Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day! I don't really know what Boxing Day is. I have various friends from Down Under, and I never really got a satisfactory answer out of them when I asked. Some say it has to do with the (?) Boxer Rebellion. Some say it's when you box up all the things you got for Christmas that don't fit and take them back. I don't know. They do love to wish it to you though.
Today the Cub Scouts had a fishing derby. Actually, it was kind of a trial run to see if they knew how to cast before we got really serious. No actual fish were caught, so by default we honored the kid who caught the biggest tree. If you want to stock up on hooks and bobbers and things, find out where cub scouts are practicing casting, and then scale the trees. We all had a great time, though, except for the worms, which Cubmaster John made sure to name before they were sacrificed. Enjoy some watercolor and pen and ink sketches from the trip.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Almost Christmas! I talked to my great aunt in Massachusetts, who was expecting a snowstorm. I'm so lucky to live in Southern California, where I spent the day not waiting for a snowstorm, but sketching at the zoo with my illustrator group! I got very caught up watching the monkeys, with their cute little hands. I realized that while the largest bone in a human's body is the femur, and thus the largest muscles all involve the upper leg and pelvis, in a monkey those areas are almost afterthoughts! The big bones and big muscle tie-ins are all in the shoulder girdle. It was great to watch them hang and swing. Enjoy the sketches...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ho ho. One day to go in this semester, I've finished the last project, and it's not midnight! I guess I get to watch House after all...
This is for digital illustration class. I think it's my most successful digital illustration yet, because I did most of it traditionally. I photographed the little tin guys (so cute! Thanks Millie and Jeff!,) then drew it, inked it, and colored it in photoshop. My friend Erin introduced me to the work of Tomer Hanuka, who has the most awesome sense of color. Inspirational! Anyway, it's called "Wind Up" and it's all of the little robot caffeine junkies waiting for their morning cuppa jo. Just looking at their psycho painted eyes gave me the idea. Incidentally, I am (once again) trying to give up caffeine. You should see my eyes...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kelp is cool. It's a combination of two of my favorite things, plants and the ocean. I was out at Dana Point, and found this floating in the kiddo swimming area. I popped it in the cooler, took it home, and painted it. I tried to do that earlier in the summer, but I left it for a couple of days in a bag in the fridge, and I don't recommend that. It got really really stinky. If you're going to paint kelp, do it while it's fresh. I have been searching the internet, trying to figure out what kind it is, but to no avail. There is plenty of info on Macrocystis pyrifera, which this is not, but not a whole lot of help if you're trying to ID anything else. Hmmm... maybe that could be a project... Anyway, I've been doing a lot of exploring of native California species for Surfside Girls. I've been sneaking all sorts of cool things into and onto my pages.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hey there, I've been cranking away at my graphic novel pages, trying to get as much done as I can before my freelance hits.  I'm amazed at how much there is to think about in trying to tell my story this way!  I've been checking out other graphic novelist's websites and have been very inspired by what I see. has a great tutorial.  I don't know if I want to post my pages yet, because I may put them up on their own website.  I will post some character sketches I did of Sam, trying to get my technique of watercolor and sepia pen down.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

These are a couple of photos of the patio garden I created for my client in Seal Beach.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.  As I've said before, the working in the dirt, with plants and all of their amazing colors and textures is such inspiration to me and my illustration.  I have been working quite madly on the graphic novel, and will post some sketches next.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Good Morning!  I haven't posted this last week, because I have been exercising another creative side- landscape design!  Brita of Brita's Old Town Gardens, where I used to work on Main Street in Seal Beach, found me this darling job of bringing color and beauty to an upstairs patio on the beach.  I will go photograph the job on Monday, and post it, as it came out beautifully (now I'm inspired to get after my own garden!)  The colors and textures of the plants are so amazing and inspirational.  I am posting a piece I had done for the CSUF show, which we just took down.  It includes two of my direct influences- plants, and reading.  The words in the background of the piece are from Madeline L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time."  It is the part where Mrs. Whatsit explains to Mrs. Murray, on that dark and stormy night, that there is such a thing as a tesseract.  When I read that as a ten year old, I fell in love with science fiction, fantasy, and all of the kinds of writing that confirm that there is more going on in this world than what is obvious on the surface.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Well.  School starts today!  I love the rhythm of the school season...  Anyway, I thought I'd put more up about the SCBWI LA conference.  One of my favorite quotes came from a writer's workshop, from a woman named Karen Cushman who wrote The Midwife's Apprentice, among other things.  She had such quotable things to say; very inspirational and funny.  My favorite was,
"Write, and Keep Showing Up."  Wow.  That's pretty much it, isn't it?  She also said, "Write, don't fantasize."  I got that one loud and clear, as I'm often dialoguing in my head, and it really does need to get put on paper to be of any use.  I also liked, "Inspiration often hits when my butt is far from my chair."  I write as well as draw, but I think the advice applies very easily to both.  I have put in my posting today a very silly thing, but I'm realizing that staying connected to the very silly thing is an important thing to me.  If you're an artist, you may understand this- to take in a lot of audio information, I have to doodle.  Not just take notes, actually draw.  Teachers get kids in trouble for this, but it holds true for me, and I'm sure those arty kids in detention, that letting the brain drop into that swimmy vat where doodling frees up the thinking (like listening to jazz) really does help the information land and sink in.  So here are the backs of heads I doodled while at the conference.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I went to the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) conference a couple of weeks ago in LA.  Wow, what a friendly, amazing and talented bunch of people!  If children's book illustration is what you're looking to do, this is such a good support group, and so inspirational!  I haven't posted in a while as it's been all about readying the portfolio and postcards and such.  I am going to be in a small group show opening August 28 at CSUF's Exit Gallery.  The show is called, "From Here to There," and we have our development work up as well as our finished pieces.  The other participants are Erin Shea, Pat Cantor, and Katy Betz.  I did a new piece for it, and am posting a little teeny bit of it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This is colander-head boy, compare with the digital version from a couple of weeks ago.

Colander-head boy has led me to a whole new challenge, which I am exploring in my special studies Illustration class this summer. I am attempting to paint characters in watercolor, and then duplicate the illustration using Adobe Illustrator. There was a time when I said I would rather dig ditches than work on the computer, but this week I've been doing a Landscape Design job which involves a LOT of soil preparation, and I think I am going to take that back. Working at the computer may not be great for the posture, but at least you don't wake up sore! Seriously, though, there is something good for me in the being out in the dirt, and it's as satisfying as finishing a good illustration to see a newly mulched yard with beautiful, healthy plants.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Summer! I have been spending a lot of time in the garden and it's so cool how that fuels my drawing... nothing like dirt under the fingernails and communing with carpenter bees. I saw an amazing variegated agapanthus today at Target of all places. I'm going to have to find a place for it. I'm in the process of ripping out a whole planter of agapanthus at a client's house on a landscape design job... I understand they're common, and that I may have "pedestrian taste, (as my former nursery-job boss let me know,) but I figure that they grow well and are beautiful- what more can you ask? I wish that was true of more things in life! I get a garden magazine from England, and they showed people growing them in hothouses. So Bob's your Uncle... Anyway, I wanted to post a couple of things; first, a Jack in the Beanstalk I did in Children's Book class, and second, a character design of my Grandma, God rest her soul. The woman swore like a sailor, and was never far from her scotch, cigarette, or Sambuka and coffee, but she had a heart of gold and I miss her.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kim is digital

Woo hoo. I am digital! I am spending this summer revisiting my computer skills, and getting up to speed on Illustrator and Flash. Quite a different way to think, and sometimes I just want to solve the problem with a pencil or paintbrush (it's faster!) but the results are fun and I enjoy the learning curve.

Friday, May 22, 2009

School's out!  Woo hoo!  I did this study of a mantis from a photo-  I took a whole mess of photos of one we had here at the house as a pet.  My son named her Katrina the Bikini Girl after the notorious American Idol contestant.  I'm not exactly thrilled that my eight-year old has a crush on her... anyway, I am fascinated by mantises and how sentient they seem to be.  I think they came from another planet, or perhaps they're animatronic.  They don't seem to move like anything else.  Summer school will be starting next week, and I will be finishing off some of the illustrations from the 32 page dummy book we completed in Sequential Art- Children's Book class.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Two down, one to go!  Wednesday is the last class of the semester, and I'm still working to get all of that work done.  I did this little spot as the last assignment in my Special Studies Illustration class.  Cliff (the professor) clued me in to how cool spots are.  I tend to think of finished artwork as square, in a frame.  It's so freeing to edit down to what's really necessary.  When I started this idea, I had sidewalk, telephone pole, and a larger cast of characters (ant, mantis, slug.)  It's fun to reduce!  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

fairies and bugs

Here is the other buggish piece.  It makes me laugh, hope you enjoy it too.  I did the spot of the fairy because I'm trying to work on more spots- I'd love to get some work doing children's magazine illustration.  I will post some bug spots (?!) next week as I finish them.  We're in the final week of grad school, well, for the semester at least... wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The homestretch!  Almost done with the semester, and totally stoked from all of the work I've been busting out.  Nothing like a little pressure... anyway, here are some bugs.  I'll post Bugball now, and New Arrival when I get it off of the watercolor board.  Bug spots to come, as well!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Here is the last in the Surfside Girls location paintings- this is the Burger Dude, Sam's dad's restaurant on the sand.  The monster is just silly, I taught art in Ethan's classroom yesterday (trying to enlighten second graders to light side and shadow side, and using color in shadows, phew!) but I've been working so tightly it was fun just to let go.  Only three more paintings and a dummy book to go before semester's over in two weeks.  Go Kim!

Monday, April 27, 2009

I finished this one, Sam's house, and it's part of a 3 painting series that I'm doing to show three important locations in my book.  Sam's house is the house that all the kids hang out at.  Parents don't have a lot of money, but lots of love and lots of fun.  It's in the fictional Southern California town of Surfside.   The other painting is of a surf shack on the cliff.  I'm almost done with the Burger Dude, which is Sam's dad's burger joint/watering hole on the sand.  It's really cool to see the places in my head come to life in color!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Well, I finished the book! All of these black and white illustrations have been for a little 4x4 illustrated Aesop's fable for a class. My stepson and I constructed the little book, and sewed the pages. It's really cool to have a tactile little representation of your work. I want to do more!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm going on my third spring break, and finding it very hard to keep up with homework!  I had break three weeks ago, last week we had some Canadian friends come down and wanted to go to Disneyland, and this week is my son's spring break.  Anyway, I have two more illustrations to post from the Aesop's fable project.  Enjoy, and Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I photographed the Swim Race piece today; it's a little blurry in parts but I think it will do.  I enjoyed working big and want to continue- it really helps me loosen up!

Well Spring Break is over.  Boy did I need that!  I didn't do much homework, but I surfed at Bolsa Chica one day, and put in my vegetable garden another day.  If I didn't take the time and do that sort of thing, I don't think I'd make it through the end of the semester.  When is summer?  I did finish the painting of the swim race.  I'll have to photograph it because it's so big, and then I'll post it.  This new post illustration is the last in an eight page book we have to do for my children's book class.  It's the fable The Ant and the Dove.  I'm happy with it, and happy to be working in watercolor and experimenting with different lines.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wow!  School's been busy!  This is the first semester I've tried three artwork-producing classes in the same semester.  In the past I've put in an art history class.  Other than the constant lack of time I feel, I like how productive I've been.  You should see my office, though...  I have a bunch of work to post, so I'll start with the most unfinished.  I'm doing a series in watercolor and pen and ink of lifeguarding events, and these figures will end up being about 14 inches tall.  It's fun to work big!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I had to write something for my church on Psalm 92 as part of Lent inspirational readings.   "I sing for joy at the works of your hands" has been so on my mind lately, and I'll tell you that, for me, nowhere is it more evident than in watching bugs.  Bugs!  Insects!  Have you been in your backyard lately and watched the tremendous amount of work that gets done on a daily basis by bugs?  And then you get to looking at them up close, and wow!  There is some amazing, wacky, creative, inspired design there!  I've had my mantis out since the days are getting warmer, and I just live to see her move her head.  I swear that we're going to find out that they're either extra-terrestrial, or animatronic.  And sentient...

Anyway, this katydid was in my yard and I ran for my camera, and did a study of her.  She will be the subject in my series on the Domestic Life of Bugs.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am trying hard this semester to push my watercolor skills. I rely heavily on lines to finish an illustration, and thought I would try to de-line my artwork. As I finish the first illustration in my "Domestic Life of Bugs" series, it occurs to me that I really do enjoy lines. I enjoy drawing, graphite transferring, reworking the lines on the freshly-stretched watercolor paper. I guess using line isn't a bad thing. Arthur Rackham, Bill Peet, Carl Larsson... my heroes do use line. I did clean-up in animation for how-many-years, and line is just part of who I am.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wow!  You can tell that school has started, as I haven't posted in a while!  I've got three classes at CSUF / MFA, and that means thumbnails for upcoming projects.  I'm really excited about a series I'm doing in my watercolor class on bugs.  Since I don't have much to post yet, I'll put up the piece that got me inspired to do a buggy theme.  It took Honorable mention a couple of semesters ago in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Great Race competition.  Speaking of which, I attended their "Writer's Day" conference yesterday at beautiful USD.  What a great event, and so inspirational!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I did a couple little pen and ink and watercolor sketches trying to figure out what the "Rokkit" looks like- the Rokkit is Sam's mom's moped that the girls end up "borrowing" while in hot pursuit of a clue.  I did some online research trying to figure out which body style I wanted to use.  There are some really cute mopeds out there!  And then, after choosing my reference photo and making some sketches, it came driving down my street!  Weird!  A bunch of moms and I who were chit-chatting out front flagged it down and I took some reference photos.  What are the odds? I added the custom paint job to the Rokkit,  and the ridiculous helmets, to give it some character.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wow, it's good to live in paradise.  I needed some photo reference for Surfside Girls (the graphic novel) so I took my waterproof digital camera to Laguna, and paddled out on my big ol' Infinity longboard while Ethan was in school.  Santa Anas are blowing today, and the water was so glassy and clear I could see straight to the bottom; saw garibaldi, kelp forests- amazing!  Got some great shots of what I was looking for, and thought I'd share. Mind you, it's January, and I got too warm in my shortie wetsuit and had to cool down on the beach in my bikini after paddling. I met a guy out there in a kayak who said he saw a whale yesterday.  I kept hoping, but no luck this time.

Oh,  I'm posting a little three-panel of Sam surfing.  It's kind of how I feel today. I'm going to be making this into a t-shirt with the SSG logo on the back.

Monday, January 12, 2009


So today Ethan and I are going up to San Pedro after school to the International Bird Rescue Research Center to "adopt a pelican" (make a donation.)  Turns out our local pelican population is being hammered by some sort of flu or poison which is leaving them dizzy and disoriented; they are being found inland in people's backyards, walking circles on highways- all sorts of odd behavior.  We're big pelican fans, and pelicans play a part in the world I've created for my graphic novel.  I'm posting a picture of "Jurrasic," the pelican character in my book,  and a picture of Peet, the boy who found him.  Peet is convinced he's found a baby dinosaur  (and if you've seen a baby pelican, you'd understand why, honestly!)  Peet is the little brother of the protagonist.  I'm working to get that four page story up on this blog,  but for now at least you'll meet a couple of the characters.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oh my gosh, I'm blogging!  This is, they say, what people do now, so I figure I'd better give it a shot.  I'm Kim, a surfer, an artist, an athlete, a mom and a wife.  This seems like a cool way to share artwork and stay in touch with other arty friends.  Hi friends!  I'm currently in grad school at CSUF, and I'd like to post my progress as I take these amazing classes.  Plus, I'm working on a graphic novel for tweeny girls in watercolor- totally excited about this- and I think I'd like to share little snippets with the public.

Bear with me as I get the hang of this.  Anyway, this is my favorite painting from my Plein Air class; I'm learning to paint in oils, which is hard for me since I'm such a line junkie.  What?  Lose my lines?  Can't I just do this in watercolor?  But no, it's been a great experience doing my two favorite things, being outside and doing art.