Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life Drawing

I can't wait for tomorrow!  Today was the beginning of our finals, where I had to be in a classroom for 2 hours with 36 kids.  My beginning students feel they do not need to take their drawing assignment seriously, which is resulting in many C's, D's, and F's.  I am getting many incomplete drawings because they would rather talk than do their work.  It is rather sad and makes me extremely grouchy.  I have to remind myself to take deep breaths.  But tomorrow will be a little different.  I will have 2 hours with my intermediate and advanced drawing students.  I have planned for us to have fun experimenting with different art papers and media.  I thought we could even play a bit and spend some time doing quick, rough drawings of each other.  I hope they come with an open mind to be playful.  It should be fun!

Monday, January 30, 2012

High in the sky

Today was inspired by one of my student's drawings.  She had some hot air balloons floating behind her perspective city scape.  Personally, being in a hot air balloon would absolutely terrify me.  I'm not a fan of heights.  Once, when I was younger, my parents and I went to Knott's Berry Farm.  My dad tried to convince my mom and me to go on the parachute ride, which is now something else.  My dad went on it by himself and when he came back, he explained that it was "just like riding an elevator."  With that statement, my mom and I decided to give it a try.  We stepped into the rectangular cage, watched as they locked the door, and we stood as it lifted slowly from the ground.  My dad was absolutely right.  It was just like riding an elevator... until we got to the very top where it dropped up.  Let me remind you, we were standing in a cage.  There were no seats, no straps, and no bars to hold us down.  I remember holding onto the cage screaming all the way down.  I think I was around the age of 9 when this happened.  I still cringe when I got to Knott's and see part of that ride that still exists.  And to this day, whenever my dad wants us to believe him, we never allow him to forget his words "It's just like riding an elevator."

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Outdoor fun

Today was just a beautiful day!  I went on a 8 mile hike with my cousin. The air had this crisp coldness to it this morning.  The air was so clean that it made my lungs hurt a little when I took in a breath.  We joked about needing smog tanks.  I am incredibly sore, but the kind of soreness that has the feel of accomplishment.  When we got back, I watched my dad and a few others put up the wood frame and covering for my mom's future outdoor BBQ.  This has been my dad's project for almost a year and it is really beginning to take shape.  As I watched them climb and hang on the wood beams, I couldn't help but think of kids on a swing set.  That was the inspiration for today's sketch...a day of fun on the swings.  I'm sure with today's weather, there were probably lots of people and kids having fun at parks.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cleaning the clutter

Today was spent clearing out unnecessary clutter in my bedroom.  It feels good to just throw out stuff or to find treasured items I haven't seen in a while.  It is nice to clear things out every once in a while.  It gives one a fresh start.  Sometimes it is hard to let go of things, especially as an artist.  There are always items you think "Hmmm, I can make something really cool out of that.:  But it just ends up being clutter and that really cool artwork never seems to happen.  I still have a lot to go through, but I made a huge dent.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Smiles and Different Styles

I woke up today feeling amazing.  I can't explain why.  I don't understand it myself considering my neighbor upstairs made so much noise that I had very little sleep.  But this morning I was all smiles.  I took a break from the sketchbook project and allowed my creative brain a little time to unwind.  In addition, I decided to recreate an illustration I have been working on.  I have been working with watercolor pencils for a few months now.  I am not a fan of watercolor because I lack the patience of waiting for areas to dry.  But I absolutely love the watercolor pencils.  I still need to experiment with them more.  This is my second illustration in watercolor pencil and it is still in progress. 
I need to learn to have more patience with the watercolor pencil because I tend to lay down more color than I really need.  Because I do this, it is preventing me from getting strong contrasts in my values. I have also noticed that using the watercolor pencils changes the appearance of my squirrel.  After I began adding the watercolor pencil to the drawing, I had realized this drawing would have been so much sweeter or cuter if the squirrel's head was tilted up towards the Mizzle.  I guess I could still change it since I haven't used too much color on the squirrel, but I might risk ruining the texture of the paper.  I might just leave it as is.
For today's drawing, I thought I would replicate this illustration and make that change in the squirrel.  I have noticed in the past that when I try to replicate a drawing it doesn't have the same look or feel.  But I feel this time was pretty successful.
My favorite media to work in is Prismacolor colored pencils and pen and ink.  I find it fascinating how what medium you choose to work in changes the look of the artwork.  It even changes the feel of the characters.  I just want to cuddle with the characters in the watercolor piece, but find myself smiling more at the ink drawing.  The latter has a more whimsical feel, but that could be because I haven't finished the first drawing.  Depending on what I place or not place in the background could change that feel. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lunch time friends

Lunch time is my favorite time of the day.  Of course, for the obvious reason... FOOD! But the real reason I love lunch time has to do with the company I keep. They are an unusual cast of characters who bring me lots of laughter.  I have had some tough times in life, but they have always managed to get me to laugh and smile. It is kind of like group therapy. We complain, or share our problems with one another. Then we give each other serious solutions. Then we begin inventing ridiculous and funny solutions.  We spend a good amount of time scheming, dreaming of the future, and coming up with inventions that would make our lives teaching much easier.  Sometimes we talk about current events, or our hobbies.  But regardless of the topic, you will always find us sitting in our lawn chairs, in the shade of the tree laughing and smiling with any signs of a bad day melting away. 

I was reading the article "You Become What You Pretend To Be" on www.creativitypost.com.  It explained that if you want to change your mood, or who you are, you need to pretend to be what it is you want.  I believe there is a lot of truth in this article.  But surrounding yourself with people who have the characteristics you want to be like is important, too.  This is why I enjoy spending time with my friends at lunch, or any of my friends for that matter.  I am a happy and energetic person partly because I am surrounded by happy and energetic people. I found it interesting that Michelangelo was hired to paint the Sistine Chapel as a way to prove he wasn't that great of an artist.  As for pretending, currently I'm pretending to be an incredible children's book author and illustrator.  Not sure how long I'll have to keep "pretending."  It is a lot of work, but very fun.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking | The Creativity Post

Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking The Creativity Post

I enjoyed reading this article, especially being a high school visual arts teacher. Every year I am faced with the fact that a majority of my students are in my class against their will. They have no desire to learn how to draw or paint, but are required to take the class in order to graduate. Personally, I incorporate the twelve things listed into my own creativity lifestyle. But as a teacher, I know I fall victim of preventing some these lessons to be taught. For instance, Number 9 There is no such thing as failure. In my beginning class, there is such a thing as failure, but it is because they are learning the foundations to drawing and painting. They need to "learn the rules, before they can break them." In my intermediate and advanced drawing class, I try to push their creativity, but most students want to always stick to their very first idea and never go beyond it. And when I push them to come up with other ideas, they usually get extremely frustrated, pout, and stop working. It is an interesting thing to observe. I have seen an increase in students who want the easy way out or are only willing to do the bare minimum because any more is too hard. I always share with my students my own creative process, projects, and ideas in hopes that they can see how hard work can pay off to create something incredible. Also, I want them to see my mistakes and what I observed from those mistakes to make improvements the round. I think any of the twelve things are achievable in a classroom setting, except for the very first one: You are creative.  Majority of my students don't believe they have the capability to be creative, which is such a shame.  They all have so much potential, but are unwilling to give it an actual try.  Finding ways to exercise their creativity has become my personal challenge every school year.  I'm not sure how well I succeed because it is very difficult to change how one view's themselves.
But my problem today was creativity overload, which resulted in creative block.  I had signed up to participate in the sketchbook project (http://www.arthousecoop.com/projects/sketchbookproject) last October, but failed to truly spend much time on it.  The sketchbook needs to be postmarked on January 31, which gives me six more days to complete it. Yesterday and today has been my mad scramble to fill it.  My theme is "In 10 minutes."  My original idea was to create an illustrated life guidebook of various things one could do in 10 minutes to promote self-happiness.  I had drawn 3 pages seriously with this intent, but the sketchbook had become forgotten amongst the various things in my life.  So, my new theme has become "finish in 10 minutes."  Some pages are an absolute mess, while others have been a pleasant surprise.  But this has had an effect on my creative thinking.  My head feels flooded.  I might have to allow a mental/creative day off sometime soon.
Here are a few scans of my favorite pages: 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Year of the Dragon

Yesterday was Chinese New Year's Day.  After discovering this fact, I felt I had sort of missed an opportunity to use it as a theme for my daily drawing.  But I was enjoying the rain so much that I found it in my heart to forgive myself.  I figured I could just use it for today's theme.  I, also, decided it might be fun to see what the year has in store for me according to Chinese Astrology.  This is the year of the Dragon, which is considered one of the strongest symbols.  According to tarot.com, I'm a goat and this year looks great for me.  I will have "many wonderful opportunities to showcase my creative talents."  It also recommends that I take risks experimenting with different techniques and new mediums, or "venture into a more creative field."  I can see this to be true.  This is the year I have am strongly pursuing my career as a children's book writer and illustrator.  I have also been playing with different techniques; granted, they have been for my intermediate and advanced drawing students, but I've been playing none the less.  My astrology report also mentioned that this is the year I have an "opportunity to attain a sleek physique."  Sweet! Skinny Nadia, here I come! I guess all of the yoga, walking, hiking, and jogging are going to pay off in a big way this year.  I really enjoyed reading my astrology report.  It didn't get my hopes up of grand things happening this year.  It just confirmed that all of the hard work I've been doing is going to show results, which seems to be a no brainer to me.  Hope everyone has a great New Year!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Jumping in puddles

It has rained pretty much all morning.   I am a bit sad the sun has decided to make its appearance just now.  But I've enjoyed this morning by taking my walk in the rain and lightly splashing in the puddles.  I purposely wore my boots with a heel, so I could walk through the large puddles that form in the hallways of our campus. I even left my classroom door open during class, so we could draw to the sound of the rain.  It was short lived because my students were beginning to complain about feeling cold, so I had to close the door.  But it was nice while it lasted.  I think it's insane that we are going to have 80 degree weather the rest of the week.  I really wish the weather would make up it's mind.  But, never mind that, back to the rain!

There are many reasons why I love the rain.
1. I love bundling up in soft scarves and jackets.
2. Jumping in puddles is lots of fun!
3. The colors of nature seem so much more vibrant when the sky is overcast.
4. Everything seems new and refreshed the day after it rains.
5. I always seem to be more creative or more productive.
6. My tea obsession makes more sense to my non- tea drinking friends.
7. When it drizzles and the drops gently touch my face, I imagine they are tiny little fairy kisses and it makes me smile. (A possible children's story? maybe?)
8. It calms my students and they ACTUALLY work!  ALL OF THEM!  (It is quite an amazing sight and I usually end up becoming the class distraction because there is nothing for me to do until they need my help.)
9. I love watching the patterns of ripples form in puddles as the rain hits the water.
10. Worms attack the campus.  O.K., not really, but I find it fascinating and gross that they squirm around on the concrete to get out of the soaked lawns.  At my apartment complex, it's a snail attack.
11. Running or exercising feels incredible during this weather.  It makes me feel faster or stronger.
12. Magic becomes more of a realistic possibility in the world, especially, when you see rainbows.  (I know there is a scientific reason for rainbows, but I always begin wondering about magical distant worlds that exist on, in, or under rainbows.)
 and 13. My Mizzles were born on a rainy day. 

I think overall the rain just makes me more playful and kid-like.  It opens up my mind to retain that youthful innocence and curiosity we sometimes misplace while being adults.  I'm sure many artists feel the same.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dancing in the Rain

Today's drawing is dedicated to my friend, Lydia. Yesterday, I wasn't exactly sure of what to draw for my daily drawing.  She recommended I create a drawing of the Mizzles dancing in the rain.  Thanks, Lydia, for the great idea. I had a lot of fun drawing this illustration. These drawings have become easier and easier to create; taking me less and less time. Even my sister was bit surprised how quickly I was able to complete today's drawing.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Genetic Sock Obsession

Today I woke up to rain.  I love it when it rains.  It gives me even more reason to go through my art supplies and go through a creative frenzy.  Instead of going through my creative zen-like routine, I decided to clean and organize my art corner before my friend came over.  When I was done, I sat down at my grandmother's desk and began to work on my drawing for the day.  I was having a hard time figuring out what I should draw, but then I saw the clown doll sitting with my cast of Mizzles.  My grandmother made that doll.  
I've had it since I was about 3 years old.  She used to love telling me the story about how I got that doll.  She had originally made the doll for my cousin, Kim.  But my mom had brought me over and I immediately became attached to it.  She didn't have the heart to take it away from me.  She let me keep it and made another for my cousin.  At some point, the clown became part of the collection of stuffed animals that I took to my classroom to use as still life.  When she passed away, I immediately went searching for it and brought it home.  It was during the writing of my thesis I had realized how much I was like my grandmother.  She had made dolls from socks and at some point I began that same obsession.  So, it seems very clear that my obsession with making things from socks is definitely genetic. 
                                                                                                     Today's drawing has my grandma's first clown doll, which is missing one of its pompoms from its right hand, sitting with my first Mizzle and squirrel friend.  About a month before my grandma passed away, she gave me the pattern for the clown doll.  I'm going to have to pull it out and make one sometime soon.

Friday, January 20, 2012


When I think of nightmares, I think of the typical fears children have at night: the dark, monsters under the bed, weird creatures outside their window, or ghosts haunting nearby.  Usually my dreams are intense adventures, or scavenger hunts, where I'm searching for an answer.  I never know the question, never understand the clues, and never find the answer, but I have the same cast of people who are with me on the journey getting me further along.  Last night, however, was something completely different and out of the blue.  I had a nightmare.  I won't go into details, but I was violently hurt and woke up crying.  When I went back to sleep my dream continued right where it had stopped.  At some point in the dream, a friend came by to take care of me.  I was having nightmares within my nightmare, but they all stopped when my friend would hold my hand.  Even the real nightmare seemed to stop at this point and I was finally able to drift off to a comfortable sleep. 

I find dreams so fascinating, regardless of them being good or bad.  I'm sure my subconscious is trying to tell me something that I apparently wasn't aware I had been worrying about.  The only thing I don't like about my dreams is that I always wake up so exhausted from them.  It is always feels like I never really went to sleep.  But they do give me interesting stories to tell. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012


O.K. Tea doesn't fix everything, but my art club vice president, Kimberly, pointed out to me that whenever someone is feeling sick, or having a bad day my first response is "Would you like a cup of tea?"  I can't seem to help it.  There is just something comforting about a cup of tea.  It calms you with its warmth.  It delights you with its flavor.  But it's true, I do solve every problem with a cup of tea.  Even my friends at work, who are sick, are constantly receiving tea from me.  I guess I push tea so much I gave Kimberly a weird dream.  She dreamt that people kept walking into my room with some kind of problem and I would give them tea to make them feel better.  Her favorite, as well as mine, was the guy who had an axe in his head.  Apparently, my cup of tea was able to heal him, too.  Hey, why not?  My favorite tea is Celestial Seasoning mint green tea with white tea.  Other favorites are: Trader Joe's Promegranate White tea, and Lipton's Chamomile.  Today was a Tazo Passion tea day.  It has been very cold this week for us Californians, so the tea has been a welcomed warmth throughout my day. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two heads

Today was a busy day of getting my students to sketch ideas for their final drawing.  Their assignment is to create a cityscape in either one-point or two-point perspective, but they also must include one life-size realistic hand.  Majority of them came up the same ideas: hand holding city, hand crushing buildings, city balancing on one finger, and the hand is the city's sun.  But the students who discussed their ideas with their classmates were able to come up with some great ideas.  I'm excited to see how these drawings will turn out.  It goes to show that "two heads are better than one."  

It is important as artists to have a community to share and bounce ideas off of.  A lot of times we spend so much of our time so close to our projects that we fail to see where problem areas are at, or are unable to see solutions.  Talking to others help give a different perspective of the project.  Many times, another person is able to see problems and solutions that we were unable to see.  I've noticed the importance of this creative community even more so now that I have joined many writing and illustration groups, blogs, twitter hash tags, and Facebook pages.  We share sources of information and inspiration.  We give words of encouragement and support.  And we give each other that different perspective every artist needs to hear and see.  

To keep with this theme of "two heads are better than one." I immediately thought of Bebo, my two headed Mizzle that I made for my mom a few years ago.  They are an artsy duo, who work as one.  I really like this character.  I think I'm going to have to make more like him.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nap time

Sometimes you just want to lie down, close your eyes, and feel yourself sink into the ground. To feel the sensation of every single muscle in your body relax and give in to your body's need for rest.  I am craving a nap time right now.  My mind has been active since 4am, waking me up with stories.  My brain is telling me it is ready for me to sit and begin writing.  In addition to this, it is getting to that time of year where many things are going on at one time.  You would think the holidays are a busy time, but in fact, that is my down time.  It is actually end of semester that keeps me preoccupied.  I have to get ready for my students' final in a few weeks, motivate students who are not doing so well to get their behinds moving, and work on the 2 art club murals we began last week.  Plus, we need to begin the planning stages of our chalk festival that we host here on our campus.  It is a lot of fun, but a lot of planning and prep go into it.  This doesn't include my own personal goals of writing and illustrating.  I'm just happy that many of these things have lengthy deadlines, so I can balance it all with no stress or concern.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Squirrel Obsession

I have always loved watching squirrels move.  Any time I walked through UCLA or a park setting I would anxiously keep an eye out for those funny little creatures.  But that was the extent of my obsession of squirrels, until a few years ago.  I began making my sock creatures and giving them stories.  As I developed my characters, and worked on a story Oliver came into the picture.  I needed a new character, who was not a Mizzle, but who could easily be explained without any explanation.  Not sure if that made any sense, but it made complete sense in my head as I narrate to myself, while typing this blog.

  I had never really drawn a squirrel and my first few attempts always looked like cats.  So, I began doing image searches of photos of squirrels and began my "Squirrel Resource" folder, which now holds 766 photos.  Of those 766 photos, 307 are my personal photos that I have taken of the squirrels that come to my parent's backyard for food.  My collection of resource photos never seems to stop growing and my fascination with squirrels becomes greater and greater.  I have at one point even thought of making one a pet, but I researched this and it is not possible.  Taking care of squirrels requires a lot of care and knowledge so I will love them from afar.  Plus, I have my collection of squirrels (also, growing in number) to fulfill the desire of a pet squirrel.

Today was a lazy day for me.  I had no real desire to draw, write, read, or anything else for that matter.  I found myself unable to sleep in, so I cleaned my apartment and painted my nails.  Still feeling uninspired I decided I should just practice drawing Oliver, my favorite, caring and curious squirrel. I'm trying to work on keeping him consistent.  I have noticed that when I draw squirrels in different angles, they end up looking like they are completely different squirrels.  I just need to keep practicing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time of year that I dislike so much.  Everyone makes New Year's resolutions to exercise more.  I think it is great that people become concerned with their health and well-being, but it bothers me that they start in January.  This causes my favorite workout places to become more crowded.  My yoga class is fuller, so mats are much closer than before limiting movements.  Even the high school track that I walk/jog on has more people on it; a lot of newbies who do not know the rules of courtesy when working out on the track.  I used to avoid my fitness kickboxing classes every January for these very same reasons.  I look forward to the month of February when people break their resolutions, or settle into a schedule.  It will be nice to workout without the crowds again.

As for my New Year's resolution, I didn't make any.  I didn't see the point in making any.  I already make it a point to go to yoga 3-6 days a week, walk/jog 1-3 days a week, cook at home as often as possible, let go of the small things I cannot control, make as much art as I can, and laugh as much as possible.  Oh, and I never beat myself up if I don't achieve any of these as much as I hope to.  Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


This is not my favorite drawing and I spent more time on it than I have on the other drawings.  This is inspired by Art Club's mural we began this past week.  Even though the murals we have completed in the past have caused stress, or have had MANY bumps along the way, we have always managed to have some fun.  This time there seems to be more enthusiasm for the murals than in the past.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that this mural is for Art Club.  It is not a mural commissioned by someone else.  I hope this enthusiasm continues.  Otherwise, my co-advisor and I will be painting way more than we planned on.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Feel Better

This week I was surrounded by people who were sick.  I don't want anyone to think I don't care about my students who are sick because I do.  And I know it is the hazard of being a teacher, but when the sick people are my friends it becomes a different matter.  I immediately go into "make better" mode.  I constantly make tea for them and myself throughout the day and checking in on how they are feeling.  A few of my students found this funny and said I was like a "mom."  I thought that was nice considering I'm not in reality.  To be honest, my "make better" mode/mission is a bit selfish.  I see two people who I spend a lot of time with and think "If they don't get better quick, then I'm going to get sick." 

I have been very fortunate this school year not getting sick. (*knocks on wood)  I have felt myself feel like I was fighting off something, but never actually got sick.  (*again, knocks on wood)  I know I've been very stress-free this school year.  As I've mentioned in a previous blog, I've attending yoga on a pretty regular basis.  In addition, I've eliminated some of my extra commitments at work.  Instead of being a part of hundreds (more like 5 or 6) projects on campus, I am focused only on my classes and art club.  It has been very nice not to be overcommitted.  I have also dived deep into my art, which has been neglected for many years.  All of this leads to a happy and healthy me!  I can only hope this streak of health continues and that those near and dear to me get better!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

RIP CD Discman

Yesterday, there was a laughing moment between me and my T.A.  She had brought a cd of a band that I love (Explosions in the Sky).  I had been looking forward to listening to the CD all week, but I had no way of listening to it. One, I didn't have a CD player in my classroom.  I play all of my music off my ipod.  Two, the CD drive in my computer doesn't work.  (I'm too lazy to request its repair.  Plus, I see no use in repairing it since I never use it.)  But my T.A. was genius and brought her CD discman.  I was so happy until we pressed play. The screen flashed a number then, it would go blank.  It took us a few repetitions of pressing play and watching very little happen to realize it needed new batteries.  We put new batteries in, and again, it did not want to work.  I remembered I had my old discman in a cabinet somewhere in my classroom.  We put in the batteries and pressed play.  Then we waited as we watched the CD spin and hum.  Finally music began to play. At some point during the day, the CD player would just stop playing, or it would beep then stop.  I would press play and it would start again.  Then after one song, it would stop.  It took a few times repeating this process before I realized the problem could be the batteries.  This should have been obvious, but I rarely come in contact with this particular scenario.  I, mean, I never face this problem with my ipod. It has that cute little battery symbol in the top corner to let me know how much power I have left to drain while I feed my music addiction.  Also, in the event of a low battery dilemma, I can always charge it.  What an inconvenience it is to have to exchange the batteries?  Even though, the discman came to the rescue and played the CD (temporarily) I so desperately wanted to listen to.  I have decided to let it rest in peace.  I cannot handle its high maintenance and baggage. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just because

Today's drawing wasn't inspired by anything life related.  I simply wanted to draw one of my characters who have wings.  If I didn't have a problem with heights, flying could possibly be lots of fun.  I mean, Superman made it look very easy and relaxing.  Although, if I were to have super powers, I would want Jedi mind control abilities.  This way I could get those students who think they can pass a  drawing class by sitting and talking to put pencil to paper.  Ahhhh, that would be nice.

What super powers would you want to have?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Who are you?

I gave my intermediate drawing students the assignment "art as message."  They could create a drawing expressing a message that was important to them.  It didn't have to be social/ political, but that was encouraged.  The importance of the assignment was to create an image that gave a clear message visually.  No text is allowed in the image.  I found it interesting that few chose the theme of war, or deteriorating environments.  What was even more interesting was that a few of them chose identity as their message.  More specifically, they were thinking about the identity of people close to them and how you don't really know them.  I thought this was interesting and a bit sad that my students were thinking about this.  It makes me feel like they are having issues trusting people close to them.  I guess it makes sense since they are in high school and are faced with overly dramatic, yet real issues.  But part of the problem is not knowing or being able to trust each other.  The problem is that they don't really know themselves.  They look in the mirror and see themselves as inadequate, or plain.  In truth, I see kids who have the potential to do amazing things.  In time, they will see it. Hopefully.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Community support

I have had many moments where I've felt alone in the world.  Or I didn't think anyone could possibly understand how I was feeling.  Over the years I've come to realize how wrong I've been.  It always seems when I least expect it, there is a friend reaching out giving me a hand, or supporting me somehow.  This seems to be true amongst the community of children's books writers and illustrators.  Since I've joined the many facebook groups, follow blogs, attend conferences, and enter contests, the support and encouragement is definitely felt amongst all of it.  It feels great to be part of it.  When one person has a success, it feels as though we had a success.  And when one person feels like they have failed, everyone reaches out their hands full of encouraging words to pick them up.  Again, it is quite amazing.  I was talking to one of my former students/athletes about this and she pointed out that it was similar to being on the cross country team.  Even though the sport is individual, it takes a team to persevere and succeed. Both of us agreed that was environment we were happiest in. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Feeling centered and strong.  I began practicing yoga 6 months ago and it has been the best thing that has entered in my life.  I have participated in many exercise regimes from running, to walking, to fitness kickboxing, back to running, and then finding yoga.  I had no idea how it would affect me.  It has made me physically and emotionally stronger. I enjoy the challenge of the poses, finding balance, and the support and encouragement from the community of people in the class.  As I continue with my practice, I am reminded that with continued work everything becomes increasingly better.  The same is true with my art.  Today's drawing is inspired by yoga.  Here Stargazer is in my favorite pose "tree." I'm a bit jealous she can hold the pose with her eyes closed.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Enjoying the waves

This drawing was inspired by my friends at work, who love to surf.  I love listening about their experiences surfing.  I've only been surfing a few times in my life.  Once in my early 20's, which was pretty successful.  I was able to stand on the board and catch a wave. The second time this past summer, where I could barely balance myself laying on the board.  Regardless, it was fun and calming.  Listening to the guys talk about wet suits, different types of surf boards, waves, and shark attacks has a similar effect on me.  I always leave the conversation laughing and smiling.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The good old days of rabbit ears

I'm sure if my students saw this image they wouldn't understand what was happening.  I remember when you would have to play with the "rabbit ears" on the TV in order to get a clearer image.  Sometimes it would turn into a game or a joke with family members, especially if the image was only clear when you were touching the antennae and everyone insisted you stay put so they could watch TV.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Never play with Kites in stormy weather

I was feeling inspired from yesterday's kite making activity.  I had this additional idea in my head yesterday and decided to put down on paper today.  I love this character and her antlers.  I immediately thought of her antlers attracting lightning.  I actually felt a little bad drawing her this way, but happily ever after doesn't happen in the real world.  We all make mistakes, or have life throw some type of obstacle in our way no matter how prepared we may be.  Perhaps a few things I know from personal experience is to wait out the storm.  No matter what the situation is we can always pick up the pieces and fix what is broken after the storm has passed.  I actually find it odd that I'm thinking about this considering life is really good right now.  There is no stress or conflict right now... personally, that is.  Maybe a part of me misses the drama.  Hmm, uh, no.  Don't miss it at all.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Art Club inspiration

Today's illustration is inspired by the activity my Art Club will be continuing today.  Before winter break, we had that strange wind storm. In response to it, my co-advisor and I thought it would be fun to make kites with our students.  We have already begun painting designs on them, but today will be the actual construction of the kite.  To bad there isn't very much wind to test these puppies out!  But we'll definitely be ready when the winds blow our way. 

In addition to kite flying, I wanted to introduce my latest Mizzle, Sanfra. He is made from some very cool socks that I had bought on my family trip to San Francisco last June.  I've began creating him during the summer, but as usual, life got in the way.  I finished him this morning and couldn't wait to draw him.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Inspired by my own lesson

Today's drawing was inspired by my beginning art and beginning drawing classes.  To review what we've been working on before winter break, I introduced a one-point street scene.  We drew a generic street scene together and then I set them free to begin their own.  As I gave my drawing demonstrations, I thought about my Mizzle characters and how cute it would be if they played with toy buildings and stick people, considering they live in trees.  When I completed the drawing I realized I had unconsciously created 3 of each thing; 3 Mizzles, 3 stick people, 3 houses, and 3 high rise buildings. 

This is only my second drawing of the year, but I have already noticed that I am comfortable working in black and white.  I think color would make these drawings much stronger, but I tend to get stuck in a vicious circle of blending colors together to create "the right" color.  I could end up spending many more hours than I want to.  For now, I think I will keep to my pen and pencil.  Maybe I can use these as coloring book pages later.  Or perhaps my challenge will evolve later in the year where I return to these original drawings and add color.  Possibilities.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Catching Stars

Here is my first drawing of the year.  It went faster than I had expected.  I can already see this is going to be a tough challenge on its own.  Knowing and deciding what to draw is not easy.  I can only hope I will be able to produce a good quality drawing each day in little time.  I know with practice it will all come to me with much ease.  Today I was fortunate to have the possibilities of the new year on my mind and on the mind of many facebook friends, and bloggers.  Everyone is looking to the future with positivity.  It feels as though we are all standing with our baskets emptied and ready to start catching stars.  My basket is definitely ready. Is yours?

Sunday, January 1, 2012


In 2011, I completed my master's degree which focused on integrated teaching through the arts.  Even though it was a masters in education, it led me in an unexpected direction.  Before the end of the program, I found myself entering the world of children's books writing and illustrating.  I became a member of the Society of Children's Books Writers and Illustrators.  Since then, my life has been engulfed by newsletters, blogs, books, and any other type of publication about writing and illustrating.  I have also began producing more work than I have in a very long time.  The year had ended with making the decision of participating in Novembers' PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month) and somehow finding 30 story ideas for children's book.  I'm not sure if they are any good, but it is definitely a start in the right direction.  I also sent in my entry for the Tomie dePaola Illustrator Award.  He chose an excerpt from “Chicken Licken,” by P.C. Asbj√∂rnsen.  Here is what I entered for the excerpt:

So they went along and went along until they met Turkey Lurkey
“Good morning, Goosey Loosey, Ducky Daddles, Cocky Locky, Henny Penny,
and Chicken Licken,” said Turkey Lurkey, “where are you going?”
“Oh, Turkey Lurkey, the sky is falling and we are going to tell the King!”
“How do you know the sky is falling?” asked Turkey Lurkey.
“Ducky Daddles told me,” said Goosey Loosey.
“Cocky Locky told me,” said Ducky Daddles.
“Henny Penny told me,” said Cocky Locky.
“Chicken Licken told me,” said Henny Penny 
“I saw it with my own eyes, I heard it with my own ears,
and a piece of it fell on my tail!” said Chicken Licken.
“Then I will go with you,” said Turkey Lurkey, “and we will tell the King!”

 Tomorrow the winner will be announced.  It is exciting, but I can't imagine how they are going to decide on the winner.  Through facebook we were able to share images of our entries.  There were so many wonderful illustrations.  Regardless of the outcome, I had a fun time creating this image. Now my next part of my journey begins with the 12x12 in 2012 challenge, maybe the picture book dummy challenge, and my own new year's resolution to create one quick illustration a day(starting tomorrow).  I just need to get into the practice of creating more movement in my drawings, which gesture drawings will help with.  So welcome 2012, a productive year of writing and illustrating!