Friday, August 9, 2013


Once a week for the past ten weeks, I had the inordinate pleasure of attending Motivarti's summer class Story in a Picture, which was taught by one of my favorite teachers from Art Center.  

This was the final I submitted to class: a triptych done with a neat technique I picked up from another artist that the teacher dubbed 2½-D.

Ha! I like it. 2½-D it is.

medium: pencil, digital, paper (in that order)

Friday, July 26, 2013

meet the gorgons

At Comic-con, our table was in between this guy and these guys--
which subsequently inspired this:


medium: pencil and marker and some ink here and there.....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WonderCon 2013: a debut

WonderCon 2013 was not only my debut into the convention scene: it was the debut of the first official collaboration between Helen Yoon and aforementioned illustrious colleague, Jackie Huang.

What does a collaboration between an illustrator and a pop-up engineer entail, you ask?

Well let me tell you!

Illustrious colleague goes to her studio and works industriously and illustriously to deliver me something that will function properly in her pop-up vision, like so:

And then professional illustrator will do some bibbity-bobbity-boo, like so:

And the hope is to create a product that both of us are proud of and will add a little charm to the quiet lives of  our viewership, like so:

Are you charmed, dear Viewership?  We hope so!

If you are interested in purchasing our first-ever collaboration, you can go to illustrious colleague's etsy shop and bother her about.  

You can also read her version of the events in question on her blog

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WonderCon 2013: behind the scenes

Good times at WonderCon

I am convinced that 90% of design is problem solving.

"What sort of problems?" do you ask, friend?

Is the action reading?
Is the color treatment adding to or subtracting from the focal point?
Why does this nose look like a mushroom?
Is the story clear?
Do I need another mouse in the house reading Goethe's Faust?

The problems are approached (and solved) before the piece is begun, while the piece is materializing (be it in paint, paper, or digital medium), and after the piece is finished.  This, in whole, is the design process.  What separates the professional designer from the tortured artist is the ability to solve these problems in a satisfactory manner in the before and during phases within a given timeframe.

Is there a point in one's artistic maturity in which one has successfully culminated from tortured artist and metamorphosed into consummate professional?  Ask me at my deathbed, but I'm pretty sure the answer's "No."

So for WonderCon (and all future conventions--stay tuned ~_^), illustrious colleague and I wanted a pair of banners that both portrayed our respective approaches to illustration and showcased our collaborative work.  So it started here:
(i think....)

We liked the idea of a swooping line connecting our two banners.  An idea inspired by a previous piece.


watercolor & gouache
paper, watercolor & gouache

Alas, when it was finally worked up, we felt that, yes, the swooping clouds connected the banners, but the connection felt too fragile.  The differences in not just color and material but in the two completely separate stories made our banners feel disconnected.

The final was pleasing to behold, yet we were still displeased.

So we moved on to a banner concept where the story of one told the story of the other.
paper, watercolor & gouache

This one told a satisfactory beat-1 to beat-2 story, punchline and all, and we were ready to run with it, when at the eleventh hour I sent illustrious colleague a silly email with this attached.

digital and pencil
(i'm pretty sure this time....)

Both of us were like "I like the first octopus a lot, but....oh no, I LOVE the second octopus."
And then there were a series of emails that were very much a back-and-forth of 

"Should we just go for it? I think we should go for it."
"Totally need to go for it."
"You think it's worth doing? We're already out of time...."
"Totally worth doing."

The back-and-forth really was necessary because it really was the eleventh hour, and we were going to take it to print that day.  Stinkin' artists.  No respect for their deadlines. Tsk tsk. 

watercolor & gouache

So here was the final painting for our third banner concept.  But, when we finally put it together....
paper, watercolor & gouache
I felt that our second banner concept had a story that read fluidly but the two still felt too dissonant.  I had thought it was because the palettes were too different, so I compensated this round by going way cool for my banner's side.  Illustrious colleague noted that it looked fine as a stand-alone painting, but, when placed side-by-side with its other half, a wispy watercolor painting felt unfinished against the solid, graphic color of the paper.  And I missed the warmth.  

digital, paper, watercolor & gouache
printed at

And so, our lovely little banner duo was born. 

The moral of this story?

If at first you don't succeed,
Fry, fry a hen. 

Also: waste not!

printed at

Monday, March 18, 2013

holiday vi: yesterday

St. Patrick's Day is actually the day that my first dog died.

gouache + pencil
I swore she would be my one and only dog forever...

gouache + pencil
...things obviously did not go as planned.

experiment iiic: paper sculpting

Alas, I was not always a jealous paper copycat...

papers + vellums

I actually experimented a long time ago with paper art but completely forgot about it.  I did these pieces in high school--Helen, as a teenager, sitting on the floor watching tv and using the back of a watercolor pad to cut on because she didn't know what a cutting mat was yet.  I actually find life takes you in full circles like this very often....

And so, that which had fangirled Spirited Away, has grown up and...continued to fangirl.  Anyways, here is a cloud series inspired by a Diana Wynne Jones's book, Castle in the Air.

That which once paper-arted before, shall paper-art again!

So it has been decreed.

The conclusion of my experiment: I adore paper as a medium.  Expect to see more in the future.


experiment iiib: paper sculpting

It was illustrious colleague who re-introduced me to paper as a medium.  Through her I found other amazing paper artists (wait, one more; just because he's amazing) and was overcome with a severe case of paper I've been spending the past few months exploring the medium and all its possibilities.

The multi-dimensionality of paper creates some very curious and beautiful effects...

This one is only kind of funny if you've seen the drama.
I kind of like the background as it was....

experiment iiia: paper sculpting

Sorry, ladies, I'm not much of a Lee Min Ho fan.  Lol.

paper + photoshop
paper + no photoshop

Yes...Helen watches Korean dramas.

And I did enjoy this drama--or at least the first ten was pretty awful after that.  But the characters were so interesting and the acting so compelling, I felt that little twinkling of inspiration somewhere, deep within...

Mortal Kombat!!
These were the good guys--but they were also secondary characters.  So, in the fashion of tragic Korean drama saguek fusion, they're all dead.

Oh. Oops. Spoiler Alert.
These were the bad guys.  I still don't have a solution for the background, but I'm so pleased with how the figures turned out that I still felt compelled to share.

Ki Chul may be one of my favorite villains ever.  He's just so weird.

Sorry, I'm not a Lee Joon Ki fan either!  But this was one of my favorite dramas last year (of which there are three...which unfortunately does not include Faith...sorry, Lee Min Ho).

The story goes like this: Arang is a ghost who is tasked with solving her own murder.