Category Archives: Steampunk

Ice Maiden and a Magical Fish for IF

Kuura the Ice Maiden, 4×6 Copics, fine liners, gel pen

In an attempt to dovetail Illustration Friday with my 100 Maidens Project, an Ice Maiden with a bit of a steampunk twist. (The eyepiece was initially supposed to be more snowflake-like. Alas!) If you look at the progress slideshow you’ll see how much I messed with this. To death. Particularly with the gel pen. On the other hand, I kind of like her in the end. For the topic “Freeze” at Illustration Friday.

Kuura* is a Maiden of Ice who lives in a frozen palace at the bottom of the sea. Her favorite companion is a  magical fish called Phylliss who delivers messages across the world. Phylliss likes to play racing games with young dolphins and manta rays when she’s not working. She was made for a trade at

Phyllis in the Deep, 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

Thanks for visiting!

*Kuura means frost in Finnish.


Steampunk Elephant with Cat, Copics

Steampunk Elephant with Cat, 8.5″ x 11″ Copics with digital background

The topic is “Carry” at Illustration Friday. Another blue cat, this time a lovely creature called Delilah. As the eldest daughter, she will be inheriting the ancient elephant vehicle and the title Elephant Princess when her mother retires. She is both excited by, and dreading, the entire affair. Excited by the thought of riding the elephant in the parades, but dreading the procession of merchant cats and their tedious complaints about one another.

So glad I stopped before filling in the cat, because I think she makes a nice contrast with the very busy elephant. A bit too heavy on the outlines, but overall I think the steampunk elephant makes a worthy companion to the Cat Ship and Llama Genie Airship.

And one more thing. I’ve been listening to a great podcast while doing art over the last few weeks. It’s called The Dork Forest and is the podcast of comedian Jackie Kashian. She  talks to other comics and comic book people and movie people and loads of others about whatever it is they are really enthusiastic about. Very entertaining.  If you need a new thing, go see! Thanks for visiting!

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

Elephant photo reference;  Siamese Cat Hybrid photo reference

Lars, A Seeing Eye Cat for Illustration Friday

Seeing Eye Cat, 8.5 x 11, Copic Markers

This portrait was found in the attic of an elderly pair of gnome sisters, Margaret and Maybelle, who passed away together at the ages of 76 and 83, asleep in front of the television. The cat, an Oriental Shorthair named Lars, once belonged to their Grandfather Golly, a gift from his daughter (their mother) when his eyes began to fail. The sisters never met Lars but they heard many fantastical tales from their mother, who insisted he was the only seeing-eye cat in seventeen counties.

Lars was not particularly great at the job, being a cat. In fact, the harness is likely the result of artistic license as Lars was apparently only convinced to wear it once and with far less aplomb than is on display here. But even without the harness he was very protective of Golly and the two were quite popular about town.

[portfolio_slideshow size=large]

This is my submission to Illustration Friday for the topic “Sight”. In an attempt to go to sleep before midnight I am going to end things here. Please feel free to ask any questions below (or leave comments or chocolates). Thanks so much for visiting!


Steampunk Wombat and Cat, Copic Markers

Steampunk Wombat and Peterbald Cat, Copic Markers 8.5 x 11

I wasn’t sure whether to call him Steampunk Wombat or Aviator Wombat. He has asked me repeatedly to simply call him Taz, his given name. (Actually, I wasn’t sure if I should even call him a wombat, since his appearance has strayed somewhat from species norms. But that’s ok.) Along with Taz today is his good friend Hastings, a reserved yet wily cat.

Because my last post’s piece suffered in the sketch stage, I have included some extra sketches. Here goes:

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 1

Mostly wombat shaped. Reference is an un-attributed photo on this page, which must be Australia’s version of the Franklin Mint.

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 2

A much-needed friend (adding interest to the composition, hooray!) Reference is Sir Mauri Vilendor, hailing from a Lithuanian Cattery. (Ah internet, what wonders you still hold!)

Steampunk Wombat Sketch 3

Now that’s a sketch. I decided against an ocular device obscuring one of the wombat’s eyes, and I didn’t leave enough room for a dandy-ish Victorian scarf or suit, so I went with aviator-ish goggles and a curious yet stylish pipe. Very happy with this sketch, I must say. Slowing down at the sketch phase = good. It also means the sketching takes all of one evening, leaving the rest for a subsequent evening.

Of course it also suggests that taking more days for sketching might be better still, but I must work up my patience slowly.

Steampunk Wombat Initial Ink

Recently I’ve been doing an initial ink in a color other than black. They smudge less when erasing pencil lines, for one thing! But they are also somewhat less final.

Steampunk Wombat Masquepen

Steampunk Wombat Color 1

Steampunk Wombat Color 2

Steampunk Wombat Color 3


Steampunk Wombat and Peterbald Cat

The background is white because I could not decide on a color. Probably peach or something dark. I did some digital backgrounds to test.

Aviator Wombat and Peterbald Cat Peach

Aviator Wombat and Peterbald Cat Purple

Leave it white? Any preference?

Oh also, new banner! Thank you so much for dropping in.


Llama Genie Air for Illustration Friday

Llama Genie Air Advertisement, Copics with digital text & background

The topic is “Heights” at Illustration Friday. Though it wasn’t a conscience decision, this marks the second in a series of ancient vessels, the first being a Cat Ship for Monday Artday. I am a big fan of the Cat Ship and it is one of my favorite recent things.

I knew I wanted to drawn an airship. Then the traveling section turned into a genie’s lamp. Then the genie airship needed a company mascot, so I figured a genie, and it had been at least three posts since the last llama. (It’s weird because dogs are actually my favorite but I’ve been doing lots of llamas so perhaps there is a comfort factor.) I included a couple extra sketches, in case it might be of interest to someone:

Llama Genie Air sketch

Llama Genie Air sketch2

Llama Genie Air sketch3

Llama Genie Air ink

Llama Genie Air color1

Llama Genie Air color2

Llama Genie Air color3

Llama Genie Air Ad, 8.5" x 11" Illustration

The fonts are Penshurst and Quaver Sans. One of these days I may try my hand at handwritten text. But not quite yet!

Also yes, I have resorted to the digital cloud effect again! I am a big fan of this color combination. And I am happy not to “waste” my Copics on the whole background. But I have very mixed feelings on a digital versus Copic background. To tell the truth, it makes me sad that such a lovely background can be done with a few mouse clicks in like, a minute. Anyone with their free copy of  paint. NET could do an almost identical texture in under sixty seconds. A Copic background would take an hour or two, maybe more. And it would not be as easy to replicate. Ah well, I doubt the history of man has seen many Llama Genie Airships. So that’s something. Thanks for visiting!

Cat Ship for Monday Artday

Flagship Nepeta Cataria, Copics with Digital Background

And so it was at Monday Artday that the bi-weekly word was “Flood”. I thought I would do a ship prepared for a flood. And then I started murmuring “cat ship” under my breath. And it sounded like catsup (also ketchup), but I did not care. I was going to put a crew of dogs on the cat ship, but in the end of course it was a cat ship. For cats, man.

It started with a cat.

Cat Sketch for Cat Ship

I did look at many cat and ship photos, but used no particular photo extensively. Along the way, these happened:

Cat Ship Sketches 2 & 3

Cat Ship Inked, Cat Ship Frisket

Cat Ship Progress, 3 & 4

Cat Ship Progress, 5 & 6

I could have stopped here. I thought about it. I’m not sure I have a handle yet on when to stop adding stuff. I think this is a common problem among artists, even ones much more experienced than me (of which there are many)! This may suggest I need to do some minimalist type beasts. (Perhaps a platypus, as suggested by Gay McKinnon!) Who knows what might happen!

Cat Ship Color, 7 & 8

I messed around with a lot of backgrounds before settling on, uh, more digital clouds. I need a new bag of tricks! Or maybe just one new trick. No, actually I am really pleased with the texture and color of the clouds in the final version. But I am a tad irritated they are digital and not Copic. Alas! I hope you enjoyed your tidbit of ancient cat history. Thank you so much for taking a peek!

Fancy Cows in Copic Markers for Illustration Friday

Costumed Cows, Copic Markers 8.5×11

So I left town for about 4 days and when I came back I started playing video games (Civilization 5, meh – I start over a lot because the beginning is more fun than the middle) and some tower defense games, all the while glancing worriedly in the general direction of my drawing table. Before I left, I had been completing two pieces a week, posting 2-3 times, getting right on the IF prompts and so forth.

When I finally sat down to draw a couple days ago I was not happy with anything and started over repeatedly. Then finally I glanced up at the Bonny Bovines and I was back in business. (The last sentence was brought to you by the letter “B” and curious cows everywhere.)

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “separated” and Mavis and Bernie (above) have not been separated for more than four hours in the twenty-seven years they have been married. The four hours happened the first weekend their neighbor, a Shetland Pony, first brought home a small herd of miniature goats.  The goats promptly jumped the inadequate fence between their properties and proceeded to stamp across Bernie’s garden.

Bernie, with ineffective help from the pony,  gave chase and returned home with most of the goats four hours later.  He extracted a promise from his neighbor that the goats would be properly penned in. (It was not, of course, the last incident involving the goats. But that’s another story.)

Bernie and Mavis sat for an earlier portrait in one of my earliest pieces with Copic Markers, which can be found here. And now some progress pics!

Costumed Cows Initial Ink

Costumed Cows Color 1

Costumed Cows Color 2

Costumed Cows, Copic Markers 8.5×11

There is an ear overlap problem that I left alone. Bernie’s right ear (our left) should just have been angled backward more (and been smaller), but alas! Mavis’ nose got muddied up because I forgot I had used the Copic black marker rather than pen for some of the dark in her nostrils. (The marker is meant to blend and so smudges easily, unlike the pens.)

A final note about this pair. They were bickering at each other ALL DAY while I worked on this portrait. Bernie wanted to wear the mustache on his nose and Mavis told him not to be ridiculous because it is too small for his nose. He retorted that her headdress thingie was totally from the wrong time period if they were going to the costume party dressed as Victorian steampunks. (The party, incidentally, is at the shetland pony’s house. Apparently the goats have been dressed as Oompa Loompas and will be serving oat and carob snacks.)

It is Sunday evening and already 186 IF entries have been posted!  Thank you for stopping by to visit mine!

Steampunk Magician Cat with Copics, and a Question About Art Bias

Magician Steampunk Cat


Hello! More Copics! Let’s face it – even if I was totally sick of them, an eventuality I do not predict, they cost too much to set aside.  Which is kind of funny and kind of rough. But that does lead to a question I have been asking myself lately, and that is, how much more is painting respected as an art form, than marker art? I think quite a lot, and that makes me feel like I should “eventually” be a painter.

I mean, I believe pen & ink art is a longstanding and respected art, but I still think people have a bias toward traditional painting. And markers to me seems even a step down from pen & ink. I mean, I think markers in the same way I think “crayons”, a bit. So if I have this bias, so must other people? Most people? What do you think? (I don’t know if the bias exists in regard to digital art, but I suspect in many circles it does, though less so than markers, I imagine!)

Ok, here’s some progress pics. I had planned on a steampunk cat. But steampunk cat turned into steampunk magician cat. I think it’s the big cape thing. Also his ability to shoot lasers from his claws. I was pretty pleased with the mouse-shaped eyepiece (with tail that can be used as a bottle opener!). I actually just started a dog (collie-ish) with an eyepiece in the shape of a cat.

Steampunk Cat sketch


Steampunk Cat ink

Steampunk Cat Color 1

Are those some crazy blues or what? Copics. Yup.

Steampunk Cat Color 2

Magician Steampunk Cat, 8 x 10 with Copics

Magician Steampunk Cat, Copics with Digital Background

I thought this cat would make a perfect Saturnalia or other holiday card, which it does! And can be found in my Etsy Shop. (I also have prints on order!)

Thanks for stopping in! Let me know what you think about that markers vs. painting thing.

Wild-Eyed Steampunk Aviator Emu with Copics

Steampunk Aviator Emu



I had a crisis during the production of this beast! If you’re only interested in the end result, look no further than this first, completed image.

He is known as Pippin Blue Eyes.  Yes, named for a particularly mischievous hobbit. Yes, I put a Tolkien reference on my blog.  So sorry. (Alternatively, you’re welcome!)

Pippin has a quick temper but it rarely escalates beyond (what he thinks are) proper British exclamations such as  Bugger it!, Absolute rubbish!, and Flibberty Gidget! So he’s really both mild-mannered and cranky, a bit like a Caractacus Potts.

And since Caractacus Potts came up in another description recently, I must have Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the brain. Which I do.  And the reason I do is that I stumbled upon the blog of German artist Iris Luckhaus through Illustration Friday, and after an exchange about Mary Poppins I mentioned the aformentioned, and she had never seen it!  And was excited to see it!  I hope to hear from her, actually, once she’s seen it. (Tschitti Tschitti Bäng Bäng, if you wondered.)

Holy cow, can I ramble. I promised you a crisis:


Aviator Emu Sketch

Aviator Emu Color 1

Aviator Emu Color 2

Aviator Emu, Disaster!











Though I don’t recommend it, you are welcome to click on that 4th scan, the disaster. His cheeks, see, were accidentally covered with two very bad and ugly patterns. Then I tried to fix it but made it worse. <dramatic music>  And I almost abandoned poor Pip right then and there! Then I decided to try and cover it, because Copics do tend to cover well with darker colors over lighter ones.  I worried about the fine liners I had used!

But I believe I was, in fact, saved by RV17 – Deep Magenta (after two slightly lighter colors failed in the same pursuit). Crisis averted! I added the sky digitally and the next day, I came here to tell you about it.

Steampunk Aviator Emu

Steampunk Aviator Emu











Steampunk Aviator Emu Pippin is an 8″ x 10″ original illustration with copic pens and markers on 150 lb. smooth drawing paper. Thank you for coming! I’m so sorry we were out of pumpkin bread and tea. Maybe next time?

Steampunk Otter, Copic Markers, with Progress Pics

Steampunk Otter with Copics

I believe I like this fellow. But of course I will tell you the problems I see!

Steampunk Otter Sketch

The sketch.  Unlike the last rodent, a ferret, this one actually looks like an otter.  Also, a ferret. Or mongoose, or mink or muskrat?  Actually, what does a muskrat look like? Ah ha! A muskrat looks like a beaver.  So, I don’t think this sketch looks like a muskrat.

Steampunk Otter Color 1

I had decided on pink/peach because so far most of the steampunk beasts have been blue or green. And I have so many shades of pink and peach and purple markers that it had to be done.  The ear on the left does not look right, alas.

Steampunk Otter Color 2

So once you decide on a beast’s color, you have to then decide on accessory colors. Looking back I should have gone with green and purple, or maybe just greens, but I like the idea of limiting the color palette (something many folks doing Illustration Friday challenges do quite well!)

Steampunk Otter with Copics

I like the furry feel of the swirl. Not sure about the scarf/giant ascot/blanket thingie. But I like this one better than the anteater. Look at the glowy purple through the top of his hat!  Go go, Copic Markers!

Thank you for dropping in! Drop a note so I can go visit your place. ;)