Category Archives: Stories

Day 20! Tiny Portraits Tell a Tragic Tale

Day 20 of the 30-day challenge.

Six Marriages, One Cat
8″ x 10″ Acrylics with a little ink and gel pen

Henrietta and Rupert were together through all six of her marriages. The second and fifth, Sydney and Lars, died quite unexpectedly. Vicious rumors accuse Rupert of having been the cause of at least one of those accidents (as well as two of four divorces). He was still robust at twenty-four years old, which was the last time anyone saw Henrietta or Rupert alive.

Submitted for the topic “Beginning” at Illustration Friday. Six marriages, two funerals, and four divorces is a lot of beginning over. Even if your loyal cat sees you through it all.

Henrietta is maiden number 145.

Hooray, it’s an 8×10! The background could use additional layers but at one painting a day and work tomorrow, it’s going to have to stop here. Don’t be surprised if many of the next ten days involve tiny portraits, apparently my new favorite thing.

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Two Bright Birds, One Goldfish, Marker and Ink

Maureen in the Jungle
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Two more colorful birds created for a Birds swap (first two posted previously). Maureen is a little bit Hornbill and a little bit Heron, with a possible side of Flamingo. She is one of a small flock of magical, long-lived creatures who live in villages atop clouds. This may be my favorite background!

Lionel Shoebill
2.5″ x 3.5′ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Lionel comes from a long line of strangely-colored shoebills. The color always passes down to the male members of the family (much to the chagrin of his sisters). Family legend suggests that a great-great-great uncle was a Toucan, but really, how would that be possible? (Answer: Nature finds a way!)

Hannah the Goldfish
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

And finally, Hannah the goldfish. It’s quite different than previous goldfish, but thankfully the client was happy. Her mom said Hannah got loads of positive comments on Fishbook and was thrilled and also quite touched, especially because she got teased a lot for her spots when she was little.

Thanks for visiting! Progress pics below.

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Robot Aliens, or Alien Robots?

Darla Two
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, gel pen

On the cold side of Centauri Sixteen, forty years after landfall, an elderly astronomer called Garth discovered a creature much like this one, seemingly lost in the Stalagmite Forest. It seemed shy and kept a distance between them, but followed him home. The sad face reminded him of his daughter Darla, now a deep space navigator, so he called her Darla Two. She became a sort of pet, one who liked to eat fig beetles and look through his daughter’s old picture book replicas. At least this is the story he told. No one else ever saw her.

Winnie the Wonk
2.5″ x 3.5″ ATC, Copics, fine liners, gel pen

Leah was the daughter of a Meteor Retrieval engineer and a planetside nurse, with few playmates her own age. When she was about five, her father heard about an interplanetary astronomer called Garth who befriended a mechano-alien with wonky eyes and wonky hair. The story inspired him to build his daughter a mechanical friend with similar features. As a testament to the success of this friendship, Leah grew up to become a robotic specialist and built the first Robotic Ambassador. She named it Winnie.

Keen Art Resource 02

How to Refill Copic Markers, by BayleeCreations. I believe you can find quite a few videos on this topic, but this one is very thorough and talks about various related issues. I spilled a lot of ink before I watched this, but now I don’t. Hooray!

Thanks for stopping in! Lots of progress pics below. (I keep thinking about doing videos instead of slideshows, but it feels like it would be too  time-consuming so I’m not sure yet. Do you watch many art-related videos?)

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An Alien ATC and Some Keen Resources!

Melba T
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, Microns, white gel pen

A persistent rumor in scientific circles is that a small creature with one large eye appeared on the Saturn space station one day. If it had a small craft of its own, they never found it. It didn’t speak, but displayed an uncanny affection for Melba Toast, an old earth delicacy which the lead climate engineer had been hoarding. They named the creature Melba T and studied it for three days. When the Melba Toast ran out, the creature disappeared as mysteriously as it had arrived, with no witness.

Melba T was created for a “People of Planet X” swap, as mentioned in the last post. I think the curve of the white highlights is one of the keys to an effective eye. I use a Signo Uniball white gel pen. The tip clogs frequently but it is the best opaque white I’ve found for this purpose (some might prefer white paint with a brush).

And one more thing. I am going to try to add a new art resource to all of my blog posts, something I’ve actually used and found helpful. After I’ve done a few I’ll create a page and put them all in one place.

Helpful Art Resource 01

While reading up on noses recently I came across a very charming and effective online art instructor called Stan Prokopenko and his channel, ProkoTV. These two videos helped me with noses more than any other video or written instruction:

Proko: How to Draw a Nose: Anatomy and Structure

ProkoTV: How to Draw a Nose: Step by Step

(Let me know if you watch them!)

Thanks so much for visiting! A few Melba T progress pics below.

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Patterned Skulls in Ink for Illustration Friday

Arturos and the Witch’s Eye ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″, Copics, Microns, gel pen

There was once a mute witch who lived in a cave outside of town with her cat called Arturos. She sold love potions and healing balms to any villagers brave enough to visit. As legend tells, she plucked out her own right eye, and the right eye of Arturos, and switched them. It is said her new eye allowed her to see into the twilight world of cats. What Arturos saw, he never told.

Submitted to “Worn” for Illustration Friday. Both the eye and the skull are quite worn! They were displayed for a short time at the Oddity Museum of Ulster, but were reportedly removed when an elderly couple insisted the eye was moving in its (borrowed) socket. At least that’s what the placard beside the plaster replica says! I do not know if any of this story is true, but it does bring a touch of magic and a few curiosity seekers to the village.

Red Yellow Skull, and Red Skull with Lizard
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″, Copics, Microns, gel pen on Bristol Board

Two more skulls! I quite like the red one with the lizard. This is not subject matter I usually cover! All three were created for a “Bones” swap. I’ve been thinking lately I want more cards for my shop, and fewer for trading – simply because there is only so much time in the day! On the other hand, the swaps provide lots of inspiration in the form of other artists (just like Illustration Friday!) and also require subjects I am not as familiar with, which is excellent practice. Balance is the thing I must find.

Reference photo for the red skull (it’s a bit spooky). Thanks for stopping in!

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An Eyeball, a Poem, and Purple Things (in Copics)

The Eyeball Jellyfish
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, gel pen, Prismacolor pencil

My first little art card to inspire a poem! (Don’t worry, it’s quite short):

The eyeball could not recall when, or how, it had ended up 
on the floor and in this quiet corner, away from the worst of 
the hard light of the sun. 

As the years passed, its bottom gently 
flattened and inside, the twin jellyfish circled
lazily, much as they had always done.

For a monochromatic swap at, and a prompt with the ambiguous phrase “eyeball jellyfish” – which led to this card and this poem. Here’s the rest of the set!

The Mysterious Girl; Cat, Hat, Owl; and Purple Octi
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ pen and ink, Copics

I’m not sure it’s strictly monochromatic, what with the red-violets (verging on pink!) and the blue-violets, as well as black and white. But limiting colors is always a fun challenge! The prompts for these three were, “masquerade”, “owls in hats and/or cats in hats” and “octopus”. Thanks for stopping in! (No progress pics – but I’ll have some next time.) :)

A Story That Was

This is a story I wrote once about two roommates and their cat.  [Technically not a story at all. Would not even qualify as a short short. But that’s ok.] These are the two roommates:

Dean, a steampunk goat and Chaz, a steampunk llama
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ pen and ink, circa approximately October 2011


Dean starting inventing eyepieces in seventh grade. The first had a rudimentary long-focus device which he made in order to better see Eliza, a popular and adorable Nubian, across the playground. Yes, of course they had a playground in seventh grade. These are farmyard type creatures, after all. Need their sunshine. Just like people actually, but that’s another story, isn’t it?

It is many years later now, and in that funny way life has of going in circles, Dean and Eliza are now dating. She doesn’t even remember him from seventh grade. Which he couldn’t be happier about.

Dean is also Chaz’s roommate (Chaz is an inventor and a llama). They have a blue and green cat named Phil who has about as much interest in their inventions as he has in other cats, which is to say, absolutely none.


Chaz the blue llama is an inventor, first. The bird shaped device he is wearing over one eye is made of leather, brass and various metals. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, he is particularly proud of the tiny wing fashioned from an orange washer. The mechanism, with a cable connected to a power source in his front pocket, has both long-focus and enhanced night vision capabilities.

And this is the cat:

Phil the Cat
2.5″ x 3.5″ Art Card, pen and ink


This is Phil, a serious, colorful cat with one green eye and one golden eye . He lives with a llama (Chaz) and a goat (Dean). Phil is interested in tin foil and the mythology of the cat goddess Bast. Phil’s theory is that Bast was a space traveler whose ship experienced a major electrical malfunction that not only forced her landing in the Nile Valley, but caused her to bestow upon humans the scientific advances that she intended to give to cats.

Phil does not like other cats, believing they squander their superior intellect in the misguided pursuit of the perfect sun spot.

I was going through some older Etsy sales recently (in the case of Dean, above  – October 2012) and ran across my little tale about Dan, the steampunk goat, and Chaz, a steampunk llama. And their cat, Phil. And I realized I had forgotten it. So part of the reason for this post is to remember! But I thought you might like to read it, too.

Thanks for reading this far! You’re the best. ;)