Merry Christmas! I hope everybody has had a great one!

This year I drew my sister Anna's name for our family gift exchange, which is excellent, because my sister Anna loves stories and adventures. I made her a painting of a character that has thus far has been dubbed "the Ginger Warrior", but now is officially named Bridgette. I've been working on a project with her (and her companion, the Winter Girl). More of that in 2014!

Going overboard with the gold gouache, but it's hard to resist in gift paintings.

Going overboard with the gold gouache, but it's hard to resist in gift paintings.

I've been up north for the past few days visiting my family, and it's awesome. We have our differences, but I'm always impressed and comforted by the willingness each one of them has to be present and loving. I think it's hard! I know I have trouble with it. It's easier to get trapped up and have self-pity tunnel vision, or to find reasons to argue. But this has been excellent. They never fail to remind me why I make things in the first place.

Here's to a New Year, and all of your families :)

Frenchie Bistro of Vyk'Tornaahl

Back in January, when the Light Grey gang got together to plan its upcoming shows, there were two that I was especially excited about. The first was In Place, and the second was named "Rolemodels". The premise was a combination of our favorite artists + fantasy role-playing games. Happily, this week Rolemodels opens at Light Grey Art Lab!

The Light Grey blog does a wonderfully thorough job of describing the whole project (which includes an incredible card game that is available for purchase and play).
Frenchie Bistro is my gamer tag (if I can call it that; I don't play many games and the ones that I do are pretty...well, they're a combination of Phoenix Wright and smattering of free iPhone games.) I didn't make it up myself–I think Chris thought it up–but I like it and I use it for everything, including playing D&D with the Light Grey team.
The opening for the show is this Friday, and it's also a costume party! If you're in the area, you're invited! We're all dressing up as our characters (or at least, as our characters' classes). I've been working on a few pieces for my getup. Of course, this costume would be incomplete without my animal familiar :)

Biker Doodle

My home city is full of bicycles. The Twin Cities love bicycles, and they are everywhere. There are so many and they are all so unique that there has to be a project in there somewhere. I had been considering taking up a new illustration challenge this summer, and since I love bikes and drawing characters I decided to combine the two. I take pictures of bikes around the city, then design and illustrate a character based on each bike. These have been going up on the Paper Bicycle blog, but it is about time I share some of them here.




Bike 1

This first character is named Penny. She has great interest in the economic and ecologic impact of food culture.





007_Adjust 007_Bike

Andrew has a collection of strange collections: a collection of bottles manufactured before 1980, a collection of patches that are at least 70% yellow, a collection of cheap plastic dollar store toys…


There are more characters on the Paper Bicycle blog, plus little blurbs about each of them, but I think I may try and update this blog with them in future, so stay tuned!

New Bike

biking_francesca I’ve been waiting to post this for awhile! A month or so ago, my bike was stolen. I loved my bike. It was my transportation, recreation, and source of joy, so I was pretty devastated. And times have been tough (student loans) so it was going to be difficult to get new one, at least right away. And then my amazing incredible friends pitched in and surprised me with enough money to get a new one. I can’t thank them enough, and I love this new bike even more than the stolen one (which is saying something!) This illustration is for them. Also for the curious (and most definitely for my friends and benefactors), here's a picture of my new bike. Rides like a dream. I had a chance to go on a forty minute bike ride yesterday and it was pure heaven. Bike

Claire & Charlie

Another piece of unofficial Lost fanart. I made a sketch of Charlie & Claire that I really liked and thought it might be cool to add a different piece of island color as a backdrop. illustration_charlieandclaire_francescabuchko You know, there are some shots of the island where you think "wow. It's actually really beautiful." I'm kind of a tropical paradise cynic. In most cases I think the U.S.'s northern coastlines are more lovely; the steely grey ocean and rocky seaside cliff feel. That show plus this year's Paper Bicycle trip to Santa Monica is helping me rethink sunsets on the beach.


I watched a LOT of Season One Lost this weekend.


I haven't really watched it in a few years.  It's as good as a show can possibly be. It still is! So good. I don't want to hear about it, people. Fringe pales in comparision.

The watercolor class at Light Grey Art Lab this weekend instigated a strong desire to paint, and this show instigated the strong desire to make some art of characters. The hardest part was choosing who to paint (first). Locke has always been a lot of fun to draw.


Welcome here.

An appropriate first (official) blog illustration:


A new space. It's funny how we sort of take up residence on the internet. I'm still breaking this site in, but I don't expect things to change too much.

I made this illustration for a show and then ended up not showing it. The other pieces intended to be displayed with it never were finished and I put something else in the show. 


That City I Love

This one might not necessarily be Minneapolis. Or St. Paul. They've certainly influenced this painting, but even more than with the other city paintings, I was more interested in depicting the impression a place can give.
Next week I'm going to L.A. I love L.A. I've only been there once, and between then and now my brain has painted it into this glorious place that it almost certainly isn't. The great thing about it, though, is that I think part of our existing experience is in our heads. I think we make our places beautiful or terrible.

This painting is for my godfather, who travels the world. I've learned a lot about loving places from him.


watercolor and acrylic on 180 lb cold press paper

Cold Winter Night

I had a hard time with this one. Ultimately, I think it's one of my favorites, but boy oh boy did it put up a fight. I struggled with getting it as deep and vibrant as I had planned, and then when it was deep enough I was frustrated with the lack of subtlety that watercolor usually provides.
This also served to remind me that sometimes sticking with something is the best course of action, even when you want to start all over.


Halloween Patterns

Another benefit of making so many patterns is that there's always some art for the holidays. Here's a collection of Halloween patterns. I've posted the last one before, but I'll post it again.
There's a Halloween pattern for today in the works; if it's finished by the end of today I'll add it.





EDIT: And one more:


Mice Activities

A gift piece for some very very kind people.
I'd also like to direct your attention to that border. As usual, I masked the border off with tape. Unlike usual, when I took the tape off, it turned out perfectly clean, straight, and without weird bleeding. I used regular old artist's tape and didn't really do anything different that I know of, otherwise I'd be talking about it because do I ever want the official secret of clean watercolor borders.
Excited things, guys.

watercolor, gouache and ink on 190 lb cold press paper

Cozy Inside

I finished another piece in the urban winter series! There are a couple posts with process here and here. This one was kind of a challenge. I think I changed color palettes a few times while working on it in attempt to find the right...mood? Atmosphere, maybe.

watercolor, ink and gouache on 300 lb rough press

After working on a painting, nothing helps wind down like sketching whatever. My cat likes sketchbooks almost as much as I do.


This time she was just covering up this drawing I made of her. She's pretty modest.


Minneapolis deadlines

I'm working on a few city-related projects whose deadlines are fast approaching. Last night I pulled out the paints and ink and a few pieces and sat down to work. Computers are wonderful things, and they are excellent tools for making art. Still, after a few minutes into actually painting, with actual paint, I can't help but feel one medium is superior to another.