Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Cheer!

Happy Christmas one and all! Reindeer are cute with their giant heads and spread toes. Sometimes they have white faces and pinto spots. Experimenting with some weird stylization on the legs; a drying-out red pen and watercolor drawing in a sketchbook.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going the way of the dodo

I painted this little picture sitting on my bed listening to mariachi music. The idea was from a receipt by my bed that I scribbled "angel dodo" on when I woke up in the middle of the night once. Double wings are weird, but I wanted to have it flying. I based the coloring in part on the bleeding heart dove. I was going to give it a halo of feathers like a crowned pigeon; then I decided that was going overboard with the Columbidae and religious imagery.

I got a new pen that's supposed to be gray ink (it's really a permanent Martha Stewart scrapbooking pen). I'm disappointed that it's not as light as I wanted. It looks like slightly faded black ink. Martha, how could you! I should've got the indigo or heliotrope one.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fling! Monkey Doodles

Not many people seem to like monkeys. I do, I think they're fun to watch and have interesting expressions, shapes, and colors. Here's a page from my sketchbook, with bunches of scribbles relating to monkeys.

Patas monkeys look like English gentlemen to me. They have white mustaches and kind of parted hair.

Uakaris are a bit (OK, a lot) scary since they're bald. They do have neat fat fluffy tails though. Squirrel monkeys are cute, right? They're so little.

Spider monkeys have fun hairdos and really skinny legs with big tails. Capuchins can have nice styles too; sometimes they have 2 bumps on their head. The little one at the bottom left is a common marmoset, which are very cute and have giant white ear tufts.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Why don't you take a picture, it'll last longer!

I'm rusty with gouache! I acquired some postcard-sized pieces of brown paper which I thought would be good for gouache. I was watching Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and thought it would be fun to do a series of little paintings of some of my favorite movies. This is from a scene where Pee-Wee is dressed as a woman to escape the cops. As you can see, I did extensive research for no reason.

Here's a frame I took from the movie that lasts about 1 1/2 seconds so I could get a good look at his shoes.

Here's the inspiration for the painting.
I had wanted him to look more generic, since I wasn't going for a perfect likeness of Pee-Wee; I want the clothes to be recognizable but not necessarily the face. Oh well, I may do some more to practice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I hope you will enjoy his show

I've had an urge to draw the Beatles, but not being a good portraitist, I of course wanted to make an animal instead. The Sgt. Pepper's outfits are so cool, so I did a watercolor sketch of a fox in George Harrison's ensemble. He's a poorly-drawn Bengal fox. Get it, a fox from India, George Harrison, huh huh? What an awesome hat he had, and black spats. He's playing a flute because George is holding a flute on the cover; it's true, look it up!

Also, flutes are hard to draw and I'm too lazy to look up what they look like.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I wanted to make a little painting and ended up with a uni-cloud, uni-flower, and uni-bunny eating a cheeseburger. I don't know either. They kind of look more like they're wearing party hats, but they are horns.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Nothing fabulous to post, so I decided to put up some drawings I did when I was sick. I was in bed all day, alternately sleeping, feeling horrible, and being bored. My fever-ravaged mind thought that CatFox was the best idea ever, so I doodled it in ballpoint pen. Note the stylish ear strawberry. I also made a bear, possibly coming out of hibernation, wearing knitted arm warmers like I have.

The red ones are a lion costume and a kakapo. They have chubby cheeks. These are pretty bad, but I don't draw too differently when I'm well.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


I like Halloween a lot! Too bad it'll be over tomorrow :(. I wanted to do more art but didn't get around to. So here's a sketch I did in like a minute, then hastily (poorly) colored. Explorer bilby bobbing for a donut -- it's apple cider flavored, yum! Please excuse the horrid quality of the picture. It's watercolor on drawing paper with no under sketch again.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Piggy puttering around

A Visayan warty pig shuffles around the house. He likes his slippers and periodicals. There are lots of these guys at the San Diego Zoo; they run around and do funny things. I like their fuzzy hairstyles and interesting tusks. I can never see the warts though. This is a small sepia watercolor doodle. I love the look of brush-inked stuff but seem to have more problems with real ink, so I went with paint and my waterbrush instead. I'm proud that I didn't mess it up, since I didn't make a drawing first, just started with brushstrokes all over.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Musky Odors

I'll only be drawing musk oxen from now on.

OK, probably not, but they sure are fun. Giant heads, so furry, tiny eyes and feet, huge horns. I drew these with an old dying pen after finding an ancient issue of Ranger Rick. Some are slightly changed copies from the photos in the article, some are made up. Ran out of room for entire bodies on the page again, whoopsie!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Costume Time

Halloween is fast approaching; time to come up with crazy costume ideas! I have always liked the cute look of the mock turtle from Alice in Wonderland. Here's a design for a costume of it, modeled by Pinki the bilby. It didn't take long to see what an impractical costume it would be, with no fingers and the big hard shell. Plus the hooves had to be big enough for long bilby toes to fit in to. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Small blue pencil drawings, plus a bonus gouached painting!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Banned Book: Little Black Sambo

Here's where all the tigers are from. I had this book when I was pretty young. I don't know where it came from, it looked old when I got it, but I loved the illustrations. The story was fun too; tigers wearing clothes and it ends with pancakes. This book is banned for the obvious racist connotation of the title, even though it was originally a little boy from India. As time went on, the character changed to African, with many versions having stereotypical depictions of Sambo (black face, "native" type dress.) There's a Little Golden Book with very cute tigers but a grass-skirted Sambo illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, who did the Poky Little Puppy and others.

We have a few updated versions of the book at the library, one renamed just Sam and one giving him an Indian name. My favorite image from the story is the tiger with shoes on his ears. Probably because the shoes were purple and had curly toes and he just looked really cute. Poor tigers turn into butter at the end though!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Latest fashion

My final illustration for the week. Purple curly shoes are fun. Each of these pictures took about an hour from first scribble to last brushstroke. This one didn't scan the colors as well. I made the sky pink because I got a pink paint splash on this half of the paper and didn't want to try to remove it since it had fully dried. This image is my favorite from the story, and this is what I really wanted to paint. I'm not satisfied with how it came out, but what artist ever is?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tiger, Red Coat, Burning Bright

The third picture in the group of four. This jacket looks rather Michael Jacksony, doesn't it? I used some old National Geographics for background inspiration, just like Carl Barks did.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Blue Rear View

Another illustration for the same story as yesterday. Harem pants are making a comeback, you know! Just like last time, watercolor over blue sketch. Man, this is a bright orange. I like the way this tiger came out more than the first one.

Monday, September 28, 2009

So Many Raindrops

The first in a series of four tiny paintings to be done in honor of Banned Books Week. I'm going to do one every day until Thursday. They are all from the same book, to be revealed on Friday. These might be preliminaries for bigger pictures, or I'll finish them and forget about them forever. Yay for setting goals!

This tiger has the biggest head ever! Rain is hard to paint, and the puddles look better in the real painting. I wanted to use my bright crazy orange. This was sketched with blue pencil then painted directly with watercolor on half a sheet in my 7-ish" by 9.5-ish" sketchbook. Oh yeah, umbrellas are also hard to draw.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

They don't really live in water

Defassa waterbucks! They're very fuzzy and have Vulcan eyebrows and are like real-life Care Bear cousins because they have heart-shaped noses. The male is magic because he's somehow in front of the female and behind her at the same time. Very quick gouache doodle on handmade paper, kind of stylized but not really. After painting these I noticed that they're colored like foxes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


The pushmi-pullyu is an antelopey creature with two heads on opposite sides of its body. I made mine a blackbuck because I like their coloring and twisty horns. I enjoy drawing ungulates a lot. It's fun to make hooves and horns and skinny legs, and many of them have such cool coats. I will be painting more hoofstock soon!

See the painting in my blog's header. Gouache on magical brown sketchbook paper; I need to get another of these! They're fun! Gouache works well on this since I can subtract paint and let the brown show through for highlights. The original sketch is in blue pencil. You can see all the leg positions I tried and how I didn't finish drawing the horns.

2 YEARS LATER EDIT: Now that I've changed the header, I've added the pushmi-pullyu painting for easy reference.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A sailor travels to many lands...

I'm pretending I'm an children's book illustrator from the 1950's . Here is an indri based on an old illustration of one in an animal book I have, wearing the duck's sailor outfit right out of the Richard Scarry book Rabbit and His Friends. Boy, I love this book! The pictures are so cute and fun, and the end is so happy that it makes me want to cry. It's done in a different in style than his later work; the pictures are more "primitive", for lack of a better description, and feel spontaneous and loose and sketchy. I've based a painting on this book before; the title doesn't tell you that it's about a platypus.

Indri are cute lemurs that have little teddy bear tails and ears. This is painted with gouache on some handmade paper in a sketchbook that I probably shouldn't have used since it's pretty thin. Don't disintegrate, page!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

How now, black chow?

At the feed store that I used to go to almost every week to stare at the puppies and baby chicks and things, there was a "shop dog" -- a black chow named Woo. He was really laid back, mostly lounging around in the store somewhere. I'd call his name and he'd put his head up, trot over and let me pet him a while, then walk away again to go sleep somewhere else.

I did a little sketch of a chow, then added dragon horns at the last minute. I decided to ink it with a brush (I didn't do a very good job). Then I decided to paint it (also not very neatly done). I think this chow dragon should be named Woo too, because that's the best chow name.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Little Water Bears

I like tardigrades, don't you? They're adorable microscopic animals that live in water. I've never seen a real one, though I tried when I had access to high-powered microscopes. I collected so much moss and pond water, but came up empty. They're also know as water bears, can live in environmental extremes and can survive being dehydrated for years. Look up some movies of them walking around, they're so cute!

Tardigrades have 8 chubby legs with tiny claws/toes. I experimented with some designs for these little critters. I even made one furry like a true bear. These are fun to draw; I'll probably do some more. Colorful little gummy water bears! Everybody should try drawing some now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can you caricaturize animals?

A visit to the Comic Con this weekend made me want to do art. So many different styles and weird pictures to inspire, but at the same time make me tired of my own stuff. I got a sketch of me from Mr. John Kricfalusi. I like watching how different artists work. He took off his glasses and looked very intently at his subjects with the most serious expression. Then he suddenly got a huge smile and started drawing really quickly; he must've found what he wanted to exaggerate in the drawing.

I do like Stimpy but he seems to have lost his arms in a horrible accident. At least he's happy to see me! His pictures were all so funny, and I'm impressed by the speed and artistic confidence (all done with Sharpie, with no timid sketchiness or pencil underdrawings.) I also got an adorable sketch from Kali Fontecchio; look how cute I am with my favorite duck friend!

Since I still have a hard time drawing people, I wondered if animals can be caricatured in the same way. I think of lot of regular caricature has to do with expression, which some animals don't seem to have. Many of them look dignified or majestic all the time, with straight lines for mouths and big dark eyes with no eyebrows. Or they already look funny to us so they seem to be a naturally-occurring caricature.

Animals are turned into cartoons, but that's more of a representation of every member of that species, not a certain individual. Gao Gao is a giant panda at the San Diego Zoo. He's cute like all pandas, but has a tiny ear that I thought might give me something to work with. He also seems to have big paws. Is this a caricature or just a slightly stylized panda? I don't know but at least I made a picture!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pretty Kitty

A failed color/style test for another picture that I probably will never make that ended up looking like everything I always draw. I thought the pen was waterproof but it turned out not to be. Whoops. Her siamese points also weren't as purple when I mixed the color, which separated as the paint dried. Kind of cool I suppose.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Best Drawing Ever Made!

Wow, it's been quite a while! I'm so uninspired these days. I want to do art but I don't know what to make. However, I did make this doodle which I feel is my best work ever. It took like 10 seconds but I just like it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sea Legs

Another acrylic underpainting/watercolor overpainting experiment. This one is even less successful than the first, but look how determined the coelacanth is to finish the race!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Somewhere in the jungle...

I haven't done any painting in a long time. I saw a blog showing the progress of a picture done in acrylic and watercolor. My acrylics haven't been touched in forever, so I thought I'd give it a try. He first built up some values with washes of purpley-gray acrylic. Then, he did flat washes of watercolor, without varying the intensity of the paint, letting the underpainting determine the shadows. The end result was very soft with subtle colors.

I wasn't too successful in this first attempt, since I think I worked too small and lost a lot of the details of the original sketch (her bone bracelet, her eyebrow and most of the curls of hair and fur). I have no idea what this picture means; I needed something to paint and this girl in a linsang skin with a strange skull was the first thing I drew. I'd like to play around with this technique some more soon. The drawing is done in a brown colored pencil, which might not have been the best thing to use but I wanted an uninked image.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Lunar New Year, Moon Bear

I haven't painted in a while. This doesn't count as a "real" painting but I dragged a brush full of gouache around on paper so there you go. I wanted to use my black sketchbook, and I wanted to paint something mostly black. This is an Asian black bear, also know as a moon bear (cool name, huh?). They have a fun white V on their chest and wide-looking heads. I wish I had exaggerated the head and big ears even more, actually. I was going to make the bear holding something but couldn't decide on what, so now it's making some kind of weird bear hand sign.

I blame anatomical mistakes on my laziness of just painting away without making a sketch first.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

First Doodles of the Year

Happy 2009! Here are a few weird drawings since I haven't posted anything for a while. Balinese angel, saddest elephant seal, and a mad pied crow.