Category Archives: Steampunk

Whole Lotta Fancy, Ink and Pencil

Emily the Munitions Expert and Mara with Veil
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

A couple ATCs for the week. Work has been busier than ever. Ugh! But as long as I can get a few pieces done in the evenings, I can muddle through.

Very Fancy Antelope
5″ x 7″ Staedtler Mars 2H pencil

This is more pencil than I usually do. Can’t decide whether to ink it. Or maybe get colored pencils? But I don’t think I like colored pencils. So I can’t decide!

Thanks for stopping in! Progress pics!

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Cyborg of the Demon Witch Sisters

Submitted to “Red” at Illustration Friday.

Cyborg of the Demon Sea Witches (click to enlarge)
Two 2.5″ x 3.5″ art cards in Copics and fine liners

Mrs. Thurston’s fourth-grade class was reading about Hobbits. It was nothing by Tolkien of course, whose salacious and perverse vision was not appropriate for grown people, let alone children. Such was the lack of wisdom embodied in Mrs. Thurston, whose hippie parents would have been appalled by what their daughter Sunflower had become.

Unfortunately for Mrs. Thurston (or fortunately, if you believe the loss of ignorance is always a positive, even if painfully gained), she had a student named Maybelle Llewellyn whose mother had finally reached a breaking point in hearing about this narrow-minded teacher every day her child returned home from school.

On this particular day, Mrs. Thurston had assigned several pages to be read aloud by the students as she daydreamed about Father Knows Best, her favorite tv show. Unbeknownst to Mrs. Thurston, Mrs. Llewellyn had swapped the second half of all the childish folklore texts with an adventurous tale of two demon sea witch sisters, Djalla and Djegga, who built a cyborg mermaid to take over their ocean planet.

The sentence that snapped Mrs. Thurston out of her Jim Anderson fog began, “Djegga decided to use the lower orifice as a weapon repository,” and only because little Jenny Hernandez – despite being the best reader in the room – stumbled over both “orifice” and “repository”.

What happened next the whole town has promised never to reveal. Such was the agreement with Mrs. Thurston, who agreed to leave quietly with her small pension.

In the end Mrs. Llewellyn was given 25 hours of community service (and the enduring thanks of many local parents) and Mrs. Thurston retired to rural Wales with her blind husband. Maybelle Llewellyn eventually became a successful fantasy author, specializing in creatures of the ocean.

Many thanks to AnnD, who requested a story to go with my Demon Mermaid (now one of the Demon Witch Sisters). Thanks to everyone for stopping in!

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Sir Valance Surveillance for Illustration Friday

Sir Valance Surveillance
5″ x 7″, Copic Markers, Micron & Prismacolor fine liners

Made for the Illustration Friday topic “Surveillance”. So I was just going to do a dapper fellow called Sir Valance who liked valances. But Bert thought I should make him standing behind the valance, and then I thought it should be an ad for his detective agency. I thought the idea was too complicated and I didn’t think I’d be able to illustrate it.  But then I did. Which is very satisfying. (And the result of  a lot of practice. Tons. If you wondered.) ;)

Murmak Cogwrench ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, Microns, gel pen

And this is an art card for a “People of Planet X” swap, which is third in a series after People of the Forest and People of the Sea (see previous posts)! I tried to get some vital statistics so I could introduce this fellow, but the universal communicator reverted to ones and zeroes and I wasn’t able to fix it in time for this post.

Thanks for visiting! Progress pics below. Questions and comments always welcome!

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Exercises in Unknown Styles: Clarke, Bilal, Gauguin

After Harry Clarke ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″ Micron Pens

I was recently involved in an art card swap with the theme “favorite artists”. The other members of the group pick their favorite, and the others make a card in that style. (I chose Daniela Volpari, who is a contemporary artist I happened to find on Etsy. I haven’t gotten my cards back from the other folks or I’d show ya how they turned out!)

The card above is based on a part of this Harry Clarke illustration. I took some liberties with some of the patterns but for the most part I copied the original. Usually I am no fan of copying! In fact, when I was in high school I refused to copy another artist, famous or otherwise, for any assignment. But I can definitely see the value in this type of exercise where you are forced to go outside your comfort zone.

Style of Enki Bilal ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, Microns, Signo Uniball gel pen

The next card was based on this Enki Bilal illustration. Tragically, mine looks quite a bit more like markers than I’d like – despite it’s actually being markers. Didn’t quite get there, but I did get closer than expected. ;)

Style of Paul Gauguin
2.5″ x 3.5″, Copics, Microns

I must say I was most pleased with this one, though I would not call Paul Gauguin one of my favorite artists. Again it was my intention to copy his painting, but it does not really look like the original, shown here. But I really appreciate how painterly it is, and how different than my normal style. In fact, I had to convince someone close that I’d actually made it!

Steampunk Geisha
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, Microns, gel pen

And finally, here is a crazy mash-up maiden, a steampunk geisha. She is Maiden Number 94, and was made for a trade.

Thanks for stopping in! I didn’t do progress scans for all of these, but I did for a couple!

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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. ;)


Whiskered Tinkerer Dog for Illustration Friday

Jasper the Tinkerer
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

For “Whiskers” at Illustration Friday, a rather late entry!

Jasper has always been a tinkerer. As a youngster he fashioned a rudimentary mechanical ball thrower so Felicia, his younger sister, would give him a few moments peace. It only threw three balls before jamming, but his fifth prototype several years later would regularly work for a full thirty-two minutes. He moved on to snack-delivery devices after that -snacks being the primary canine motivator. He won’t show anyone yet, but I think that device beside him is one end of a conveyor belt.

I’m not actually sure that the whiskers are working here. I used a white prismacolor pencil because the gel pen leaves too thick a line. I think these whiskers are too long, but it is a whiskers experiment for a whiskers topic.

So as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been making lots of art for secret santa swaps. It is fun and I can’t wait until things arrive at their destinations. But it has also harshed my blogging vibe because I can’t post any of it. (But I will later!) Here is one card that didn’t make it into a box:

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

Celestina is a Day of the Dead Calavera girl, similar to ones I posted a few weeks back. Many of the ATC folks do really elaborate and realistic ones which are super cool. Mine are more cartoonish (and the hair highlights are funky) but they are very fun!

Thanks for stopping in! I hope to get back to regular posting again.

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Haunt for Illustration Friday, and Captain Nemo

Haunty House, 6″ x 9″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

The topic is Haunt at Illustration Friday. I decided to try a larger version of my little spook house ATCs. It doesn’t actually have much more detail than the tinier size, but I do like the vulture! Also, I forgot the “Keep Out” sign. Dangit.

Three Spooky House ATCs, Copics

The other thing I did this weekend is this Captain Nemo ATC, for a Steam-Powered swap at To remind those who aren’t familiar, an ATC is an Artist Trading Card, sized 2.5″ x 3.5″, and usually traded from one artist to another. The sites I belong to are atcsforall, which is for everyone, and illustratedatcs, which is a juried site for folks with a fair amount of experience. They are both great! And also responsible for a lot of art and inspiration in the last few months.

Captain Nemo ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″ Pencil, Copics, fine liners


Captain Nemo is the result of about 1.5 months worth of stressing over having to produce a kind of a portrait of an actual person. But in the end I chose Captain Nemo because instead of a portrait of one of the actors who played the character, his unique outfit really helps determine who it is. (Also the little nameplate I added helps!)

It is a relief to finally have him done, much of his face left in pencil because I didn’t want to destroy it with a stray pen line. When I started him I never thought I’d end up with anything approaching a decent face (the first sketch in the progress set below came after a lot of restarts and erasing), but I kept at it, which is all you can do. :)

Progress pics below. Thank you so much for stopping in!

Oh! One more note! I have a blog pal called Moonsword who finds cool art all over the interwebs and posts about them. He is having a giveaway for a $25 Etsy gift certificate. Go leave a comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win!

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Beneath the Zombie Sky, Undead Dogs and Cats

Sometimes I want to post something that doesn’t go with the Illustration Friday topic. So I have to create a new thing that combines the thing I wanted to post with the weekly topic. Today I wanted to post the zombie cats and dogs I made this weekend for the Halloween-a-thon at

But the word at Illustration Friday is sky. So, I fooled around in paint.NET and ended up with the Infected Pet Kennel, giving guided tours nightly during a green zombie sky.

Zombie Dog and Zombie Gearhead Dog
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen, white pencil

I am not a zombie person but I thought I would do one because people seem to like zombies a lot! And I thought, well maybe a dog zombie. Anyway, as you may have guessed it was super fun and then I made some more. :)

Zombie Cat and Zombie Gearhead Cat
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen, white pencil

And then I couldn’t even trade them. But I am going to make a print of the four of them. And I am thinking about a metallic ACEO print set (my first)!

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Steampunk Maiden and Christmas Cat

Georgie Gears ATC
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Despite being raised with six brothers, Georgie was always the one their father came to for help with the family tractor. No one was surprised when she went on to found her own airship engineering company. Reference photo.

Made for a steampunk swap at I am very pleased with the style of this one. On the one hand it’s a rather typical “pretty girl” image. But I think she has some charm and personality. And I’m sure my 100 Maidens Project made a difference. I recommend these projects – repeated practice with a particular subject.

Nikolas the Christmas Cat
2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Nikolas wasn’t always a Christmas cat. At ten months old he ate some tinsel and that soured him on the whole subject for several years. But then he found his person – a woman named Lizzie living firmly in the spirit of Christmas six months of the year – so Nikolas gave it another shot. It was much better the second time. Made for a trade at

It’s very odd the number of cats and sheep I have been doing! I am a dog person. But I’ve gotten the most trade requests for cats and sheep, so I’ve gotten a bit quicker at them. But it’s still several hours each. Or more.

I’m going to try my hand at glass tile pendants with prints of my images, and these two are on the list. We’ll see how it goes! Thanks for dropping in!

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Steampunk and Fantasy ATCs, Tales Included

Geoffrey Teeth and Lilah Steampunk, Artist Trading Cards
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″, Copics, fine liners and white gel pen on smooth bristol board.

Because of a cleverly designed spring mechanism in his lower jaw, Geoffrey’s mouth can open and close in speech every once in a while. Because the motor takes so long to re-charge, he makes sure to save it for something important. The last time, several days earlier, produced the cryptic phrase, “Toads cannot move roads.” Made for Robots, Rocketry and Rayguns swap at but I had to keep him.

Lilah is an adventure girl. She was raised among wild animals by a rural physician and his military-trained wife. As a result, she can fly most small planes and stalk unseen through dense undergrowth. She can also set a broken leg and makes very neat stitches. If needed. Made for a Steampunk swap at

Roland One Eye, 2.5″ x 3.5″ ATC
Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

A veteran engineer of the Mechanical Horse Wars, Roland disappeared from city life for many years. But when a second generation of the Merrano Gang started causing trouble in New Chicago, Roland was reluctantly pulled from a quiet retirement.

Floria the Fey Queen and The Dogfaerie Queen
Each 2.5″ x 3.5″ Copics, fine liners, white gel pen

Floria the Fey Queen was the result of a forbidden union between a Valkyrie and a rare tree spirit. Hers is the final word on all matters of justice and death in the Wonder Woods.

The DogFaerie Queen was the first of her kind, created by a mad wizard’s experiment. He made four more before his death, and from these five all the others came. Nobody remembers her name. Only that she outlived the rest of the original pack by three generations. Both made for Winged Queens swap at

Lots of stuff outside my comfort zone but surprisingly pleased with the outcomes. Which is nice. Because that is hardly always the case! Thank you very much for stopping by! I am still looking into issues with my email subscriptions. Arrrgh.

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