I love Light Grey Art Lab's small print shows. Aside from displaying each tiny piece in the gallery as a work of art, every participating artist receives a copy of every other participating artist's work. Their newest show, "Bowerbirds", requested each artist to make a postcard about a personal collection.
I went through a few ideas before recognizing that what I really wanted to represent is the collective of podcasts I listen to. Turns out there were too many to fit, but that is okay--the list continuously changes. There are podcasts that once upon a time I listened to weekly and haven't listened to in months, possibly years. I had to curate from my curation of listening material, so I chose a smattering of different kinds.
At Light Grey, we have talked about how collections can indicate what a person is like. People whose collections overlap with other people's collections can use that as a springboard into friendship. Personal curation (especially prevalent on the internet), gives everyone a chance to represent themselves the way they want to be represented. My podcasts do both of those things, though most of the time, when I'm thinking about them or listening to them, they are a place for my mind to hang out.
And for just fo fun, here is a list of the podcasts I'm currently subscribed to, including but not limited to the ones featured above:
- In Our Time: History
- Selected Shorts
- Welcome to Night Vale
- 99% Invisible
- The Splendid Table
- This American Life
- The Light Grey Podcast
- Back to Work
- The New Yorker: Fiction
- Important Podcast
- The Incomparable
- The Flop House
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Thrilling Adventure Hour
- The Moth Podcast
- All Songs Considered
- Song Exploder
- Roderick on the Line
- You Look Nice Today
- Slow Chinese
- The Adventure Zone
- Kids Chinese Podcast
- Road Work
So about...9 months into a new place, you sort of want to go back to the old place? I just miss Minneapolis a little more than normal. It might be the season change; the midwest gets some phenomenal season changes. You never have to guess which season it is. It is children's-picture-book obvious.
So here's a kind of autumny piece. In Seattle, it could also probably pass for winter and spring too. NOT a bad thing.
I pulled this drawing from the last sketchbook,
and finished it up in watercolor.
Speaking of Minneapolis, though, Light Grey Art Lab is making more amazing things, and their next show is going to be the highlight of the year's shows. There's an oracle deck. I'll be posting more about it later; I've got an illustration in the deck that will be posted here a little closer to the release date. I deeply regret not being able to attend the show, which is opening on October 30th, in the tradition of Light Grey Art Lab doing phenomenal stuff around Halloween.
I'm looking forward to October in general. I read Something Wicked This Way Comes for the first time last year (thanks to a friend), and loved it. Since then, it has been at the top of my list "Books I Would Like To Illustrate". I think reading it may become an annual tradition. Maybe I'll try to keep up with "Inktober" (if you're not quite sure what that is, search it on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram and drink it in), but mostly I'll use it as an October bonus tag to put on the normal number of ink drawings I make in a month. These days I'm finding 30 day challenges work like yo-yo diets. I can only make it work if it's sustainable for more than 30 days. I'm getting old, probably.
I've had an amazing, jam-packed summer, and at this point, I feel like doing a recap, with some (SOME) images. I swear I've filled a sketchbook. The book in the top pic is my current, soon to be previous, sketchbook. The one in the bottom is sort of what it looks like now.
Most of the stuff in it feels pretty noodly-journaly. I think the best place to see stuff more frequently is over here, on Instagram.
I'm about to leave for China for our third and last work trip of the year, and I'm psyched for that. I've been taking classes to learn Mandarin Chinese. It's challenging and humbling in the best way. Man, I miss being in school sometimes.
I also visited and trekked through Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park with Light Grey Art Lab, as a part of their 2015 art-workshop-summer-camp program. It was incredibly beautiful, and I loved everything about it: the art making, the hiking, the sights, the stars, the new friends; I'm extremely serious when I say what I loved most was seeing my good friends from Minneapolis again.
Plus, there's so much more of Seattle I've experienced since my last post! My sister and I frequent the farmers' markets--there are a few a week--the comic book and game stores, the coffee shops, museums, and the long and scenic walks. I do need to do more hiking in the nearby mountains.
I am extremely fortunate to be able to travel to China a few times a year for work. Last month was my first time there, and it was mind blowing and amazing and life altering. Honestly, nothing gives my perspective a workout like traveling. Even though it was a work trip, so much of it felt like what I like to do when visiting a new place: experience it to the fullest.
I drew a lot. I'm only posting a few things here. These are pretty minimal and rough as it is--most of the drawings I made were like that. Car time was drawing time, and the rest was doing things--work, meals, visiting places and meeting so many people.
The region of China we visited is tropical, which is also completely new to me. I think in future visits, if there's time, I wouldn't mind drawing some of the flora there. I loved the hills. There would be miles and miles (kilometers) of tall buildings, and in the distance, green lumps rising out of the buildings. On these grew the tropical plants and trees.
The last day our company spent in China, we went to Hong Kong, which was INCREDIBLE. I hope to visit there again on future trips. I'd love to document that experience more. In the meantime, I'm taking a short class in Mandarin, and gearing up for the next trip!
Light Grey continues to produce excellent shows :). I continue to be sad about missing the opening receptions! This piece is for Guts, a show about taking apart things and seeing how they tick. There are infinite ways to interpret that, so if you'd like to see more, check out the whole show right here.
I love drawing spaces and environments a lot more than I realized when I started seriously considering this business of becoming an artist for a living. This one in particular references my highschool job in a bakery. It was a little more...grungier than this, but still, every day we made fresh donuts, bread, cakes, desserts, and they were beautiful. It took a number of people to run it, including a number of people (like me) to do things like mop the floor and wash the dishes. But you sort of learn to love it when you realize you are a part of making something good.
Time for Light Grey shows! I realize this is the first one I have been unable to attend...I'm a little sad about that. Can't wait to see the pictures, though! This past weekend the gang was at Glitch Con, a Minneapolis/St. Paul video game convention. For more about absolutely all of that, check out Light Grey Art Lab's blog. There's always something cool going on over there!
This piece was a part of "Boss Rush", a tribute show to video game bad guys. There is no question who my favorite video game villain is. GLaDOS is one of my favorite video game characters. And Portal/Portal 2 are superb games--y'all probably know them, but if you have hesitated or waited for some reason let this be the push you need to play them. The games integrate story in such an interesting way, and I feel they do a brilliant job of using the medium to do so.
One of Seattle's many perks is a vast selection of restaurants, cafes, bars, coffee shops, etc. etc. It's actually kind of overwhelming; I can't imagine jumping into it without guidance. Heck even the guidance is overwhelming--between my sister and coworkers I have enough food recommendations to last through the summer.
Let's say you want pizza. You need to narrow that down by price, type of pizza, and neighborhood, and then you'll still have at least a dozen places to choose from. Out of those dozen, there is a good chance at least eight of them have won some kind of award. In the end, you go with the one that "you think you've heard of", even though you're probably thinking of a different restaurant. I would not be surprised to learn one out of every six buildings is a public food consumption place.
Here are a few food places (including a few that aren't really restaurants) I've been to that I will someday visit again, once I've whittled down my list.
Paxti's: I'll be upfront: I've never had deep-dish pizza before this. But this goes down in my record books as one of the best pizzas I've ever tasted. Kinda high-end pricey for pizza, but do it.
Serious Pie: A Seattle version of the coal-fired pizza. I am a fan of Punch and Black Sheep Pizza in Minneapolis, so it was nice to find a local alternative.
Pestle Rock: Really delicious, really spicy Northern Thai. I was happy to have my favorite, Khao Soi. Clears your sinuses! The space is really lovely, too.
Ballard Sunday Market: A farmer's market that happens every Sunday. Every. Sunday. Even in the winter! I went in February, and got a crepe and ate it OUTSIDE. In FEBRUARY.
Uwajimiya: A Japanese import supermarket, complete with deli, food shops, and food court. This one also has a massive bookstore attached. Really, you can't go wrong here. Hours of fun, never ever boring.
Morsel: I haven't gone to the location, but a coworker generously brought these in one Friday. They have an assortment of biscuit sandwiches (the breakfast ones look incredible). I had a plain biscuit with housemade fig jam, and it was perfect.
Blue C Sushi: This is basically fast food sushi--it was good, though, as good as any sushi place I've enjoyed. What gets me is the system: it's a conveyor belt, where you pull small plates as they ride by. This is a thing I'd heard of but never experienced till now.
The Whale Wins: There is one restaurant I've had my heart set on eating at even before coming to Seattle, and that is The Walrus and the Carpenter. I haven't been there yet, but I was very fortunate to be able to go to its newer sister, The Whale Wins. It was phenomenal. I aspire to make carrots taste a fraction that good.
I haven't mentioned drinks because between tea, beer, and the blood of Seattle (coffee), drinks will have their own blog post. Desserts will have to have their own too.
I kept going back and forth on whether or not I was going to make this a massive blog post, but opted for a little blog post so I can move on and do more little, regular blog posts. No one likes to read an autobio on a blog anyway : P.
The big news is that I moved to Seattle in January!
I have a new job (in product design—home and holiday decor) and new apartment with my sister! Work and life in the city has been amazing so far. Lots of new experiences, but keep in mind even things like going to the grocery store are a delight when you’re in a new place.
The Pacific Northwest is beautiful, incredibly green with abundant plant life, mountains, AND water. A big fat giant change is the lack of winter. There isn’t snow (on the ground, in the city. There's lots of snow in the mountains), and the LOW is in the mid 30s, which maybe happened a few times. Despite this, and being fully aware of the kind of winter I left behind (but don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful) I miss Minneapolis. I miss my Minneapolis family an awful lot. But I stand by the notion that there are people you care about and are friends with forever, and there are a few of those people in the Twin Cities that are the best people I will ever know.
I’m pretty fortunate having a close sister in Seattle. Felicia has lived here for awhile, and she’s enjoying teaching me the ropes. Plus we get to catch up on being sisters after being far apart for about ten years.
Seattle is a really fun city to explore! I’ve sort of picked a few haunts already, though it’s a little soon. I want that good old city comfort that I had in the Twin Cities, but that does take years to build up. A decade, even :). I kind of wanted to expound on all of my exploration in detail in this post, but I think it might be better saved to work over the course of a few posts.
Can't wait to share more!
Happy New Year!
2015 is going to be a very different year for me, and I'm pretty excited about all of the upcoming new experiences. In the meantime, here's a piece for a digital illustration exhibition called Future 52. It's a really fun concept: 52 different artists--one per week for a year--each design a technological futuristic device. The devices were assigned, and I super lucked out and got exactly the device I wanted: a hoverboard. Like most children of the eighties (and virtually everyone on the internet), Back to the Future is ingrained on my being. I highly recommend checking out the site and looking through all of pieces--they're a lot of fun and they're paired with an ongoing narrative by the curator, Alex Griendling. Plus you can see this piece at a much bigger, much better size. The site is really beautiful :).
I really wanted to make an urban environment for this one. I love the wilderness of the northern midwest (I grew up in it), and I think it shows up in my work a lot. Cities don't pour out of my pencil the way a forest does, and I'd like to change that. Since moving to one I think they're the most beautiful things on the planet.
This past week I finally got to celebrate the release of The Second Day, a young adult novel by Lara Swanson. I had a great time illustrating this cover--such pretty subject matter! It was a pleasure to delve in with some delicate colors and organic shapes 'n linework. My sisters and I have a penchant for young adult novels, too.
You can learn more about The Second Day with a sampling from the story on Amazon, where you can also purchase it on Kindle. It will be released as a physical book, too, if that's more your thing.
Below are a few earlier color comps. The sketch phase is a lot more fun (not to mention a lot more helpful) when I approach the different elements of the illustration separately. For instance, color gets its own sketch phase, and only after several other phases have been resolved.
Yeeessss I have a Halloween-y post this year! Every time October rolls around I have intentions of making a bunch of holiday-themed art in time for the barrage of holidays that happen at the end of the year. It feels good to follow through with that sometimes :).
This piece is from Illozine issue ten, a limited edition, letter-press-covered book that retells the story "Dracula's Guest" in beautiful black and white illustrations. I received my copy yesterday, and I'm proud to have it on my shelf.
I read the short story for this project (I had never read "Dracula's Guest" before), and then I ended up reading a bunch of Bram Stoker's other short stories, and then I had to dig up the Dracula audiobook and listen to that too, because I got the October bug, I guess : P. It's all good stuff! If you're looking for some great seasonal entertainment, allow me to recommend the classic vampire.
You can also purchase Illozine issue 10 on the Illozine website.
Looks like my blog is going to continue in the vein of television commemoration for a little bit longer. 18 years ago today, another of my favorite shows aired for the first time. I don't remember watching the Hey Arnold! pilot when it aired, but I had seen Arnold's first appearances on TV in my very first favorite programs: Sesame Street and Pee-Wee's Playhouse. So naturally, if you combine the vibe of those shows with an endearing cast of characters and an idyllic urban street setting, I'm going to be excited.
I've got sketches for a few more of these, but then I also have sketches for something a bit more involved. You know, with a background and stuff... Because oh man. The backgrounds.
The first and last panels of the Lost zine I created for Light Grey Art Lab's Stacks zine exhibition. My year on the 1984-2014 timeline is 2004, the year the Lost pilot aired. Truthfully, I didn't fall immediately in love with the show; I sort of watched bits and pieces until some switch flipped and I was hooked. Came for the mysteries, stayed for the characters.
I've been rewatching it lately. I must've seen the first season four times through, but I had never seen the fourth season more than once until recently. Watching the later seasons again were a different kind of entertaining than the first time. The show is famous for giving little pieces of information to "reveal" bigger mysteries, but once you know everything, you're depending on other things to entertain. I'm amazed at how humorous a lot of it is. A reviewer referred to Lost as a pulp show, and I can't believe I didn't see it before, but it absolutely is. Pulp in the best way. Quality pulp.
You can buy one of the limited edition zines here. At this point, very limited–there are less than ten left!
A whole bunch of summer projects are in their penultimate stage! This piece is a postcard design for my dad–he makes USPS themed thank-you's and greeting cards. It wasn't difficult to conjure up a winter scene; I think winter has been burned onto my brain. This piece ended up subconsciously referencing my neighborhood in Minneapolis, but mostly the winters further up north, in the Upper Peninsula.
In the meantime, summer in the city is as great as anything can be. I've gone for a few bike rides (outside of commuting) and even more walks. Once I was surprised with a food truck fair! I'm envious of larger cities food truck population (lookin' at you, LA), but for our size, we do pretty well! May I recommend Cafe Racer's arepas–DELICIOUS.
The Clearing is going to press really soon, and we're planning the book release! It feels pretty satisfying, too. Man, I love making comics. They'll suck up your time and disorient you from real life, but they're totally worth it.
This month, Light Grey Art Lab is hosting Stacks, a zine exhibition celebrating the years 1984 through 2014. Each zine was devoted to retelling something about that year, be it pop culture, politics, or personal anecdotes. The opening had an excellent turnout! We're lucky–the Twin Cities has a pretty solid group of comic artists, and comic appreciators. Stacks is still up at the gallery, too, and will be for the rest of August. Check the blog for the truncated hours; the LGAL team will be in Iceland, but I'll be there, willing to recommend my favorite visual narratives to all.
Here's one right now. I finally got to read Bryan Lee O'Malley's new graphic novel, Seconds, and everyone should probably go follow suit. Maybe it's too soon to say, but I think I enjoyed it even more than Scott Pilgrim–it still has that Bryan Lee O'Malley storytelling flavor, but feels more "grown-up". It's a great story that has been impressively condensed into a single book. The art is lovely, too–a full color comic, man. I kind of want to check out the color Scott Pilgrim books now.
I can't talk about comics without mentioning my all time favorite :) My friend Ian and I are doing a collaborative challenge, One Piece CC, in which we draw all of the characters from Eiichiro Oda's manga, One Piece. We post one per week, more or less in order, taking turns down the list of the (named) characters.
Well, The Clearing is completely inked, and the project is well on its way to being completed, and now the bulk of my drawing time is going to my piece for Light Grey Art Lab's Stacks show. I'm creating my zine in homage to the television show Lost, which first aired in my chosen year of the Stacks timeline, 2004. It was difficult choosing something, because whether I knew it at the time or not, 2004 was full of things that are very important to me. In the end making a decision came down to what I'd prefer to draw. Again, very difficult.
Fortunately, working on The Clearing and having a blast doing it made me realize that I'd probably like to keep drawing some foliage. You'd better believe a tropical island has some foliage. The fun part is going from a north woods forest to a tropical, south pacific forest.
In the meantime, though, I'd like to share a few process pictures I took with my phone while working on a panel edit to the comic. The one difference between this process and most of the pages is that I sketched directly on the paper--for the rest I blue-lined the pages.
One thing I have to mention, because I believe it has a huge role on the outcome of a project, is how amazing it has been working with a great writer/client. Keith had a very clear (and wonderful) vision for The Clearing, and it was a pleasure to start working with such a clear plan. At the same time, he has been open and encouraging to the visual ideas I've provided. Love this project so much <3. Peace out.
Yow! It's the middle of June already?! Every time I look up I get to change the page on my calendar. I always liked changing the page, though. Hate New Year, like changing the calendar pages.
My list of projects isn't really shrinking, but it's moving along steadily. I thought I'd share a few bits and pieces of things I've been doing.
Character Collabs are popping up all over on Twitter, and my friend Katy organized one for the new(ish) cartoon, Steven Universe. The whole thing will be coming together towards the end of July, but if you check the tag #SUCollab, you can see a few of the pieces that have been completed. I illustrated Amethyst! She's my favorite!
"The Clearing" is coming along–the inks are in progress. This is it. This is the part where I can break out the brushes and create some panels that I'm really proud of. There's more things I'd like to post about in the works, so stay tuned in the near future!
Summer at last! The weather is infinitesimally better, so it's pleasant just being outside. Uptown is fantastic in the summer! It feels like a nonstop celebration, even when you're not attending a party. I had such a good weekend, too. Biked, played some board games with friends, and finally got the third volume of one of my favorite comics. And of course, worked on some projects :).
The big one right now is "The Clearing" comic. I'm over halfway through pencils—just penciled one of my favorite spreads.
There are a few new things in my shop, too. Most importantly, postcards! I'm really happy to say I have five different postcard designs right now, and I loved how they turned out so much that I can't wait to make more! Viva la U.S.P.S.!