My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.


My Black Hat

Still recuperating from the flu/cold thing, but no fever so I went back to work today. Staying home and sleeping all day when I wasn't coughing my head off was getting a bit boring anyways. But tonight after work...I knew it -- I'm starting to feel congested, dammit.


Shadow Sick

Evidently whatever strains of flu were in the flu vaccination that I got this past fall were no match for the variant that one of my co-workers brought back from China after Christmas. I have the flu. I feel like my body went through a meat tenderizer. I can't concentrate and I keep forgetting what I was about to do. I'm coughing so much that my voice is all hoarse and squeaky and I can't sing with my favorite songs. :( At least I'm not congested or all stuffed up. Maybe that's simply a later punishment just when I think I'm getting better...

I hate being sick.

Didn't feel up to coloring my hair today even though the pink is so faded only a few strands show on my I did it with a quick sketch and Photoshop instead.


More Gabriella

I keep thinking of Gabriella sitting in her late father's study, writing in her journal of the horrors she sees of the Black Death all around her. So, that's where I went with this quick sketch. I also made her a bit younger than the previous sketch.

While I was doing some research this afternoon, I ran across a bit of creative writing via the EOS Books blog to Wired that had me coming up with my own little six word stories, like this one:

Comforted, she slept. Hungry, he ate.

For some reason, I keep thinking of dinner.

Gabriella as The Italian Plague Doctor

Interesting topic over on this week's CHOW: The Plague Doctor. To give the character more emotional context, the brief has the following account from a fictional character who was supposed to have lived during the time:

“My name is Gabriella. My father was a doctor, and I learned from him how to treat various maladies and to set bones and which herbs and mixtures and such would treat this illness or that.

“My father, he died two months ago from the Black Death. I did not know what to do, so I donned his mask, gown, his boots and stick and gloves, and try to care for those I can.

“I try to help. But they die anyway. So many. I bring the flowers and perfumes, the hot drinks, the blessed artifacts, leeches – I even smoke like a man now to ward the Death away from me! The laxatives do not seem to work, and I hate covering the poor souls in mercury and placing them in ovens to burn the disease out. They scream so….

“May god have mercy on our souls, for I do not believe anyone shall survive…”

Another nice little twist in the brief, while the account is supposed to be from Italy in the mid to late 1300's (or 14th century), the image the art director posted in the brief for the Plague Doctor is actually from the 17th century. Which sort of means the artists can be a bit creative with how they interpret the costume design.

The above is my initial quick rough sketch. I'll post some more explorations over the rest of the weekend. Since the due date for this exercise is tomorrow, it will have to be a quick series of studies and one color version picked for the final round. Although I may choose to do a tighter illustration later like for the Herald when I have more time to spend on it. We'll see.



Well, I joined the Women in Toys non-profit organization today. I was a bit surprised (okay, disappointed) to note how long it's been since some areas were updated. My membership is for a year, so we'll see how that goes. Hopefully, I'll get to meet some of the ladies at the Toy Fair next month.

Posted another quick random evening sketch, no relation to vacation...just my mood.


Small Steps

Decided to enter the upcoming Spectrum 15 contest so I've been digging through last year's bits and pieces to see what 2-3 options I should send. Trying to think Hey, you won the local middle school student competition with your sci-fi poster entry for "Reading - It's out of this World!" back in 1978...


Meanwhile, I'm doing the internet rounds (I'm such a research whore) to seek out and find upcoming creative workshops for myself (preferably local) to improve on my art (tolerable) and writing skills (needs improvement). Unfortunately, it appears that everyone is picking the same weekend in February to hold their event which means I'm probably limited to one option. Although I'm already trying to figure out ways to attend at least two of them: the
DFW Writer's Conference and the ConDFW (Peter S. Beagle!!! and Donato Giancola!!!). The North Texas chapter of SCBWI will be holding a critique for writers and illustrators that weekend as well; but it's something they do just about every other month so I can hold off on that one. I've attended several times before in prior years for some input and encouragement when I was still doing alot of internet and design consulting and trying to get back into children's illustration (educational or otherwise). Plus, there's the NYC Toy Fair which my Art Director mentioned he'd like me to attend this would be my first visit (this after almost 4 years of developing product designs for toys and such) so I'm curious to see what it's all about.

I missed the
Austin/Dallas Sketchgroup meet-up in Austin this past Saturday. But, I'm hoping to attend the next one which is supposed to be in the Dallas area. Hopefully, this time I can drag along some of the guys I work with as well to bring some additional flavor to the mix. :) In the meantime, it looks like there will be some, (maybe alot) of people getting together to be part of the 17th Worldwide Sketchcrawl on Saturday, January 19th. I think I may observe it quietly at home...whilst at work on my FTM&L portfolio projects. I have entirely too many sketches and fewer final pieces as it is. And most of my in-house art (that I like) I cannot post as of yet.

Posted some random sketches...which includes a couple of doodles from vacation:



Happy New Year!

I had a rather fantastic Christmas family vacation up in the Canadian Rockies at a nice little place called Chateau Lake Louise. If you ever have the chance to go (at least in winter), I highly recommend it! It's been rather a long time since I've been around that much snow at Christmas time (don't get that kind of stuff in Texas), I'd never been to Canada (another cool factor)...and I've never been skiing either, so it was great to finally do so. Snowed a bit every night and some nice little flurries now and again during the day, but we also had some nice clear days, too. The weather was pretty fantabulous, I think. A lovely international crowd from guests to staff, too. Plus so many fun things to do without having to leave for nearby Banff or Calgary: snowshoeing, ice skating, sleigh rides, singing Christmas Carols, attending an outdoor Nativity pageant (I stayed inside where it was warm and watched from the windows, heh), catching snowflakes on my tongue, breathing in that fresh mountain air, ice hockey, spending quality time with the family, spa massages, checking out the breakfast/dinner buffets and eating at excellent restaurants, checking out the cute Aussie and Canadian men (ha), walks along the frozen lake to see the glacier (before it all melts due to global warming) alot of other activities that were available that I simply had no time for -- hey, this was a vacation after all! Took entirely too many photos but got a few good ones for my photo album as well as reference for potential Christmas design projects. The above photo is me sitting on one of the lakeside benches facing Lake Louise -- it just happens to be rather buried by about 3 feet of snow. As I understand, last year they finished the season with about 16 feet. D'oh! So here are few of my photos:

However, my time away on vacation (before, after and during) rather limited my computer work (like, not at all other than "the job"), so I chose not to stress about developing the
CA Queen Medusa challenge in time for today's deadline. It looks like there are some interesting submissions coming in from all skill levels, too! Did manage to do a wee bit of sketching (see below) when it first started, but I don't want to rush the project, particularly since it's now for my own satisfaction and not for a client (i.e. no money). On a positive note, since it fits in well with my art theme of "Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends" for my portfolio update, I'll still work on it and finish it. And post my the progress here and in my CA sketchbook for instructive feedback, of course.

This next one is most likely the layout I'll develop -- the Young Queen transforming into the Medusa (Crete and Minoan costume influences) and stepping into her new reign as Character Concept Artist Muse with her Gorgon sisters guarding her back:

In other randomness, my poor tv finally died this past December....I knew it was about to go since it had been limping along earlier this summer with some odd color squiggles and occasional green screen oddities -- I bought it brand new in 1997 (?) after my college b/w tv croaked (yes, I didn't realize that Scully had red hair back then), so it's given me a pretty good long life I suppose. Funny, it just happened to die at a pivotal "fires from hell" scene while I was watching the 2nd Hellboy animation DVD, "Blood and Iron".... Hmm. Anyways, I've been shopping around for a new tv both online and in stores to see what I like, will most likely be getting an LCD that will somehow both fit in my tight budget (which has already had a shock when I saw how much the flat panels cost just for a screen size close to my old tv) and on my current tv stand/entertainment center. Interestingly enough, I've found that without the tv and not watching various shows as part of my daily or weekend schedule I seem to have more time in a day to do other things (reading, drawing, etc)...and that time isn't moving quite so rapidly somehow...or I'm getting stuff accomplished more quickly. Which is making my tv shopping drag on, too, since I'm not rushing to get a new one. Except that I'm wanting to desperately watch LOST when that starts up again, so I think that's probably my new tv purchase deadline, heh.

I'm also taking time this weekend to finalize my New Year's Resolutions list -- doing so seems to help me focus my efforts and work on key strategies (in other words, what is my method of attack to achieve my goal) when I actually write them down as opposed to just thinking about The Goals (creative and otherwise) in general. Yup, didn't meet my goals for 2007. In any case, here's an idea of what I'll be working on in the next no particular, the much more detailed adn final goals and strategies list (ForMyEyesOnly) will be posted on my home studio bulletin board.... :)
  • writing
  • submit story proposals
  • maintain the sketchbook(s)
  • update the portfolio(s)
  • tighten storyboard roughs
  • new freelance submissions
  • attend workshops (to learn, practice, network, and challenge myself, not teach)
  • maintain a regular exercise routine
  • practice the piano and flute
  • volunteer with the local humane society
  • consider possibilities (creative and otherwise -- ha)

Well, we'll see how it all goes this year!

"Happy New Year...Time for a new start, time to chase the monsters back with sound and fury."

- Marjorie M. Liu, Holidays Are Hell