Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year everyone!!!
It's been an interesting year for me. I drink coffee now! I sorta figured out how to do my taxes! I did some fanart for the first time since jr. high! New jobs, new friends, new places (and a new imac!) It's been a lot of fun, and I want to thank every person that has made it that way-- my family & Sam, my buddies here and across the internet, my art directors, my students, and everyone in between.

(P.S. Twitter was a fun new discovery this year and a nice way to talk with great illustrators. I'll probably be doing a twitter print giveaway in twitter account @kalidraws will be dispensing updates a little later on!)

Anyway, I figured I'd cap off my blog posts for the year with the last horoscope illustration I did before starting my current Amtrak project...
Saggitarius! The archer, a storyteller who brings light and laughter into "the darkest time of the year."

The first sketch was a dud, so I tried a more modern style for the second sketch which I liked better. Ultimately my lovely AD Anthony Arias decided on the 3rd sketch, but with the request that it get slightly more sexy. (which in my mind equated to less waifishness & extra body armor for tough love)

Looking back, I think I spent most of the year in my own "safe zone" and I'd like to gather up more new experiences next year. Art-wise, location-wise, everything! Woo woo!
Best wishes dear readers, and I hope you all have a safe and happy 2011!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"A Beauty, A Beauty"

So I took a break from drawing trains and drew a knight instead.

Here's Brienne of Tarth, from the Song of Ice and Fire series. She's a naive young woman with idealistic views about knighthood and honor. She also happens to wield a morning-star, is like 6'4" and super big, a strong fighter, and has a broad, ugly face with a broken nose, limp flaxen hair, and huge lips/teeth. Her one "pretty" feature is her large, clear blue eyes. She's a really interesting character. I probably drew her a little prettier than she should be.

Sam & I are huge fans of the Song of Ice and Fire series (read 'em!) which will also soon be released as a new HBO show, Game of Thrones. We've been thinking of doing some fanart from the books and then making a tumblr together...we'll see, once we both have some more free time!

Friday, December 10, 2010


This blog post is a TRIPLE THREAT because I'm posting THREE different kid-related spot assignments, all from Family Circle magazine, from different times this year. OH YEAH!

Jr. High back-to-school scenarios (sweep the leg!):

Different stages of childhood development, from newborns to early-teens:

(While working on this, I was listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks and secretly imagined the 14 yr-old trying to buy robitussin as Ron Weasley. I've since tried to include Rons or people wearing R's in other illustrations)

The Boy's & Girl's club of America, encouraging creative after school activities (the ginger is not a Ron specifically, but close enough):

Thanks for looking! (and maybe reliving awkward Jr. High memories with me)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How to Fly your Cat Plane

So yesterday Sam & I watched "How to Train Your Dragon" while we were working. It was a frustrating day, we were both having issues with color, and it felt like I was banging my head against a wall. I was having a bit of tunnel-vision, so I thought I needed to shake things up somehow. The movie was fine, there was some good stuff and some not-as-good stuff, but it was sort of fun to note all the behaviors that the dragons in the movie and regular cats had in common. So, I thought I'd apply the principle of "Dragons are essentially flying cats with fire" to our own cat, Ripley, and do a quick drawing for fun.
Then, of course, since Sam & I both have Norwegian backgrounds I had to put us in there as Vikings.

Ripley is a feisty, stout, loud American Bobtail, and she just has a little stub tail that waggles when she's excited. She's named after Sigourney Weaver's character in the Alien movies.
Ripley, on a hot day.
Makes me wish I had more time for fun little doodles! And drawing people I know as Vikings.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Detective of the Zodiac

Any Scorpios in the audience? Working on this horoscope assignment I discovered that Scorpio is "The Detective of the Zodiac, unraveling mysteries is your forte and passion". I suggest you all become film noir detectives, like this lovely lady! (what! role-reversal!)

This was my 3rd horoscope assignment for Vegas magazine. With the detective imagery in the article I thought of film noir immediately, but I had done vaguely medieval/magical illustrations for the other horoscopes and I wasn't sure if it'd be too much of a departure. For my sketches I did one medieval/magical seeress (with a scrying bowl for detective work) to fit in with the rest of the images, and also the film noir lady. I am happy we went with the film noir theme after all, I enjoyed working on this one a lot.
Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm going to STUFF MY FACE and I hope you all do too! Yay!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Status Update + Deco Los Angeles

First off, congrats to the SOI winners! Just found out that Sam got THREE pieces in, and Nick Illuzada (who is still a student at MICA) won silver in Uncommissioned. Yowza! Gotta stay on my toes!

Sam and I also received our copies of Spectrum 17 the other day--that Greg Manchess cover is the bomb and there are so many pieces in there that kill me. Awesome. Pick it up.

So I've been MIA for a while now and owe you guys an explanation! I've been sequestered in my apt. working on a kid's activity book for Amtrak, simultaneously battling some cold/flu thing for a while, and even snuck in a trip for my cousin's wedding!
When I was informed that I got the Amtrak job, I basically just dropped everything and had to get to work. To my great disappointment that meant that I also had to drop my Anthology Project comic. Sorry dudes, I hope to be able to complete a published comic SOMEDAY, and the work that's going into the Anthology Project is looking AWESOME. I'll be working on this book until early February, but I wish I could show you some sneak peeks! It's coming together. This is Amtrak's first kids book in about a decade, and they're going to be giving it away for free on the trains!

For now, I can show you some of the illustration backlog I have piling up from previous work. Like these pieces I did for LA Weekly's Best Of 2010 issue! Each of the sections in the newspaper had an opening image & spots that corresponded to a different decade in LA. Darrick Rainey assigned me the roaring 20's for the Food and Drink section, and I was PUMPED to do the illustrations for this.

If you haven't been able to tell from some of my past pieces, I LOVE art deco. It would be great to be able to do more illustrations with a 20's theme/style. Darrick remembered my Estelle LeBlanc poster and wanted me to do my illustrations in the same style.
Here's the sketches I sent:

We liked them both, but Darrick thought that the more streamlined style of the right sketch fit better, even though we both enjoyed the crowd scene. So I combined them into this:

Upon reflection, I think I should have just gone with the 2nd sketch of the girl dancing. It probably would have had more impact. I guess I just wanted to draw a crowd!

Here's the final. The colors are pretty modern instead of strictly 20's, but I figured upping the saturation would help it show up on newsprint.

Darrick also needed some B&W spots to scatter throughout the section, so I decided to make a little story out of them (dining, dancing, and PROHIBITION)

I was happy with how these pieces came out, but looking at it again I'm wondering if some texture might look nice (I was worried at the time that the texture might muddy on the newsprint). Hindsight is 20/20. On to the next.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Mediator

In early 2010 I got the chance to do the March horoscope illustration in Vegas magazine for Aries, and after a long pause I've been doing a horoscope illustration each month for's the first of the new batch, Libra!

The writing says:
"Holding the Scales of Justice, Libra weighs, divides and distributes the summer harvest. Libra embodies this time of equal day and night while seeking to find balance, integrity and fairness for all"

This was for Vegas Magazine's men's issue, so it made sense to make Libra a dude. In the original sketch he also had a scythe for the summer harvest, but the editors thought it looked a little phallic (eep!) and we changed it to an hourglass:

Aaaand the final!

Seeing it again, I think his head/face look a little doofy. It's always funny when you look back on your work and just itch to change something around... Ah well, on to the next!

P.S. Wow, we've gotten a great response on the Anthology Project kickstarter project! Thank you to all the donors!! Almost to the goal!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anthology project!

Hey everyone! The Anthology Project (volume 2) has a Kickstarter page, and we need your help! The Anthology Project is an anthology of comics contributed by a whole bunch of great artists like Sam Bosma, Joy Ang, Edward Kwong, Sam Bradley, Emily Carroll and myself! (You can see the full list on the kickstarter page!) Also Ed Kwong's lovely cover artwork is on the banner above!

The book is being self-published, and we need your support to get it off the ground. With Kickstarter, you can pledge an amount (from $1 up) and then if we meet the monetary goal ($7000) by the deadline (December 1) your money goes to our cause and you can get a prize to sweeten the deal!
IF however, we do not raise $7000 by December 1, you aren't charged at all & you keep your money. Simple!

The kickstarter page says it best:
This is an opportunity for us (the AP crew), to build a relationship with you (lovers of all things art). It’s a way for everyone that loved Volume 1 to not only pre-order volume 2, but for you to help out in getting it off the ground in a very meaningful way!

Beyond that we’ll be offering other things like prints, buttons, original sketches, special editions and signed copies of the books depending on the size of the donation.

Please check out the Anthology Project's Kickstarter Page for more details!

And if you're curious, my comic is about this gentleman here:
He's up to something.
Thanks for your support!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Brains: can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

A while back I did a quick piece for the LA Times. Joey Santos (my always-great AD) came to me with a feature story on Alzheimers, and an illustration was needed for ways of reducing your risk of Alzheimers. The writer had attended a conference about Alzheimers and noted that it had been a bit disappointing-- there's no 100% proven way of preventing Alzheimers and a lot of research has yet to be done, unfortunately. There's a few things you can do that seem to be able to help reduce the risk, however:
Exercise, mental stimulation, and a Mediterranean diet.
I tried to reflect that in both my sketches:

This was a very fast turnaround, and I sent this progress piece to show Joey. He suggested the man should be aged more, and also preferred a pink brain instead of a yellow one. (I still kinda like yellow!)

The background in the final is a bunch of neuron synapses.

BRAINS! We should all thank ours.

Monday, September 27, 2010

BABIES. And pregnant ladies.

Things have been pretty darn busy over here, teaching started at MICA again (I'm teaching Intro to Illustration for freshmen this semester!)and I've had a lot of fun projects that have kept me frantically working away into the nights. (needless to say, that's contributed to some stress) NEVERTHELESS It's time for me to cowboy up and share some of the rest of this work backlog I'm accumulating, and try and keep up a regular blog schedule again.

Thus: pregnant ladies. A while back I did a feature and 2 spots for Pregnancy magazine about celebrity pregnancies and how they set a vastly unrealistic image for post-pregnancy weight loss. Having never been pregnant, it was interesting for me to hear about realistic and unrealistic can take a year (or more) for new mothers to lose their pregnancy weight, but there's all these stories about celebrity moms getting back into their swimsuits in a couple months. You don't think about how these celebrities have nannies to watch over their kids and chefs to cook them healthy meals and fitness trainers to customize workouts for them, etc. etc.
The opening image is a generic celebrity mom looking slim and luxe and carefree.
Sketch (I used a spot in Rodeo Drive as ref for the background):

Final (My AD suggested the paparazzos!):

The spots are of a new mom trying to fit into her old jeans, and later accepting her body and just enjoying the time she's spending with her baby.


Thanks for looking! & thanks to Robert at Pregnancy Magazine!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Skulls in the Woods

Yikes! I have a backlog of work to show, and summer working/munching/reading/relaxing has slowed me down! Time to get crackin'. Without further ado, here's the image I created for the Humboldt Roller Derby 2010 program cover and bout poster, all the way out in California!

They wanted me a full-body illustration of their lovely logo lady wearing the team colors (army green/gold/white):

Since they're the Redwood Rollers, I figured I'd give a nod to their forest sentinels with the twig & tree motif. I treated this more as a pinup than a scene, since it was to be used for the 2010 program cover & I thought it should be more symbolic. Drawing kick-ass ladies is always enjoyable, and with Roller Derby I feel like I have to hit a balancing point between toughness, sexiness, and originality that can be kind of tricky to find!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Animal People & Bonus bogus logos

So! Getting back on the wagon train, I have a comic I did for Muse Magazine & the wonderful John Sandford! Muse sometimes has a 4 page myth-based comic (I previously did Hercules and the 12 labors for them) and John came to me with an Okanagan myth from the Pacific Northwest. The premise of the myth is about how the Great Spirit names all the animal people--they all have to come to his great lodge the next morning and pick their names, first come first served, and The Great Spirit will give each a job to do. Coyote is a trickster, and he schemes to stay up all night and be the first to receive his name (something grand like GRIZZLY BEAR or EAGLE) but all his scheming just causes him to sleep in and be the last to arrive. He is left with the name of Coyote, but also given the job of protecting the people of earth.

John suggested the totem-pole-like style, and I got to hand-letter the title as well!

ALSO, a while back I did a little piece for Inside Counsel magazine. It's a magazine for lawyers and people in the law department, and the article was about how campaign finance reform is changing & companies are now allowed to back political candidates. I thought of Nascar suits and all the advertising that gets crammed onto them, and applied the same principle to business suits. I had a fun time finding red-based logos and blue-based logos, and then twisting the names around so I didn't infringe on any copyrights. (Gatorate and Kol-Aid are some of my favorites) See how many you can recognize!!

Faux-logos always remind me of the awesome DVNO music video by Justice, enjoy!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More Sketchbook

Hey guys! I'll get back to posting more finished work shortly, but I did these sketchbook pages over the last couple of days and figured I'd share them too. Like I said before, I'm trying to use my sketchbook more, and I think the trick is to get colored pencils involved in the situation...immediately more fun for me! Maybe it hearkens back to my childhood, plus it's fun to play with colors!

So, we've got a girl and her moth pet, because moths and girls are cool:

And a vaguely Mr. Darcy-ish man striding about with a tittering companion, plus a misty lady in her garden.

I suppose all these things stem from me currently reading the Song of Fire and Ice series (courtly-things, medievaly) and listening to the Harry Potter audio books while working (precocious youngsters and magic!). Yup, there you go. Despite what my editorial work may say to the contrary, I am a nerd who enjoys medieval adventure and magic kids.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

You're such a prat Ron

So, not only have I been listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks while I work, but I bought the most recent Harry Potter movie from Blockbuster's store-closing sale. Yes, it's safe to say there's a Maximus of Magicus going around here, or whatever latin J.K. Rowling would translate that into. Sam and I watched the movie tonight, and I did some silly sketches during it. I don't show a lot of my non-professional work on this blog, and it's about time to start! Now you can see all the stupid drawings I do to make myself giggle.

Ron is just the saddest and goofiest character. Harry is the orphaned hero, Hermione is the "brightest witch of her age" (or so the author keeps reminding us) and Ron just blunders through everything getting the wrong idea and wearing sweaters with his initial on it. My salute to Ron.

Butter Beer looks delicious in this movie! Even Ron gets a mug (and a wonk hand)

For those who know Sam and/or would like to try and decipher my handwriting, I took quick note of some of our moviewatching experience. Sam is always ready with a snappy comeback, even when a movie is just going about its business.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Hey guys! Who doesn’t love food?! I love being an illustrator, but cooking has been one of my new favorite hobbies, probably second only to eating. I recently got to do a piece for the Vegetarian Times, and I did a write-up on it for The Loud Cloud too! (it has all the same info as here, but its laid out nicer, hehe)

I don’t often get a chance to draw delectable dishes for an assignment, so I was excited to try my hand at this one! The article, “Carbs Demystified,” includes a lot of technical information about carbohydrates—good carbs vs. bad carbs, glycemic load, glycemic index, and net carbs. Part of the great thing about being an illustrator is that you learn a myriad of interesting facts from the articles you’re assigned (sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes, despite their name!) but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what the focus of the image needs to be. The A.D. on this story, Scott Hyers, helped me out by specifying that the illustration shouldn’t get into the technical info or define good or bad, but instead should just show a general choice between foods.

As someone who will spend 15 minutes deciding what type of cookie to eat, I understand the overwhelmingness of choice. Since there are amounts of carbohydrates in every food group, I figured a diverse representation of food would be the best way to go for my sketches. The food had to be all vegetarian, of course. I know there are different levels of strictness in people’s diets, so I checked with Scott to make sure I wouldn’t be in the red if I included egg or dairy products.

While sketching, I enlisted the help of my trusty cookbooks for some examples of tasty-looking dishes. I admit to being biased—all the food I sketched happens to be food I enjoy eating too! I liked the idea of a traveler finding his way through a jungle of food, and also tried some other approaches, like catching whatever meal you want on your plate. In the end the gastronomical explorer was chosen, and I set to work!

Throughout the project, I looked at my childhood doodles for inspiration. I’ve had a huge sweet tooth my entire life, and one of my go-to drawing subjects as a kid were various types of desserts. I was excited about bringing together kid-Kali and adult-Kali in one illustration! I remember drippy chocolate-glazed cakes and fruity cupcakes were some of my favorite scribbles to do, so I made sure to include an updated version of each in my final illustration.

Any time I deal with a lot of objects in one illustration, coming up with a solid color scheme is extra-important so all the objects don’t look too cluttered or disconnected. Colors like red, orange, yellow, and green have been shown to trigger hunger, and I wanted to go with a bright, summery feel. It took me a while to balance all the different food colors, but in the end I was pleased with the results. All in all a very satisfying project, with the only downside of making me perpetually hungry!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sabriel Posts & the "God Molecule"

Hey guys! Wow, I've gotten a bunch of comments on my most recent Sabriel post! Thank you, I really appreciate all your thoughts and support--as I've said before, none of us at the Picture Book Report are getting paid for our work on this project, so hearing from you guys really makes it all worthwhile. I got a request to make it easier to find all the other Sabriel posts, so now if you scroll down the column on the right side of the page, you will find a section named "Labels" with a handy link to all the Sabriel posts! (I'm considering labeling all my other posts too, for easy browsing)

Okay! So it's way past time for me to get back to posting weekly pieces, right? The past month of so I was in a bit of a slump--feeling creatively burned out, wondering where my illustration/life/future is going, and having some mild health problems that just sort of added to the bad vibes. It seems common in creative-types to cycle between these on-and-off times. Resting and focusing on non-art pursuits (cooking! exercise! reading!) seems to have done the trick and I'm feeling better now and ready to go!

So, to put you in a good mood for the weekend, here's 2 spreads that accompanied an article about dying! ;P It was actually a pretty cool assignment from Tom Kachadurian, a great AD at Spirituality and Health magazine. The article talked about the use of a psychedelic drug, nicknamed the "God Molecule", to help people with terminal illnesses deal with their eventual death. Apparently the drug induces a hallucinogenic state where you feel totally at one with the universe and a higher power, as if you had died already, so the participants don't feel as scared of actual death anymore. Tom wanted to go for a swirly psychedelic look without getting too much of a 60's/70's vibe, and I wanted something calming and epic for such an intense experience.

My thoughts went to a galactic-type the participant is floating through the universe. It was a double-page spread, so I tried some different views with rich blues, whites and red/oranges (that I ended up combining in the end). I also tried an overlay of the human nervous system (approximate, at least), but Tom thought it looked a little too scary and skeletal.

I tried both a closeup and expanded view. With the expanded you get more of the calming, floating feel because you can see more of the body. I kind of like the head sketch on its own, but it does feel a more creepy than calming!

So, we end up with a space-goddess, with some swirling energy and a burst of enlightenment! I remember watching an X-files episode with aliens in it while working on this assignment. I wonder if there was some subliminal influence... Swirly marks come really easily to me, but once I go crazy with them I have refine a bit to ensure there isn't a distracting amount of swirls or strands or colors! I tried to go for a more watery look, like ripples and eddies of energy.

In addition to doing the space-goddess spread, I also did some edging on the following two pages. I actually really like the spread I created for these pages, it's simple but I spent a while balancing everything.

I hope you like 'em! Thanks to Tom Kachadurian at Spirituality & Health!