Category Archives: Process

Work and Play

This evening I set to working on a new painting. One of the lonely girls goes on an adventure dangling from a floating balloon. I first came up with this idea about a week ago, and let it settle in my brain. Usually, when I have muddled over an idea long enough and still like it, I sit down and crank it out. Tonight I did some rough sketches and even started blocking in the girl. So far, I am taking it slow with this one because I don’t want to screw it up. Some paintings are meant to be done “off the cuff” in one night, while others I prefer to spend a little more quality time with.

To help pass the time, I discovered the adorable work of Mel Stringer, an Australian based illustrator. In particular, I am digging the tiny felted creatures she sells on Etsy. As anyone knows I am a sucker for all things felted and teeny tiny! AH! Now back to work.

halfway between "Real Life" and "Fantasy"

My 3 latest Lonely Girl paintings are beginning a new style I want to develop further. For now I have dubbed it the “halfway” style. It’s a cross between drawing and painting / saturation and transparency / representational and stylized.

“Halfway” style starts out with a sketch transferred to canvas paper, and inked. I love the immediacy and contrast of black line work and I feel that direct painting loses that effect. Then I start building up layers of acrylic paint. I use acrylic because I am comfortable with it, and I like the ultra bright colors I can work with. I like almost neon saturated feel of the finished product.

Most of the image still shows through, and then I detail the subject in thick opaque layers of paint. This gives a real weight to the girls that I haven’t yet mastered using only lines.


8.5″ x 11″

When all is said and done, I let it dry (like 5 seconds – love acrylic paint!) and then retrace the ink lines once again to make them pop. I don’t retrace everything, but leave some lines faded from the painting process for effect.

These past couple of weeks, I have been extremely happy with the result and I hope to do more. I would like to hear your opinion too!

Always In Progress

Although I am starting to climb on board the digital art train, I still think of myself working with more traditional media. Below is a glimpse at how I approach a project.

1. Idea! I don’t like to wait for inspiration, so I am often online looking at images, reading about techniques and thinking up stories to translate into picture. For this project, I wanted to do another Lonely Girl piece. I have been doodling sad lonely girls for about a year now and this week felt like another time to bring her up.

2. Sketch/draw. I usually start drawing really bad childlike sketches and process through a couple of different layouts and ideas before it starts to look workable. These are two of the later sketches that were eventually traced.

Progress 1

3. Transfer to canvas/wood/ computer/paper etc. This week I am keeping my idea cost effective and traced my sketch onto some nice Strathmore canvas paper. Usually I start painting with acrylics to build think opaque layers. Instead, I inked the drawing right way in hopes to build up some more translucent paint layers.

4. Paint! I was too caught in the zone to remember to take any “in-progress” shots of the painting. I am a firm believer that all paintings/ drawings go through an ugly phase, and our job is to keep working through it to discover the beauty underneath. Or at least that’s what I say if I think a  painting doesn’t look right in the beginning. 🙂

Progress 3

5. Import. I don’t have a scanner, so I take careful digital images of my work and touch them up a bit in Photoshop. For this piece, it only took a couple of tweaks, but others have more digital components.


Window Tears
mixed media painting
9 1/2″ x 7 1/2″

That’s pretty much it! My studio space consists of a desk and a wall, so I rarely show it. I  juggle wet work and my computer stuff regularly, and I am counting down the days until I can have more space to “stretch”!

7 days, 3 styles, 1 subject

This is another example of a project from the Pikaland Bootcamp I am enrolled in. The task was to let go and create 3 separate projects in one week using different media with the same composition. I think the goal was to find what we know and to loosen up our style.

Lately, the little lonely girl has been a recurring theme in my work. I don’t know where she came from exactly, but she seems to fit with what I am interested in lately: emotion. Not just sadness (although it seems the most obvious here) but to explore how to evoke a specific feeling from my work.

This is “tunnel girl” she is afraid and embarrassed to show herself to the world. She has been hurt before, and sits curled in her safe tunnel. This composition was done in ink, collage, and digital illustration.

ink drawing paper collage

photoshop illustration