Friday, December 16, 2011

Tomie de Paola contest

Back in high school my dad thought it was obscenely funny to determine my status each day by asking, "Hey Kim! Are we stoked? Or bummed?" Proud of himself that he was using surfer lingo and knowing that as a teenager I was always at one extreme or another, he was able to get an accurate reading of my life.

I have thought of those days a lot these past few weeks, as I went from "bummed" to "stoked" in very short order. I almost feel like visiting the doctor for whiplash.

First I found out that I lost both of the classes I was slated to teach at the both universities I teach at. Ouch. In the same day. Double ouch. And I found out too late to go find other work. BUMMED! Then, just as I wondered how I was going to structure my non-semester (I am like a migratory bird and am instinctively directed by semester ebb and flows) this wonderful agent called me and wants to represent Surfside Girls and get it sold! STOKED! I will now actually have the time and ENERGY to thumbnail out the rest of the book and do some editorial changes. I adore the young people in my classes (they know how much I love them) but they do require massive amounts 0f my energy.

So I am happy Kim, feeling like I have a fairy godmother. Someone else to help me steer the ship. Thank you thank you.

Here is my Tomie de Paola Competition piece, which got done against all odds as I dealt with the most hyperdramatic group of college students yet getting their finals in. Seriously. I had one student (you know who you are!) who actually sent me a photo of herself from her phone with her artwork standing outside of her car on a shut down freeway, in front of a giant fireball. See what I have to deal with? The poor creature did not fear for her life, as the tanker truck on the 60 freeway caught fire and took out a bridge. No, she had a panic attack that she wouldn't get her final project in.

Enjoy the piece and enjoy some peace! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

happy holidays...

The semester's winding down... I can't believe it's here already. While I'm terrifically happy to get some rest, it's also a little sad. I really do enjoy the classroom and it's always sad to know all those young people are launching out into the world. I guess it's just the mom in me, maybe it's too close to home with my own.

I am looking forward to a whole ton of stuff, which when I really think about it is not going to get me much rest. Painting the porch, organizing my office, relandscaping the front, creating a new personal website, doing some experimental art stuff, and maybe even working in some morning surfs! Cuando muerto, duermo, right?

Here's a piece I did as a demo in class working in shaved graphite. I borrowed the subject matter from another of my paintings, but the treatment gives it a whole different vibe.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2011

page 40 part 3

Okay,it's late, but it's up!

Surfside Girls page 40 part 2

So I had an art playdate with my good friend and collegue Marilyn Scott-Waters (the Toymaker, see her at She hosted a lovely afternoon of apples, bread, cheese and painting. I really needed to shake things up artistically, and have wanted to experiment with painting on wood. It was so fun to bust out some paints with no game plan and play! This is the result, I will definitely be trying more!

Here also is the ink and type stage of page 40. I will paint after this, and post tonight!

Surfside Girls hits page 40!

So it's Friday, TG as they say... and today is totally totally momentous in that Surfside Girls has hit page 40, which to me is an awesome milestone. To celebrate I figured I'd chronicle the making of this page. I've never posted a pencil before, so here it is. I noticed in scanning it- it has to be scanned in two sections and put together in Photoshop- that there is (?) moisture condensed under the glass on part of my scanner. Yuck! This may account for the icky blue color I'm getting.

I didn't spend much time dealing with the blue color, as I'm off to ink now and then paint this afternoon. But anyway, I'm always fascinated with how people work, so hopefully you'll enjoy this.

By the way, since we're sharing, I'm considering starting a post somewhere, maybe facebook, where all of us arty types post pictures of our workspaces. I will edit out anyone who looks too neat and organized, as it may fuel my insecurity about the state of my desk! No, kidding, what I may do is ask you organized types how you maintain that!

Happy Friday. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

A little of this and a Little of that...

So. The holidays are here. Turkeys, shopping, grading final projects, making pictures. I think I need about a week curled up in a sand dune with a cheesy supernatural romance novel.

I'm posting bits and pieces of what I've been up to. A little Flash animation, Ethan's shoes, the logo for my Christmas party (complete with family self-portrait in monster.) I can't post the e-book stuff I just finished because of NDAs, but hopefully once it's out they'll let me. Some fun stuff there. My life feels a little fragmentey, like my posting. Little bit of this, little bit of that. Not a bad thing, just a little spread out.

I feel like 2012 is going to be a good year. I would like to start the year with a clean office and some giant canvases. Breakin' out. Gettin' crazy. I want to paint big, sculpt mantises. My friend Katie wants to build robots. It's gonna be a good year.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Twin Cities rises from the recycle bin...

The problem is, I'm creative and I'm a sucker. When the boy names the year's outlandish Halloween costume, I feel obligated to rise to the occasion. Well, maybe obligated is the wrong word. Inspired, excited... not that I don't have anything else to do, so it's ALWAYS last minute. I am definitely grateful for this time as a mom...

The photos are in the daytime, and then at night with the lights glowing. Next to him is a Chinese emperor, courtesy of creative supermom Millie (dig back into blog history, she posed as a gossiping bug for one of my paintings...)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

more! more!

I couldn't fit this in the first posting, but it was such an awesome day spent with my Studio 5 friends Marilyn and Katie, sketching in the park...

more! more!

APE sketches!

I promised to put them up, and I've been swamped. You know things are not right as a beach girl when you go in to your twice-yearly visit to your dermatologist, who routinely berates you for your outdoor lifestyle, and he is PLEASED to see you haven't been in the sun. PLEASED! It is not for lack of want, I have just been glued to my chair (buttglue!) bustin' out projects. My NDAs don't let me post work, so it looks like I've just been lazy. NOT the case, as my pasty skin confirms.

Here are the sketches of characters I found roaming APE in San Francisco. Since we're close to Halloween, I figured they'd be relevant. I will post both my boy's Halloween costume (made by mom) and also Sam and Jade's from my book.

By the way, I'm battling back from the pastiness. We had a highly competitive family gave of Bocci Ball down at Seal Beach this morning...

Thursday, October 6, 2011


APE was awesome. For those of you who haven't been to San Francisco's Alternative Press Expo, I highly recommend it. Everyone was really nice, Surfside Girls did great and had a great response, and the minute the Con finished everyone broke out into applause. I'm so glad I got to be part of it.

Enjoy the photos of my booth. I did some really funny quick sketches with watercolor of some of the more interesting outfits, but I'm pressed for time and can't scan right now so I'll post them next time.

If you're checking out the blog for the first time and I met you at APE (you all know who you are!) welcome and it was great to meet you.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I've been working quite a bit actually, and have had NO time to post. I thought I'd throw these up on the blog, they should be here next week. Bookmarks to hand out at APE! So excited! The Sam and surfboard one will also be my banner. It'll be so cool to see it 6 feet tall!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

San Francisco here we come!

It's been quite a month, and it's going to be quite a month.

Summer finished with a bang; there was the SCBWI Summer Conference and all that comes with that- friends, inspiration, connections, portfolios. The following weekend I roadtripped with my best friend Melissa, driving her recently relocated mommy's car from Mission Viejo to Denver via Las Vegas, Moab and Glenwood Springs. Arches National Park is just plain ridiculous. I need to spend more time there.

The following weekend (!) I taught leathercrafting to 125 Cub Scouts up in the mountains at Camp Tahquitz. LOTS of mallets punching holes in leather...

Came home Sunday, started teaching Tuesday at CSULB. At that time I still had luggage strewn about my bedroom from three successive weekends of being away.

Now this month. Our Studio Group, Studio 5, is having a show at the USF Thacher Gallery. Need a vacation? Come visit me Sept. 21-25, and Oct. 15-16. THEN I will be back in SF Oct. 1-2 for the Alternative Press Expo (APE) introducing Sam and Jade at booth 545. I've had the first 40 pages printed up as a teaser and will be on sale for $5 along with buttons, bookmarks and prints.

The rest of summer has meant HARVEST! I'm so stoked on my veggie garden this year, I tried some things I hadn't before, and we've been eating so well- tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, peppers, strawberries. I'm looking forward to my fall garden. There's something really cool about cooking from your own garden that is very different than running to the market.

Please do stop in, especially if you are a San Francisco friend I don't get to see enough!

San Francisco here we come!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Junior Lifeguards Seal Beach

This has been an awesome summer. Today I hung at the beach while the boy had Junior Lifeguards, since I knew he was jumping off the pier and my husband requested a picture. So I sat on the beach thumbnailing out the next Surfside Girls page, then went for a run and swim in the ocean, sketched some Junior Lifeguard antics that will most certainly make it into Surfside Girls somehow, then took picture of said boy. I think this is the happiest time in my motherhood to date. I used to teach JGs at Laguna Beach and Lake Mission Viejo. It's the greatest thing in the world to see how it changes your kid for the awesomer.

I asked him on the way home if he could just stay ten forever; I could drive him to the beach everyday, and either surf or run or go home and paint, then I would pick him up with some Carl's Junior burger to feed the machine, and we'd go home and hang out. I wish it would never end. Maybe that's why I'm funneling so much into my book; it will remain immortal there...

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Summer is when I'm at my Kimmiest. Lots of beach runs, pool workouts, surfing, and painting painting painting! A busy one, this summer is! It's been too long since I blogged, so let's catch up.

I was invited in to a Studio Group called Studio 5, with some really really talented people. We will be having a show at the Thacher Gallery at USF the last weekend in September through October. It will be a blast to be up there doing workshops with people!

I'm also in a couple of shows at CSUF; the Art for Health show in October, and one I'm curating, the Art of the LA Times Kids Reading Room show, also in October. Because I didn't feel I had enough in October, I am also going to APE, the Alternative Press Expo, in San Francisco October 1 and 2nd. I'll have Surfside Girls printed up, at least the first 30 pages, with buttons and t-shirts.

Oh. AND I'm teaching at CSULB and CSUF in Fall. So this summer has been a ton of prep for a ton of things. I'm posting some Art in the Park photos, which I teach occasionally and are put on by my friend Trish ( as well as a new piece I'm working on. The color palette was (stolen) borrowed from Carl Larsson, one of my favorites. The piece is from a new book I'm working on, which is a really funny one if I do say so myself. I work alone a lot, and I have to crack myself up or I get bored...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

art and all that

So I am taking the LAST class of the MFA, the one I had to put off due to teaching (a person can only do so much.) Anyhow, it's called Survey of Southern California Contemporary Artists, taught by Professor Mike McGee who I'm convinced has some sort of genius memory about all this. We saw a presentation on an "artist" last night, I can't remember his name, but I got so worked up during the presentation I doodled dragons with big nasty fangs. Oooh scary, I know. This "artist" tries to make "art" that no one recognizes as art, and then doesn't name or sign it, so it can't be catalogued (?). Like, for instance, he made a drinking fountain that looks just like a drinking fountain and works like a drinking fountain, out of mundane drinking fountain materials, and then "installed" it on a college campus in a place where you would normally find a drinking fountain. And didn't sign in, just in case you might wonder if that drinking fountain is actually art masquerading as a drinking fountain. !?! I HOPE he did not get a grant for this. There are other equally obnoxious "pieces of art" or non-art art, or whatever, that he has made, but I am going to end my rant. I just don't get it.

On that note, there are also those people who don't really think illustration is art. But I'm not one of them. And so I am posting a little thing I had to get done for a show. I much prefer this silly sort of art to any art that tries not to exist...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's been a week of solid freelance. I busted out a lot of work this week and feel I deserve some face-down-in-the-sand time. Woo hoo! I finished a cool little Flash animation for a client, and the new Surfside Girls page, plus all of the work for this last CSUF class, which is a 45 minute video presentation on video artist Diana Thater, best known for her work on The Cove. Today I'm speaking at the LA Society of Illustrators with my friend Marilyn Scott-Waters and Professor Cliff Cramp, and I have one more little painting to finish. I predict beach time tomorrow morning after church.

All of this productiveness is really not helping my tan. Or really the cleanliness of my office. I think I'm going to start scheduling in beach and cleaning time. Does anyone have any suggestions for keeping a creative space clean? That doesn't involve a ton of money?

I'm posting some things that have been done for a while, and some I finished last night. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Oh Canada!

Just got back from a MUCH NEEDED vacation to the Great White North. Some good friends had a son get married, and we went to the reception in Saskatchewan, and then on to the end of the known universe, the Stockman Lodge Fish Camp. So so beautiful- after driving across most of Canada, then float-planing (!) in to an island, we relaxed in utter bliss. It was SO QUIET. I read, fished, hiked, and painted. Bald eagles were nesting just across the lake. I wish I could go there yearly and totally de-stress. My son got spoiled; now he thinks that fishing means dropping a line in totally clean water, in an uncrowded, beautiful environment, and multitudes of fish compete for the privilege of your lure! Anyhow, here are some photos, and also a little of my sketch journal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

my street and a potato head

Life is pretty good. If I had to complain, which I shouldn't, I guess my house and my waist have borne the brunt of grad school. However, with a little scrubbing and organizing, and a little extra running (and some good surf days!) life should be back in order. No permanent damage.

On the positive side, this is my street right now, thick in the middle of Jacaranda bloom. It's ridiculously messy and stinky, but just look at how awesome. Some days, first thing in the morning, all of the lawns and cars are covered in flowers, and it looks like it snowed purple. People have been coming by and taking photos, so I figured I would too.

Then there's the potato head, or Why I Teach. My Cartooning and Caricature students had me crying the last day of class as they presented me this Pirates of the Caribbean Potato Head, signed by the class. They are most awesome, this class, and this is currently one of my most prized possessions. I am looking for a vase shelf to put him on for my office. It pretty much sums up why I teach- I love getting so involved in these little young artists' lives. Plus, I know that at least half of the people on the Potatohead will be famous some day, and then he's going to be a very valuable Potatohead!

I am off to Canada for ten days, for a wedding reception, and then up to a fly-in fishing camp, where I will sleep and read and paint while the man and the boy fish and hunt things. Maybe I'll paint a fish.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


This is my life. It's full, fast, furious, and filled with lots of people I love. Today is my birthday. I celebrate birthweek. If you don't, I recommend you start. This birthweek, however, tops all.

My birthweek started last Thursday with my husband's birthday, exactly one week before mine. On momentous birthdays, we have a big old combined party. This year we're just having the family BBQ. Friday was a hoe-down at Ethan's school and I met with Aubry Mintz at CSULB about teaching a class. Saturday I graduated from California State University Fullerton with my MFA in Illustration. Those of you who have done this know how hard and rewarding this is. Sunday we planted an organic garden. Monday was my friend Frans from grad school's wedding- totally adorable. Tuesday I had this amazing lunch at La Vie en Rose- I was fortunate enough to be given a great scholarship from the Leo Freedman foundation, and this was the scholarship luncheon. What great conversation and amazing people I got to meet there! Recipients were from Theater Arts and Music, as well as Visual Arts. Kathleen played the most incredible violin for us! Yesterday I had breakfast with my illustrator group, also wonderful and talented people.
And now today! My mom is taking me to lunch, and then a quiet evening at home (I still have grades to turn in and artwork to post tomorrow! Work among the playing!)

Anyhow, if you are my friend or family and you're reading this, thank you. You make my life so full!

Monday, May 16, 2011

almost summer!

Well, it's almost summer but it doesn't feel that way. I spent Saturday at the SCBWI event "Agents Day" in Newport Beach, trying to find someone who might help me get Surfside Girls published. More than one agent commented on how they didn't think Southern California in May was grey and drizzley! However, things are winding down, school is ending, grades are due, and I have faith that in a short while I will be face down in some warm sand. Yum.

The picture is of Joe, figure drawing model extraordinaire. I introduced sequential gesture to my class. Joe is great and totally fired up, even though he had been modeling all day and would have been happier if I wanted a one hour sustained reclining pose! I never ever get a chance to really focus on drawing when I'm teaching because I'm moving around the classroom helping students. But these poses were so good, and Joe is so great, I couldn't help myself. Sequential gesture is what made me want to animate. I think these are five minute poses. Thanks, Joe!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sally got a haircut

My puppy just got her first haircut. How pretty is she! We are just about to head out on a run before I dig into some grading and art stuff. Had to share. She is the happiest dog I've ever met. Dogs are so dang awesome...

Monday, May 9, 2011

LA Times Kids Reading Room

My Mothers Day piece printed in the LA Times on Sunday. Happy Mothers Day, all you mommies! I can't imagine how different my life would be without my son. Having a child gave me such an increased capacity for love, and a vulnerability, that I don't think I could have understood without. A little tiny bit of how God must feel...

Anyway, the piece printed a bit washed out in the paper, but perhaps that was my fault for wanting to use superduper spring pastel colors!

Semester's wrapping up, I'm walking in the cap, gown and MFA hood on May 21st. Lots of endings mean lots of beginnings...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


This is the chapter heading for Surfside Girls' first act, Upwelling. I wanted the viewer to be underwater, looking up at the kelp. It's a metaphor for possibilities. Stuff is surfacing- in the ocean upwelling is where the nutrient rich cold water hits the shelf and comes to the surface. All kinds of little things start feeding on it, and it provides a start for the food chain. When you're surfing, it's a sudden cold spot in otherwise warm water. In the book, it's where everything is setting up.

I kind of feel like that's life right now too. I'm graduating with my MFA, I have students graduating into the Wide World, taking their toolboxes of skills and trying to make it. We talked extensively about that today in my Cartooning and Caricature class. What the state of things is, and where can you fit into it. Publishing is changing, print is changing, there are simultaneously less and more opportunities. I think the best we can do as artists is to keep learning, keep the skills sharp, be kind, and say yes to opportunities. And enjoy the ride. It is the best job in the world.