practical arting

Here I am! I’m back! I knew I’d guilt myself into a full blog with that last post. I’m at work, I’m putting together just the art that I have on my phone, and I’m realizing just how many art projects I’ve gotten done. The difference this time around that is actually pretty unique and very much a first time kind of thing is that all the art I’ve been doing has had a purpose. I’ve been making art for my masters class; I’ve been decorating my apartment; and I’ve been making things to give to people. Of course this blog also includes the two unrelated pieces I’ve done, because nothing quite calms me like drawing for myself. But decorating the walls of my apartment makes me feel so fucking grown up, as do other ways of representing my life and who’s in it with me. So without further ado…a giant art dump ensues.

Apartment Stuff/Love Stuff

You may recall a really long time ago I made an immaculate digital painting of Ryan and I. It was probably in January. And according to my blogs I never actually posted it! Ahh!

So okay fine, first, here’s the original work. Long overdue to be posted, obviously.

Don’t mind the junk on the outside of the border. I literally had to slice off all background colors in order to post it, and I’m getting damn tired you guys. Obviously since the piece was done in January I had to add in our February tattoos, and recently my engagement band. But, we’ve both gotten new glasses too but I don’t feel like doing a hard edit of the painting to change our faces.


Anyway, here’s what I finally did. Ryan bought us both an early Christmas present and got a super discounted printer for us. We’ve certainly made good use of it (cool side note: I can print shit FROM MY PHONE) first in this, which is a piecemeal because the drawing was supposed to be printed on 11×14 paper before I realized I didn’t want to spend that much money on it for a square frame Ryan had gotten last year. Anyway, I completed the big blank space over our bed with that and a new set of string lights I got from my parents. It’s so whimsical and romantic!

So last week Ryan asked me to make a Christmas drawing of us for a Christmas card. Not two hours later, I’d finished some lineart (and disrupted a bunch of students who squealed out about it while they were trying to take a test…I’m the worst). I really felt up against the clock wanting to get them done essentially by the weekend, cause there’s no point in sending out Christmas cards that’ll get to people on the 26th.cardsSo, Saturday and Sunday I worked my ass off for these cards. Watercolors took forever and I was working on the original, which was on printer paper, so half the time I was painting it I was convinced it would get ruined. But lo! I worked patiently and carefully, and got it done. After painting it, I scanned it in, fixed a few of the colors, and then added our message. I was pretty proud of the dropshadow I made, even though I’ve done it a bunch of times, haha.

After finishing everything on the computer, I forced myself to leave the house on Saturday for the sole purpose of getting paper. It was terrible. But persevering through something terrible is very gratifying. More or less. And I think $10 is the least amount of money I’ve ever spent at Michael’s. And fortunately, the paper and the envelopes I got were really effective. Sunday I enlisted Ryan to help me get the cards printed on nice paper after tweaking all the printing settings for a really long time. We figured out the margins and everything to make sure it was centered and also fit in the envelopes. Then, we printed out 9 cards on the first part of the paper, and then I chopped those ones up, and then we used the remaining half of the paper to carefully print another 9, and it actually worked. I also used my cutting board and xacto knife to size them down, and I cut them 100% better than I ever cut anything during my entire semester taking a Book Arts class. After we had them all cut, we had to actually write the cards. Honestly after as well as the production went the card writing process was kind of a pain in the ass, haha. Like, all the people who were getting ones were people we talk to regularly, so how much did we have to say? Well, Ryan did get to spell “merry” as “marry” one time and he didn’t notice it, but I thought it was super funny and it was just in one to his brother so naturally I got to tell his brother what he did. For the lulz. After we wrote all the cards out, Ryan trekked off to the post office – which was weirdly inside a Byerly’s??? – and shipped off the cards, including one to my fair Zoe who’s currently in Australia, but he still spent under $4. And so that is the legacy of these cards. I’ve never felt so satisfied by making something intended for others. Like, under no other circumstances would I actually make Christmas cards unless it was for me and Ryan looking cartoonly and adorable.


This category sounds a lot fancier than it is, but I had a coworker randomly be like OMG CAN I SEE SOME OF YOUR ART…MMKAY CAN YOU MAKE ME SOME FOR MAH BOYFRAN

I love how the drips turned out and the spacing of the text looks really nice.


Class Projects

My first Art Therapy class at Adler has included art projects at least one time every single class. Some of the art was passable and definitely more focused on the Art Therapy exercise itself. But some of the works I did for class are just too interesting not to share.


This is the inside of a mask I was asked to make. The ripped pages have fantastic volume, which I’m usually really terrible at. selfportrait

This was my super cheerful self portrait meant to show where I am now at the start of my journey into Art Therapy. My journey into Art Therapy brought me new purpose for life and it also coincided with my getting engaged. Needless to say, between that being the case; living on my own for the first time in an adorable apartment with my fiance; and you know, having a fiance, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Looking at this on days when I don’t feel that way is a good way to keep up my enthusiasm. In all honesty though when I look at this when I’m not feeling very happy, it seems like it must be about another person. Fortunately it looks like me, so I can’t really believe that.


This was my last project for the class which focused on showing one of my strengths in the form of a figure. Needless to say, one of my strengths was definitely not sculpting with model magic clay. I won’t rewrite the whole elaborate tale here because I told the whole class about it two days ago. But now this will forever be the banner over our Art Therapy class sculpture, even though that partially feels like I screwed something up and I’ll think about that every time I see it ever again. Haaaaaaa.

Actual Art

 During a half day at work when I had nothing to do for the last hour and a half, I was sitting in the lab when I saw this small stack of long 8×14 paper and I was like dear school you owe me paper so I snatched one and sketched for the next half hour while helping a student look up shit about Calcium. Then naturally I had time to ink it in the next class I was in because we were watching a documentary about North Korea and it was pretty dull. This came after a morning of thinking about Myoku and how weird it is that I used to like, have him in my head. He’s still kind of an emblem of my past and I always draw him sad now.

I started this the day I read that many art therapy students regret the toll their practice takes on their art for pleasure. The sketch was great and expressive and I took my time till I was ready to paint it, while I was binge watching Jessica Jones on Saturday during my very long stretch of time alone. I’m going to go ahead and say that Jessica influenced me in terms of the contrast between her stoic determination to do what she must and her sheer, tender vulnerability in the face of the man who’d abused her. I love her splatter hair and the tendrils of turquoise shooting out from her “dark side.” The fine painted lines on her eyes and her pointing finger make me extremely happy, as does her tattoo. This piece is just so complex and bright and layered, like my life right nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Emotional Breakdowns

an explanation

I’m very sad to say that after a month hiatus in my blog, I don’t have any artwork to show. There are a handful of reasons. The lamest is that I’ve been insanely lazy and reluctant to scan things. I hate my wand scanner and I have to annoying plug in my flatbed scanner, but most of the work I’ve done in the last month were too big for the flatbed anyway. So, I have done a handful of drawings and paintings but…processing them is too tedious for my attention span and routine lately.The other less lame reason is that I’ve been taking my first actual Art Therapy class at my grad program. It’s been 6 weeks of amazingness. But it’s also been full of cathartic art experiences, so coming home from them leaves me with a lot less energy to do my own work. This last weekend, I was reading in one of my textbooks about how Art Therapy students struggled with regret over “giving up” their own art while they’re practicing as therapists, and the author urged such students to prioritize their own art health and lives through continuing their own creating. Feeling guilty and determined, I decided I’ll start now to maintain my own art while I’m a student and later a practitioner.

However, these weeknights since class haven’t been so much an absence of my own art but just of drive in general. I’m feeling sluggish and unmotivated to do much of anything. Rest assured, I’ve been doing everything I normally do anyway, but with more grimacing and reluctance than normal. I’m not sure where that has come from. I’m actually, emotionally, really happy right now.

Maybe I ought to blame the fact that I’m hardcore sucked into the book I’m reading right now – A Thousand Nights – to where we were in bed by 8:30 last night and I was reading till 10. That was all I wanted to do, and I’m not sorry. It was pretty blissful to be completely absorbed and in love with the world I was reading about. I love that the heroine doesn’t have a name (except Lady-bless), I love that the desert is a living, breathing part of the book, I love that I want the book to end the way I think it will (as opposed to rolling my eyes when it does). I love the colors, and the tension. So, it’s a happy distraction from doing what I also want to be doing.

Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll return with an art update, at least with what has been made. I think my biggest concern I haven’t had time to process is that I haven’t done digital art in several months…and I don’t miss it too much. I don’t know if it’s a general disinterest in being on my computer; my general busy-ness; or just a lack of interest or passion in digital painting. I DON’T KNOW! I think I’m generally just too busy. Class, and work, and engagement (! I’m engaged!), and making ends meet, and Christmas shopping, and socializing. Ugh. Adulthood is so full!

Art!, Original Characters

digital/painting SPLICE!


On a particularly hormone-induced night of bursting creativity, I grabbed some paint and I was all like I’M GONNA MAKE BACKGROUNDS. I realized this because I usually do like lineart I do on the computer, but I never get much farther than that with it, because the computer just makes everything look so…computery. Technical. Not lively, not varied. I mean, obviously.

Anyway, after making the backgrounds I was laying in bed for a really long time keeping myself up with unnecessary worrying, and then I was like but HMM, what am I going to do with my backgrounds? And then I got a few ideas and fell immediately asleep. Yay, creativity! I haven’t actually done any of the ideas I had falling asleep – I feel like every time I sit down, I’ve been refining what I want to do with these backgrounds and I will continue to do so, all the while either making new paintings or reusing old paintings in new ways on the computer.

Without further ado, here’s all the ones I tried so far!


First attempt! Still kind of one of my favorites. I fucking love how all the scarf needed was a single spray of white on the border and then it looks like a kickass scarf I’d totes love to wear.dawn

Okay but I wasn’t going to keep her zig zag sock but I WAS DRAWING ON THE PAINTING LAYER AND THEN I WAS STUCK WITH IT UGHHH

But that skirt! I love doing clothing like that in painting. Being able to design outfits on the computer with paintings is going to be steeeellaaaar.

check out mah threads

First attempt at pasting a painting in place. It looked exactly how I wanted it to. But I feel like it doesn’t do this splicing method justice.rise against lyrics

Rise Against lyrics! I’m so bad at typography! Yay!

Did this one tonight. Pasting in place here went EXACTLY how I wanted it to, and adding the same painting in a different place to the background made it deliciously complex. Somehow the cap of her sleeve ended up being perfectly light enough so that it looks like actual shading. And I like how the filter for the layer makes her vest look shaded but not artificial in terms of texture. Also her pinky looked a lot better before I colored it.


p.s., this is my 100th art post in this blog! Dear Dreaming in Color, when did you get so old you asshole

Art!, Original Characters


I felt increasingly guilty about posting my paintings on Facebook and not my blog, especially after my blog not working earlier today due to my stupid tangled hosting issues.

So here are the two watercolors of pretty people that I did this last weekend.

My phoenix girl (Ryan asked if I was paying homage to my car, Phoenix, and I probably am because I love my little cruiser) was my way of trying to collect my frustration and mopeyness today, and fortunately the painting turned out a lot brighter than me.

This guy was probably a fusion of all the dapper, cheeky teenage boys I work with during the week because they usually get huffy and frustrated during class when I see them, hah. I think the white accents serve better in this painting than any within recent memory.craniuniverse

Art!, Holiday Drawings, Original Characters, Ryan & Me

autumn cometh

Putting this together made me feel super productive, because I have a lot more moderately finished pictures than I thought IN UNDER A MONTH!! (It’s been months since I’ve posted less than a month apart!)

I’ve started my new job and I. LOVE. IT. I love my students, I love my coworkers (that’s saying a lot for teacher coworkers…my experience thus far has been feeling like gum stuck to their shoes), I love my drive, and I love the crumbling, bug-infested building we’re in.

I’m gonna go ahead and thank that for my productivity artistically, but I could be wrong. I just know that getting home at 4 has never felt so much like I still have life left in my day even though I’m working full time.

So here’s what I’ve done!

pastel magic lg

I LOVE THIS THING! I’d done a painting recently where I ripped tape for the border and loved how rugged it made the border look. So after like a month I finally remembered to try a painting like this. I made it eensy weensie and I sketched it first and then just kind of crazy painted it and then sketch line arted it afterwards. She’s like some sort of punk pastel magician.

I would say she is the closest projection of the kinds of students at my new work whose images I’ve fallen in love with. So much envy happens when I see kids with fluorescent hair cut in outlandish fashions. I miss the days when my mom would pay for $150 color jobs for my hair. Or when I could dye my hair an unnatural color without feeling like it had to be a peekaboo or else I wouldn’t be professional enough.

Another young teacher at work gave himself merman hair last weekend and I got envious all over again. I just don’t know if I’m flamboyantly gay enough to use that as an excuse. And with the number of times I’ve been mistaken for a student, I feel like I don’t want to make that worse.

All the same, I love soaking in the pure, unadulterated creativity of the students around me. It brings me back to the days when I could draw crazy people and write ridiculous stories without thinking twice about it, because why would I?

cat bending
catermination colored

Ryan and I were re-watching Avatar while I was trying to doodle, so this is what he told me  to do when I asked him what I should draw. I harassed him because all I really draw anymore is Ryan things but it’s because he comes up with adorable ideas like this that happen to do with him.

HEE HEE so what, last Sunday or something when Ryan was on his way home from his second job, and we were both overwhelmed by life (he’s got two jobs, we’re trying to live on the rest of our summer money, I am taking two classes right now, both of which I hate…) and so I felt there was nothing better to do than to turn us into cheery kawaii cat people who believe that they can make it. I tried to call it “Catermination” but Ryan wouldn’t let me say that without going CAT TERMINATON?!?! and gesturing wildly at Jericho on the bed.

When my entire family was watching football I had no other choice than to bring up my drawing tablet and ignore the television. So  I drew a weird elf girl blowing a weird bubble.

p i g t a i l s

And then I drew a weird cat girl scrutinizing her hand weirdly. And I love her hair.

So, in light of my upcoming move in 17 days, and a job I like, BRING ON THE NEXT CHAPTER!

Art!, Original Characters

class drawings & stuff


After a brief artistic dry spell after vacation, I’ve emerged with flying colors and produced a spree of amusing doodlies.

It’s all gonna be done now. I start teaching for a week and then my REAL JOB starts!

dvd box

Ryan and I move into our own apartment in 38 days, so to take advantage of my last few days off, I wanted to pack up everything in my childhood bedroom that I still wanted with me. I basically left all of my decorations up in my room and moved all of my practical stuff into the basement. So Hoshi helped me pack. I guess.


So like the actual aftermath of the phone ringing and subsequent Mary tossing was a lot funnier because we were both just like, super confused by what had just happened, because I flung my legs back and he sat up at the same time independent of each other so all of a sudden we were sitting up but it’d felt like he’d thrown me but he didn’t so…so I made it into a comic.
how i like my coffee - colored

Yes, I did this during class yesterday. Not the colors obviously, but the very intricate line art. I think I can get away with it ’cause my professor is an art therapist and I surprisingly stayed even more focused while drawing. So YAY


Girl with super huge eyes and cat, foreshortenedyoung and savvy

The class got into an awkward conversation about social media and phones and technology and like, old people don’t get it and I wanted to say something but instead I arted.
bubble teaI found a new bubble tea place. It’s basically heaven.

rule 34I was making a birthday card for my friend and then I got sucked into the recesses of my art archives on my computer and then I drew Andrew, Micah and Erik for the first time in like two years and it felt amazing. I figure Andrew probably found some weird porn on the internet or something.

rose esterRandom Wednesday night cat girl.



Art!, Original Characters

strings of stars

stars on strings

WHAT IS THIS?! Two digital drawings in two days, and I LOVE THEM BOTH?! Who am I?!

My digital drawing experience is so weird because I have to force myself to revert back to the kind of freedom that I had when I was drawing as a teenager. As an adult I have developed such a loud inner critic that ends up being pretty paralyzing. Of this picture it says to me, “Ugh, why do you draw so sketchy? How come you’re so bad with colors? Why haven’t you come up with any new themes for your drawings in ten years?” But the thing is, none of those things are true – and none of them should stop me from marching on the way I want to.

I drew this whole picture at, like 33% zoomed out so that I could draw like I was doing one single picture at a time, like on a clipboard like I’ve always done. And I didn’t hesitate. Not even once. I knew what I wanted to draw every time I drew a line. It’s not insanely detailed, or tidy, but I love it because I can see and feel myself in it. Finally.

I really hope this is a turning of a new leaf for my art. I still like doing my big immaculate paintings, but these drawings are the ones that tug at my heartstrings. And for a while, those heartstrings were very quiet, kicked into a corner in favor of STRIVING, STRIVING, STRIVING! I’m still striving – but this time, I’m striving to nurture myself, and what I love, and who I know I am.

[edit] Ugh okay so this is a totally different direction, but I’m pretty excited to report that this week I got my art permanently affixed to my body. After several years of loving it and knowing it would be a sweet tattoo and wanting to get it, I finally got Brainstorm on my arm.
I spent a few months stalking the tattoo place where I wanted to get it done before finally inquiring after a spontaneous opening they had for the next day, which led to a conversation with their receptionist and eventually my artist, Amo, about getting it done. Watching her work on this tattoo (I did watch, a lot. It was surreal, but fortunately it literally just looked like she was painting me…in an exceedingly painful sort of way) was such a brilliant experience, almost like getting high on the own alterations that were occurring on my body, haha. So for the next few weeks it is my tiny baby which must be nurtured and tended until it stops feeling like a giant patch of sunburn. By the way, when I get goosebumps it hurts like a biiiiiiiitch.

umbrella tat

Art!, Original Characters

stitched up


Oh, my, gosh!

After a somewhat disgruntled time with Manga Studio in the last few weeks, I finally switched back to working in Photoshop and kickstarted my interest in doing so by finding myself some better brushes to work with. I took my tablet out today while I had company (tsk, tsk) and just started going. I had two lines of inspiration for this: first, I wanted to do eyes scribbled out like I did oh so long ago as an angsty teenager. After thinking I’d scrapped that idea, I drew a girl with her hands out and decided to make her fingers look like they were pulling on something…and voila. I don’t know what it means (yet), but it’s deliciously creepy while also being delicate and lovely. My perfect mix, but maybe I’m biased.

Here are some other sketches I did with my new girl


ice cream to a girls  heart

sad girl

what does life mean

Art!, Original Characters

oops it’s been forever

AAAAHHHH sorry Dreaming In Color, I totally sucked at blogging over the tail end of winter/early spring. Holy crap, life has been so exhausting and busy and involved. School’s been going great; after my initial total terror about going back to school (because of the money involved), I have no doubt that I’m doing the right thing for my life and career. It’s so good thinking that the end of this road for me is a license to practice where I’ll get to help people by helping them to create their feelings on a canvas, just like I’ve always done for myself.
But between schoolwork, playing video games instead of creating, and questionable employment for the upcoming schoolyear, I’ve just known that I need to blog and it’s built up and built up and just not happened.

But finally! The last day of the school year was yesterday. I’ve got a week off before I teach Super Stories, my graphic novels course, for the second year in a row. It’s my first weekday home without some stress-related reason, and I already feel so refreshed and ready to stretch my creative wings again.

I tried to pull together most of my drawings of late, and I’ll admit it looks a bit sorrier than it honestly felt. I haven’t been doing as much digital art as usual but I still feel like I’ve been making an adequate amount of traditional doodlies.



Here’s the second annual birthday card I drew for my tall clever boyfriend Ryan. It’s literally the first time I feel like I have successfully combined ink drips with a real drawing, so I’m

really proud of it for that reason. And ughhh that watercolor shading!


I was shocked by how ~*~**~*pretty*~*~*~*~~* this watercolor painting turned out. The cape was a deliciously pleasant surprise considering how poorly it started off. And the yellow swirl is surprisingly delicate and visible. The only thing I wish I could have fixed is that in the sketch it did look like her lips were pursed. Now she looks so indifferent.

real musings sm


I did this sketch a million years ago but it still gets me all squeaky. It pays an homage to this drawing done at the time I was working on Nikkei (anywhere between 7th and 9th grade, so 14-15yr old Mary…oh shit, that’s a decade). The Spice Shack is some dumbass coffee shop I invented for Nikkei (since his name is a spicelololol), only in the above picture, I drew in myself and Ryan with my original muse posse. Those are the “muses” that are featured in my embarrassing Wordpad conversations in fact. Micah/Myoku is pissed that Ryan’s taller than him, but Danny/Eripmav insists that he’s not *that* tall. I didn’t want Andrew/Bakura to look that much like Micah/Myoku and Ryan, so I shortened his bangs. Ingrid/Sophie/Mikara is most likely saying something profane in my ear. And Shani is looking adorably vacant as per usual. Can we all appreciate the fact that I did better with the perspective this time around though?



All of the pictures below I don’t even remember making. Okay except for the “You draw a lot of girls for a straight chick” one which I did last night, in response to the batch of women that I drew during my Saturday class at grad school hahah.
girl in denimmeow mandualitylumberjack chic

straight chick



Yep this is the batch of girls I drew while at class. My professor didn’t even yell at me! She just looked and said with her adorable, faint Finnish accent, “Ooh, talented girl” and then she reminded me of my host mom. ^_^

bright city lightsholdmedown



My goal over my weeks off this summer is to really nurture my art and writing again. I had this somewhat depressing conversation with my father this morning about why I’ve stopped writing, but he concluded what I’d been feeling too and that means essentially accepting where I am right now. I just don’t feel like I have stories to tell. Pictures, definitely. Doodles aplenty. Paintings for sure. But stories? Not at the moment, hard as I may be resisting that.