Show & Tell (blog)

  • On Friday, Light Grey Art Lab is hosting the opening for the 2014 Iceland Residency Exhibition. I took part in the experience which was one of the most mind-opening inspiring things I’ve experienced. I still have trouble putting it into words (let alone images!), and I’m glad to see my fellow residents knocked the visuals out of the park– they’re all incredible people I feel deeply lucky to have explored with.

    My contribution to the exhibition is a little looser/more experimental than I initially expected it to be; the landscape still baffles me and pulls my brain into a thousand pieces when I try to capture that color and detail. So my work for the show bounces back and forth between figures and landscape, between 2D and 3D with an accordion book, a few images that pull colors and patterns from the photographs I took, and this needle felted puffin. He seemed deceptively simple when I sketched him out– but he proved me wrong! It took a couple of weeks of poking and filling and wiring to toughen him out, harden his rocks, abstract the patterns in the volcanic rock and mossy textures, and still making him stand proudly and fluffily atop it all.

    Hope you check out the show if you’re in Minneapolis!! You won’t be disappointed.

    Puffin Cairn, 2015.

  • The newest issue of Plansponsor is out and I got to make a little illustration for it. The article was about the many different ways to find/consume information and stay educated.

    Inadvertently, this piece turned into an unofficial cousin to the personal piece I made at the start of the year, The Seed-Savers. Funny how that works.

    Thanks as always to AD SooJin Buzelli for the project!

    PS: Interstellar Cinderella process post to come soon! I just taught my last class of the semester so I will be sharing a lot more now that it’s summer!

  • Hi everyone! Exciting news: the picture book I recently illustrated is now officially on the shelves! Meet Interstellar Cinderella, who dreams of fixing robots and having lots of adventure.

    I wanted to snap a few photographs of the book to share with you– on Friday I will have a full writeup to share the process and story of how this little book came to be and what I learned by making my first picture book!

    In the meantime, check out some press about the book at the following places online!
    Publisher’s Weekly
    Mr. Schu Reads
    The Book Wars
    Nerdy Book Club

    Want to read it? Pick it up at Powell’s or Amazon, or check your local library!

  • I’ve been posting little peeks of a jungle-themed zine up online elsewhere recently; unfortunately I have to put the project on hold for a bit while I juggle other project deadlines. Total bummer! But I wanted to share this little primate themed spread in the meantime.

    Stay tuned, I can’t wait to share more!!

  • Some recent editorial illustrations for Notre Dame Magazine’s spring issue– some interesting stories for these, from a topping out (beam signing) ceremony at a new medical center, to dealing with memories and a father’s brain tumor, and the power of family and friends to comfort the loss of a child.

    Editorial illustration is such a fun challenge– so is mixing up process a bit!

  • Hey everyone! I just wanted to let you know my shop has returned back from its… yearlong hiatus! (Oops!) It’s been a busy time but I’m excited to bring back these friends that debuted at Crafty Wonderland back in December. Screenprints, bandanas, printed ornaments, embroidered pendants, and new glassware too! And my Curiosity Brigade medal pin too.

    To check out these items and more, please go to:

    Thanks all!

  • Working digitally has its pros and cons; much as I love the versatility of Photoshop, I also find it takes forever needling and nitpicking, picking the right brush to do the job (there are too many brushes out there, which is a blessing and a curse!). And even though I do a lot of traditional drawing/markmaking to break up the digital, I have been wanting to push my traditional/digital ratio. So after a lot of research, I decided to order some cel vinyl acrylic paints from Cartoon Colour, seeing awesome results from folks like Martin Ontiveros, Tim Biskup, Drake Brodahl, and Martin Hsu. This is my first little painting experiment, and I have to say, it’s pretty awesome stuff. I always love the look of gouache but for whatever reason mixing it and getting really opaque results with fine lines and drybrush has been beyond me. This stuff makes it easy, and I suspect there’s some really fun things I could do with markmaking and layering traditional and digital mixed media with this stuff.

    I don’t really think like a painter, more like a drawer or a printmaker, but I’m hoping with practice this will change! I will share more as I keep playing around with this stuff.

  • The lovely folks at Working Not Working did a little feature on me; I thought I’d share the little behind the scenes snippets of my studio space I shot for it. This space is little, but comfortable.* I do wish I had slightly better lighting– eventually I need to get a replacement light for my drawing area. You can see my newest studio addition, an adjustable standing desk (The hardware is from Stand Desk, and the top’s an Ikea bamboo, if anyone’s curious)! I have been using it for about four days now, and besides being a very effective high-rise perch for my little canine buddy, it feels really nice to try and work in a hopefully healthier way. Hunching over a monitor or piece of paper 10hrs a day can’t be that great for anyone! Plus I apparently tend to shuffle and dance a lot more while I work this way. It’s not DDR but I’ll take it!

    *Fun fact: my dedicated studio workspace (not counting art storage) is like 35 square feet (enclosed by my two desks and flanked by my husband’s workspace.). The standing desk also makes it a bit more open, which helps me not feel as claustrophobic. Always a bonus!

  • A special new year surprise– my lovely editor and art director over at Chronicle sent me an advance copy of Interstellar Cinderella– my first illustrated picture book! What a blast to work on. Every page was made with sheets of rubylith, ink, shape, washes and pencil– all meshed with digital process into a cacophony of color, shape, texture and pattern. The book, written by the lovely Deborah Underwood, is a retelling of the classic story where Cinderella is a fiery girl who wants nothing more to fix spaceships and be a space mechanic. Plus, the front cover has this amazing holo foil treatment that looks like oil on pavement. So neat.

    It’s available this May– preorders are already up on Amazon and Powell’s. I can’t wait to see it at Powell’s and I hope lots of kids enjoy it! Meanwhile, I can’t wait to work on my next picture book– any takers? I’m itching to incorporate collage :)

  • Just like that, another year down. The end of the year has gotten me particularly thoughtful over the last five years, and this year was turbulent but a lot of really good things happened. In 2014 I visited Iceland (more on that TK), completed my first children's book, continued teaching/ mentoring, got braces, moved across town, went to ICON8, Crafty Wonderland and Linework NW... A lot of other things also happened (good and bad), but this is a time to look forward and dream/make new goals.

    [in case you didn’t figure it out, I’m back in CT for a few more days, hence the seaside theme. I wrote captions but I guess they don’t show up in dashboard view? Hm.]

    Here goes for my list of goals. Dreaming big for 2015.


    • I am looking forward to the release of Interstellar Cinderella in the spring— I have a copy back in Portland I can’t wait to peek at and share with you! I hope 2015 brings more picture book projects or book covers. Working on my first picture book was so hard but so fulfilling and I want to keep doing more.
    • Tying into that, I really want to target books as a goal for 2015. I want to practice writing more and develop the zine/book series I have plotted out in my head, hopefully quarterly. After working with so many lovely thesis students, the idea of books/visual essays is so appealing to me. I also want to come up with something to pitch to Nobrow.
    • I am planning on making work based on my Iceland trip— travelling internationally was life-changing and I am craving it. One of the zines I will make will tackle that trip, but I want to find more excuses to travel. I would love to do a travel workshop or travel somewhere for an on-site project.
    • I also want to explore ceramics- first through a class and then hopefully with a collaborator!
    • I’m hoping within the first half of 2015 to find a studio space outside my home for proper work/life balance, and to work alongside my talented friends.
    • I want to practice what I preach to my students and establish more of a daily sketchbook practice. Looking back at my career thus far, I’ve done well for myself but I want to level up, draw more from life, extend my patience for harder subjects, expand my visual vocabulary. This might be digital or traditional, but my hope is the more I target weaknesses, the better my art will become and the faster my output will be.
    • Plenty more freelance of course, but also making time for collaborations as well as personal projects.
    • I hope to step up my documentation/process game too. I want to get a tripod for my phone, continue to upload behind the scenes shots of work in the studio both here and on Instagram, and share more insights about the work.
    • As I continue to broaden my focus (teaching/mentoring/freelancing) I have found it harder to keep on top of professional practices. Email + self promo have been particularly tough and I want to be better at that.


    • I think health has taken a bit of a toll as I overwork myself. My muscles need more strength and sitting hunched over a drawing for 10+ hours at a time is not good. So I am promising myself to enact better lifestyle habits. Making time for cooking + gardening, longer walks with the pup and tricycle rides, running, trying bouldering (I got hooked on climbing and solving problems in Iceland), and also setting up a standing desk to work digitally at. It’s gonna be frustrating and uncomfortable at times but I want to be a stronger and healthier human being.
    • More reading, more researching, more writing.
    • Making more time for friends, family, and non-art activities. Too easy to get sucked into work and I want to be better-rounded.
    • Enjoy 2015 no matter what it throws at me!
    I hope you’re all having a lovely first day of the new year; thanks for sticking around with me this far and I’m excited to show you what’s next. Let’s make it amazing.
  • Free Illustrated Holiday Gift Tags!

    Hey all— I have been away juggling the end of the semester, making a ton of stuff for Crafty Wonderland this past weekend, and now I’m flying back for a holiday respite! I hope to post with an end of the year recap soon, but in the meantime I wanted to pass along news of a little holiday gift from all of the illustrators at Scott Hull Associates— a pretty set of printable gift tags to adorn your hard picked (maybe handmade?) gifts for loved ones!

    Head over to Scott’s site to get them! Mine of course is the ornery but sweet Yule Goat.