I won a consultation with the AMAZING Janna Morishima, agent and creator of the graphic novel community called Kids Comics Unite. She gave me excellent advice for revising my website in the one hour that we chatted this past week. Janna also shared ideas on what to do with SEO and my blog. So, over December, I think I’ll be doing some planning for the new year and preparing to implement some of the strategies she suggested.

In the meantime, I’ll stick with more bird drawings. I hope you like them!

And because of the title I chose, I have the David Bowie song running through my head now.

Bird (on the) brain

There’s been a lot of talk about birds recently…that ginormous bird platform named Twitter, the other ginormous bird called turkey that people in the U.S. often have for Thanksgiving.

But I’d like to share some birds unrelated to either one because I don’t want to get started on venting about Twitter’s new evil overlord nor about the injustices brought on the indigenous population since that first Thanksgiving meal.

I’ve been keeping up with nature journaling and some of those sketches happen to be birds. Birds are fascinating and delight me most of the time (also do not get me started on Brown-headed Cowbirds). I’ve not spent much time studying their anatomy even though I’ve bought the Cornell Bird Lab home-study course on bird biology, so I’m hoping that doing these types of sketches will help me get better at drawing them.

Do you have a favorite bird? Is it your favorite because you can draw it, or because it comes to your feeder daily? Or perhaps it’s the tastiest?

Also, when should I stop sharing these posts on Twitter? All these questions…

More #SCBWIartober

What?? It’s Friday? I completely lost track of time. The important thing is that I show up to important appointments on time (like classes I have to teach), but otherwise, the days are a blur.

This week, I have a few more quick, daily (mostly daily) SCBWI “Artober” prompt drawings to share.

Day 13 was “nest”

Day 14 was “feast”

Day 15 was “worm”

Day 16 was “book nook”

Day 17 was “crunchy”

Day 18 was “full moon”

Day 19 was “scarf”

Day 20 was “basket” (or “basket case” here…)

Day 21 was “bat” (in case you don’t get it, she’s batting away the annoying person preventing her from reading)

Day 22 “weird weather” was combined with day 23 “ride”

Day 24 was “parade”

And that’s all she wrote for this week, folks! One more batch of drawings to share with you (the challenge mercifully ends on the 31st) and then it’s on to other boring things. 😀

#SCBWIartober – distraction or practice?

Maybe it’s a bit of both? The last thing I needed was to add one more thing to my schedule, so I try to keep the time spent doing these drawings to under a half hour…10 minutes or less is preferable. The prompts are as follows:

Here are the first 12 in order. More to come in a couple of weeks if you can stand it. Hah!

spider; ink
magic; ink
harvest; ink
digital (Sketches app)
crow; ink
rain boot; ink – this one was done in 2 minutes!
apple; ink
black; digital (Sketches app)
costume; ink
corn; digital (Sketches app)
under; digital (Sketches app)

Have you taken on any extra challenges this month or are you wisely keeping sane? 😀 Happy weekend!

I ain’t afraid of no hands

A couple of weeks ago, I attended San Diego SCBWI’s MayFest virtual conference. Brian LaRossa, Art Director at Scholastic gave a fascinating and engaging talk on the “dos and don’ts” of an illustration portfolio. I’m a huge sucker for talks that have numbered points because those are often laid out in a clear, logical way that I can wrap my brain around.

One of the things he urges you not to do is to hide hands. A good illustrator needs to be able to draw hands. That was good news for me because I love drawing hands! I don’t do it often enough and I’m probably rusty at it, but I do enjoy it.

Here are some hands I did quick sketches of a number of years back…

You may have noticed that most of the drawings are of the left hand. That’s because I’m right-handed and my left hand serves as the model. That happens a lot, apparently. The one drawing of the right hand is of Kid1’s hand as they ate a noodle dish in Xi’an when we were there in 2013.

Have you ever tried to draw hands? What about feet? Now, THOSE I don’t like to draw. As I said to a friend, feet are like the ugly, malformed cousins of hands. Heh.

I had an inkling

So I’m taking this excellent class with Tom Froese at Skillshare, and for an assignment, he wants us to assess our own art and see what we like and why.

I think for me, and for others who’ve given me feedback in the past, my ink drawings are some of my strongest works. Here are a few examples; what do you think?

polar bear
brown bear
rock hyrax
red panda
field mouse, I think?

And lastly, my attempt at making a comic…

So what do you th-ink? Is ink my strong suit? 😄

Miles to go before I…get half as good as Charles White

As I mentioned previously, I fell in love with Mr. White’s art when we were at the MoMA. But as you can see from a drawing I did in 1994 (left), I have a ways to go before getting to his level (right). Granted, mine was just a rough sketch and his was done at the height of his career, so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. It gives me something to strive for!

What, this old piece of #art?

I did a drawing exercise in an art class for non-art majors once and hubby likes it so much he has had it hanging in his office for the past 24 years.

img_3306So sweet of him. And one of his grad students told me recently that he’s admired it when he’s in hubby’s office. That made me happy, too.


#Inktober2016 Day 2

The thing with painting in Sumi ink on rice paper (or Chinese painting) is that there is no preliminary drawing and what you lay down is what you get. There is no correcting of anything. If you don’t plan well beforehand, your composition will be not be great. I need to plan better. It also means you have to understand precisely how to handle your brushes, the water, and the ink, and this knowledge, like with other media, comes only with lots of practice.

The prompts today are acorn (Doodle Day) and noisy (Inktober). What could be more perfect than squirrels for that? Besides, some of you always expect squirrels from me. 😉 You can see water haloes since I’d just finished and it was still wet when I took the picture:


A close-up:


#Inktober2016 Day 1

For today, I’m getting a feel for the Chinese paint brushes again. I’ve not done this in even longer than watercolor landscapes. I was a teen when Dad taught me how to do Chinese painting, so it’s been almost 40 years.

I still remember how to pick up ink so that the bamboo segments have a gradation, giving them a more 3D look but I’m seriously rusty.

The Doodle Day prompt is fall and the Inktober prompt is fast, so I tried to paint a mouse with falling leaves.


Here is my arsenal: