Sunday, July 12, 2015

Woolen Men

The Woolen Men

Here is an album release poster for The Woolen Men that I created in December 2014. This is another commission from one of my favorite clients, Banana Stand Media!

I have quite a collection of old photographs in my home. They're mostly kept around from when I was doing a lot more collage work. Now-a-days I sometimes use them as reference material. I have a particular series of photographs depicting very sober looking soldiers, posing on a stone fountain covering in creeping vines. They are smoking, and mostly glum shots. I wouldn't quite classify their gazes as the traumatized "thousand-yard stare," but I'm left with the feeling that they are looking into their own futures. Perhaps expecting that outcome. These were photos I acquired while living in Michigan. From their shoulder sleeve insignias, and the help of a few choice Internet search terms, I've learned that they are all soldiers from the U.S. 32nd Infantry Division, which consisted of soldiers from Michigan and Wisconsin. Here's an interesting tidbit from wikipedia about the origins of red arrow insignia:
It was the first allied division to pierce the German Hindenburg Line of defense, and the 32nd then adopted its shoulder patch; a line shot through with a red arrow, to signify its tenacity in piercing the enemy line. It then became known as the Red Arrow Division.
The band's name, The Woolen Men, got me thinking of these old photographs. So I dug up my morose soldiers in hopes of incorporating their demeanor into the illustration. Here is a scan of one of my favorites, Mac.

Sincerely Yours, Mac
Red Arrow Insignia

Friday, August 1, 2014

Double Dragon

Double Dragon

COMING AT YOU WITH INCREDIBLE NINJA ACROBATICS: a really late posting about a poster I designed and illustrated back in May!

This was another collaboration with the fine folks at Banana Stand Media. This time for a series of secret summer shows they are hosting at the Double Dragon Bar in Portland. I'm happy to say that after the poster's debut, it got some love on Portland Mercury's Blogtown "Poster of the Week" feature!

It may be pretty obvious to gaming nerds why there is a video game theme here... originally I was asked to do something pretty simple: draw two dragons. Which is fun n' all, but after hearing that the event was at a bar called the Double Dragon, my mind went straight to the video game connection. Therefore, I requested to do a sort of homage to Spike and Hammer, the martial arts bros you play in the 1980's game series, Double Dragon. Design inspirations came from the classic mail-order NES Konami posters of the time, as well as a promo ad of the brothers, back-to-back, showing off their guns.

Spike + Hammer

I don't think there was ever a Konami Double Dragon poster specifically... Feel free to school me ninja-style if you know better.
The shows are taking place every monday from June to September 2014, with a special unannounced band taking to the stage around 8:00 each evening. For more info here is a write up in the Portland Mercury. If you are around P-land, you should check it out! It's an awesome venue for seeing some local bands in a cozy setting, while sipping the hell out of a Ginger Margarita on a warm summer night. I will mention that this bar also has some seriously fantastic Miso Gravy Fries that I get mad cravings for now... but they don't sell this item on show nights. *whimper*

Special thanks goes to my friend Sara Proctor for nailing an impromptu modeling session in the Dark Horse parking lot, and also to Jesse Gregg for reminding me about those rad Konami posters! Thanks again to Aaron Colter, and Banana Stand Media for allowing me to get fun with it. (Some of you may recall my Arrested Development themed illustration of Buster Bluth that was also commissioned by Banana Stand. I wrote about it here: MotherBoy XXX )

Friday, July 26, 2013

Peggy and ED-E

Peggy and ED-E
This was a commission for the editorial director at Dark Horse, Davey Estrada, who has a rather awesome on-going custom of asking artists to do portraits of his favorite musicians. He tells me he's been gathering on and off since the seventies... That is a collection I'd like to see!

Aside from picking a musician we were both interested in, I had permission to art freely on this one. Davey leans towards Jazz, while I have a habit for New Wave... but it was easy for two music lovers to find common ground. When he brought up Peggy Lee I got excited right away. I have a lot of Peggy in my library, partially thanks to video games. That's right. Video games!

Sounds strange, but the first Peggy Lee tracks I ever purchased were those I heard while playing the post apocalyptic RPG Fallout: New Vegas. Nothing like being attacked by monsters in a post-nuclear Nevada while listening to Peggy croon about lost love. I should note that she isn't an actual character in the game... but the sound track is SO good it's practically it's own character. I can totally picture her in this world. Singing in run-down bars. Boozin' with the radiated ghouls. Getting jazz-sassy over a drink of gin. Layin' down hard truths: "If you were prepared twenty years ago, you wouldn't be a-wandering from door to door."

As for the floating robot in corner? Well, that's ED-E. Also known as "Eyebot Duraframe Subject E." The only model of it's kind to survive the "Great War" that brought the Fallout world to ruin. Originally designed as a sort of mobile radio, but latter repurposed into a weapon. You find him broken down in a small town in the wasteland, and bring him back to working order. ED-E was my favorite companion in the New Vegas game. Why, in a time when the human population has been downsized dramatically, would I choose to wander the wastes with a floating piece of scrap metal that can only communicate via beep-boops? I try not to dwell on the whys. Simply put, trust no one. 

I like to think that in the wake of a nuclear exchange Peggy Lee too would go the way of the lone wanderer. She'd ditch the band dynamic (humans being squishy, unpredictable companions at best) in favor of the easily portable, armor plated, one-man bandstand: DJ ED-E MON-E, dropping the beats while PEG-E rocks the mic like a vandal. Besides providing the sick tunes, ED-E would also double as a body guard because he's a mean laser-slinger with a thrilling battle cry:

Anyone else play the Fallout games and have a favorite companion, or tune to adventure too? I'd love to hear about it. I'll leave you with one more song from Miss Lee that wasn't in the game, but would have been suited to the post-apocalyptic landscape. It demonstrates why I think Pegs would be a survivor. She'd be the lady leaning on the bar, sipping a martini and taunting the burgeoning mushroom cloud with a raised eyebrow and a clearly unimpressed, "Is that all there is to an apocalypse?"

Special thanks to DAV-E for the fun commission!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Motherboy XXX

Make love in your own hand, MOTHER!
On May 26th Netflix is giving the world new episodes of Arrested Development. On May 8th come out and celebrate this fact with the rest of Portland at the Arrested Development Returns party at Holocene. There will be live music, chicken dance-offs, and Arrested Development themed artwork for sale from local artists... such as me! 

To commemorate the occasion I've made this portrait of everyone's favorite Motherboy, Buster Bluth, featuring Lucile, loose seals, and varying degrees of "juice" addiction.

A few weeks back, I was asked by Aaron Colter from Banana Stand Media if I'd like to sell a print in this show after we had swapped terrible Prince puns over Twitter. (I mean really, they were barely funny.) Which reminds me, I would like to take this moment to thank Prince. He's done so much for me over the years... from supplying the go-to karaoke classics, to landing me cool projects via twitter. What a guy. Aaron's alright too. Thanks man!

Read more about the show at PortlandPulp, and invite yourself to the party on Facebook

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Through the Veil

Through the Veil

This was created specifically for a gallery show in Grand Rapids, Michigan called "Into the Woods and Through the Veil." It was a group show held at the CODA gallery, and I got to share the wall with many lovely artists and friends, and curated by the one and only Jesse Gregg!

Possibly the hardest part about being in this show was writing the artist's statement. I suspect I get worse at it as time goes by. I don't fully understand what makes me dread them... My brain has a toddler-esque tantrum. I rage quit three to four times. Then, after much inner turmoil, I give in and write. It's a ridiculous routine. Especially when considering that I can cough up a blog post about my dislike of artist's statements in under 15 minutes. So one measly statement? Why the mental hullabaloo? Couldn't say, but this is what I came up with:
It is difficult to cut loose from what would bind us to the veneration of stifling traditions. It takes bold deeds, a questioning mind, and a desire for knowledge that is held out of bounds. The one who willingly traverses murky territories in search of forbidden enlightenment is typically called a “hero”. The ones who are made to suffer for these bold acts are perhaps held in the highest esteem, and we call them our “fallen heroes”. 
I am a fool for myth and sacred storied, but believe in none. 
This work was created using traditional media which is then colored and collaged onto digitally.

Some of you already know, but I've been hired onto the Digital Art and Production team at Dark Horse Comics. I feel this illustration has been greatly inspired by all the gorgeous art work that runs through the office on a daily bases. What's great about working there is that it makes me want to be better. Better at everything! I busted out my inks and tried to regain some old skill. Turns out I'm super rusty, and I ran back to my dirty pencils with my tail between my legs... but I so enjoyed the process that I plan to keep playing.
ink on board

framed up and lookin' important at the C.O.D.A Gallery.

Thursday, November 22, 2012



Just in time to close out this Year of the Dragon, I've completed this illustration of one of my favorite childhood heroines: Menolly.

I have the fondest memories of Anne McCaffery's Dragon Rider's of Pern novels. I remember reading and rereading my father's yellowing dog-eared copies of the Harper Hall trilogy; the ones with the fantastic psychedelic covers by Elizabeth Malczynski. Elizabeth's artwork alone successfully imprinted on me how fire lizards should be depicted forever and ever ad infinitum, and is no small part of my inspiration for drawing this. Hell, it was my inspiration for drawing to begin with! Between the ages 10 and 16, I'm not sure I drew anything OTHER then elegant, cow-eyed fire lizards. 

As far as the story goes let's just say, the first time I read Dragonsong when I was a little girl, I wanted to BE Menolly. (Go ahead and read that Doc Brown Back-to-the-Future-3 style.) After the initial introduction to the Harper Hall trilogy, I pretty much devoured any novel with a dragon on the cover. 

Historical reenactment of me listening to my father read Dragonsong, age 10.
I can't say how the novels would hold up these days... but as a young kid who desperately wanted a blue fire lizard of her own, it sure meant something to me. In any case, I'm fairly certain that a story about an exceptional yet wildly under appreciated teen finding independence and hanging out with 9 tiny dragons will appeal to most kids.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alif the Unseen - Create-A-Genie Contest

I entered this illustration into a contest to win a signed copy of G. Willow Wilson's gorgeous debut novel, Alif the Unseen... and won! It was called the "Create-A-Genie Contest" and the rules were to pick a favorite out of five types of jinn, and interpret how it might look.

The word Jinn means "hidden," and refers to a sort of unseen creature in Islamic theology. They are mentioned in the Qur'an as being one of Gods three intelligent creations; Angels made from pure light, Humans made from mud or clay, and Jinni made from a smokeless fire. For whatever reason I've always been freaked out by the idea of angels... but find Jinni to be much more down my alley! What's cool about them is that, like humans, they were given free will and can be anything from benevolent to down right evil. I wish they existed in western mythology to a larger extent, because they kick ass compared to angels. (angels. pssht. "goodness and light." bah!) It was fun researching the different types of jinn. My choices were between: The large and powerful MADRID (think Aladdin), some cunning schemers called the EFFRIT, the undead grave robbing GHOULS, the shapeshifting female SILA, and a sort of psychic-vampire genie called the VETALA.  Here is a link to the more detailed descriptions provided by the contest: The Five Types of Jinn.

There were aspects of each djinn I found intriguing so this is an amalgamation... particularly of the fiery Effrit, and the "ostensibly demonic" Vetala. Call me crazy, but there is something appealing about a creature that can possess human corpses and still be considered "ostensibly demonic." In the end I submitted her as an Effrit... mostly because I had to get specific. :)

A bit about the book: Alif the Unseen is hard to categorize... it's full of myth, technology, humor, and even romance. My attempt at a one-liner explanation might be: "It's a myth-filled cyber-thriller that follows a young hacker who is assisted and hindered throughout the novel by jinn... with WiFi access!" I really loved the book, and thought G. Willow Wilson combined the supernatural and the technological in an unique and incredibly entertaining way, while also providing some lovably bizarre and memorable characters to travel with. Pick it up folks! I read it in two days flat because I actually only ever put it down to eat, and even then only after considerable prompting.

Besides the signed book, I also won a gift certificate to a local bookstore of my choosing and a beautiful panel from Wilson’s graphic novel Cairo. I'm a lucky lady! Thank you G. Willow Wilson for the inspiration and the folks at Grove/Atlantic for sending me these tasty tasty prizes.

*Edit: I would post a picture of the panel... but I never received it! :(