a little piece of the past

In my last few weeks at my last job, I started tucking my phone away and doodling while kids entertained themselves. It’s interesting that I waited that long to allow myself to doodle at work. My preschoolers would super bashfully inch up to my paper and just stare at whatever nonsense I was drawing and smile. I’d feel more satisfied with my day when I could leave work toting a few scraps of paper to leave in my backseat till I was actually going home where I could safely store them (and, as it turns out, forget I’d stored them and think I’d left them somewhere.) I guess since I was actually working I was monitoring my working and my artwork got to kind of do whatever it wanted, which is kind of a rare scenario.


So…without further ado, I present to you: SO MANY DOODLES
The first two doodles are both from song lyrics.
are you listening color

I felt like this one needed some color because I never really got to flesh out the lines at work like the other ones. These lyrics are from Jimmy Eat World’s “Sweetness” and any time now that I read that sentence, the song starts playing in my head. I don’t like her hair but I do like how her upper body is positioned.
lyricsThese lyrics are from A Day to Remember’s “Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail.” The first time I heard it was on my drive home from my last job, which often left me feeling stepped on and smothered. Understandably, when this segment of the song started playing I turned my volume up as loud as it could go and felt like bursting with its relevance to my life. Naturally, I turned it into a drawing. I didn’t start off making her “me” but when I gave her the hair I wanted, and it was my hair, I straight up gave up that resistance and I made it me.
Aside from the song lyric pictures, I had another category of work doodles which was “Dealing with shit.” It’s been a weird transition between jobs, signing a lease for  my first wonderfully hipster downtown studio apartment, and some changes with me and my boyfriend.

want it to be good

Not gonna lie internet, there are some things that made me into a monster over the summer and I was really proud to move into a time in my life in the last few weeks when even bigger things have happened and I have been *me* – even-keeled (about most things), hopeful, and quite sure of myself. Weird shit set itself up and ended up actually feeling interesting rather than apocalyptic. Interesting! Who knew I could find things like this interesting and not terrible. I stopped playing mind games with myself. I took things at face value (learned that one from my boyfriend…it’s weird when shit is actually as straightforward as it sounds). I followed the hyperbolic sequence of events to its end and said “Well, that would happen, and that would be it” and when I acknowledged that everything stopped being scary. I wanted it to be good, and it has been.

this wont be so bad sm


I think I did this one the next day. It happened to also be about being at work. I was alone the day after Thanksgiving with any preschooler that showed up at the center. I thought it would be stressful or at least wildly boring and last for 11 horrible hours. But I relaxed and then my kids relaxed and I sat on the floor and doodled. One of my favorite little girls scooted up to me and I said “Who’s that?” and she beamed and whispered “you.” So that’s when you know, friends, that you’ve actually done yourself a likeness. I was wearing pants like these that day and they kind of spearheaded my focus on ALL the flowery swirls in the background. I don’t know the last time I’ve been that dedicated to filling up space with designs.
flustering madnessThe problem, friends, with feeling like you’ve beaten your monster is when it dares to come back. Maybe not for as long, and maybe it’s not as crippling, but it does come back and then you feel like you’ve failed yourself. There’s nothing really to do anymore but push through it, keeping the whining and the self-loathing to a minimum (when possible.) I do like her thought bubble crown.

sorry im not sorry

I pulled out some pastels one of my first evenings just “home” and after screwing up some drawings I did unfortunately discover that blending colors is for some reason a lot easier on canvas than just paper like this. This was kind of not controlled relative to the kind of drawing that I was doing, but I guess I still like it for its sass.

owlgirlAND THEN! The first real watercolor painting I’d done in a while (ever?) It totally turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. It’s deep and rich and textured and holy shit I actually successfully painted a watercolor face! I like the accidental texture of the shirt acquired by a paper towel, and I like that the owl turned out just right and that his wings look BADASS. I like that her hands are long and spidery and how perfectly circular her little spectacles are. HOORAY! I just wish I could do something cool with this after the fact.



so many digital girls

(It should be pointed out that I realize that this blog title sounds like this entry is going to be about porn. It’s not. I just draw lots of female subjects. Thanks bye.)

Life has kind of taken precedence over really digging into my creative world, but I’ve still been doing a lot of various digital drawings. I even did an oil pastel drawing on canvas last weekend. I should really get that scanned in *or something* because it’s actually pretty sweet. Since I haven’t compiled my sketches in a while, I don’t necessarily have a whole lot to say about them. It’s just been nice to be in a phase with art where I’ve essentially allowed myself to doodle. And apparently it’s taken nearly this long to be able to make drawings of people I’ve made up on the spot without feeling terribly guilty for not using story characters.

Here’s a generic blond girl with Snowball the cat on her calf. I love the muted pastel purples and whatnot.

closing eyes

Ryan immediately assumed this  girl was naked but she is so draped up. I sketched the crap out of her. And then doodled Chevelle lyrics into it because either this was stuck in my head or I was actively listening to them. I love her electrified hair. Then I did some creepy gradient shading I may or may not actually like.

One time Snowball the cat’s human persona, Snow, was discussed into existence. She’s terrible and annoying, unlike the cat, who is simply annoying but also super adorable.splash

I did this a couple weeks ago when I really wanted to paint but was totally failing at actual paint. I think I really like it but you can tell it’s not quite as strong as traditional work that I do or even my normal digital sketchiness.

Then I did this one last night and I kind of love how it turned out. Except I don’t like the soft edges of the lineart; I would have preferred them super crisp. I was also incredibly bummed because I did half this picture not realizing that f.lux was on and I super sadly turned it off to find I didn’t like any of the colors as much but was too lazy to adjust them. Also as per usual I started adding some highlights to the colors and then hated them so I naturally made her shirt into a statement about it. DO YOU LIKE HOW THE SENTENCE ENDS IN A COMMA,


elf tree

HEY LOOK I SAID I SHOULD SCAN THAT CANVAS PASTEL DRAWING AND I DID 😀 The colors were super muted; it’s like the wax sucked out the scanner light so it couldn’t catch anything that was actually there.
This is really only the top half of the piece because I didn’t feel like “piecing” this one together. ALl that was really worthwhile in the lower part was a few details in her vague “shoulder.”
So I think I definitely want to explore pastel further because it was really cool how easily I could draw once I’d just covered everything in layers of pastel. Normally I’d gotten too impatient with the graininess of pastel that I would stop before I developed it this much. And then of course at the last second I scratched those blue lines into the tree and LOVED them so I want to do an entire drawing where I coat the surface and then do scratchy pastel line art. So, PROGRESS!

Art!, Original Characters

spilled sugar

I may not have had the energy to get messy with paints lately, which has made me feel a bit discouraged. I’ve been suffering from a variety of “transition,” respiratory colds, random wisdom toothaches, and general tiredness. This afternoon though I started thinking about Micah and then this pose came into my head. I think after some struggles and drafts I got the hang of it and I’m really happy with the small but concentrated details found on the countertop. I didn’t work forever on the shading or anything but it felt nice and natural and I didn’t beat myself up over it. So…happy rainy Wednesday evenings, folks.


Art!, Cadence, Other Peoples' Work!, Redefining Evil, Sun-Walking

bang bang (there goes your heart)

After my recent (No) Trouble piece I started thinking about how awesome all of the super “girl power” songs have been lately. The next day the guy on the radio was all like “There have been some females on the radio lately who are just ON FIRE” and I was like HELL YEAH so then I came home and watched the music video for “Bang Bang!” (Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J). I just started doodling and as soon as I did Cirrus’s pointer finger I ran with the idea and made my most powerful women into a drawing. I kept sketchy black lines and colored sketchy style, including shading. Weirdly I’m super into how the black lines ended up looking over the super pastel color scheme. I also love Cirrus’s star shirt. The writing on the bottom ended up being subtle enough to kind of create a nice solid background and I loved the little hearts I spontaneously added.

Started doodling waiting for my boyfriend to get home because we’re both so hipster and easy to draw and this was something he said to me last week and then I added terrible hashtags and giggle.

I took this picture of my boyfriend cuddling with his giant cat a long time ago and had lofty aspirations to turn it into a super fancy drawing and then I spent 5 minutes on this.

nsp peeps

Speaking of him, I made some promotional art for the podcast that he does with his brothers/dude friend and they’re all super funny while they dick around with video games so go watch them be derps.

Art!, Emotional Breakdowns

Art of the Mind

About a month and a half ago, I correctly identified the artist of a painting posted on the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Facebook page. I won myself a pair of free tickets to the MIA’s special exhibit, which was called Marks of Genius and showcased sketches and working pieces by master artists from all periods. I was interested in this exhibit anyway because I knew the exhibit would include the sort of loose gestural drawings that get me more excited than anything else. And plus, I’ve basically never won something like that for free so it was pretty exciting. But between moving and starting a new job, the closing of the exhibit REALLY snuck up on me. I had to go by myself (part of me wanted to go by myself the whole time…but when you get a pair of tickets and only want to use one, something feels wrong) because my boyfriend works every day of the week and I didn’t want to go with anyone else I wasn’t comfortable with, because I knew myself well enough to know that Marks of Genius would geek me the fuck out. When I realized, though, that this was the case, I felt pretty liberated. I was going to do something BY MYSELF again! FOR ME! On my OWN TIME! Aaaand then I woke up this morning feeling like CRAP. I work with (literally) snotty toddlers so I’m currently infected by at least a dozen strains of cold/cough. Morning and bedtime are definitely the worst times. And I’ve been taking Nyquil all week, which has meant super crazy vivid dreams that don’t quite leave me feeling incredibly restless. So this morning I woke up and didn’t think I had the will to get out of bed, even for the art museum. But I got myself more and more anxious thinking about NOT going and I knew I would permanently regret it if I let these free tickets and this exhibit slip through my fingers. So I was driven out of bed by anxiety and very faint determination. I got up and drove off to Minneapolis, appreciating my level of calm driving in Augsburg territory again. I nabbed myself a perfect parking place dead center to the front stairwell to the museum (which I didn’t even enter…something about going in those grandiose doors feels wrong).

In the exhibit, I shamelessly stopped for 5-10 minutes at a time to sketch works. It was everything I wanted to be: full of gestural drawings and intense, busy, wild ink drawings. I got ridiculously close to the paper (Asian paper is a category of paper…who knew) and stared at knuckles or spots of light in an eye for a very very long time. Other exhibit browsers were mostly college students or elderly people, which meant they were mindful and respectful about sharing viewing space. The exhibit was wide open and so quiet, like a sanctuary,

I compiled a gigantic ribbon of pages from my sketchbook because some of them were cool the way they translated from chalk/charcoal/graphite into my own sketchy style. It justifies the shit out of loving my own sketching because I loved the shit out of these sketches.




all doodles


Going out to the museum today by myself was something like communion with myself to a depth I haven’t reached in a while. My connection to art, the way it opens me up, has been a rare constant in the makeup of who I am. I may have had fewer technical terms for it during high school, and too many technical terms for it in college, and too many that I’ve forgotten now, but I don’t need anything but what I’ve always had to fall in love with the sweep of a line or the contours of a face. I’ve become a different person in the year and a half since college – adulthood requires me to be different, and changes my feelings towards things. But wandering the MIA by myself always makes me know myself again. I’ve been trying to pour art back into my life since my new job and apartment, but the MIA fills me up till all the wonder of art spills out of me again.

Art!, Original Characters

(no) trouble

no trouble

I DON’T EVEN CARE ’cause this was SO FUN! I had the song “About That Bass” stuck in my head while I painted this, which influenced the content and aggression. But I’m even more proud that it did after checking out Meghan Trainor’s ABSOLUTELY CHARMING music video for her song. It’s all pastels and empowering and somehow manages not to be skinny-shaming while it’s being all fatpositive (that probably had the most tumblry phrases I will ever use in a sentence).

Anyway this piece was an awesome way for me to kind of cope with feeling vulnerable. It made me feel fierce while I was doing it – SLOWLY AND METICULOUSLY, I might proudly add – and this girl with her fierce hair is pretty much worthwhile too. Her hair was actually all I had in mind when I started out and it’s still my favorite part. But I’m proud of her eyes insofar that I love how the eyelashes turned out since they’re not ridiculously stylized. Her earrings and her shirt also have dashes of metallic acrylic ink, but obviously they didn’t scan super great.

I feel like I’m getting past the point of watercolor being problematic to work with, so that I’m starting to have fun and be productive with it. As you can see with the hair and shirt I can work a single color till it’s nice and bold but I basically suck at blending colors yet, which is a problem since I’m working with a really limited palette. I’ll work on that, and actually placing a figure in an environment (*shudder*), and, yaaaay. Also I’m wasting so much bristol board on watercolor paintings. But it’s so nice and smooth and a nice size to work with!

Also I downloaded this font from and it’s called The Skinny or something. It’s adorable. And I haven’t put text on an image in ceeeeeeenturies.

Art!, Original Characters

work doodles




The single silver lining of 3 hours of naptime at my new job came when I realized URR I CAN BRING MY SKETCHBOOK TO WORK HERP DERP

And it helps that I’ve lost any sense of timidity when it comes to just plopping about and ignoring everybody else while I doodle. I shamelessly get into drawing now and I’m proud that this week I barely moderated what I decided to draw based on who might see it. It helps that either there’s an unspoken sense of “give her her privacy” or else, more likely, a general “I don’t give a fuck what you’re doing” attitude about me sitting between toddler rooms scribbling.


So  I was so excited about feeling artistically productive this week (on minor stuff or not!) that I wanted to make sure I got them scanned in and compiled to say WELCOME BACK ME


So this one was a cry of frustration over the doodle I started before this where the girl just looked like she was about to fall over. I’m really bad at that and have been told as such. So I made a super-grounded girl looking frustrated by my inability to be grounded. Turns out it’s a punk midriff-bearing version of Ingrid with an angry speech bubble which according to my boyfriend sounds like a quote from one of the Dark Knight movies (don’t remember which…shh). Definitely messed up her lips, so now they’re just a big pucker.


While I will definitely praise it as mostly a good thing, the girls at Kinderberry dress nice. Like, “I have to pull from my somewhat small and very disused selection of cute girl clothes every day I go to work.” It’s a bit intimidating and this piece literally evolved out of that because I was just gonna draw a pretty girl and then I looked around and I was like “That’s not me, all I have is her head…what should I do to her muahahahahhaah” so then I did stuff to her
head in the clouds

I think this was the same day or the next day but I realized that boredom made me grumpy and want to pick drama fights with people. Anyway I really like her knees.

succubi baby


It actually *just* occurred to me ethat this could have been influenced by watching Being Human all weekend. Since I remembered my colored pencils in my backseat yesterday I’ve wanted to try juuust using colored pencils to draw, kinda like using different colored lineart. Still not crazy about the texture of colored pencils and not all the colors ended up working well nicely but this was still fun. (…Yes, the little girl’s face did turn out super creepy)

header-homeA few nights ago I decided to redo the banner for My Mental Breakdown and this was just gonna be generic until I spontaneously put them on the moon and then it got super adorable.


…okay I’m out of blogging steam but I’m sure MORE TO COME 😀


Art!, Cadence



So not gonna lie, when I first set up my little art studio in my (boyfriend’s) apartment, I got so excited about the space that I kind of just sat down and stopped thinking and painted shit. I’m a little sorry her eyes turned out so dark, but aside from that this piece was an awesome exercise in starting to be able to do what I want with watercolor. It’s funny that I just over the weekend threw away my fancy-ass pigment tube watercolors and only took the palette set with me that my sister-in-law gave me to use with my four-year-old nephew. Proof that it shouldn’t matter what material you use to make good art? Okay no it’s just proof I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with watercolor. Also the more I go visit art galleries (last in Chicago) the more I know I really need to get some acrylics and try them again. Not, like, terrible cheap ones because I guess in the case of plastic-cased pigment it does matter the quality of the plastic casing. … I’m rambling.

Anyway IT’S CIRRUS! I don’t know why…I think it honestly just happened, or I was trying to choose a hair color and I wanted to go with yellow. I think my original balloon girl was going to be all “coyly looking over her shoulder” but then I wanted to make something with more attitude, and Cirrus is by far my most attitude-infested girl. I honestly think that triangle of her cleavage is my favorite painted part, and maybe the two blue balloons on her left.

Art!, Emotia, Emotional Breakdowns, Original Characters

It Will Work Out (I Hope)

So after giving up midway through “Waiting” (Is that ironic? That I got impatient trying to figure out a picture that was about my impatience? … Yes I think it actually is), I had just been dicking around with various watercolors and casually forgot about how I’d set out to make a series of digital paintings about complex emotions. Then my boyfriend made an observation about my desperation while working to have time off to do art and how I never really did much of it when I was desperately unemployed. Desperate unemployment creates quite a different tone than comfortable time off, it turns out, because I felt like I was going too stir-crazy to attempt anything creative. I basically ended up spending 10 days without a job trying as hard as I could to run away from being alone. I’d go for bike rides for 2 hours just so I wouldn’t be in the house. I’d force my boyfriend to hang out with me. I’d whine about my alone time on the internet. I’d apply for jobs. Lots and lots and lots of jobs. I feel like I don’t know  how to be that closed-off but wildly prolific girl I used to be during high school/college. HOW did I write a 500-page novel about a girl with a glowing dragon? How did I create 46 pages of a beautiful colored graphic novel while I studied abroad? How did I justify choosing to spend my time on that stuff rather than, like, relationships, or work?
And, now, more pertinent, how do I spend time on my creative life while still having relationships (a select few)?

I had the somewhat bittersweet realization a few weeks ago that I really only wanted to come up with a story idea for the sake of having written so many and wanting to keep that alive. I didn’t really wanna do it for the same driving sense of passion that used to motivate. I really really hope that changes on its own, but I don’t want to be a slave to solving writer’s block I don’t even know should be solved.

As for art, just now I caught myself ready to quit and come back to this piece later rather than problem-solving it now and being done with it. I think that’s gotten me stuck with a lot of work-in-progresses that I then forget about.

Anyway, I realized I put up my watercolor paintings in my gallery but not in here, so I’ll add those in and then talk about my newest emotia drawing.


I like this one in the sense that it’s like “aw cute” but it’s so shallow and childish compared to my usual work haha. If the entire thing were just her dress and the cat I think I’d be happier with it. As it were, it looks like it belongs in a child’s bedroom. At the same time I’m really happy with the skint one on her neck and the outline of her foot, and I didn’t have much practice with watercolor till this.

This was practice #2 with watercolor and what’s hilarious is her skirt started out as a mistake and turned into my favorite part of the painting.  I love her hair and her eyes even though they’re both kind of freaky. I don’t like how I shaded her skin or that I stupidly messed up her tights.

Okay so this second completed member of Emotia is “Things Will Work Out (I Hope), but it ended up being a lot more narrative than conceptual – not that that takes anything away from it. Her pose, for once in my life, came quickly and naturally and this final draft of her pose actually came without any revising except in the initial phase. Not gonna lie though – I may only have given her those combat boots because I’m so excited that they’re back in style so I can wear my Doc Martens this fall! Okay but anyway, I don’t actually remember where the light bulbs idea came from. I think I knew I wanted that hopeful aspect in the piece so I knew she needed a physical light source. OH NO, I was watching Being Human (the UK version) and a vampire was touching an old yellow light bulb riiiight when I must have been starting this.
You know, that just made me realize – maybe to get back into being productive I have to start turning on my creative eye when I’m out and about. Like when I’m watching TV or when I’m reading. I can’t remember the last time I did something “because I saw…”
Anyway, the purpose of this girl is supposed to be that she is ready and determined and she has already been through shit (okay, mud), but she’s still planted and she’s not moving yet. She’s bright with hope so much sometimes that it makes her want to fly but it also weighs her down (I literally just made that part up now, but yes).
She looks like she belongs in a whole world of light bulb fairies though; I wish I could do something with that but we’ll see.
Also her hair was SO great to do!

Art!, Manga, Nikkei

various and sundry doodles

My time off from work so far hasn’t given me quite as much room for creative springing as I would have hoped. I’ve done a few things and have a few others in the works, but this is still the first year that having free time hasn’t meant automatically a huge influx of art.

this is the WORK IN PROGRESS of my next conceptualized emotia piece, which is about WAITING. Fucking waiting. I started this when I had just set up an interview for a possible job and in light of the fact that I would love to work in a school but I can’t afford two months of unemployment, so I went for what kind of feels like my Plan C.
I tried unsuccessfully for a while to do my waiting girl in the similar style to “Exhume” but the block shading was looking really dumb and I really liked the sketch lineart I’d done. I would just need to figure out something for the white space at the bottom of the canvas, and a way to make the gears look more finished than my slap of color currently made them look.


and then I got impatient working on the waiting piece (see what’s happening) and today felt like another day where I really needed to calm the hell down but just COULDN’T (but yesterday when I dispelled my energy via biking, I went too far and my knee still feels like it’s got broken glass stuck inside), because I’m so sick of everything being a matter of WAITING FOR IT TO HAPPEN. Seriously, I started thinking of how many moments I actually feel “present” for and I find I think I’m someone who tends to look forward rather than focusing on what’s around me.


And then I’m a couple days late, but on 7/26/14 it was 10 years since Cinnamin died and catalyzed the ending to Nikkei, my first graphic novel. As the years have passed I’ve felt less and less intensely about my old fluffy kitty, but marking a decade still felt kind of important. This graphic novel started my art journey and it was what made 8th grade so fabulous. Nikkei and Shani are still really interesting as a pair, very Rain/Machika (did I read that before or after I wrote Nikkei?).
This piece I did in like 15 minutes and I felt like going more “soap opera” style of image, because after all Nikkei was super depressing and Nikkei himself was super depressed for most of the story.

Aaaaand 7 months with this adorable guy, so naturally I turned us into a cheesy anime couple. Pulling out the colored pencils after a really really really long time was pretty fun. But the shape of our fingers makes more of a Batman style heart.