Show & Tell (blog)

  • Ah! It’s been forever since I posted to this blog, apologies friends! Between teaching, mentorship, moving and working on my first picture book it’s been kind of a busy spring thus far. But here are a bounty of vegetables from a few issues of Jamie Magazine I’ve whipped up recently. That crying onion is one of my favorite vegetables I’ve drawn yet!

    More soon, promise!

  • Say hi to Arjun, a rather dashing fellow. He’s part of nearly 50 different love interests you can meet in Light Grey Art Lab’s Great Personality show opening up tonight! The show’s pretty cool— it’s all exploring how and why we’re drawn to people by their personality traits, inspired by Meyers-Brigg and other tests. So LGAL decided of all things to code and design a dating sim! I can’t wait to play— designing a character based on personality traits (especially a guy!) was pretty interesting.

  • I’m thrilled to announce I’m teaming up with Motivarti this spring as a mentor! If you haven’t heard of Motivarti, they’re a unique program where artists and students can pair up with mentors to provide detailed advice and guidance over ten weeks. I’ve got availability to mentor two lovely people; maybe it’s you!

    Each mentee experience is tailored to the person (whether it’s more advice or working through assignments or both), but one thing I emphasize is experimentation and rigorous sketchbook experimentation!

    Details here, along with the other awesome mentors to choose from (including my good friend Cory Godbey!)

    Applications open Monday, Jan 13 until February 9. Local and nonlocal mentees alike are welcome to apply (though English speakers only I’m afraid!)— I’m happy to help!

  • It’s getting to be the end of the year, which means I’m thoughtful of where the year’s gone (too fast!) and where I want to go next. Overall, it’s been a good year but also one of the toughest years of my creative practice yet. But I still feel very lucky, if creatively a bit beaten up; I finally got my best friend to Portland, we got married and celebrated with the biggest explosion of art I could’ve hoped for (thanks so very much Join Together friends!), was really honest with myself, pushed a lot outside my comfort level and worked on a lot of different projects (much of which I can’t show, bummer!), and as my teaching career evolves I’ve been happy to educate and mentor the next wave of illustration. They’re making me proud and inspiring me to be the best maker I can be. So with that in mind I’ve crafted a short list of professional goals to tackle. My actual list is quite long, but these are the best ones to share.

    • Don’t shoot down personal work unless there’s a solid reason; I have second guessed my work too much this year and I need to have faith in my abilities and work.
    • Seriously, don’t be afraid of what I can do. I have to say it twice.
    • Keep more accountable— with my collaborators, with friends, with emails, with my rep. Be better with the business side of things.
    • Continue redesigning my website and shop, and plan out collections of new work for craft fairs/shops.
    • Reflect on my work, work I enjoy, my students’ work. Really push curiosity and learning in my practice.
    • Keep refilling the well and practicing my conceptual chops— looking outside the illustration world and finding more inspiration in the world.
    • Relatedly, find an opportunity to travel in 2014— ideally Iceland! I want to go someplace foreign to me and rejuvenate my practice.
    • Target goals to tackle each quarter and keep reviewing: for Q1, I want to push my compositions (particularly with space), experiment more with looseness to bring the vitality of my sketchbook into the finished work, draw more settings and props, get back to printmaking/limited palette work, and return to more narrative work. In addition I’d really like to develop a passion project that challenges these goals.
    It’s time for me to wrap up things and close the studio down before I head back to Connecticut for a week. I hope you all have a lovely holiday, and I’ll catch you in 2014 with lots of happy news and work!
  • Hi everyone! It’s the holidays coming up, so this week I’ve opened up my shop up and released some things that haven’t been up on there yet. I’m also trying to move in the early part of the year so it’s time to downsize and let some of this stuff go. I’m putting this stuff up at pretty low prices so please take advantage!

    There’s a bunch of original artwork for $30, tote bags for $15, lavender sachets and Scout Books for $10, mystery art packs for $35, and discounts on most all the other work up there! Plus each order for flat artwork (prints, original art, mystery packs) will get a free print of some sort. I’ll be taking the shop back down Friday night and putting it back up at the start of next year, so take advantage!

  • Recent little guy for Jamie Magazine. Issue 43! I’ve now been doing gardening column illustrations for at least 30 issues— that’s kind of crazy if I really sit down and think about it!

    It’s almost winter, so I’m reading and thinking a lot in gardening metaphors. Lots of burrowing down, planting roots and figuring out where to grow next.

  • Concepts in Illustration survey-- please answer!!

    As a teacher and illustrator, the notion of what makes a strong idea gets me very curious. It’s something I think outside of school we don’t talk too much about— so much thought is given to the look of an illustration but what about what it’s trying to say? There are so many illustrators who are so great at concept, it’s dizzying and exciting! As I’m always trying to learn and build my skills, as well as share them with others, I’d love all of my illustrator friends to fill out this survey and learn from each other!

    Go take the survey here. Unfortunately it’s cropping my questions weirdly in Tumblr, sorry folks for the external link!

  • This is the first purely personal piece of artwork I’ve made in a long time, and with it I’m going to break away from the norms here and share something. After spending time with dear friends yesterday and talking about process and struggles, I felt compelled to make something and talk about something I usually hide away.

    The fact is, for over a decade I’ve been fighting with anxiety and depression. I feel very weird writing this here— it seems like in the online world it’s something we’re supposed to tuck away. It might not be professional, or it could come off as complaining or bleak. But I do not mean this to be, dear readers. I know that we are products of our experiences and the tough critic I am has made me a stronger tougher illustrator. But it is something that has been a struggle, knocked me down and left me feeling lost and isolated. When my work failed or floundered, it became a reflection of myself. Coupled with a mean perfectionistic streak, it’s lately made me question my personal practice to the point that working on anything for myself felt like a waste of time and effort. Doubly strange and hard when I see my students struggle, leap and grow in school, but feeling paralyzed myself.

    I still feel very weird writing this. But I feel like it’s important to take a risk and be honest about this part of me to evolve beyond it, and also share with those who work and struggle and feel alone. After all, process isn’t just the pretty sketches but it’s also the rough scribbles.

    I write this with a positive note; after finally getting sick of this pattern I am taking strides to fight these issues at their core and separate my well-being from my work, and for the first time in a while I’m starting to feel good (knock on wood). It’s still a long road yet, and I know it’s something I might fight my whole life, but that’s the benefit of art-making— when we can actually get deep within the work, we can learn new things and get lost (and found) at the same time.

    Thank you for following me and reading this; even though I may not know you all it makes me happy that I can share with you and fight the good fight. Hopefully there will be a lot more art to share soon—till the next.