Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Warrior Victorian Evening

While avoiding housecleaning and shopping, I suddenly had an idea for an illustration project that would be fun.  My rule for starting it was that it had to be fast.  I really wanted it to take about an hour but it took two - still not too bad.  I love figure drawing, I want to practice it, and I love historical fashion.  So I thought I'd do a fast figure drawing and then change it by making a character and adding clothes!

I have a favorite figure drawing online site here, and searched the Metropolitan Museum of Art site here for a dress.  Screenshots of the images I used from those sites are above.  My fast rough sketches are below.

I did a quick revision of the woman on tracing paper and then traced it onto bristol board using a light box.  The final drawing was done in pen and ink.  I didn't do a final sketch due to time;  I just did the final details right in the ink drawing.  I like how it came out.  I'm sure I'll repeat this project again soon!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Creature"

"Mind Over Matter"

It's great to participate in Illustration Friday again!  Sorry it's been so long.  This drawing was done with pen and ink on cream-colored drawing paper.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Plate for Orb

Orb's connections liked their Preakness souvenir plate and wanted me to design and paint one to commemorate Orb's Kentucky Derby win.  I wanted the plate to have a unique design but also to look good sitting next to the Preakness plate.

When I paint these plates, I always use acrylics that are meant to be used on glass.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Hybrid"


                                          The fog comes
                                          on little cat feet.

                                          It sits looking
                                          over harbor and city
                                          on silent haunches
                                          and then moves on.

                                                                    -Carl Sandburg  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Something I'm Working On

Greetings!  I hope everyone is having a good summer.  I'm happy to stay out of the heat and draw!  I can't show the commission I'm currently working on because it's a custom gift.  But I can share what I'm up to on the side.  I'm working on creating a style I like for drawing historical figures as characters rather than more formal-looking portraits.  These are Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia, drawn from the influences of television series characters, descriptions in reading, and paintings of the Renaissance period.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Fan Art

I admit I'm having way to much fun with this.  Sketching faces is so relaxing to me, I love historical stories, and "The Borgias" (Showtime) has given me never-ending reference!  This is Cesare Borgia, from my own screenshot from the pilot episode.  Graphite.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Surveillance"

I'm a huge fan of the (sadly cancelled) Showtime original series "The Borgias".  It's like a really great historical fiction book come to life and is, well, eye candy in every way.  It makes me want to draw every character and facial expression, not to mention the beautiful lighting, scenes and costumes.

Since I've been dying to do that, I chose a scene that would fit this week's IF theme, took a screenshot on my desktop, and sketched from it!  This is Lucrezia Borgia as she stands on a curtained balcony above the hall where her suitors are being presented, observing them.  Holliday Grainger is the actress who brilliantly plays Lucrezia, and this scene can be found in Season 2, Episode 6.

I have not decided if I will push this further, or if I will go on to sketch more faces instead!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Tension"

I wish I could spin some meaning into this, but in reality it was just about procrastinating, doing a fast sketch for fun and drawing thick lines with my brush pen!  It felt great.  When I realized it would work for Illustration Friday, it was a nice little bonus!

Shirley's Tree

I recently designed this tree for a friend who needed a tree illustration for a "roots and wings"-themed event.  She wanted a line illustration;  the color was my addition after the design was done.  I do think the color adds something....a little bit of weight maybe.  But yet there's something about the line drawing that keeps bringing me back to it.  I wanted to share them here.  Any comments would be most welcome!!

(Post update 7/28/2015:  I replaced the original posted art with these photos of printouts.  I hope this will help stop it being used without permission as clip art.)

Both versions of Shirley's Tree are available in my Society6 shop here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Custom Plates for Preakness 138

Hi everyone!  I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while but I was working on this year's souvenir plates for Preakness 138.  They are gifts for the owners whose horses are entered in the race and they aren't supposed to see the plates until the day they receive them.  But I can post now so here's a selection from the group of nine.  Orb won the Kentucky Derby and Oxbow won the Preakness.

Detail of the design.  This plate was for the horse Goldencents.

I wish the photos were better, but by the time the plates were done it was dark and I don't have a well-lighted photo area set up!  I used acrylics for use on ceramics on simple, white plates.  The edges were painted freehand with small pieces of sponge.  For the center parts I used a template so the plates would be as uniform as possible.  I designed the plate to incorporate the logo design for this year's race.

Thursday, April 18, 2013



I named her after I drew her.  I don't know why but the name just seemed to fit.  She's a pencil sketch I did from my imagination last night while watching television.  I really like sketching while watching TV;  the TV keeps me from over-thinking!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Few Doodles

Hi everyone!  I've been busy with life things and haven't been working on anything I thought was worth posting, but I have been doing little drawings in my sketchbook.  I wanted to check in here and say "hello", so I'll go ahead and post a few sketches.  These are all drawn quickly in ballpoint. I'm liking ballpoint more and more!  No smudging, no sharpening, no stopping to dip a pen!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Eye Glasses"

It seemed to me to be time to draw a duck!  To fit this week's theme, I had to give him some glasses.  But I think I forgot to tell him what to do with them!  This guy is a "tiny", what I affectionately call my 2.5" x 3.5" art cards, in ink and colored pencil.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Yesterday"

This week's prompt gave me a perfect reason to complete my "1920s girl" project!  The sketch, which was posted on this blog a while back, seems like it's been sitting around forever.  I wanted the image to be soft but still have lines and edges, and black and white but still with color.  So I decided to use colored pencils, which worked perfectly I think.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

More Ballpoint Sketches

Here's an idea (or two) I was working on yesterday in my sketchbook. The sun was there first but got overrun by the bigger drawing!  These are drawn with black ballpoint pen and I think if I do a finished version I'll stick to ballpoint.  I love it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Talent"

Betsy Ross, 2.5"x3.5", ink with watercolor

Betsy Ross was a talented artisan and businesswoman.  A trained upholsterer, she maintained a successful upholstery business throughout her life.  One interesting place to learn about Betsy online is at the Betsy Ross House website here.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Whisper" (With Process)

Mother Nature whispered, "It will be all right, little one."

I really wanted to do an optimistic sort of illustration this week.  This is a crow quill drawing on Canson bristol board.  The piece went through several sketches and line work practice studies, so I saved my scans and stages as I went along for a long-overdue process post.

Thumbnail sketch, approx. 2"x3"

Traced and revised from enlargement of thumbnail

Revisions in Photoshop

Digital line study over final sketch

Further work on the digital line study

Trying out a border
Final illustration

Thursday, February 21, 2013

T-Shirt Report

My "Sometimes" shirt (or as my husband and I call it, "Angry Guy") t-shirt arrived from Society6!!  I can now personally report on the shirt quality.  I love it!!  I think the design looks great on it and the shirt is made of very nice, soft fabric and not too thin.  The art is printed right into the fabric instead of being a rubbery layer on top.  I didn't describe that right, but I hope you all know what I mean!

One thing I discovered the hard way is that the ladies' fitted shirts at Society6 seem to run a little on the small side.  I'd suggest any ladies who order t-shirts from there order a size up unless you like a tighter fit.

You can find the shirt at my Society6 shop here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Custom Pieces

Here are a few custom illustrations I've done recently.  I really love doing this kind of work!  Perhaps it's because I know that someone is going to own work I've done and enjoy it.  Perhaps it's also because so far I've been commissioned by fantastic people that allow me to have fun with my illustrations and have been a joy to work with!

My sister is a runner and I got started doing custom art through running friends of hers.  As a result, many of my new contacts have been runners too.  So these pieces feature runners and athletic events.  They are ink drawings colored with either watercolor or colored pencil.  I tend to use watercolor for smaller pieces and colored pencil for larger ones.  Some of the lettering has been obscured.

Ink with colored pencil, 7"x9"
Ink with colored pencil, 5"x7"
Ink with watercolor, 5"x7"
Ink with watercolor, 4"x6"

To see more of my custom work, please visit my Facebook page and my portfolio site.  My contact information can be found on those two sites as well.  As always, thanks for visiting and come back soon!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Portrait of Shoes

My Mizunos

Shoes have so much life in them after we've worn them around for a while, don't they?  These are my old Mizuno running shoes.  They are old but not worn out, and very bored from lack of use lately.  I needed to do some trials and work on style anyway, so I made this shoe portrait in hopes that I might get inspired to lace them up and get out of my house!

I used ink and watercolor on Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

House Red With Mermaid

While I was waking up one day last week I imagined an image of a tiny mermaid, bored in a glass of wine.  It seemed like it could be kind of fun to draw, so instead of forgetting about it as I usually do with that kind of thing, I made this illustration.  I like it!  It's a little weird, but so what.  It could happen, right?

It's a crow quill pen and ink drawing on Strathmore Mixed Media paper/board.  I find that board takes ink very nicely.  Colored pencil looks good on it too, as does watercolor.  I wouldn't use it to do a watercolor painting or anything where the watercolor should be the focus.  But it works great for coloring an ink drawing with watercolor, where I want the ink drawing to be the focus!  It even allows me to rework a watercolor area a little bit without it looking "scrubby".  One bad thing about it is that it's too thick for me to trace a sketch onto it using a light table.  I have to trace with a transfer paper.  All in all it's a really nice, useful, great-looking paper.  Give it a try sometime!

"House Red With Mermaid" is available in my Society6 shop.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Wings"

My art tools this week were black Sharpie pen and low-bleed paper.  I used Photoshop to clean things up a little and add/change the color.  I confess that I've been following my own advice, as illustrated above, WAY too much lately!

This art is available as an art print, pillow, t-shirt and more in my shop here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

First Impressions of Online Selling

Hi everyone!  I'm still a newbie to online sales but I want to take a minute to do two things in this post.  

First, I'd like to thank all the people who have been following me, supporting, sharing and promoting my work, visiting this blog.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Thank you as well to my family and other customers who have bought products featuring my art.  

"A Little Crooked" iPhone case / Society6

Secondly, I want to give a little report about my first few months as an online seller.  As of now, I have a shop at Society6 and one design in the marketplace at CafePress.  I'm happy to report that so far the products have been delivered successfully and that my customers are happy with them!  I ordered prints from Society6 myself as a test and thought the quality was very good.  One of my biggest worries about selling designs through vendors online was that after people would order something with my art on it that the item would look bad or be of bad quality.  So far that has not happened!  I have not earned enough yet to be paid by CafePress but payments from Society6 have had no problems.

"Kisses from Fannie Finn" iPhone case / Society6

My sales have been slower than I'd hoped but I really had no idea what to expect when I started so I was very happy to make any sales at all! Things have been picking up a little;  I've signed up on Pinterest, Wanelo and WeHeartIt as well as starting a Tumblr blog to increase my exposure. I started an art page on Facebook as well.  Please visit me on any or all! It's too early for me to get a feel for whether any of those sites are working for me vs. how much time they will take to maintain, but for now I'll let them play out for a while and see what happens.

"Holiday Curls" t-shirt / Society6

Through another artist I did discover one of my images had been stolen, was being used on an iPhone case and was being sold from an online shop.  The product was taken out of the shop after I contacted the seller so that incident had a satisfactory ending.  I will be searching and keeping my eyes open for the next time.  I appreciate that an online friend noticed my work and reported it to me;  I send emails now to others when I recognize the artist and suspect an image theft.

"Sometimes Angry Mug" / CafePress

The products in the photos I've posted here look good, don't they?  I'm excited to continue selling online.  It really feels great to find out that someone has chosen something because it has my art on it and has spent money to buy it.  It inspires me to keep creating!  Thanks again for supporting my work and for the visits and support of this blog as well. Cheers!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Illustration Friday: "Ocean"

This week gave me a chance to draw from Greek mythology, which I love to do!  Here's Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, riding on a charging hippocamp.  The original drawing was pen and ink on smooth paper.  I was experimenting with different line weights to create different tones without using crosshatching.  Then I colorized it and added the background in Photoshop.

"Poseidon" is available as an art print and more in my shop here.