Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Ship Has Set Sail...

...meaning I'm fresh out of art school (fresh meaning...I've been out for a year trying to gather my bearings). It's difficult, that first year out of art school. You are tossed into an unrelenting sea with other lost and confused artists wanting to make a mark in the world. They always say the first year is the most difficult, yet I've been incredibly lucky. I landed a job with the Church Health Center in Memphis, TN as their digital design assistant. Not exactly what I imagined myself doing after spending four years running away from graphic design, but it provided me with plenty of opportunities. My illustrations have been published in two of their magazines, the Church Health Reader, and I've tentatively tried my hand at graphic design. Turns out I really love it.

One of the most common traps artists fall into is the full-time job/no-time artist net. You work nine to five, five days a week. When you get home, you just want to collapse into bed and watch Netflix while snuggling your kitty. Unfinished projects stay unfinished. The unpublished book stays unpublished. How can this vicious cycle be ended? That is a rhetorical question, because I do not know. I do know that it's all about mind-over-matter. Besides that, I'm still trying to figure it out.

I read this book a while ago, called Art and Fear. It talked about our own personal fears being our most challenging obstacles when pursuing art. Fear of rejection, of ridicule, of our vulnerability is what prevents us from putting our work "out there."  So we've discovered the source. Great. But how do we move forward? That's the tough part. I can only tell you what people have told me.

1.) Keep making work, no matter if it's commissioned or not. The drive to create should be stronger than the need to be recognized. It takes time and it will happen. 2.) Keep posting your work online. You may get 12 likes. You may get 100. Just keep posting your work (that means in-process work as well). People will start to notice 3.) Don't worry about perfection. If you are creating a piece for fun, you are creating it FOR FUN. Even if it's just a doodle in your sketchbook. Give yourself room to experiment and grow. 4.) Surround yourself with supportive, creative people. Work on art with friends. Become a member of some art society. Just don't get bogged down by someone who is a negative-pants all the time. 5.) Get inspired! Go to museums, art openings, galleries, craft shows, follow your favorite artists on Instagram, go to art conferences...sometimes you just need a creative pick-me-up.  

Most of this is common sense, but you get it.

Anyway, this is my first post in a long, long time. Check out my website at!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Biker Maker

This is a project I've been working on all year, and I'm really excited to share it with you!  It's called The Bike Maker and it's a short, very short chapter book about a boy named Miles whose father is the famous Bike Maker of Sweet Grass, Louisiana.  When his father dies, Miles must overcome his grief, make friends, and become the next bike maker.  That's the simple version.  There is a lot of symbolism personal to me, since the story is inspired by my dad, who built these weird, unridable bikes before he died.

This piece will go into my final senior show at Memphis College of Art.  I plan on developing the story much further after graduation.  In the meantime, here's a sneak peek!

(pssst:  this is the cover)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Okay, so it's been a while...and I mean A WHILE!  The past year I've been working on a series called "Dad's Tall Tales," inspired by the exaggerated stories my dad told of his childhood.  I may have mentioned it in previous posts, but I hardly remember any movies I watched last week.  So I'm going to tell you AGAIN!

In my Illustration 3 class (2012), I painted three paintings for "Dad's Tall Tales," which I submitted to the Communication Arts annual.  It didn't get in of course, but never quit submitting!

Anyway, that spurred an entire body of work called "Dad's Tall Tales." Here are the first three.  All are the same size, 9x16", and are painted in acrylic.

These are the pieces I did last semester.  I did a total of seven pieces, but these are only three.  I'll post the others as soon as I can.  

Monday, March 3, 2014


It's been a while (about a year?), but now I'm back and ready to share what I'm up to…which is quite a lot actually.  Let's start with what I'm currently doing!  Can you say…FIGHTER PILOTS IN SPACE RIDING ON BOOKS?  Yep, I can!  It's my design for the Memphis Library Card contest, due today.  I originally wasn't planning on designing a card, since I'm working on my Bachelor's of Fine Arts piece (I'll get to that later).  But I figured this would be a lovely break from doing class assignments, or should  I say "opportunities," since I need to stop thinking like a student.  So here you go!

It started as a pencil sketch, then I scanned it into Photoshop and painted it digitally.  Here are my favorites!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Macbeth 4

Okay, so here is a more revised painting.  I amped up the contrast and thought maybe it'd be more effective if I blended the middle witch with the background.  I added more definition to the witch with the shear veil over her face and tweaked the shadows on the arms of the two flanking witches. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Macbeth 3

So here it is!  My final, digitally painted Macbeth poster.  Or my "final" for now anyway.  


Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Here's a color study and it's variations, with line, without line, with text, combined with the value study, etc.  I will definitely exclude the line and use a painterly approach.  I'm really enjoying the painting part of digital illustration.  The colors are a complementary color palette of reds and greens with accents of golds.  It seems to fit with the theme of Macbeth.  Green is envy, red is seduction/murder/blood.

Fill colors

Value study and color study combined

Without the line looks best.  It's softer and more sinister.