September 30, 2009

Welcome Back Steve Jobs

Welcome Back Steve Jobs, originally uploaded by Gato81.

A self-initiated assignment to welcome Steve back to the Apple world. It had been a while since I had done a celebrity portrait, and this was a really fun one to do. Thanks to Katy, Rachel, Alli, and Jason for posing as audience members, and to the Keynote speech on for providing reference footage!

The only thing that bugs me is my scan. Not matter how long I fiddle with the controls, I can't get the vibrancy and subtlety of values from the actual illustration board. I have an Epson Workforce 600 - does anyone else have issues scanning with that?

It makes me want to attempt some photoshop illustrations. James O'Brien and Yuko Shimizu (to name a few) do a wonderful job of incorporating hand drawn art with beautiful textures to create pieces that appear hand-made.

I'll give it a shot in my next self-initiated piece, but in the meantime I have a few projects that need my attention.



September 29, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool Watercolorist: Manoli Lopez

This young illustrator does beautiful loose pen & ink sketches and then pains in loose, vibrant layers of watercolor and gouache (I think). As one who can't get enough of bright colors, I am absolutely in love with it. I can learn something from the looseness in her drawings; it's something I struggle with as a naturally meticulous person.

Also check out her blog - not in English, but lots of great sketchbook stuff that does not need translation.

September 23, 2009


I got a tiny moleskine sketchbook, and I've found it's a perfect spot for my new collection of character sketches. Above are some people I saw on the bus.

Here are a few people I drew from memory. There are so many characters out there, especially roaming around Santa Monica.

The bottom sketches were done with my trusy hi-tec C... better for the minutia. But the thicker marker is nice for just "getting it down."

These are great fun. I need to do some anatomy drawing from my books to brush up on proportions; it will improve my ability to draw from memory. Oh, how I love learning about drawing. I'll be a student as long as I live.

September 22, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool finds from working the google reader on the internet machine.

Cool Sewing Illustrator: Miki Sato

This young illustrator demonstrates how successful an image can be with a limited color pallete, interesting textures, and simple design. I can't believe she sews her illustrations! It's such a unique and interesting technique.

Most of the time, I love how there are no answers in illustration. There are thousands of solutions to one problem. I am constantly learning from how others tackle problems and it encourages me to push myself in my image making.

Sometimes, however, I hate that there are no right answers. When my brain is spinning out of control searching for an absolute, I like to do some algebraic equations. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. It helps rope in my brain, and reminds me why I want to do art for a living.

September 18, 2009

Honey & Vinegar

Honey & Vinegar
, originally uploaded by Gato81.

After last night's episode of "Always Sunny in Philadelphia," I couldn't resist creating a mock company shirt for Hugh Honey and Victor Vinegar's new real estate team. Buy it on a shirt through Zazzle! You'll get a honey of a deal.

Have a great weekend!

September 16, 2009

Jason Lounging

I did a quick sketch of Jason (My Biggest Fan) while he relaxed on the couch. I believe he was watching Southpark. Acrylic was applied later.

September 15, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool finds from working the google reader on the internet machine.

I like the abbreviated Tuesday Coolsday from the previous post, so I'm going to keep it to just one Cool topic per week. Also, maybe by next week, I'll manage to get the post written before the end of the day :)

Cool NY Times Feature Contributor: Christoph Niemann & his Abstract City column

About once a month, Mr. Niemann creates an illustrated reflection on life around him. The articles are executed using everything from Legos to coffee, and are always charming, quirky, and interesting. From my past "cool" entries, you may have noticed that I don't usually dig such a naive style, but when paired with such thoughtful and clever content, I find it simply brilliant.

I recommend subscribing to the column; it's such a treat when a new one shows up in your reader! You can see more of Christoph's work at his website,

September 14, 2009

Chair on the Patio

Chair on the Patio, originally uploaded by Gato81.

Playing with a new brush pen, getting used to having a fat, flexible drawing tip instead of the hard microscopic tip I'm used to. Insert "That's what she said" joke here.

September 11, 2009

More characters

More characters, originally uploaded by Gato81.

I did a few more "character" sketches last week based on people I see around the city. I'm the ultimate people-watcher (a favorite pastime my freshman year in college involved sitting in the lobby of my dorm with my roommate just watching people come and go), so it's fun for me to try to recreate the interesting things I see when I'm with my sketchbook later.

It's challenging, too. I can picture it in my brain a certain way, but can't quite make it come out right when I try to draw it. Give me a photograph or a model and I'll render the crap out of it, but this is hard. Which is why I'm doing it - to get practice.

I have a few projects in the pipeline this week, plus some more marketing efforts. My day-job has picked up steam this week too - summer is officially over! Have a great weekend, my friends!

September 8, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

I have been away from the studio, roaming the coastal town of Monterey, CA for a very long weekend. I have some sketches to scan and some blogs to catch up on and will return to my normal blogging soon. In the meantime, here's an abbreviated Tuesday Coolsday post:

Cool illustrator: Zina Saunders

I'm currently obsessed with Drawger. it's like the cool kids club for illustrators. I was floored when I saw the beautifully composed, vibrantly colored illustrations of Zina's. Her blog on Drawger is interesting and inspiring; I particularly enjoyed her Woodstock narrative and the illustrations that accompanied them.

Thanks, and until next time!

September 3, 2009

Harry Potter

For sale in my Etsy shop - $30

The first time I ever heard about Harry Potter, the 3rd book of the series (Prisoner of Azkaban) was about to be released. I was working my summer job at Silver Bay, and dozens of my fellow employees were talking about driving to the Walmart 20 miles away to get it when it was released at midnight.

I was skeptical. A kid's book? About magic?

Ten years later, the series has come to an end, so I decided to give it a go. I finished the 2nd book, Chamber of Secrets, two nights ago, and I can honestly say I'm hooked. So hooked, in fact, that I decided to draw our hero, Mr. Potter.

I did this caricature using a brush pen (hair, eyebrows, etc) and a brown Hi-Tec C for the details in the face:

After letting it set for 24 hours, I painted washes of acrylic with gouache to give it some color and visual interest, like I do with a lot of my sketchbook drawings.

I'll definitely be doing more portraits like this! I would love to hear your thoughts on this style, too.

Now off to read Prisoner of Azkaban...

September 1, 2009

Tuesday Coolsday

Cool finds from working the google reader on the internet machine.

Cool Wedding Invitation: Lauren+Ryan

I am enjoying all the untraditional wedding invitations I have seen floating around the interweb, and this invitation designed by Lauren Panepinto is the cream of the crop. From what I could tell, this couple had a storybook like meeting on a cruise ship, and thus created a literal storybook to share the story with their friends and family and tied in the wedding details seamlessly. It is absolutely charming. I wish I knew her so I could have a copy of the invitation! You really need to see the full spread here on the head vs. heart blog. If you're nosy like me, you can read the intro to their story - I recommend it!

Cool Illustrator: John Manders

I am so glad Drawn! sent me to John Mander's blog. Not only is his work inspiring, exciting, and professional, but he's so kind as to share his process with the internet world. It's educational and inspirational and I find myself delighted when there's a new post from him. Please go see the blog or his online portfolio, and if you're into the RSS feed thing, his blog is well worth a subscription.

The image on the left is from his series of "circus poster" stickers promoting his books about Pete the Poodle and the rest of his circus.

Thanks for reading, 'till next Tuesday!