100 Things No One Told Me

I’m getting on #the100dayproject late (it started April 3rd), but I’m joining in and going to post a drawing everyday for the next 100 days. So I’ll be posting one a day until Friday, August 10th.

I had this super clever, original (I thought) idea to do daily drawings for the next 100 days based on things no one told me. I googled it just to see if anyone had done it before, and another illustrator already did it! Darn it. Alex Noriega had this same idea and executed it very well in 2010. His last post on his blog, snotm.com was in 2013 though — and his insights and drawings are much wiser than I am (most of mine are about body hair and BO). So I feel like the projects will be different enough that it’s still worth it for me to contribute. If you were following me when I did my, “lie to me” project, I had followers message me the lies they tell themselves and I would incorporate them into my daily drawings. It was really fun, and I felt like I got to know a lot of you much better. I’m opening that up again — what’s something no one told you that you had to find out for yourself? Message me! I want to know and draw it!

1/100 things no one told me. No one told me chin hair was going to be thing I would need to deal with on a regular basis. When I was a teen I’d randomly get one, long white hair that I’d pluck and not have another one for years. Now it seems like it’s every day! Oh well – I work from home.

The Death Penalty

Since 1976, we have executed over 1,300 individuals in this country. As of today, 150 individuals have been exonerated from death row — that is, there has been one person exonerated for every 10 people who have been executed in the last 36 years.  Seventy-eight of these innocent people were African American.

CAMERON TODD WILLINGHAM. Executed 2004 – found Innocent 2009. In 1992, Willingham was convicted of arson murder in Texas. He was believed to have intentionally set a fire that killed his three kids. In 2004, he was put to death. Unfortunately, the Texas Forensic Science Commission later found that the evidence was misinterpreted, and they concluded that none of the evidence used against Willingham was valid. As it turns out, the fire really was accidental.

CARLOS DELUNA. Executed 1989 – found innocent 2006. In 1989, DeLuna was executed for the stabbing of a Texas convenience store clerk. Almost 20 years later, Chicago Tribune uncovered evidence that shows DeLuna was likely innocent. The evidence showed that Carlos Hernandez, a man who even confessed to the murder many times, actually did the crime.

LARRY GRIFFIN. Executed 1995 – found innocent 2005. Griffin was put to death in 1995 for the 1981 murder of Quintin Moss, a Missouri drug dealer. Griffin always maintained his innocence, and now, evidence seems to indicate he was telling the truth. The first police officer on the scene now says the eyewitness account was false, even though the officer supported the claims during the trial. Another eyewitness who was wounded during the attack was never contacted during the trial, and he says Griffin wasn’t present at the crime scene that night.

RUBEN CANTU. Executed 1993 – found innocent 2005. Cantu was 17 at the time the crime he was alleged of committing took place. Cantu was convicted of capital murder, and in 1993, the Texas teen was executed. About 12 years after his death, investigations show that Cantu likely didn’t commit the murder. The lone eyewitness recanted his testimony, and Cantu’s co-defendant later admitted he allowed his friend to be falsely accused. He says Cantu wasn’t even there the night of the murder.

RuPaul wisdom

RuPaul “My attitude toward friendship has remained the same. I will support and encourage you with all the love in my heart, but if it’s not reciprocal, I gotta go.”

Saint Expedite, my thanks

Unfortunately my Saint Expedite offering stickers are about half the size I thought they’d be. He doesn’t seem to mind. For those of you that requested one.. sorry it’s taken so long! I’m going to mail them out when I get back from NYC next week! If you’re not familiar, Saint Expedite is a popular Saint amongst voduo practitioners, especially in New Orleans. He’s the patron saint of speedy causes. Make him an offering of pound cake, and ask him for help to get something quickly. He also likes publicity – so I figured a little street art sticker campaign featuring his favorite treat might do the trick.

The Resistance Revival Chorus

The Resistance Revival Chorus: “This is what is happening in this city; art is at the heart of the resistance, and hear our voice, because the resistance isn’t going anywhere.” So excited to see them in person tonight!

Tonight at Gramercy Theatre in NYC. Part of the Employee of the Month Show hosted by @catie_lazarus – with special guests Hannibal Buress, Emily Mortimer and Alex Lacamoire. See you there – doors at 7, starts at 8.

Who is Corky Gonzalez?

Corky Gonzales was a founder of the Chicano movement of the 1960s in the American Southwest. He was also a boxer and a poet. With his poem Yo soy Joaquín, known in English as I Am Joaquin, Gonzales shared his new cosmological vision of the “Chicano”, who was neither Indian nor European, neither Mexican nor American, but a combination of all the conflicting identities. With his poem Yo soy Joaquín, known in English as I Am Joaquin, Gonzales shared his new cosmological vision of the “Chicano”, who was neither Indian nor European, neither Mexican nor American, but a combination of all the conflicting identities. He died at his home in Denver in 2005, saying, “I’m indigenous. I’m going to die at home among my family.”

Soft brown eyes of expectation for a Better life.
And in all the fertile farmlands,
the barren plains,
the mountain villages, smoke-smeared cities,
we start to MOVE.
La raza!
Méjicano!
Español!
Latino!
Chicano!
Or whatever I call myself,
I look the same
I feel the same
I cry
And
Sing the same.
I am the masses of my people and
I refuse to be absorbed.
I am Joaquín.
The odds are great
But my spirit is strong,
My faith unbreakable,
My blood is pure.

Against All Odds

Phil Collins for Monday Nights. “So take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And there’s nothing left here to remind me
Just the memory of your face
Ooh, take a look at me now
Well there’s just an empty space
And you coming back to me is against the odds
And that’s what I’ve got to face”

Save our Bayous, Fundraiser print

There are 12 threatened species, 11 endangered species and 20 at-risk species in the Louisiana bayou. I’m selling this as a print with 100% of the proceeds going to conservation in America’s bayous. If you’ve never been to one — I highly recommend it! They are both repealing and alluring. They glow, and stink and glisten. They are bizarre, unique and ultimately very necessary for animals, plants and humans alike. Despite conservation efforts, Louisiana still loses an acre of land every 33 minutes. That’s 25 miles a year. The city of New Orleans is especially at risk, as its surrounding bayous once protected it from tropical storms.
To buy a print, send me a message! $30 for 11×14”

Believe the Autocrat

Masha Gessen is a Russian and American journalist, author, translator and activist who has been an outspoken critic of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin and the President of the U.S.A., Donald Trump. In addition to being the author of several non-fiction books, she has been a prolific contributor to such publications as The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, New Statesman, Granta, Slate, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, and U.S. News & World Report.

I have the privilege to meet her next week. She’s one of the guests on @catie_lazarus’ show, Employee of the Month where I will be live illustrating. April 7th at Abrons Art Center in the Lower East Side. I hope to see you there!

RIP Ursula K. LeGuin

Ursula K. Le Guin | “It is our suffering that brings us together. It is not love. Love does not obey the mind, and turns to hate when forced. The bond that binds us is beyond choice. We are brothers. We are brothers in what we share. In pain, which each of us must suffer alone, in hunger, in poverty, in hope, we know our brotherhood. We know it, because we have had to learn it. We know that there is no help for us but from one another, that no hand will save us if we do not reach out our hand. And the hand that you reach out is empty, as mine is. You have nothing. You possess nothing. You own nothing. You are free. All you have is what you are, and what you give.”

Common Tides Fundraiser Print

My friend Katie Dyal co-founded and runs the amazing non-profit Common Tides that takes kids from underserved communities in developing countries on sailing trips to teach them about marine science and ocean stewardship. These trips are completely free for the kids, but the costs for renting a boat, housing and travel expenses for crew and so on can get quite high.
I’m selling these prints through my Etsy store to fundraiser for them and will be donating 100% of the proceeds to Common Tides.

Storyboarding

I love storyboarding, honestly. It’s like making a comic! This is for an animation for Revive Light Therapy that I’m working on with my cousin. I’ve been referencing blooming flower timelapses and I can’t stop watching them! .

Mary Oliver, The River

The river
Of my childhood,
That tumbled
Down a passage of rocks
And cut-work ferns,
Came here and there
To the swirl
And slowdown
Of a pool
And I say myself–
Oh, clearly–
As I knelt at one–
Then I saw myself
As if carried away,
As the river moved on.
Where have I gone?
Since then
I have looked and looked
For myself,
Not sure
Who I am, or where,
Or, more importantly, why.
It’s okay–
I have had a wonderful life.
Still, I ponder
Where that other is–
Where I landed,
What I thought, what I did,
What small or even maybe meaningful deeds
I might have accomplished
Somewhere
Among strangers,
Coming to them
As only a river can–
Touching every life it meets–
That endlessly kind, that enduring.
MARY OLIVER

In These Times Editorial

Recent full page illustration I did for In These Times on the latest book by Nickel and Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich.

Barbara Ehrenreich Calls BS on the Immortality Industry
In her new book, Natural Causes, the author reminds us that we can’t cheat death – although we can die trying.

I need it.

I haven’t done one of these in awhile. At the beginning of the year, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others. This is one of mine, and maybe my biggest. It can be extremely hard to decipher between the things I want and the things I need. My impulses feel like a hummingbird sometimes. I’m getting better at recognizing the difference though, so maybe there’s hope for me yet. I’m still working through a few that some of you already told me. I’d love to hear your lie if you haven’t told me one yet.

Caring

Some thoughts from @bstosuy. I’m not sure what the context of this simple advice was, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately in regards to social media usage. We all craft this carefully articulated version or brand of ourselves online. I attempt to be vulnerable and honest, in spite of probably coming across tedious and cheesy sometimes. It’s ok to me—I want to connect with likeminded people. And if that’s not you, that’s ok! .
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#justkiddingineedyourlikesandattentioncauseimdesperate

NY Times Feature!

I’m so honored to have my work featured in the NY Times today. Honestly, this was a 5-year goal of mine, but it happened much earlier than I thought. Kaiser Health News hired me for this story on the high, often hidden costs of diabetes self management classes offered by hospitals.

Looking for a black doctor for my kids

“Looking for a black doctor for my kids.” Cultural competence in healthcare refers to the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver services that meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of patients. Latest illustration for NPR affiliate, Philadelphia’s WHYY. Thanks as usual to @paigepfleger and congrats on your future endeavors. Full story available in link in my bio.

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#culturalcompetence #blackdoctors #healthcarebias #illustration #freelanceillustrator #whyy

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman has been a fountain of inspiration for me lately. “The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” .
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#portraitdrawing #digitalpaint #neilgaiman #literaturequotes #authorportrait #drawing #painting #freelanceillustrator #illustration #illustratedportrait #inspiringquotes #2018goals #iftheydontpayyourbillspaythembitchesnomind

Titus Andromedon

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon. .
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#titusandromedon #unbreakablekimmyschmidt #netflixandchill #netflixshow #illustration #portraitdrawing #portraitpainting #digitalpaint #drawing #dailydrawing #digitaldrawing #freelanceartist #freelanceillustrator #artistsoninstagram #1page1day #1p1d #sketchaday2018 #painting #artistforhire #portraitartist #lgbtmemes #lgbtally

Shunya Mudra

Shunya, or Shoonya Mudra. Helps bring you openness and spaciousness. Both of which are particularly beneficial when meditating. Also thought to help with motion sickness and vertigo. So far it hasn’t worked for me but maybe it will for you! •
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#mudra #meditation #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #shunyamudra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Pran Mudra

Another mudra for you: Pran Mudra. This is one of my favorites. The word “Pran” means life.  Pran Mudra increases vitality while reducing fatigue, it improves our assertiveness, self confidence, courage and ability to see things through. When combined with slow, conscious deep breaths, Pran Mudra is calming and can help overcome anxiety.

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#mudra #meditation #pranmudra #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Gyan Mudra

Gyan Mudra, stimulates the root chakra and eases tension and depression. Helps with peace, calm and spiritual progress. Maybe the most common mudra – Buddha, Christ and Mahavir are all depected doing it. •
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#mudra #meditation #meditatedaily #meditate #buddhism #yogafun #tantra #gyanmudra #kundalini #kundaliniyoga #illustration #handart #ribbon #doodler #freelanceartist #enlightenment #spiritualart #artwitch #witchesofinstagram #witchcraft #pagan #buddhist #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook #sketch #buddha

Gun control in America

Prayers and condolences do nothing, but there is something we can do. Most people who own guns obey the law. We need these folks to come forward and start demanding common sense gun control laws that keep them out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them.
#gunpolicy #gunpolicyreform #policychangeforamerica #guncontrol #gunowners #gunowner #gunownersofamerica

Neil Gaiman

If you ever need creative motivation or encouragement, watch Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech for the University of the Arts 2012 graduates. •
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#1page1day #sketchaday #sketchbook #sketchaday2018 #neilgaiman #lettering #handlettering #illustration #freelanceartist #freelanceillustrator #artistforhire

Toni Morrison

The impossibly beautiful Toni Morrison. “Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it.“





#painting #tonimorrison #literaturequotes #literature #illustration #illustrator #bookworm #blacklivesmatter #blackhistorymonth

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I asked folks to tell me lies they tell themselves – either to get through the day, protect themselves, or whatever other reasons we have to need them. My grandpa sent me this one. His wife died a few years ago and he’s been living alone for the first time in decades. I personally think it’s ok to be alone but maybe I’m lying to myself about that, too. •




#illustration #doodler #digitalpaint #procreate #lietome #lieswebelieve #lieswetellourselves #lies #lying #lettering #loneliness #solitude #handlettering #grizzlybear #bear

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I don’t actually own a coat. It’s a blanket I tie around myself with a shoelace.





#illustration #illustrator #freelanceillustrator #freelance #freelancerlife #digitalnomad #digitalpaint #thedogneedswalkin #nobathing #badhygiene #ismell #toomuchpizza #sketchbook #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #1p1d #1page1day #drawing #painting #doodler

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One of my favorite authors, Zadie Smith. From her book On Beauty: “Right. I look fine. Except I don’t,’ said Zora, tugging sadly at her man’s nightshirt. This was why Kiki had dreaded having girls: she knew she wouldn’t be able to protect them from self-disgust. To that end she had tried banning television in the early years, and never had a lipstick or a woman’s magazine crossed the threshold of the Belsey home to Kiki’s knowledge, but these and other precautionary measures had made no difference. It was in the air, or so it seemed to Kiki, this hatred of women and their bodies– it seeped in with every draught in the house; people brought it home on their shoes, they breathed it in off their newspapers. There was no way to control it.”





#zadiesmith #contemporaryliterature #literaturequotes #onbeauty #whiteteeth #portraitdrawing #authorportrait #portraiture #illustrator #illustration #illo #sketchaday #sketchaday2018 #sketchbook

My lie.

I didn’t realize how often I told myself this little seemingly white lie… but it’s not really a white lie and its unfortunately led me to be someone other than myself at times. The first step is being aware of it, right? If you haven’t been following me, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others. This one is my own, but I want to hear your’s too. Lie to me. •

Supplies, tools and materials I adore.

I think a lot of people with art practices probably go through periods where they love a technique or tool for a long time and then later abandon it altogether a few months later––or maybe that’s just me. My practice has always been very intuitive and experimental. In and out of my art, I feel most alive when I’m learning and trying new things.

Unfortunately for me, this has led to a large body of work but little cohesion within it. I personally don’t feel that this is a problem, but for getting editorial and commissioned work it can be. Most clients and buyers want to know what they’re getting when they hire you. If your work is all over the place stylistically, this is hard to do. In 2017, I sought to nail down a specific signature style to my art and illustration. After a summer of deliberate experimentation with tools and techniques, a style within my work began to coalesce.

I still involve as much experimenting in my process as possible, but I try to keep my signature style in mind whenever I do this. Here’s the tools I have recently settled on.

All of the images below link to where you can purchase them on Amazon.

  1. Alcohol Ink Markers

    This is probably old news to a lot of you, but alcohol ink markers are amazing. It’s as if pure, vibrant, unadulterated color is pouring out on my paper. I tested the waters at first to see if I liked them with a cheap brand on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised. They were great. I liked them so much that I ordered them for the children’s art program I ran. Our patrons loved them, and a couple of professional comic book artists who taught our workshops also sung their praises.These are the same ones we used:
    Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore - Ella Trujillo
    I recommend purchasing the cheap set and figuring out which colors you like the best. From there, find matching duplicates of a higher-end brand like Copic. Copic markers are hands down the best I’ve tried, but they are $5-7 each or more. Fortunately, they are refillable. Because of this I’ve heard they are cheaper in the long run than other high-end brands like Prismacolor.I’m slowly replacing all of my cheaper ones with Copics as the Artify markers run out. Most art supply stores will allow you to test markers before you purchase them. The Artify color numbers do not match up with Copics, so I’d recommend bringing in swatches of the colors you’d like to replace and testing Copics that look close alongside them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Dick Blick or similar large art supply store, there is a ton of selection. Michael’s and A.C. Moore might have some, but I’m not sure how keen they will be on you testing them.

    You can also purchase Copics online, but it is hard to know what color you’re getting without testing it. You could also just purchase a large set if you have the funds.
  2. Tracing Paper

    I run through this stuff like it’s nothing. I used to buy the pads of it but found a lot of discrepancies in the paper quality. Of course tracing paper isn’t going to be high-quality, but I’ve found the rolls of it have a lot less dimples and creases. I once had to throw out a whole pad because of how bad the creases on it were. I’ve been buying it in rolls since.I’m going to let you in on a secret of how I get the vibrant, watercolor-like washes in my work. It’s not watercolor. It’s alcohol ink markers on tracing paper. The transparent quality of the paper also makes it less absorbent. Most paper would absorb the ink, but with tracing paper, the ink sits on top and creates watercolor-like effects. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I discovered this by chance and it’s influenced all of my work since. I’ll also be expecting royalties for this.
  3. iPad and Stylus

    I’m a new convert to this world but I have to say, it’s AMAZING. Technology has come so far so fast. There is something to be said for working on paper with physical materials; it will always be the food for my soul. That said, working commercially and for tight deadlines, the iPad is perfect. Most people who work with one have an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro.

    Well, I’m still using my old iPad Air and a cheap stylus I got off Amazon.

    Musemee Notier Prime – The Precision Disc Stylus

    Even with these “inferior” options, I’m genuinely impressed by the quality of the pieces I’ve been making.

    I spend a lot of time painting, scanning and then editing my work for clients. Using the iPad has literally cut that time into a third. It’s also tripled the amount of doodling and sketching I do in a day. It’s easier, more convenient and requires no consumable materials. If you’re on the road frequently like I am, it allows you to still make art even if you don’t have the space.

    My favorite apps so far are Adobe Sketch and Adobe Draw. I’m going to give Procreate a try very soon, too!

  4. Journals and Sketchbook
    My journal system deserves a post of its own. I’ve adapted a system of Bullet Journaling for my own needs. I’m going to write an entire post about how I do this very soon, but it’s very similar to the one I’ve linked.If you’re not familiar, a Bullet Journal is essentially a DIY planner that you layout and design based on your needs. There’s a ton of information about different layouts and structures you can make online. Some people get very creative with it, but mine is very minimal. If you’re interested, the best course in trying it is trial and error. The layout I used when I started is much different than the one I use now. I really enjoy creating the most efficient layouts as possible that incorporate all of my tasks and goals.Since using this system, I feel like my brain is finally somewhat clear (side note: I have ADHD so I may struggle with this more than you might).I carry my bright red Moleskine everywhere I go. It’s small enough to fit in my purse but large enough to write comfortably in. I’m very fond of Moleskine’s brand of orange-ish red, but of course, these are available in lots of colors. If you don’t carry a purse, there’s a smaller size as well––and larger sizes!
    I use it every morning and make thorough lists of tasks and goals the beginning of every month, week and day, and subsequent series of reflections. It helps me dump all the crud that’s floating around in my brain onto paper. Then I reorganize it all based on priority––or decide if it really even matters to begin with. The process helps keep me accountable in my work and personal life. 
    I use my Moleskine for plans and structuring, and a separate, larger journal for something author Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages. Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way which is essentially a practical guide to becoming more creative. It’s very structured and acts as a workshop; you’re meant to follow it for many weeks. Most of the book wasn’t particularly useful for me because many of the exercises were things I already do in my life as an artist. It’s more geared towards encouraging non-artists to be vulnerable, try things and fail. Artists and creatives are pretty used to that sort of thing. That said, Morning Pages were something I took and ran with. It hasn’t been long but so far I’ve written them every morning for the past 35 days.

    Here’s how to do them:

    Write 3 pages every morning about whatever is on your mind. Don’t read and review it. In fact, you won’t read it ever again if you can help it. That ensures that when you write, it is purely an exercise of meditation. There is no future-you or reader judging the writing. If you were to read it, it would probably read like the ramblings of a crazy person. Similar to my Bullet Journal, it acts as a brain dump. It helps me sort through difficult emotions. I have already grown and learned so much about myself and my art. I can’t recommend trying it enough.

    For me to be able to commit to a daily routine like Morning Pages, I must love the tools I use. This is just something I know about myself; I’m particular about textures, colors and how it feels to hold something. I write with Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pens and use a Fabriano notebook.

    And then I carry a third book on me: My sketchbook. I struggled for a long time to find a sketchbook with pages that didn’t bleed through when I used wet materials. I tried a RENDR sketchbook and I haven’t gone back. The pages do not bleed at all. If you’re working with alcohol ink, that is very important. Plus, I really appreciate the minimal, black styling of the cover and that it’s hardbound.

  5. Water Crayons

    These are so cool. I first discovered them when I was backpacking through Europe and loved the convenience of them. You can draw with them and then use any moisture and it creates a watercolor effect. You can play with it to still keep some rough crayon texture in your work, too. I’ve only ever tried Caran D’Ache ones––I haven’t felt the need to venture. They’re buttery, vibrant and respond to moisture immediately.
  6. Waterbrushes

    These are great for convenience as well, and I usually use these partnered with the water crayons. Instead of having to have a separate cup with water, the water is stored in the handle of the brush. If you’re painting on the go, it is a relief to not have to think about carrying a cup and water with you. And it’s much less messy with less potential to spill. I’ve seen these at art supply stores and Michaels for about 6 times what I paid for them on Amazon. Maybe the ones they carry in store are a higher quality, but so far I haven’t had any issues with mine and I’ve been using them for months.
  7. Holbein Gouache

    Lisa Congdon recommended this brand on her blog so I thought I’d try them out. They are incredible! Very matte and extremely vibrant. I tried them while I was in art school, but wasn’t impressed by the colors. I believe I just got the standard set of primary colors. If you don’t plan on using colors beyond that, you’ll be fine. But if you want some bright colors, it is impossible to mix them. I grabbed a bright lime green and nearly neon pink and was converted to the world of gouache. 
  8. Signo Uniball White Ink Pen

    It’s a truly opaque white pen that you can use to write and doodle on darker colors. It is the most opaque white ink pen I have found so far.
  9. Gelly Roll Pens

    Gelly Roll makes a great white pen as well in case you can’t find the Uniball one. All of their light colors are very opaque. You’ll find this to be essential if you’re drawing with pens on top of dark colors––opaque reins supreme.
  10. The last tool I use frequently; Google Image Search. What would any of us do without it? I guess there was once something called a reference book?

Megan’s lie.

@megskeefc’s lie. There’s a TON of animals who aren’t burdened by societal expectations of their gender identity, animals who can reproduce asexually and animals who can change their gender midway through life if they wish to. Clownfish are one of the latter. If you haven’t been following, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others and I would incorporate them into my daily drawings. Lie to me!

Beaky

When we were kids, my brother found and injured magpie on my family’s farm in Southern Colorado and nursed it back to health. From them on, it followed him everywhere. We headed back to Denver at the end of the summer, but would still visit for long weekends and Beaky would be waiting for us. Eventually we stopped seeing him, but whenever I see magpies I think of him.

Saying no.

Maybe it seems negative, but 2018 is shaping up to be the year I feel comfortable saying, “no.” No, I don’t have time for that in my life. No, that doesn’t matter to me. No, I disagree or that is bad for me personally or for all of us. No! Politics aside, personally I have a habit of people pleasing and overcommitting myself. I make plans with zeal and later realize I’m not capable of giving whatever it was that I committed to. If I’ve done this to you, I’m sorry. Sometimes I don’t always think things through. In the future, I hope to have some foresight and say, “no” to the things I can’t do, or the things I can’t change.

Andre’s lie

@andredomeni’s lie. This one was also relevant to me, too. I don’t remember anything despite really, really wanting to. Now I neurotically put everything in a physical planner and my phone.. and then forget to look at them. Here’s to trying! If you haven’t been following, I asked folks to tell me the lies they tell themselves and others and I would incorporate them into my daily drawings. Lie to me!





#lietome #lying #lies #lieswetellourselves #lieswebelieve #dailydrawing #sketchaday #adobesketch #adobesketchapp #fear #illustrate #illustration #illustratorsofinstagram #artjournal #sketchbook #artistsforhire #freelanceartist

Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore

I think a lot of people with art practices probably go through periods where there love a technique and tool for a long time and then later abandon it all together a few months later. Or maybe that’s just me. My practice has also been very intuitive and experimental. In and out of my art, I feel most alive when I’m learning and trying new things.

Unfortunately for me, this has led to a large body of work but little cohesion within it. Personally, that is not a downside for me. Professionally it is. Most clients and buyers want to know what they’re getting when they hire you. If your work is all over the place stylistically, this is hard to do. In 2017, I sought to nail down a specific signature style to my art and illustration, and part of that was nailing down a process, after much deliberate experimentation.

I still involve as much experimenting in my process as possible, but I try to keep my signature style in mind whenever I do this. Here’s the tools I have recently settled on.

All of the images below link to where you can purchase them on Amazon.

  1. Alcohol Ink Markers
    This is probably old news to a lot of you, but these things are amazing. It is like pure, vibrant, unadulterated color in these things. I tested the waters at first to see if I liked them with a cheap brand on Amazon. They were surprisingly great! And they are significantly better than other cheap-o brands I tried later. After I tried them, I went on to order them for every library the art program in Philadelphia I worked for was located. Our patrons loved them, and a couple of professional comic book artists who taught workshops also sung their praises.These are the same ones we used:
    Supplies, Materials and Tools I Adore - Ella Trujillo
    I recommend following my lead; purchase the cheap set and figure out which colors you like the best. From there, find matching duplicates of a higher end brand like Copic. Copic markers are hands down the best – but they are $5-7 each. Fortunately, they arerefillable. Because of this I’ve heard they are cheaper in the long run than other high end brands like Prismacolor. I’m slowly replacing all of my cheaper ones with Copics as the Artify markers run out. Most art supply stores will allow you to test markers before you purchase them. The Artify color numbers do not match up with Copics, so I’d recommend bringing in swatches of the colors you’d like to replace and testing Copics that look close alongside them. If you’re lucky enough to live near a Dick Blick or similar large art supply store, there is a ton of selection. Michael’s and A.C. Moore might be able to get you buy, but not very well.

    You can also purchase Copics online, but it is hard to know what color you’re getting without testing it. You could also just purchase a large set though, if you have the funds.
  2. Tracing Paper
    I run through this stuff like nothing. I used to buy the pads of it, but found a lot of discrepancies in the paper quality. Of course tracing paper isn’t going to be high quality, but I’ve found the rolls of it have a lot less dimples and creases in it.
    Also, I’m going to let you in on a secret of how I get the vibrant, watercolor-like washes in my work. It’s not watercolor. It’s alcohol ink markers on tracing paper. The transparent quality of the paper also makes it less absorbent. Most paper would absorb the ink, but with tracing paper, the ink sits on top and creates watercolor-like effects. Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I discovered this by chance and it’s influenced all of my work since then.
  3. iPad and Stylus
    I’m a new convert to this world but I have to say, it is AMAZING. Technology has come so far and so fast. There is something to be said for working on paper with physical materials; it will also be the food of my soul. That said, working commercially and for tight deadlines the iPad is great for digital painting and drawing. Most people who work with one have an Apple Pencil and an iPad Pro.

    Well, I’m still using my old iPad Air and a cheap stylus I got off Amazon.

    Musemee Notier Prime – The Precision Disc Stylus

    Even with these, “inferior” options I am genuinely impressed by the quality of the pieces I’ve been making.
    I spent a lot of time scanning and then editing my pieces for editorial clients; I’ve literally cut that time into a third. It has also tripled the amount of doodling and sketching I do in a day. It’s easier, it’s more convenient, it requires no consumable materials.

  4. Journals and Sketchbook
    My journal system deserves a post of it’s own. I’ve adapted a system of Bullet Journal for my own needs. I’m going to write an entire post about how I do this very soon, but it is very similar to the one I’ve linked.
    If you’re not familiar, a Bullet Journal is essentially a DIY planner that you layout and design based on your needs. There’s a ton of information about different layouts and structures you can make online. The best course if you’re interested in trying it and is trial and error. The layout I used when I started is much different than the one I use now.
    Since using this system, I feel like my brain is finally somewhat clear (sidenote: I have ADHD so I may struggle with this more than you might).
    I carry my bright red Moleskine everywhere I go. It’s small enough to fit in my purse but large enough to write comfortably in. I’m very fond of Moleskine’s brand of orange-ish red, but of course these are available in lots of colors. If you don’t carry a purse, there’s a smaller size as well. And larger sizes!
    I use it every morning. I make a thorough list of tasks and goals the beginning of every month, week and day, and a subsequent series of reflections. It helps me hold myself accountable. It helps me dump all the crud that’s floating around in my brain onto a paper and reorganize it all based on priority and if it really even matters to begin with. 
    I use my Moleskine for plans and structuring, and I use a separate, larger journal for something author Julia Cameron calls Morning Pages. Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way which is essentially a practical guide to becoming more creative. It’s very structured and acts as a class. She stresses the importance of keeping Morning Pages. Most of the book wasn’t particularly useful for me; most of the exercises were things I already do in my life as an artist. I think it’s more geared towards non-artists allowing themselves to be vulnerable, try things and fail. I think most artists and creatives are pretty used to that sort of thing. That said, Morning Pages were something I took from it and ran with. It’s only been about a month since I’ve started, but so far I’ve written them every morning for the past 35 days.All there is to it is you write 3 pages every morning of whatever is on your brain. You don’t read and review it; in fact, you don’t read it every again if you can help it. That ensures that when you write, it is purely an exercise of meditation. There is no future-you and other reader judging the writing. If you were to read it, it would probably be near jibberish or the ramblings of a crazy person.Similar to my Bullet Journal, it acts as a brain dump. It helps me sort through difficult emotions. I have already grown and learned so much about myself and my art. I can’t recommend trying it enough. For me to be able to commit to a daily routine, I must love the tools I use. I write with Pilot Precise V7 Rolling Ball pens and use a Fabriano notebook.
    And then I carry a third book on me: my sketchbook. I struggled for a long time to find a sketchbook with pages that didn’t bleed. I tried a RENDR sketchbook and I haven’t gone back. The pages DO. NOT. BLEED. at all. If you’re working with alcohol ink, that is very important. Plus, I really appreciate the minimal styling of the cover and that it’s hardbound.
  5. Water Crayons
    These are so cool. I first discovered them when I was backpacking through Europe and loved the convenience of them. You can draw with them and then use any moisture and it creates a watercolor effect. You can play with it to still keep some rough crayon texture in your work, too. I’ve only ever tried Caran D’Ache ones — I haven’t felt the need to venture. They’re buttery, vibrant and respond to moisture immediately.
  6. Waterbrushes
    These are great for convenience as well, and I usually use these partnered with the water crayons and colored pencils. Instead of having to have a separate cup with water, the water is stored in the handle of the brush. If you’re painting on the go, it is a relief to not have to think about carrying a cup and water with you. And it’s much less messy with less potential to spill. I’ve seen these at art supply stores and Michaels for about 6 x’s what I paid for them on Amazon. Maybe the ones they carry in store are a higher quality, but so far I haven’t had any issues with mine and I’ve been using them for months.
  7. Holbein Gouache
    Lisa Congdon recommended this brand on her blog so I thought I’d try them out. They are amazing. Very matter and very vibrant. I tried them while I was in art school, but wasn’t impressed by the colors. I believe I just got the set of primary colors. If you don’t plan on using colors beyond that, you’ll be fine. But if you want some bright colors, it is impossible to mix. I grabbed a bright lime green and nearly neon pink and was converted to the world of gouache. 
  8. Signo Uniball White Ink Pen
    It’s a truly opaque white pen that you can use to write and doodle on darker colors. It is the most opaque white ink pen I have found so far.
  9. Gelly Roll Pens
    Gelly Roll makes a great white pen as well, if you can’t find the Uniball one. All of their light colors are very opaque. You’ll find this to be essential if you’re drawing with pens on top of dark colors – opaque reins supreme.
  10. The last tool I use frequently; Google Image Search. What would any of us do without it? I guess there was once something called a reference book?

Become like water

“Where some people have a self, most people have a void, because they are too busy in wasting their vital creative energy to project themselves as this or that, dedicating their lives to actualizing a concept of what they should be like rather than actualizing their potentiality as a human being.” – Bruce Lee

Lie to Me

What is a lie you regularly tell yourself or someone else? I’ve posted about this idea before.. lately I’ve been incorporating the lies I tell myself and others into my daily drawings and sketches. I’d like to do a zine about them, with your input. Tell me a habitual lie of yours, and I’ll incorporate it into an illustration and post it.

Feeling nostalgic.

I used to be in a band with my partner. I played drums. I wasn’t very good, but it was pretty fun. We toured the country and made a lot of friends. Sometimes I miss it, but then I remember how you have to practice regularly and that’s not so appealing. Also, Minibar in KC literally smelt like poop when we played. I’m sorry but it’s true.

But it ain’t like that

I painted this when we first moved to Philadelphia in early 2016. In 2015, we moved there to pursue art, music and a different way of life. We met some amazing people and made some very deep and intimate connections. I’m grateful for the time there, but grateful to also let go of things that weren’t doing good for me anymore. Philly has a lot to offer and I’m excited to see how all our friends there grow this year.

Lifetime

Lifetime, Straight White Teeth’s (my partner’s band) latest release ft. Paige Pfleger @paigepfleger – Single released in 2017, and well-loved by blogs, playlists and Spotify algortihms. It’s been getting some playtime over at @kcrw, which is really exciting to see! I’m extremely proud of my partner for continuing to work on and release compelling music despite many personal hardships. Have a listen at straightwhiteteethmusic.com or on Spotify

Tyke’s Ghost

I was commissioned to create this piece of Tyke, a circus elephant that was brutally killed in 1994 after killing her abusive trainer. She was shot nearly 100 times until she died from her wounds. The photos of the incident are graphic and extremely heartbreaking. I’m going to create prints of this illustration to sell, with a portion of proceeds going to animal rights organizations. At least we can celebrate one thing about 2017 – the closing of Barnum and Bailey and the international trend of banning wild animal use in circuses.

Noname Gypsy

Noname was my #1 artist in 2017 according to Spotify. She was a frequent participant of YouMedia Labs in Chicago’s library, a program funded by the same grant that funded the program I worked for in North Philadelphia in 2016 and 2017. It was a privilege to work with so many creative, talented kids.

I think I listened to Noname so much because her music reminded me that there are positive take-aways from these initiatives, even if it’s just creating a place for folks to openly and safely express themselves. It was hard to see the positives sometimes when we worked so hard for so little, with beyond incompetent leadership. Noname’s music helped me wade through the trenches.

I’m grateful for the experience of working there, but also grateful to have moved on.

In Noname’s words: “In terms of me like figuring out what it is that I wanted to do in life and who I kind of felt home around was in YouMedia,” she says of the teen-centered learning and creative space at Harold Washington Library. Her interest in writing led her to the after-school program, and from there, she workshopped poems and found like-minded young people and, later, open mics. She continues, “I spent a lot of my teenage years kind of just moving around the city freely and discovering new creative spaces.”

Offering to Saint Expedite

This is an offering to Saint Expedite to thank him for helping me get more clients last year. I’m going to print them as stickers. PM me if you want one! The tiny font says: Saint Expedite is the patron of those who hope for rapid solutions to problems and who wish to avoid or put an end to delays. Just call out to saint expedite to get his attention and ask for what you need. Be sure to offer something in return for his efforts. He likes pound cake and publicity.

Thriving Artist

In 2017, I decided to really give it a go at being a freelance illustrator. I’m continuing this goal in 2018. I recently picked up Lisa Congdon‘s book Art, Inc. and it has seriously made me rethink many conceptions I had about a career making art.

Art, Inc
Art, Inc

Coming from a fine art background (I have a BFA in painting) is ideologically pretty different than if I had pursued an illustration education – but the reality is that I have bills to pay, I want to continue my nomadic lifestyle, and I’m pretty good at drawing. I’m thrilled to get paid to draw everyday, and I still work on many (too many) of my own personal projects. Here’s to continuing the work in 2018.

Net Neutrality Matters

This is the likely future if we lose regulations that protect net neutrality. On December 14th, the FCC is voting to get rid of regulations that protect consumers. Call your senators, the FCC (specifically the chairman, a former Verizon (but clearly still very much acting in their interests) lawyer Ajit Pai) and let them know this will not be tolerated. Or expect to begin paying a premium to access most of your usually internet uses – especially to politically organize. 5calls.org is a great resource for finding your legislators’ phone numbers and a call script. The FCC’s number is 212-408-1000.

St. Croix Animal Shelter needs your help!

I’m doing these holiday pet portraits to raise money for an animal shelter in St Croix, an island in the Caribbean decimated by Hurricane Maria. They make great gifts! For $75, your purchase gets you a single half-page portrait, 5″x6″. I’ll paint and draw it by hand with ink and watercolor. The price includes shipping and postage. I’m happy to do more than one animal in the image, too! If you’d like a larger size, just let me know and the price will go up in proportion to the size. These make awesome gifts! Turn around time is a week. 50% of the proceeds goes to the shelter — I have 5 prints left for sale with 100% of proceeds going to aid organizations. Get in touch with me if you’re interested.

In an Oregon Forest

Sleeping In The Forest
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

– Mary Oliver

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Samhain is here, cold is the earth,
as we celebrate the cycle of death and rebirth.
Tonight we speak to those through the veil,
the lines between worlds are thin and frail.

Ghosts and spirits in the night,
magical beings rising in flight,
owls hooting up in a moonlit tree,
I don’t fear you and you don’t fear me.

As the sun goes down, far to the west,
my ancestors watch over me as I rest.
They keep me safe and without fear,
on the night of Samhain, the Witches’ New Year. #illustration #animation #handdrawn #samhain #pagan #witch #occult #esoteric #witchesnewyear #halloween #drawing #painting #harvest #magick

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I just found a video of The Hamster Dance website circa 1997. I liked it so much when I was a kid, I had my stepdad help me create an homage – the Lava Lamp dance. It never took off like the Hamster Dance.. I decided to sketch an homage to my homage 20 years later. #veryhighendwebdesign #illustrate #illustration #illustrator #lavalamps #lavalamps #doodle #sketch #sketchbook #sketchaday #doodlesofinstagram #drawing #ink #pen #hamsterdance #webdesign

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Created this illustration for a story at WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, about the psychological impact of music in horror movies. Lots of fun, and very excited to work with WHYY, NPR, @paigepfleger and Max Green! #illustration #watercolor #ink #horror #bach #johannsebastianbach #psycho #digitalpainting #whyy #npr #drawing #painting