (Ambitious, I know. I may have to go with one or the other and if that's the case, I think I'll go for the two page spread. But don't hold me to that.)

The brief description/instructions provided by Irene Gallo:

A science fiction short story with an anthroprological feel.
Include at least one human and one alien figure.
"On a savage backwater world, the last ragged survivors of an expedition to hunt down the infamous war criminal known as The Beast Magrison set off into an inhospitable wilderness in search of the alien village that may be sheltering this beast. The hunters are aliens from two different species, the village is inhabited by strange aliens of yet another species, and Magrison himself is no sterling advertisement for humanity. Who’s human in this situation? The answer may surprise and upset you. This novella from acclaimed SF writer Adam-Troy Castro explores the fate of the dread Magrison. Readers can find out more about the world that spawned Magrison by tracking down his Andrea Cort novels, Emissaries from the Dead and The Third Claw of God."

Why did I pick this one?

I wish I could give you a really good answer for that: I have not read either of Castro's Andrea Cort novels (tho they are now in my queue) nor any of his other work, plus science fiction illustrating is a weaker area for me.

But, the story is amazing. And as I read it, various scenes jumped out at me with full visuals blooming in my head. And it's not hard sf: for example I won't need to kill myself trying to draw the interiors of a space ship.

So there you go.

Now I just need to start some initial characters studies for the brutish, militant Barath, the secretive translator, Mukh'than,  the village of timid three gendered Trivids, and.... The Human, Magrison. A ravaged waste of flesh wheezing out his last breaths in a mud hut.

(May 30th update, you can now read Our Human at TOR. Illustrated by John Jude Palencar.) 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


life drawing at Spectrum Fantastic Live

This past weekend, I took a trip to Kansas City for the Spectrum Fantastic Art Live event.  A tremendous amount of amazing happened there, but one of the highlights for me was the live drawing session held Friday night. 
I was attending with Jacob Ruby and Marlyse Comte and they had come armed with iPads and app after app of drawing goodies.  After I had filled several pages from my paper sketchbook, Jacob was kind enough to let me commandeer his iPad for a spin through the next few poses, and I was hooked.

I do have an iPad, but it's old, entry level.... plus... my offspring lays claim to it.

I may just have to rectify this situation eventually.

Anyhow, a glimpse at some of my iPad life drawings (using Sketch Club, and LiveSketch HD


 ((ironically, I came home and showed the apps to my kid, he proceeded to completely blow me away, doing things with the apps I didn't even know were possible.))

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Illustration Masters Class. It Begins.

Yesterday, as part of the forthcoming Illustration Masters Class of '12,  I got an email from Rebecca Guay: The Assignments! Selected by IMC core faculty art director, Irene Gallo.

IMC is one week long, crammed full of critiques, demos, and lectures by a heavy-hitting star-studded line up of Core and Guest faculty.

One month in advance, we the students, are given a list of story prompts to chose from. (Day one of IMC  is June 9th.)

Generally, the assignment is to create cover art or an internal piece for the story we have selected. We can tailor it to adult, YA, kids books, middle grade, comics, etc, wherever our interests lay. (If desired we can also do a personal portfolio piece on another subject: they are flexible that way.)  But the bottom line is that by the time we all stumble in on day one, we must be ready to put our initial B&W concept sketch up on the wall and have it be heavily critiqued by the faculty.  The rest of the week (with all it's demos, lectures, etc...) is geared to take those initial (now heavily critiqued) studies and turn them into a polished final product. 

The assignments to choose from this year:

Tristan & Isolde. The ancient tale of two lovers, complete with dragons and magic and love potions, etc...

Tarzan! Who turns 100 this year. With particular eye to tailoring the subject to today's sensibilities (ie, no Damsel in Distress Jane and lay off the body-builder Tarzan stereotype)

Hunger Games. Well of course :)  The movie can be used as a guide for imagery... but please don't just copy the sets and costumes therein.

Our Human: a science fiction story with an anthropological 'primitive' feel.

Cairn in the Woods: a YA ghost story, in a contemporary rural New England setting.

and last but not least...

The Old Man's War. by John Scalzi. (Woohoo!) Hard SF. Self-Healing battle armor. Bug-like aliens. Etc.

So. Yes. Time to get serious. Along with deciding which of these stories (or another one?) to work with, I am also debating whether to do cover art, or to panel out the story into a comic book. (Very very tempted...)

Anyhooooo, will keep you posted. Hoping to document the process from start to finish.


(This IMC, I will be working almost exclusively in digital media. It's just what works best given my situation right now.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Workspace (thank you Evan Jensen)

So, last year we moved (and I lost my studio space and was relegated to a tiny desk in the corner of the bedroom.)
At the end of this month, we are moving again (final destination; still a tad bit up in the air.)

Therefore it was Oh So Fitting when Evan Jensen wrote a guest post for the Inkpunks on the topic of Workspace, particularly with an eye to relocating:

"...When Lisa and I started looking into building or finding a place across the country (Did I mention we’re moving to Seattle this year?), we knew we needed to find something that allowed for a great studio space somewhere inside or nearby. This got me thinking about what makes a perfect little nook where you can write, paint, or draw your work in peace without as much outside stress. I must point out that what works for us, might not work for all. Everyone’s comfortable in different environments, so do whatever you feel is best for your workspace...."
~ read more 

Have any advice on the topic of creating your optimal work space? Go over to Evan's post and leave a comment!

((meanwhile... I am keeping my fingers crossed on a possible location for us with a spare bedroom. I want my studio back.))

the good ol' days. i miss my studio.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Harry Clarke illustrations for E.A. Poe

Harry Clarke (March 17, 1889 – January 6, 1931). 
Irish stained glass artist and book illustrator. 
One of those books was Tales of Mystery and Imagination, by Edgar Allan Poe.  
See all 24 black and white illustration at 50watts.  
(Thank you Wendy, for sharing this with me!) 

Harry Clarke, illustrating E.A. Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination"

 See More...

The Town of Autumn.

A poem, written by Mike Davis of the Lovecraft Zine, illustrated by me.
(Soundtrack nabbed from Inception.) 

BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA! Cover and contributors.

Just announced over at Dagan Books: the Cover art and list of contributors to Bibliotheca Fantastica. Edited by Claude Lalumière & Don Pizarro
by galen dara

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

the feminine side of the Lovecraft Zine

Coming Soon!! This month the Lovecraft zine gets in touch with its feminine side with an issue entirely dedicated to Female Authors.
"Issue #14 of The Lovecraft eZine will be published on May 10.  This will be the previously mentioned female-themed issue; all stories are by women authors!  One criticism of Lovecraftian fiction is that most of the characters are male, and with this issue I hope to do my small part to change that." read more
~ Editor and Founder of the Lovecraftzine, Mike Davis

Seriously, check out the amazing line up Mike has assembled! This is an issue you do not want to miss. Oh, and also... cover art by yours truly :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Sexual Experience, by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Occasionally, you get a chance to do something that you really shouldn' t put in your portfolio... but dang.

I present, A Sexual Experience, by Robert Jackson Bennett.

Robert Jackson Bennett - A Sexual Experience from Jake Sam on Vimeo.

You know you want this.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day Job

Over at the Inkpunks, Wendy has distilled almost two weeks worth of us talking back and forth about day jobs and creative life into an excellent post, The Job Continuum:

"One of the most difficult aspects of working in writing and the visual arts (all of the Inkpunks are involved in one, the other, or both), is that they are arts people seem to only value when they are earning money. No one asks a knitter if they’ve ever sold a sweater, but people tend to smirk at authors who haven’t sold any books. There’s a lot of pressure to measure your success as a writer by the amount of money you’ve made." ~read more

There you will get a glimpse into our various paths and life situations as we try to balance family, money, and creative life.

Me, I just turned in notice at my day job. Not something I did lightly:

"It has just become time for something to give.
I was struggling to keep up with illustration deadlines, spending a good amount of time at my day job doing freelance work (it’s a slow job, I am usually able to get away with that), and constantly worried about how I was neglecting my partner and son to keep on top of it all. I’d hoped to wait till my freelance income matched my day job income. I’m not quite there yet. But still, it is time."

All of us, Sandra, Erika, Wendy, Christie, John, (and tho they didn't have direct quotes in the post, Andy and Adam) all have different life situations and different ways of negotiating this topic.

Incidentally, Kat Howard also blogged along a similar thread, Stealing Sands from the Hourglass:

"Here is the thing about writing: if you wait until you have free time to do it, you will write very few words. If you want to write, you must steal time from other places of your life, and protect those stolen moments vigorously, because otherwise, things will encroach on them, the time will disappear, and you will still never have written.

How do you steal time? You make sacrifices, you give things up. You get up an hour before the rest of the house, or go to bed after everyone else is asleep. You write on your lunch hour. You don't watch television. You lock yourself out of the internet...

Sometimes, though, stealing time isn't enough. Sometimes, it's finding the energy...."
~read more

It's a different answer for everyone. How do you do it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BookLifeNow design.

I recently joined a pretty fabulous group of people tapped by Jeff VanderMeer to re-launch the BookLifeNow site. It gave me the chance to work with Jacob Ruby and Marlyse Comte to help re-design the site. Jacob has shared about the initial sketch and design phase that when into the site. Here's a bit of the back and forth that went into creating the avatar that is used on twitter, facebook and tumblr.

It was a game of Dropbox ping pong between Jacob and I as we figured out which direction to go.

First, a first rough ideation phase
Then experiments in color/texture and playing with original BOOKLIFE imagery
Going back to black and white to simplify clean up,
And then, finally... adding color back in, to get the final avatar.