Otto and Mia

A couple of days ago my sister-in-law Rachel sent me the cutest video of Otto spending some quality time with my niece Mia. It’s short, but it always puts a big smile on my face. In fact, I can’t stop watching it, so I thought you might like to see it too.

Happy Friday!

Ideas Matter | Actions Count

I just posted my second submission to the Positive Inking tumblr!

I’m really happy about how this one turned out. My friend Alyssa shared a life changing tutorial with me about how to separate black line work from the background in Photoshop. I created a Photoshop Action of her method and put it to good use.

ideas matter, actions count

I first drew lots and lots of versions of “Ideas Matter”.

I arranged them into an all over background pattern, and colored them to match my current manicure (plus a yellow-orange).

skittles manicure compared to classic black nails of a dog paw

I then drew a few versions of “Actions Count” with a brush I dipped in ink. When I was happy with the lettering, I let it dry, scanned it in, did the magic Photoshop Action and dropped it on top of the Ideas Matter background.

I thought an animation would be cute for this illustration to show how the ideas can pile up but that actions should be at the forefront.

Not only did I create the black version that I submitted, but I also created and considered a version with a white background.

animated illustration of ideas matter, actions count

I decided to use the black background version as the final because it has a little more impact, but I do appreciated the addition of the dark blue in the version above, so I thought I’d share it here!

Positive Inking

A little over a week ago my friend Alyssa Nassner invited me to join a new tumblr blog she was starting called Positive Inking. The project is based around the idea of Daily Affirmations for artists.

Alyssa wrote to me:
I think we all get the point in our days/careers/goals where we feel washed out, not confident, or like we’ve failed. This blog is about those moments, but instead of dwelling on them – I’m asking artists (and myself) to look at the positive! We’ll be sharing motivational illustrations, goals, and advice for ourselves, and one another in a fun type-and-illustration driven way!

I loved the idea and immediately got to work, sketching pages and pages of ideas. Seriously. pages. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I sketched, and doodled, and scribbled for a few hours and came up with all kinds of ideas. I’m looking forward to eventually finishing them all up!

With my nieces and nephew at my house last week for Anicamp : Summer 2012, I was inspired by their constant activity and curiosity. They delighted in everything they did from digging in the dirt, to creating a fabric collage, to picking blackberries and discovering a nest full of baby robins.

It was so much fun to be around the constant activity, and I recognized how different the schedule was from my day-to-day life in which I spend a whole lotta time with a computer on my lap. I was inspired by their curiosity to illustrate an animated .gif!

animated gif of the words "be curious have adventures"

My positive message is to be curious! Get out from behind the computer screen, go outside and have adventures. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel happier, refreshed and more inspired.

If you haven’t already, go check out Positive Inking and see some of the good advice other artists have been posting. Maybe you’ll see a message that is just right for you!

A Collaboration for My Birthday!

Yesterday I sent the word out to see if anyone wanted to join me in a mini celebration collaboration here on my blog. I’m happy to say that I got quite a few entries, and each one is so unique, I really feel like I got a great gift that I get to share here on my blog.

Emily Balsley was super fast, sending in this adorable fox with a lovely birthday message. Coincidentally, I actually wore a pink and white striped tank top on my birthday!

Follow Emily on twitter (@emilybluestar), check out her website and blog, or connect with her on dribbble!

Sarah Hutchinson Burke created this lovely and festive cupcake. Don’t you love the way the candles are marching up and around the icing?

Follow Sarah on twitter (@thesecondmagpie) and be sure to visit her blog.

A birthday unicorn from Jessica Niederberger was an awesome surprise in my inbox. She’s my best friend IRL, and she’s a master at drawing horses, and of course, unicorns!

Isn’t this a fun pattern from Lucy Tyler? I recognize some of the shapes and colors from the pattern on my twitter background, and I love her twist on it with the bold, handwritten letters on the surface.

Follow Lucy on twitter (@creativemachine) and check out her website.

It’s always such a treat to see when Mia Balaquiot posts a new watercolor via twitter or flickr, so you can imagine how happy I was when she sent me this lovely painting themed piece to include in this post.

Follow Mia on twitter (@mabeloos) and visit her website to see many more wonderful watercolors!

Ashley Chesser is a friend of mine who started creating these marker-on-polaroid pieces when I first got to know her. Isn’t it great? I love sparklers–another coincidence is that I actually bought a big pack of 240 sparklers for my birthday party! We didn’t quite use them all, but that just means I get to do sparklers another time!

See more of Ashley’s polaroid art, as well as her videos on her website.

My friend Krissy sent me this awesome birthday drawing of my name. I love the colors and the patterny texture.

Follow Krissy on twitter (@qrissy). She has 2 websites, cause she’s that cool. Go check them both out: and, and visit her blog while you’re at it!

Juriko Kosaka sent me this beautiful illustration of a birthday cake. Doesn’t it look delicious. I don’t eat cake anymore, but I would eat this cake!

Follow Juriko on twitter (@juriko) to see more of her delicate drawings.

I got this sweet drawing from Bolle en Eikel. I think this means I can officially say I got some flowers for my birthday! So great!

See more of Bolle en Eikel’s fun drawings that they often share via twitter (@BolleenEikel).

Alice Jamieson sent me this personalized birthday drawing. I love the contrast of the soft watercolor texture with the crisp lines of ink.

Follow Alice on twitter (@AJamiesonArt). Visit her blog and browse her Etsy shop!

Minerva sent me this super cute drawing of a birthday party. That must be me, with the glasses. It was a fun party!

Follow Minerva on twitter (@minervagm). She’s also @minervagm on instagram, so be sure to find her there, and don’t miss her website to see more of her delightful drawings.

The last three entries are a something special. My brother told my nephew Max and nieces Caitlin & Alyssa about my call for artists for this collaboration post. They loved the idea, and got right to work. They each sent over an awesomely unique drawing.

Max created this “fancy font” that he thought I would like. He was right! I think he should work on the whole alphabet!

Caitlin and Alyssa went with birthday cake themes for their drawings. I love the colors and the festive feeling achieved by the added balloons and a confetti & streamer pattern in Caitlin’s drawing. Alyssa went for a clean and bold image. The color palette and color block style is great, and I love the way the heart cake topper looks!

Thanks to everyone who participated in this post. It made my day (actually 2 of them!) to see all the fun birthday art that was sent my way. I know it was a tight deadline, but it was also a lot of fun, and I hope you enjoyed reading this post and seeing the variety of birthday themed art! Take a minute and visit some of the artists sites, go say hello on twitter, or leave a comment below!

*edit 07/15/2012*

I got a couple of late entries (just the day after or so), so I wanted to update this post. Of course now it’s a couple of weeks later and I’m finally getting the chance, but it’s better late than never, right?

First I received this awesome drawing from Julie (O-kami) with birthday greetings in many languages, some of which I don’t even recognize! How cool is that?

Follow Julie on twitter (@FPOkami), visit her two blogs: Pens Paper Inks…Whatever! and In Pursuit of a Hidden Artist, connect with her on Flickr, and Join the Pen Collectors of America.

My new illustration bootcamp friend, Liz Nugent’s power went out *just* after she finished this awesome illustration. I just love it and I’m glad her power eventually came back on so she could send it over!

Follow Liz on twitter (@liznugentdraws), and be sure to check out the awesome artwork on her website!