Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Holidays!

December brings many things... Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and various other celebrations I know nothing about. But December for me is Winter Solstice. When darkness peaks as the longest night of the year on the 21st, bringing the beginning of lightening back up, minute by minute each day, until the Spring Equinox when daylight and nighttime are equal.

Happy December to everyone. I hope we are lucky enough to get some snow, and maybe catch a snowflake, too.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Plum sugar

My upstairs neighbour, Joyce, asked me months and months ago to paint a little portrait of her grand daughter, and at last I did this for her. I am not a portrait artist in the least (as you can see from my illos on this blog), and get quite daunted at the thought of painting something by hand, as much as I love it. Doing this digitally would have been interesting and much easier, but for the love of earth and water, I've got to use my brushes!

When it comes to art by hand, I am most comfortable illustrating in pen and shading with a combination of hatching and watercolour. I usually only use the black cake to create greyscale watercolours (so simple and classy) but thought some colour would be nice in this one. Hope you like it, Joyce!

Monday, November 20, 2006

1970's romance

I thought I'd share a little black-and-white watercolour I did of my parents when they met, before getting married and having my brother and I. This was in downtown Chile, after the summer of love, when everything felt new and hopeful in the dawning of a technicolor world of peace in the age of Aquarius...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A handful of quotes

(...women have 2 choices...)
You're either a feminist
or a masochist.

Gloria Steinem

(...on where to begin with making the world a better place...)
Be the change you wish
to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

(...on troubles...)
What you resist, persists.
Carl Jung

This illo is part of a hallowe'en handout I made about the un-truths about dairy and chocolate (you know, how commercial dairy is horrible for your health and chocolate is made using child slave labour, that sort of thing.)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lollipop girl

Ah, memories of going to those old-fashioned candy shops where huge jars were filled with colourful candies of all kinds! My favourite flavour was always CHOCOLATE! Barring that, my second choice would be... CHOCOLATE! Or orange or lemon or cinnamon but don't tease me with the cruel pointlessness of grape, mint, cherry or banana. I am happy to say that in my adulthood my palate has become more refined over time. Now I'm quite content with exotic scents of cardamom and ginger and plums and blueberries. Oh, and CHOCOLATE!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Baking with Grandma

I just finished this piece for an assignment and thought I'd post it up. I love the subject of grandmothers and kids spending time together, it's a beautiful thing that I hope doesn't get lost in the dumbness of my generation. Personally, I grew up with my grandmother living with us, and despite the in-law tension with my mom, I would never change that aspect of my childhood! :-)

Monday, August 07, 2006

More Zodiacs

Due to popular demand, I thought I'd post some more of my Zodiac calendar drawings (including Leo, HB!)

First is my brother the humanitarian Aquarius...

...then Leo (based on Ilana), the energetic multi-tasker... friend Yasmine, the passionate and determined Scorpio...

...and the warm-hearted Taurus (that's you, chancha)!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yay! My book won an award

As I mentioned in my post below, I've worked on a book series of wacky activity books for kids by Maple Tree Press, including Boredom Blasters which won a Silver Birch Award! This award is selected by Ontario readers -- yup, by kids! There could be no greater honour :-) While I was the illustrator and designer for these books, it was written by the insanely hilarious Helaine Becker, author of many, many MTP, Scholastic and OwlKids books.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Pics from my book "Like A Pro"

I thought I'd share some illustrations from a recent book published by Maple Tree Press, called Like A Pro! It's the 3rd in a series of books by Helaine Becker (after Boredom Blasters and Funny Business) that are fun activity books to enjoy with friends. I'm currently illustrating and designing the 4th book and will post art from it when it's spring!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Permanent black-out

Peak oil has been on the mind of late. Here is a drawing I just finished of a possible vision of our future city in the absence of electricity, a permanent blackout. (See post below about my new blog relating to peak oil.)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Peak Oil blog of Hope

Is it possible to have too many blogs? Well, who cares, I started a 4th blog about a matter very much at the forefront of my thoughts lately: our civilization's relentless unsustainability leading to a Peak Oil crisis starting right about... now.

If you haven't heard of Peak Oil, it's the phenomenon of beginning a steady decline in the amount of crude oil being extracted from the earth now, which will lead to crises of energy, economy, peace and general chaos. You know, on top of global warming. Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth yet?

Despite tales of doom, which may or may not be accurate, there are communities in the world that are making fantastic examples of themselves with becoming self-sufficient and promoting equality, cooperation and sustainability, and we need to see this!! In my new blog, Our Pueblo, I'll be cataloguing these inspirations. Perhaps it will spur positive actions of our own, or at the very least promote a collective consciousness of hope.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Zodiac calendar drawings

I'm thinking of mass-producing a zodiac calendar using these illustrations I did for my own personal project I did a little while back. Each drawing represents a sign, and describes a person's traits, their planet, their plant, and is coloured to reflect their element (water, earth, fire, air).

This is me, a Cancer (water), using my intiutive healing to help the sick :)

This is my friend, a Libra (air), and her partner, as she is very suave and romantic.

This is Sagittarius (fire), depicting my brother-in-law chillin' by the campfire.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cat girl

I lied. The Swamp Thing sketch wasn't my first superhero sketch -- this one of Cat Girl was! A quicky marker sketch for Brian during the comic con this past spring -- I believe he built up quite the collection of sketches!

New template!

I got sick of all the bugs with the original (pretty, earthy, fanciful) design, so hope y'all like this new look!

Monday, June 26, 2006

My swamp thing

I gave Alan Moore's Swamp Thing another try this past weekend, about 5 years after trying to read it the first time and simply not being able to get past the nauseatingly garish artwork! But I'm so glad I read it, and without getting too "I love Alan Moore" like every other non-comic-reading girl, this series is such a beautiful description of life and nature and how everything is connected because we're all made up of the same thing -- the radiant energy of life. It resonates completely with how I've been seeing life in the universe, and here's a hero that's, first of all super buff, but also totally depressed, but also green and earthy like the swamp itself. Who wouldn't fall in love with him?

Anyhoo, here is a sketch I did of my beloved Swamp Thing, with a few alterations from the series' beast, namely he has a kelp beard -- obviously! Also his lower half is all soft long grasses, his "ribs" are mud, and his hands and feet are wood, like tree roots. I love him with flowers and moss growing on him, and some leaves sprouting from his viney veins.

There you have it, my first comic super hero drawing. I also love Frankenstein.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kid's bedroom as sanctuary

A new book just came out for kids that I illustrated, about decorating your own room... it's kinda nice, discusses colour concepts, layouts, tapping into your "uniqueness" -- stuff that I think would resonate with a 9-year-old!

Here are some of the illustrations for the book, called It's Your Room (...excuse my super cheezy bio if you go to this link, I don't know what I was thinking!) by Tundra Books.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Another year, another birthday

Yeah, we can either laugh or cry at relentlessly getting a year older every twelve months... or we could go with the flow, lay back and enjoy a good cubano!

I'm 32 for another week, and in this past year I think I learned a little something, something very liberating, and that is that most of the stuff I spend my time worrying about is really really really unimportant. No, really! It is finally sinking in that we're such tiny blips in all of existence through time and space, that a lot of stuff we fret about isn't really worth our sweat. Or the paid work we devote our waking hours to might not deserve our attention at all. I am simultaneously rejecting most of what is out there in our society, while really appreciating what there is. And being way more picky about what I choose to spend my energy on, and what I choose to worry about.

I think I'm going to be late a bit more often. And maybe I'll get a tattoo. : )

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fan mail

I've been teaching Saturday art classes to kids recently and got my first piece of fan mail ever! There's a little girl named Claudia in the class, and we have a routine greeting each Saturday: she says "Hola, Claudia!" and I say "Hola, Claudia!" At the end of the morning it's, "Chao, Claudia!", "Chao, Claudia!" The only thing sweeter is her drawing for me, of us. I think she meant to switch the "from" and "for" since she's the little girl...!

Monday, May 29, 2006

"Las Amorosas" colour piece

I've been having fun with gouache, the medium I've never managed to get right, but thought I'd try it out for a colour piece for the Dear Pablo story I posted earlier. Maybe this would be a nice back cover (I picture the front cover being graphic, and if I do a series of these stories perhaps only the cover colour and title would change, as opposed to having an illustration on the covers pertaining to the story inside -- boring! predictable!).

I like hot reds, pinks and oranges next to greys and dark browns like I used in this piece.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Sweet stuff

I recently finished 63 illustrations for a kids' book on the history and culture of sweets, to be published this fall by Tundra Books. Here is a sampling (no pun intended) of the work I did on it. Incidentally, a few nights ago on CBC there was an excellent documentary on the history and politics of sugar, called Big Sugar. I had nightmares that evening. Thankfully I've been off sugar for a few years and plan to keep it that way.

The book is quite appropriately called "Sweet!"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Chirp, chirp!

Most of my commissioned illustration work is in my digital style, using Illustrator for the shapes and colours and then adding shading in Photoshop, no outlines. This is one of my first successful pieces that was a vertical double-page spread published in Chirp magazine in 2002 as a family tree photo project. Guess where the family photos go... : ) I'm happy with this piece because I hate drawing animals but think this turned out cute, with that quiet winter feel of a grey day.

Friday, May 12, 2006

La Parra

As much as Victor Jara is a hero to me, he was influenced enormously by Violeta Parra who was also a folksinger in rural Chile, singing songs about political injustices against the poor, among other things. Here she is playing the charango, a crazy little guitar with 10 strings that is often made with armadillo shells. My charango is vegan. When I play it it sounds like the noise an armadillo might make. But not Violeta. She played it like an angel.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dear Pablo

In my mind a superhero should take care of wounded souls and show some compassion to disregarded victims of love crimes -- and truly, aren't all crimes betrayals of love? I present Las Amorosas, a trio of urban women who work as sous-chefs at Juice for Life. Their love for humanity at the personal level has given them the power to sense others' pain and help heal them through unwavering compassion. This first story shows an Amorosa attending to one such broken-hearted lad.

Pen on paper, digital collage and photoshop.