Category Archives: Art Blog Notes

Halloween Continues, Tiny Ink Art

First, a quick note about the hacking that happened October 25th. Most of my images for the past two months are no longer on the site. So, I have to decide how much I’m going to replace. Probably main pics but not progress pics. It’s just so time consuming. And I have a really good password now. And I’ll make more. :)

I thought I’d post some more of the Halloween ACEOs from last weekend’s Halloween making.

Six for Halloween
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, gel pen

At the bottom left, a Pumpkin Drone beside a Pumpkin Crone. And then the Zombie Bride Calavera mash-up!

And then there is the witch made at the request for another of a previous witch. Sisters! Of different orders, certainly.

The Witch Aricela, and The Witch Josabeth
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, gel pen

The Witch Aricela is flying even now to The Netherlands. And the Witch Josabeth, to the UK. (Both traded for other Halloween art). It’s cool! Thanks so much for dropping in!

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I’ve been told one drawback to using a huge service like WordPress is – easier to get hacked. Which is what happened Saturday, October 25th!

I am supremely lucky in that I live with a computer programmer who was able to remove the offending material – which is not worth identifying – and put my site back up. However, many uploaded images were lost – looks like the last couple months – and I will be working on fixing the posts as I can.

Yikes! Thank you kindly to all who visit and a special thanks for all the great comments!

A Collection of Curious Cousins

Technically the last of my 29 Faces posts (but also including 30-32!), these art cards were made for a “My Weird Family” swap at

Cheryl the Ocularist and Billie Blue
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Strangers never believe cute cousin Cheryl when she tells them she makes artificial eyeballs for a living (mostly for medical use but sometimes for special effects in movies). The rest of us are well-aware of her lifelong fascination with eyeballs. One year when she was in high school we all got fish eyeballs for Valentine’s Day, sculpted out of Fimo.

Billie Blue is a mortuary makeup artist. She tried doing makeup for tv but she didn’t like to talk to people very much, so this was the perfect solution. However, after working in the mortuary for several years she stopped talking completely. One family rumor is that she speaks telepathically with her dead clients.

The Strange Twins, Kimmie and Carla Strange
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Most people did not  believe Kimmie and Carla were twins. At least not with the same father. Many comments were made regarding the postman, the milkman, and the local mechanic. All those theories charitably(?) assumed the husband was responsible for half of the set.

The truth, as their mother confessed later in a haze of Patrón, is that the UPS man was Kimmie’s father (indicated by the nose, the glasses, and the deadpan wit), and their much older child’s biology tutor was Carla’s father ( as evidenced by the lips, the skin tone, and her fascination with insects).

Not too many process pics – but a few! Thanks for dropping in!

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A Blue Queen, A Fancy Hat, and a FB Page

2.5″ x 3.5′ Copics, fine liners, gel pen

The latest Maiden, number 125!

In other news, finally, it’s The Slumbering Herd Facebook page! I’ve only been saying I would do it for ages. It is started.

But know this, friends, visitors, aliens, imaginary creatures large and small:  I shall never, after this moment, type the words “please like my Facebook page”. I like things I like. You like things you like. The whole likes thing is rather confounding.

I’m not sure what to do with the page just yet, but I’ve put up a bunch of art card albums, including dogs, cats, tiny cities, tiny houses and imaginary critters. Can I just say – holy crap. I have inked a LOT of little art cards.

Here’s another fancy maiden – fancy hat mostly! – that I did last week.

2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Progress pics for both below. Thanks for stopping in. ;)

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Strange Birds. Copic Marker Art Cards

Peach-Crested Hawk and the Harmony Finch

Peach-Crested Hawk and the Harmony Finch
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″, Copic markers,Microns pens, Signo Uniball gel pen

Ok, not that strange. But I don’t believe hawks or finches actually come in these colors. Also, they came out so much better than I expected they would!

I did start out with a photo of a finch for the basic shape and pose for the right one, and I think it was also a small bird for the left one, but then I found a photo of a hawk for the head (though it changed some). I am in awe of people who have the skills to illustrate realistic birds and I really thought I’d be rubbish at it (though I’ve done some decent birds in the past).

The feathers, which took a lot of figuring out, are not bad! I wouldn’t call this realistic exactly, but kinda neat regardless.

So, I’ve got loads of un-posted cards and I’m trying to decide which ones to post, and how many per post. I find when I visit people, if they have too many images in one post, I can’t appreciate them all that way.

I’m also trying to figure out whether shorter posts are better, and how many emails to subscribers is too many. Maybe I could post more often but only email every other one (with 2 in the email)? (All opinions on these matters are welcome! Comment below or feel free to drop a line to

One more thing!  A BIG thank you to my blog friend Efi Maryeli who featured my work on her blog.

Thanks for stopping in! Progress pics below!

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Two Horses, One Hound, Copic Markers

Horse 'n Hound Table Tennis Association

I stuck to a color family! I am very pleased with that aspect because I often try and rarely make it to the end. I mean even here, wouldn’t a pair of blue eyes or a purple background be neat? That’s the trouble with having collected half a metric ton of Copic Markers (ok hold on, I’ll check) (ok, about 115, various sizes, collected over 10 months or so).

I am once again feeling the necessity to branch out into more than headshots. However, Illustration Friday has been providing for that nicely. Oh! So my last post is heading toward 70 comments (about 8 are mine). Can I just say thank you so much to every single one and also holy cow! If I didn’t reciprocate, it is only because you did not leave your web address!

On a related note, because I was curious, I decided to count how many comments I had left so far this week for Illustration Friday. One hundred fifty-one.  Haha, is that insane or what? I doubt I will be able to keep it up, but I have been finding so MANY great art blogs. And I don’t have kids. For all you folks with a regular job AND kid(s) AND doing Illustration Friday, my hat is off to you. Seriously!

What I do is visit the IF site every day, several times a day. I know that other people don’t have the time to do this. On the other hand, I feel like I am building this wonderful, mutually supportive community. I have been able to identify a whole bunch of folks who visit regularly,and who I visit in turn. (If you are looking for folks who are more likely than the average to comment back when you’ve commented at their site, I suggest visiting the commenters from my “Capable-IF” entry just before this one – just click on their name. You will find so many great things!)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, here is how the Horses ‘n Hound thing happened:

Horse n Hound Ink

Horse n Hound Color 1

Horse n Hound Color 2

Horse n Hound Color 3

I’m thinking of starting to put together a book with some of my goofy beasts, each with a silly/weird/non sequitur type caption. (In case you wondered about the table tennis thing.) Thank you so much for coming by. You’re the greatest!

Oh! I almost forgot! I just wrote a how-to for Illustration Friday thumbnails (in my sidebar, here). If you’re someone whose thumbnail never works, give it a try.

Art Blog Interview and Colorful Copic Cats

I would like to take a moment to thank a lovely person named Alex Colombo at Tales for Creative Minds, who posted an interview feature about me and my herd of beasts. It is quite an honor and I can’t thank her enough. As I’m sure you know, every little bit of encouragement helps! And the presentation of the interview is really wonderful so hopefully some of you kind people will go take a peek.

You may have seen my herd of ACEO dogs on these pages recently. I decided to take a break from the dogs and have at some cats. The first is sort of accidentally a raccoon cat (yeah, didn’t quite mean to lay on the eyeliner so thickly), and the second is a kind of circus fox cat, as follows:

Raccoon Cat 2.5" x 3.5" in Copics

Wallace the Circus Cat, in Copics

I attempted some whiskers (and eye reflection) with a white gel pen, but it seems to clog to easily and not provide a consistent line. I might have to look into a paint pen, because often the ability to make a small correction or add a white detail is very handy. If you have any tips for using a gel pen, do tell! (Oh yes, and I do have some liquid frisket but haven’t braved it yet!)

Raccoon Cat is very mysterious and refuses to 1. provide an actual name, or 2. engage in any kind of pleasant conversation whatsoever. Fortunately her brother (yes I know, they don’t look the least bit related!), is much more genial and talkative. His name is Wallace, he loves Muenster cheese wedges (both for eating and juggling) and he is not allowed to tell me his sister’s name.  Just one of those things, I suppose. He is not actually in the circus but please contact him if you happen to know of an outfit that could use a juggling cat.

The progress of Wallace, the Circus Fox Cat:

Circus Cat Sketch

Circus Cat Ink

Circus Cat Color 1

Circus Cat Color 2




Phil the Cat

You may remember Phil, my previous ACEO cat. He still lives with Chaz (a llama) and Dean (a goat), and he asked to be introduced to the newcomers so I thought I would let him wander into this post as well.  Thank you for visiting!

Some Neat Folks and Their Art Blogs, Part One

I have been meaning do a few posts on some of the art blogs I found last year, so here’s one of the posts!

Leslie White teaches watercolor and drawing. Her blog is filled with neat techniques using rice paper, masa paper, liquid frisket, and other things I knew nothing about before I read about them at her place! She is really great about explaining her processes and often posts progress pics.  I picked two of my favorites below. (Click on the painting for a link to that item’s blog post)

Elephant by Leslie White

Moose and Calf by Leslie White

José Luís Ocaña is an established freelance illustrator from Madrid who I found through Illustration Friday.  He frequently does more than one piece per week on a given topic, usually with great colors and great characters. And though I sadly do not speak Spanish and probably miss some things as a result, he often answers comments in English. Some of his excellent characters:

Aurora by José Luís Ocaña

Cuento con Violin by José Luís Ocaña

These are just two of the great blogs I found last year, and I hope to post about others in the coming months.  I didn’t want to put too many in one post!

You, too, can find many wonderful blogs in the following places, should you feel so inclined:

  • Etsy. If I find an artist whose work I admire, I will usually check their profile for a blog address.
  • Artists in Blogland and Web of Whimsy were two of the first  places in which I found lots of blogs listed in one place (and could add my own, hooray!)
  • Illustration Friday. I don’t work for them, I swear! but I have been singing the praises of Illustration Friday since I started participating at the end of last year. Why it’s so cool:
  1.  Many different styles, mediums and skill levels.
  2. All art blogs all the time! While I do love some crafty blogs, knitting blogs, art doll blogs, etc, usually I am looking for 2D-art style blogs for inspiration, tips and techniques
  3. So many cool and friendly people, many of whom will visit you back if you drop by their blog and leave a comment (many won’t, but don’t let that discourage you!). In fact, there’s about a 71% chance that if you are reading this, you found me there (or I found you!)

Speaking of IF, we’ll have a new topic in a few hours and it’s snowing in the Chicago area. Between you and me, I’ll probably call in to work tomorrow (treacherous roads plus a much reduced workload in winter) and I look forward to my second IF entry in 2012.  Thank you so much for visiting!

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.

Blog Things that are Art Things that are Social Things

I was going to name this post “What I’ve learned as a late adopter to the blogging game, six months in.”  It’s a bit wordy. And it might, at another blog, lead to a section on the art of titling posts. But I’m not sure I have much insight in this area.  I believe key words related to your post are important for web search algorithm thingers, which is to say, gibberish will not be helpful (except in rare cases).

Anyway, I decided the world wasn’t ready for my six-months-expert blog advice.  And anyway, I wanted to talk about three Blog-Art-Social things I’ve recently joined. Many people who find themselves here are already familiar with these things – but if you aren’t, I recommend them! I thought I would give my thoughts about each one, because I have seen other people’s thoughts about them, and I find it very interesting. If you don’t find it interesting, I would skip this post and read the previous one, which is an art progression post (one of many!) with Copic Markers. You know, if you have any interest in that sort of thing. (Alternatively, you could skip to the bottom of this one and see the strange bird illustration I included).

And now, without further ado (though I do love my ado):

1. Web of Whimsy, a once-monthly challenge in which you can use the suggested prompt, or not use the suggested prompt as you like.  Further, you can submit more than one entry. I am currently doing a second month and the average number of entrants seems to be 25-35, with a variety of styles and skill levels.  I have found some artists I really like there, including a very entertaining Australian artist named Gay McKinnon (who is not terribly fond of wombats). The best way to participate in Web of Whimsy (aka Whimsy Lines) is of course to visit all the other entrants’ blogs which is quite easy at this size of project.

It’s so interesting what you find yourself coming up with when given a prompt in this way.  I think it expands your imagination.  The “whirlygig” prompt for October helped inspire this steampunk rabbit!

2. The Sketchbook Project. Such a really cool idea.  I got my book in the mail over a week ago but I am totally over-worrying it.  In addition to worry about content, I am also worried my Copics will bleed through the thin pages.  One is allowed to substitute paper as long as the final book remains under a certain size, but I don’t have a lot of interest in re-making the book. I think the main reason I haven’t started yet is that I can’t decide if I want a cohesive narrative or a looser structure. Also, I don’t want it to suck. I really love stumbling onto a post on some blog where someone includes examples of their current Sketchbook Project work.

3. Illustration Friday, a once-a-week illustration challenge with prompt. One is allowed to post old works but new work created for the prompt is preferred by many. This thing has been going on since early 2007, and has something like 800 entrants lately (probably more, because most don’t do it every week). Holy cow.  Many of the entrants are working illustrators with amazing portfolios. I am on my second week, and I’m getting double my previous highest comment number (about 20, small potatoes still!) Both weeks I have commented on 80+ posts of others, and although only maybe 10% respond in kind, the fact remains that I have visited a whole heck of a lot of blogs more than I had been. And found quite a few really inspiring artists doing these challenges that I am doing also! Which is pretty cool.  Lots of nationalities represented, which is great!

One result of 800 entries over seven days is they get some links that don’t have anything to do with the challenge (they do seem to be removed fairly quickly). Then there are the people who are doing the challenge but also doing a hard sell on whatever they’re selling (which isn’t so great, imo, but isn’t against the rules). There is an enormous spectrum of new, part-time doodlers, to very established artists in a variety of fields. Children’s illustration seems particularly well represented, which I love! Mostly, I’ve just found so many great artists and great blogs that I would totally recommend doing it, particularly if you’re looking for art blogs rather than craft blogs. And that’s only because I’m more interested in people who are doing work that is more like work I am doing/trying to do.

Egad that all makes for a long-winded post. Here is a strange bird beast I did a while back and haven’t decided whether to revisit. (This was in response to a Doodlers Doing Doodles challenge with the prompt “Dragon’s Tears”. My idea was a creature created when a dragon’s tear hit the forest floor. In some future post I will tell you about my final entry):

Kiwi Bird Beast, Copics

Thank you! Nice to see you! All thoughts on the above welcome!