Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Living Our Values

Is a snowy, seasonally-appropriate holiday season too much to ask?? Baltimore seems to think so...it's either been unusually warm, or just sort of rainy over here. At least I got to draw some snow for the Dec/Jan cover of The Progressive!

I was tasked with making a typographical cover about issue's theme, "Living Our Values".
All of the writers' values were wide-ranging, so at first I thought it'd be interesting to put different illustrations inside of the "Living Our Values" letterforms. However, I was disappointed to find that I couldn't get the letters big enough to actually be usable spaces for images!
So, after re-reading all the articles, I thought that the main connecting thread was a hope for a better future and a connection with the land/people/environment. I thought that a snowy, unspoiled new-years landscape, with a person just stepping out of of their cabin to enjoy the vista, might work as a symbol for a new beginning.

My AD thought so too, so I tried out some other variations! One of my ideas was to incorporate the sun as part of the Progressive title, and we ended up using it.

I submitted several color variations for the title--this was one of the other options that I liked, besides the red-lettered version which they ended up choosing.

Hand-lettering the whole thing (title included!) was a little intimidating at first, but I'm pleased with the result. I'd love to do more environment-based (or typography-based!) illustrations in the future. Thanks to my AD Nick Jehlen for the fun assignment--and I get to share the issue with lovely illustrators like Victo Ngai & Yuko Shimizu to boot! Happy Holidays guys!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake, for the GIRLS: Fact or Fiction art show at Light Grey Art Lab! She was my first choice—what’s not to love about a mysterious, super-powerful, watery maiden, from the tales of King Arthur? I think the most interesting thing about her, to me, is that her exact identity is so vague (it’s thought that she may be based on celtic water deities or nymphs) and yet she had such a big impact on the events in Arthurian legend.
You can buy a print of my Lady here!
I’m sure you’ve already seen some of the other amazing contributions to the show, if not, take a gander! The collected book and all the other prints are all available for purchase there. Plus, if you spend $100 on ANYTHING in the store before the 7th, LGAL will give you a free GIRLS book!

Footnote: The black swans in the background are a small tip of the hat to NC Wyeth's gorgeous Excalibur piece! What a guy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mothers Superior

I recently had the pleasure of illustrating some kickass nuns for Mental Floss magazine's December issue! Thanks to my AD Winslow Taft for the fantastic layout and the idea to have me do the illustrations in illuminated manuscript style. It's always been really fun for me to try and imitate other illustration styles  (japanese woodblock prints, art deco) and it's a good challenge to try and add my own twist while still making the style recognizable.


I had a grab-bag of cool ladies from different centuries & locations to inspire me, including Ani Pachen (tibetan warrior nun), Katharine Drexel (fought against the Ku Klux Klan & segregation), Hildegard of Bingen (a crowd favorite in the 11th century),  Juana Ines de la Cruz (intellectual, writer, early feminist from the 17th century), and Dolores Hart (former hollywood actress).

The final layouts!

There were so many individualized stories so I tried to keep the illustrations general in scope (pursuing knowledge, fighting against the forces of evil, etc.). However, because Ani Pachen was the only tibetan nun, I thought it'd make sense to show her specifically. She led 600 tribesman on horseback to fight against the Chinese army. Pretty cool!
All in all, a really fun assignment.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

MAKE Illustration Workshop with Light Grey Art Lab!

Big news! Are you ready to get creative in 2013?? I am! And I am so excited to announce that I will be leading a 2.5 day intensive illustration workshop at Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, January 4-6! The wonderful Lindsay Nohl (of Light Grey Art Lab & Paper Bicycle) contacted me about putting this workshop together. Lindsay has a lot of great resources around Minneapolis and at LGAL to draw on (and had previously set up an illustration bootcamp with Meg Hunt), and it's great to be partnering with her & the LGAL crew!

We'll be covering a lot of ground in a lot of different ways, including group discussions, one-on-one creative sessions with me, talks with other industry professionals, and a big fun illustration meet 'n greet party! We'll be talking about creativity and idea generation, the business and practice of illustration, illustration process, and more! Plus we'll have an exciting in-studio project which will be featured in the gallery. This will be a collaborative experience, and whether you're a current creative professional or just want to kick-start your art in 2013, we'll be working together to help & inspire each other!
Space is limited to 18 participants, so reserve your spot now!
You can see Light Grey Art Lab's writeup on their blog, and check out the sign-up page for the full schedule, specifics, and prices!
Looking forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bastille Day with Anne Fontaine!

Over the summer, I designed a postcard image for french fashion designer Anne Fontaine! The company was looking for an illustration for their Bastille Day event mailer and I was happy to oblige.
Chic ladies in Paris? Yes please.
 They wanted an image that incorporated the Eiffel tower and the french flag, as well as showcasing one of their signature bags & all-white outfits. (it was fun getting a sneak-peek of the new clothing they were introducing!)

They chose the walking sketch on the right, but requested that I add a shopping bag & some Bastille Day fireworks as well.

After a last minute costume-change, voila! A chic Anne Fontaine woman, running off to a Bastille Day party after shopping at her favorite store!

Thanks to my contact Christina Ramirez-Madisson and Anne Fontaine for the lovely job! (and thanks to fellow MICAn Haniya Rae!)

Monday, September 24, 2012


QUITE the belated post here, but I just wanted to say a giant THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by and said hello (or bought something!) during SPX. It was lovely meeting you all face to face! I had such an amazing time that weekend and every single person I met—both exhibitors & attendees— was so kind, welcoming, and excited! It was a giant hotel full of talented awesome people! I feel lucky that my first exhibiting experience was so positive, I know Sam and I are definitely going to do it again.

I’ve been inside a maelstrom of work ever since I got back, (sorry about the lack of updates), but I have some posts on the horizon & will be putting the remaining samurai shirts up for sale soon!

I was so caught-up in SPX fun that I totally forgot to take any photos (nooooo!) So big thanks to Burton Durand for the lovely shot of Sam & I’s table, & Russ Creech for the full-length photo!

Monday, September 3, 2012

I need your help!

Hey guys! This year my friends and I have 2 tables at SPXSam & I are sharing one, and our talented pals Andrea & Jimmy are sharing the one right next to us!

 I’m going to primarily be selling prints this year, and I need your help to figure out which prints I should bring!
Of the prints above, please let me know what your top 5 favorites are. Which would you wanna buy? (and for those of you who have already given me your picks on tumblr or twitter, thanks so much for your help!)

 Also, for anyone who won’t be attending SPX, these prints are also available from my inPRNT shop, and there’s a Labor Day sale today!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Star Gazer

Many months back I started and neeeeearly finished this piece, for fun, between work. I have been (and am currently) in a long busy stretch, so I didn't get the chance to put the finishing touches on it until last week!

This all started as a composition exercise. I was reading the wonderful Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis (out of print, but free pdfs available online) and he has a great section about informal subdivision as a compositional tool. Informal subdivision is a process Loomis created, where you divide your image space unequally (and somewhat randomly!) by drawing a series of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines. As he shows it in the book:

Once you create this dynamic linear plan for your image, you let it suggest your composition for whatever subject you have in mind. Here's the subdivision I made:

I didn't have a particular subject in mind, I just wanted to draw a lady. So I kind of just let myself meander a bit with the drawing.

I settled on the lady in the chair, who I made into a space lady (one of the best kinds of lady) who maybe got herself into some sort of a sticky situation.

Here's the final lined up with my informal subdivision.

It's a pretty fun exercise! It might be a little tricky to use if you need to have a specific sort of layout, but it's great for suggesting ideas. Try your own! Composition for all!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Power of Mom!

Right on the heels of my last piece are two more illustrations for this past weekend's Boston Globe magazine! This time I was honored to be illustrating the cover again, as well as an accompanying page inside.

The theme of both illustrations was the power that moms wield through online networking (the cover is focused on the power, and the inside illo is focused on the connectivity). It's easier than ever for moms to connect and share tips, info, advice, and warnings on a variety of sites, blogs, and forums that are catered to them. From the article, "While a mom’s opinions once only stretched so far — to her local play group or over the backyard fence — now they are amplified and shot around the world with a keystroke. And if you make a mom mad, the power of her network is a force to be reckoned with." You can read the rest of the article here!

The cover I made is a deliberate riff on Eugene Delacroix's Liberty Leading the People. I remembered the painting from my college art history class partly because it was the first time I learned about triangular compositions!

The revolutionary spirit also seemed to fit the article, though the editorial staff didn't want any moms with mean faces, so my ladies are a little more lighthearted instead of murderous.

There was limited time for both illustrations so the inside illo is more simplified out of necessity, but because the colors for both are all in the same families I think they fit together, and I enjoyed working in both styles.
Thanks again to my great AD Ryan Huddle for the assignment, and the fun layout he created inside!

Sketches for the cover:

Sketches for the inside illo:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Swifter, Higher, Stronger...Sexier?

An illustration in this past weekend's Boston Globe Magazine about the uniforms for female Olympians. Some sport leaders want to create "a more female aesthetic", i.e. sex appeal, to draw in more crowds and attention for female sports--but this can come at the cost of athlete practicality and performance. This year boxing and badminton started requiring all female competitors to wear skirts, but later dropped the rule after bad press and complaints from athletes. Female beach volleyball players have always been required to wear bikinis (and some feel most comfortable in them), but the association recently changed their dress code to allow for shorts and t-shirts too.

Yes, aesthetics can have a powerful effect--drawing a bikini'd butt will almost certainly direct attention to the article-- but I think the article's writer, Shira Springer, sums up the issue nicely "The Games should showcase the world’s best athletes at the peak of their abilities, and that means team uniforms should be about practicality and performance, not eye candy."
Hear hear!


Thanks again to AD Ryan Huddle! You can read the rest of Shira's article here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Education Week

Illustration for an article in Education Week about the decline of the teaching profession and how policy makers can revive it. The process of revival outlined in the article involves an increased focus on Professional Capital--valuing high quality teachers and teaching. I wanted to put a positive spin on things and show the goal of the revival: a teacher growing and flourishing. I really like how this one came out (interesting environment, stylish lady? Yes please!), and as a teacher myself it was a really interesting article to read. Thanks to AD Vanessa Solis, who also happens to be a fellow MICA alum!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fitness nuts!

I kept forgetting to post this one--this was a quick job from the Boston Globe a few months back. The article in question was about how so many Bostonians are so into fitness--you'll see people running and cycling all over the place! Thanks again to AD Ryan Huddle & editor Francis Storr!
I'm thinking about starting a running program myself...getting out of shape is easy when you're home drawing on the computer all day!

The article specifically mentioned all the neon sweat wicking outfits you see whizzing by, so I wanted to get that colorfulness in the final.
I don't often use color for sketches, but sometimes it's more helpful on a clarity level if things are getting too jumbled in greyscale:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Runway to Win!

Drawing Iman (supermodel extraordinaire) and Anna Wintour (Vogue EIC) shopping together has got to be one of the more fabulous scenarios I've been asked to illustrate! The June 7-13 issue of Time Out Chicago has an article about Anna and Iman hosting a fashion/shopping event at Harpo studios as a fundraiser for Obama. All the merchandise the two ladies are holding is from the Runway to Win collection, designed by a bunch of fashion designers in support of Obama.
Thanks to my AD Ian Dingman for this fun, stylish job! (in my hometown, no less!)


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Summer Girls

I saw these stylish ladies walking around Baltimore the other weekend. They were too cool not to draw! (and they were all wearing some pretty killer heels)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Space Mariner

Here's a little madlib for you, “The Illustrator’s Lament”:

No matter how many ( cool objects, people, or scenarios ) I draw, I will still be a ( self adjective ) ( self noun ) who will never ( fanciful action ).

For instance:

No matter how many tough lady space marines I draw, I will still be a cautious nerd who will never fire an interstellar harpoon.

This was just a piece I did for fun, out of my love of sci-fi and awesome ladies. I also used it for a quick Photoshop demo when I was a guest in Sam's advanced digital illustration class (which I will be teaching next semester!)

I used a lot of clipping masks in this for many of the textures. If you want to see how I do it, I made a walkthrough post on my tumblr about texture and clipping masks (albeit with a much simpler image). You can read it here!

My original sketch:

(although looking at it again, I kinda like its simplicity.....ah well!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Greatest of All Time

My portrait of Whitney Houston from the second Grantland Quarterly! My illo accompanies an article written by Chris Connelly about his recollections of the singer in her golden era. Thanks to AD Juliet Litman!
Juliet wanted a unique portrait of Whitney, and since the article was all about her domination of the music world, in my sketches I pictured her as some sort of divine presence or warrior queen.

Grantland only prints in B&W and one spot color, so I had to keep that in mind while planning and executing the piece, too. I definitely wanted a gold or yellow as my spot color--a golden bird entourage seemed fitting for a diva!

I had a lovely time watching & listening to a whole playlist of her music videos while working on the sketches and final-- she was a truly talented singer and will be missed.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Oh Brother, You're a Bother!

Since it was mother's day yesterday, it seems fitting to post this recent piece I did for the April/May AARP magazine!  Thanks to AD Joanna Foucheux! The article was about siblings who may not get along--even in their 50's. And although that doesn't have anything to do with how wonderful moms are, I did manage to slip in both my amazing grandmas into my faux-family tree!

The feuding siblings are also veeeery loosely based on my own parents--not because they fight, but because they make good models!
Everyone else in this happy magenta-haired family is made up, except for a cameo by my cat.

I formatted my sketches with the help of a previous page layout--the current page/title doesn't have anything to do with Embracing Embarrassment. :)
Joanna ended up going with the 2nd sketch, but requested that the siblings not be getting in a physical altercation and the rest of the family should just be looking forward like normal.

Thanks again to AARP, and a belated happy mother's day to all the moms out there!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kali Eats!

So! Those of you following my art tumblr will already know this, but I've created a new themed tumblr called Kali Eats! I LOVE FOOD and I've been documenting my meals with illustrations & ingredient write-ups. Here's my illos to date--check out my tumblr to see the ingredients:

Lately I've been on a sandwich kick, but I'll be drawing other things too! Let me know if you have any suggestions! I try to post as often as I'm able, every other day if I can. Plus it was awesome to find out that Kali Eats was featured on Juxtapoz this week! Cheers!