Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Animated Fall Ink Drawings to Wish You Happy Thanksgiving!

Since it's a holiday, I have some extra time today to mess around and play. You know what that means for this artist woman.  I get to DRAW!!!  I drew a "Fall" Series with cute girl, cute animals and warm colors like brown, orange and red.  Afterward, I wondered what it would be like to animate a few elements in them.  You can see what I did here.  It was a fun first attempt.  When I get more time, I'll try more.  Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you're enjoying this day with some fun folks and a yummy feast!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sneak Peek: My First Children's Book (Piggy Forest; A Dark Fairy Tale)

I can't really talk to you about my first children's book.  It's really hush, hush so here is the slightest sneak peek.  This is the final cover for "Piggy Forest" which is a dark fairy tale.  I have been working on it for over a year and finally finished the cover and all the illustrations.  The publisher still doesn't know how they want to publish it since there are so many options nowadays.  They could e-publish it like to Amazon and Kindle or they could make it into an actual hard cover book.  They could even do both.  Not knowing what they want yet is the hold up here.  I've showed hints of it to friends and they are very excited for it to come out.  I am too because I want to share the great work I've done on it.  And right now, I can only tease you with the cover.  You can bet I'll let you know when I can reveal more.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Own Your Super Power & Play: Designer Tina Roth's Rules for Living

Anyone who talks about the importance of play has my undivided attention.  In this inspiring talk by designer Tina Roth, she encourages you to play.  So you know I'm on board!  You know I have to share it with you!  Why play?  Well, it's one of 5 rules she lives by that helps her make an impact, make awesome designs and to create a meaningful life.  What else do you need to know besides that? 

Designer Tina Roth talks about owning your super power and not forgetting to play in this 99U Speech.
Watch the whole inspiring video at the link above.  Below I've written down her 5 rules.

1.       Embrace  your super power
2.       Don’t complain, make things better (or let it go).
3.       Choose wisely who you hang out with
4.       Don’t forget to play
5.       Push to be BETTER

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Evolution of a Book Cover: Pam Gross's Career Workbook (+ My Evolution of Confidence in My Career)

Almost 2 years ago, I definitely didn't know if I would be able to make a career out of my passions; art & design.  I felt in my bones that it was right and true and what I was intended to do.  But the world wasn't seeing it my way-----------yet.  

Then I took a class that helped me change things around.  It was Pam Gross's career workshop.  During the 4 days,  among many other things, I learned how to make "skill stories.  As I did so,  I discovered that I had a lot of skills, experience and talent that I felt good about and with the "skill stories", I had an easy way to talk about myself and what I did best.  It boosted my confidence.  It made interviews and resume writing so much easier.  

My first attempt at a book cover for Pam Gross's career workbook.

At the end of the workshop, Pam asked me to help her update her career workbook.  She'd been wanting to rewrite it and do some better graphic design and charts.  I said yes.  I was very happy to take on the opportunity because it was more experience under my belt to show what I could do and it was going to help someone who I believed had a wonderful message to share. 

Without a title, we got to work.  Pam kept talking about career-making with water and nautical metaphors and I pointed this out to  her.  This clued her in to where she might find inspiration for a title and a cover.  Once Pam had a title, I started working on the book cover.  Above, you can see my very first attempt.  

She said she liked it, but she was afraid it looked like a children's book not a career book for adults.  I had to agree, even though I loved the little kitty in the paper boat.

Covers 2, 3 and 4 for Pam Gross's workbook.

I went back to the drawing board to come up with something else.  The working title was, "Paddle Your Own Boat", so I drew a rowboat for the cover.  She liked it, then she changed the title.  This time it was, "Take the Helm", so I drew a boat steering wheel.  She liked that too. However, she still wasn't satisfied with the title.  It became, "Career Making".  For this change, I drew an old compass.

If you haven't guessed it by now, Pam is always coming up with bigger and better ideas.  So "Career Making" had to be changed to "Career Tides".  We kept the compass for the cover and most of everything else.  She didn't change her mind again.  This was the final book cover.  

We took a lot more time to update the rest of her workbook.  But this was just the beginning of more projects to come from her many other clients.  I attribute her career workshop and this first graphic design project to helping me find confidence in my career of choice.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sidewalk Chalk Drawing With My Nieces & Nephew (The Last Days to Draw Before The Wet Season)

Sometimes, it's really nice to get out of the city and visit my family in the 'burbs.  Things are quieter out there, and of course, there's less traffic.  Not to mention, the sidewalks are empty and waiting to be filled with sidewalk chalk drawings!  On one such warm Sunday afternoon, I went to play with my little nieces and nephew.  I brought my special box of sidewalk chalks (chalk pastels) and plopped down outside in front of their house.

What should I draw?  I said to my nieces and nephew.  My oldest niece wanted me to draw a watermelon.  No, I didn't want to draw that.  I saw a sort of totem pole of animals in my mind, so I started with a bunny as the base and sketched in animals on top of his head.  They all watched me.

If you have kids, you know that they won't be satisfied with just watching.  They wanted to join in the drawing fun.  So my oldest niece started to draw a watermelon, just like she suggested I draw.

My youngest niece has a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), so she couldn't stand it if her older sister got to draw on the sidewalk and she didn't get to.  She started to draw a big pink heart.

When we were all, busy with our sidewalk drawings, my nephew decided to join us too.  He didn't know what to draw at first.  Then he decided that he'd draw a "creeper" from a video game he liked to play (maybe you know which video game this is?).  It certainly looked creepy to me.

When I was done with my totem pole of cute animals.  They all looked at it and said the bunny seemed really sad.  "Well, maybe, he's sad because he has so many animals on his head."  I said to them.  We laughed.  It was certainly fun to start a drawing party with them.  I know this will be one of the last times we'll get to do this because the rainy season is coming.  Soon, those sidewalks will be too wet to draw on.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

If You're Batty About Halloween (My Free Halloween Printables)

Yes, I am batty about Halloween.  I love the decorations and costumes and....well...let's be honest...there's not much I don't like about Halloween. A few years ago, I created this free bat and ghost printable for Little Gatherer to help everyone celebrate.  Yep, you can still download them for all your Halloween decor and fun!  Or who knows how you'll customize them!  Let youR imagination go batty!  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Art Book Project: A Storybook for Adults About a Wise Homeless Woman, "Street Buddha"

A friend contacted me and wanted me to illustrated a story she wrote about a wise homeless woman in her town.  Everyone knew her as "Street Buddha".  There were a lot of stories about her.  Some legends.  Some rumors.  But my friend wanted to tell about the things she saw herself or that her friends witnessed.   

I was intrigued.  I read it and told her I'd like to illustrate it as a storybook and print it in zine style.  She gave me complete artistic freedom.  I really appreciated that.  Below is the fruit of our collaboration.  I did a very small print run, but you can read it in the e-book below.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

MIA: My Old Sketchbooks from 2006-2010

I recently got back some old artwork that a friend had been saving for me.  I really appreciated her storing it.  When she took it, I was still not sure where I was moving and I had no safe place for it.  Now, my artwork and I are reunited.  It's been fun going through drawing and paintings that I did when I was still developing my craft and exploring all sorts of styles and mediums.  

But I couldn't find my sketchbooks.  I asked her where they were.  She hadn't seen them.  They are MISSING IN ACTION  (MIA).  She said she looked through everything, but she'd go through it again.  So far, no news of their whereabouts.  I hope she finds them.  They amaze me with how surreal and raw and stunning my drawings are.  If they don't show up, I, at least, scanned them and made a digital e-book with them.  I edited them down to 250 pages for 4 years; 2006-2010.  You can skim through or peruse it below.  I enjoyed  going through it if I do say so myself. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

I Love it When You Customize My Free Printables

It was so fun receiving this message from a blog reader.  She told me she printed out the Free Paper Balloon Printable that I created for Little Gatherer and she customized it with her an image of her little baby.  How whimsical it turned out!  How adorably sweet!  I thought it was perfect.  Thanks for letting me know how you customize my printables!  I love it!

Free Paper Balloon printable by Artist in LA LA Land for Little Gatherer, customized by a blog reader. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

This Woman is No Longer Shy: How I Shed My Shyness at the Mural Festival, "Forest for the Trees"

"Forest For the Trees", mural festival, Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.
My friends weren't in town or they had other plans the weekend of the mural festival, "Forest for the Trees", but I wasn't going to let that stop me from going to a spectacular weekend of art parties and art events around Portland.  During the whole week, new murals were going up on walls around town by international and local artists.  Towards the end of the week, the celebrations and tours were happening.  I went to my first art party on Thursday night.  

The crazy sculptures in the plaza at the Portland Art Museum.

I was one of the first people there.  I felt gawky and strange in the almost empty space, but I knew I could mope around and hope someone would approach me and talk or I could shed my shyness and have a lot of fun.  I decided to go with the latter.  Yes, I had the secret power inside me to just get over myself and not care if I looked stupid or awkward.  So I approached a couple on a couch and started talking to them.  I couldn't believe how easy it was.  We discussed art, where we were from, cool places in town and what brought us to the art event.  Well, it was curiosity of course.  We wanted to see new things and talk to new people.

My coloring page from the Friday night art event at the Portland Art Museum.

I talked to a lot of people that night because I realized it was more fun to talk to people than sit at the sidelines and just hope for interaction and fun.  I ended up talking to one of the mural artists who had flown in from Japan, Nigamushi.  He didn't speak much English, but somehow we laughed and joked around.  I spoke to a guy from South Africa who happened to be visiting Portland friends that weekend and whose friends said this was a quintessentially Portland event, so he had to see it.  "Keep Portland Weird" is the saying in these here parts.  I think when they started the strange rap and dripped coffee art performance that was definitely in keeping Portland weird.  Don't ask. It was just odd.  I left soon after that.  It was just a bit too strange for me.

An artist paints a piano at the Portland Art Museum (L) and an artist and his mural on the Saturday bike tour (R).

Friday was my second art event and this one was at the Portland Art Museum.  Again, I  had no companions to attend it with me, but I was determined to go.  I decided I would try to talk to some people again.  I imagined I'd find a way to strike up a conversation and then we'd laugh and joke around.

There were all sorts of crazy sculptures in the plaza when I arrived.  There were also artists painting a piano.  In the outdoor sculpture garden towards the back of the plaza, people were coloring.  I was handed a coloring page.  Looking around, I tried to find a spot to color.   I asked if I could color it at a table with some folks who seemed to be collecting beer bottles at their table.  One guy had a flower in his hair which I thought was fun.  I told him I liked it.  He thanked me and we started to joke around.  His friends soon joined us and we talked about art school, what made us move to Portland and why we came to this art event.  They all knew one of the artists....the one painting the piano.  That was cool.
The Saturday bike tour included the "Naked Bike Tour" mural.

Saturday was the last art event and this one was a bike tour to some of the murals.  This was the 3rd year of "Forest for the Trees", so we saw old and new murals.  At each mural, we talked to the mural artists or someone who knew about it.  I asked a lot of questions and had fun learning about the artists and the murals they had painted.  One mural was about the "Naked Bike Ride" in Portland, but this one had many funny, naked creatures.  Another was about the artist's grandmother and baby nephew who were floating down the river of time together.  We admired the different styles and the many hours that went into painting the large walls.

Many styles of art on the mural bike tour including an artist's grandma & baby nephew floating down the river of time.

At the end of the tour, we convened for beer and burritos.  Again, I didn't let me shyness stop me from talking to my fellow bike tourists.  I found out that a few of them were PSU graduate students who where doing Urban Studies of Portland.  I also talked to the event planners who were mural artists too and Portland gallery owners.  They said they didn't make any money off this event.  They did it because it connected them with such interesting artists and art lovers.  Also, they felt it connected them to their community.  I left feeling some of that too.  I was glad I didn't let me shyness get in my way of having a fun art-filled weekend.  In fact, I felt like this woman was no longer shy.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

This Is How We Do Halloween in LA LA Land (Halloween Printables)

Fall has crept upon me like the Headless Horseman.....or something like that.  I can't believe the weather is cooling down and the corn has started to turn yellow.  That's what I did last year.....I visited a corn maze and a haunted maize for Halloween.  I might just do that again.  I'm looking forward to carving jack-o-lanterns and making some fun Halloween printables like the ones at my shop, Artist in LA LA Land!  Find my Halloween printables here, so you can see how we do Halloween in LA LA Land (Bwahahahahahahahahaa!)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

MISSING & LOST ARTWORK: These 5 Sculptures of Mine

The gallery where I was showing some of my artwork in Los Angeles hastily and unexpectedly closed.  The owner was out of town when this happened, so the people who he left in charge cleared out the space as quickly as possible.  Among the items that were cleared out were my 5 sculptures that you'll see here.  I asked the owner to return them to me.

He said he'd find them and get back to me.  When a few days had past, I contacted him again.  I heard nothing from him.  After a few more days past and he still hadn't gotten back to me, I was sure something was up.  I asked if he'd meet up with me since I coming to town for a few days.

We got together over lunch and he told me the story of trying to find my artwork.  He thought one person might have it, but he hadn't heard back from the guy.  Maybe, they were somewhere else.  He wasn't sure.  In either case, I was leaving the next day, and I wouldn't be taking them back with me.  

Without the owner admitting it, I realized my artwork was missing.  They had been lost in the move.  Who knows what happened to them.  I felt sad about it.  I still feel sad about it.  At least, I have photos of them.  Maybe someday, they'll end up in a garage sale and someone will discover them and give them a really good home.  I can only hope.  Maybe by that time, they'll be worth a lot of money too.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sidewalk Chalk Drawing During My Camping Trip

Okay, okay, I admit I didn't exactly find any sidewalks to draw on during my camping trip.  But I was determined to commune with nature and still get in some drawing.  I know; I know most artists would do some plein air painting and capture the beautiful landscape.  Instead, I wanted to have my art captured on the landscape.  You see, I created my chalk drawing on the rocks and boulders I could find.  Above, I tried to make a fat pink cat look sort of ancient and hieroglyphic to fit the rock stacking that my friend was doing.  We wanted someone to come across it and wonder how they got there.  You know....create a mystery for our fellow nature lovers.

Of course, since I love bunnies, I had to draw a bunny bouncing along on a rock as if he were wild and free in the lovely open fields that surrounded the camping grounds.  What would you think if you came across this jumping bunny?  Would you wonder who created it?  Would it be a fun surprise?  That is what I hoped.  Now, I wonder who saw it and what they thought.  It's fun to think about and it was fun drawing it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

I'll Show You Mine, You Tell Me Yours: More Sidewalk Chalk Drawings Adventures in Downtown Portland

Drawing is the best, but drawing on the sidewalk with chalk becomes an adventure.  Let me tell you what I mean.  I could sit at a cafe in draw in my sketchbook.....I've done that and it's plenty fun.  But when I sit down on the sidewalk and make my drawing into a public artwork, interesting things happen.  People start to get curious.  They come up to me.  They admire what I'm doing.  They want to know who I am, why I'm doing it....and then comes the fun part....they start to tell me their stories and what the artwork means to them.  I feel like I'm showing them my story, myself in the artwork and then they open up and share their passions, disappointments, memories, hopes and dreams. 

I drew this vintage lady, "Love" in downtown Portland, at a busy plaza with children playing in the fountain and tourists enjoying our fair city.  A kid told me it was great.  A man with a heavy accent asked if he could take a photo of it.  A mother and daughter just stopped and watched my progress for a long time.  They never talked to me.  But I felt their presence and appreciated it.  A group of young men came by and stopped too.  One of them told me he loved what I was doing and gave me his card.  He was creating a marketing company and was looking for artists.  He told me to contact him.  

I drew this cloud swinging girl in the Portland's Park district.  I overheard homeless folks giving each other tips on how to stay out of trouble with the law (clean up after yourself and keep quiet at night).  Then a young man, Rocky, stopped and watched my drawing.  He told me he thought I was hardcore relaxing by drawing on the sidewalk.  I liked that.  He said I was just missing a beer in my hand to chill a bit more.  I thought that was funny.  He ended up telling me he almost went to art school on a scholarship.  I was impressed.  In a fit of anger at being taunted at school, he got in a terrible fist fight with a fellow student.  He broke the other student's face and lost his scholarship.  I couldn't believe he was telling me this sad and vulnerable story.  He said it all works out. He's now a firefighter and loving it.  "Life is strange", he said, "life is strange."  I had to agree.

I may not have artwork in the Portland Art Museum, but I can sure have artwork near there.....well....on the sidewalk.  I drew this vintage lady in front of the museum.  A father and little baby watched me and the father gave his baby move by move commentary of what I was doing.  "Now, she's erasing; now, she's filling in the hair; now, she's coloring the eye."  I felt like a sports game and almost laughed out loud.  A young lady was in awe of what I was drawing and asked if she could take a photo of it.  

Then an older gentleman came up to me and asked the name of the lady I was drawing.  I didn't know.  He told me he thought she was a dancer because he was a dancer.  I was curious.  He told me he did ballroom dancing for 25 years and now, he couldn't listen to certain songs because they reminded him of a lost lover.  It hurt too much to remember.  I thought that was passion.  Now, he was really into zydeco dancing because it was happier than blues dancing.   He told me he dabbled in drawing, but expecting to be perfect kept him from just doing it and enjoying it.  I nodded and told him that perfectionism can keep you from doing anything.   I finished my drawing.  He hoped to see me around again.  He wanted to do some collaboration next time.  Like he'd do a dance pose and I'd draw it.  That sounded fun.  Who knows....maybe, we will.


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