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Feral Jungle Kid

November 18, 2014

I’m making a little art book! It’s my first one and probably NO ONE will buy it, but I think that’s okay. I just want to work towards a goal.  It’s going to be about feral children. I can’t decide if I want to call it “Raised By” or “The Feral Kids” Neither of those are that exciting I guess…

I’ve had this fascination with the stories of feral children. They are usually such terribly sad stories of neglect, abandonment and abuse. It is also an incredibly powerful statement on nurture vs. nature, that our humanity relies so heavily on the care of others. When children don’t learn language or meet certain developmental milestones in life they unfortunately aren’t able to recover those skills. They will forever have trouble communicating and in most instances not able to learn more than a few words of a language. Most notably a Russian girl named Oxana Malaya was raised by dogs and is the most studied feral child that I can think of, but there are others. Even recently a little girl in Florida named Danielle is behaviorally labeled as a feral child. She was found in an abandoned home at 6 years old by police and later adopted by a family that have given her a lot of love and support that she will need for the rest of her life. Like other feral children Danielle is extremely developmentally challenged, cannot speak more than a few words of english and cannot feed or dress herself with any degree of competency. The story is especially sad because she did not live alone in the home she was found in. Her mother and brother lived in the house with her, but she was neglected so thoroughly that she never learned language in addition to any other developmental milestone. You can read more about her story here. Grab a tissue.

I don’t want the book to be sad though. I would prefer for it to strike a chord with people that think their kids are wild animals in an endearing sort of way. We all (people) have such different personalities! Some of us are shy and standoffish like cats, some are focused on food like squirrels and some are gregarious and friendly like dogs. I’d like to create art that exhibits those behaviors in a “raised by” series.

I hope you like this one! More to follow, tomorrow is raised by squirrels!




Wrasse Spa Day

November 17, 2014

Mermaid Monday fun. I’d imagine wrasse fish gotta clean mermaids too right?


A Pile of Penny’s is Called a Mess

November 14, 2014

A murder of crows, a crush of rhinos, a clowder of kitties… A mess of Penny’s?

I love that groups of critters have a collective name. Some of them are pretty awesome, for instance a group of tortoises is called a creep. So effectively we have a creep and a clowder in our house- that’s right, two is a crowd (says’s us). I mean if you have two of something it might as well be 11 right?!

Here is a mess of Penny’s. I do love that lady. She’s as sweet as can be and has so much personality. Adam has had a cough recently and she actually gets agitated when he coughs. She grumbles, complains and growls. Maybe Penny has misophonia like her adoptive  mother.

Timing Is Everything

November 13, 2014

I love video games. A lot. If it’s a puzzle adventure game I am on it like a cat with a laser pointer. That’s right, I likes me some games.

Back when I was a wee child I had an NES that I played in between scraping my knees and stealing neighborhood bird feeders (it was a strange phase). I love The Legend of Zelda and their ilk, like Little Nemo, Contra, Mario etc. Basically most of the games on that system were side scrollers and were dependent on puzzles and timing. So my love for spike floors and boss fights run deep.

Onto the art! It’s a watercolor in my sketchbook. I ended up finishing it up in photoshop this morning. I had a little sketch of a girl running and just thought she looked like a badass adventurer. Also it’s a universal fact that boomerangs and grappling hooks are the BEST tools.

I rather like it an I hope you do too!



You’re Parked in the Red

November 12, 2014

I had this sketchbook page with these two girls hailing a cab. I had started it with brush pen and then went in with watercolor washes. It really looked terrible and you could tell I lost interest in working on it pretty quick. Since I wasn’t insanely busy today as I have been, I thought I’d play around with the drawing and flesh it out. It ended up being so totally different than what I started with that the only thing that stayed the same was the taxi!

I’m not a great painter. A lot of the time paintings just get away from me and turn into muddy messes. This one did too, but not nearly as disastrous as it could have been. The light is all over the place, as is the composition and color. It’s alright though as it’s still an improvement from earlier this year. I think the trick is to just keep things simple. Start with your light and shadow composition and then work from there. I didn’t do that and tried to add in light later. Don’t do that. Have a plan for where you want your artwork to go.

Frenchies though. They’re so cute right!?!



A Girl And Her Cat

November 11, 2014

Sometimes I wonder what is going on underneath. ;)

I haven’t shown how I start a drawing on my blog yet and I really should! As with anything in life, you start with the basics. I usually start a drawing with a super simple skeletal shape- a stick figure if you will. I don’t actually draw a skeleton, but a circle for the head, a line for the spine indicates the bodies motion, and if you want to get leg positions right it’s probably a good idea to figure out where the femur attaches to the hips. The same process starts with drawing a building. You start with perspective lines and basic shapes and then start adding details. When you start adding details right away sometimes there is not enough structure for them to stick to, and you end up with a really bad drawing. It’s the best advice I can give any artist just starting out, think big shapes and structure, and then get to the fun details.  Your drawing might look ugly for a little while, but part of a good drawing is a strong foundation! Lets face it, foundations aren’t pretty!

I went wild with the idea of the underlying structure of a drawing. So I drew a fancy lady with her cat, and their underlying skeletons. They’re not perfectly anatomically correct, so don’t get too nit-picky! Hope you like it.



Leopard Seal Maid

November 10, 2014

Mermaid Monday! It’s a thing. Sketchbook page. I was drawing this while Adam was doing the CrossFit Merge Pumpkin Spice Throwdown. Instead of you know, watching. Bad wife. Bad.



November 7, 2014

More site drawings from Disney!

This is a study while we were at Palenque. Palenque is a late classic Maya site in the Yucatan peninsula in the Mexican state of Chiapas. It held it’s own in the sway of large Mayan city states between 226 BC to around 799 AD. One of the most notable Mayan rulers, Pakal of Palenque, can be seen depicted all over the remaining plaster and in a very well preserved tomb that held his body. He was responsible for the largest build out of the Palenque’s architecture. He’s very easy to recognize as he had a very distinctive face, notably his large misshapen nose. I am under the impression he may have not been the most attractive of leaders, he was however, very successful and reigned for a solid 68 years, the longest known ruler of the Mayan kingdom. The Mayans were prolific to say the least with Pakal being no exception. Pakal’s tomb was remarkably well preserved. So well preserved that a lot of the painted plaster held up. His sarcophagus lid as well as his jade funerary mask are well represented today in a lazy google image search. If I remember correctly a few family members were buried with him, including his pregnant wife. That must have sucked for her.

Most of the time grave robbers in Mexico dig out holes and loot the Mayan archeological artifacts and sell them on the black market. This happens today. Sadly there are SO MANY uncovered Mayan ruins there just isn’t enough money to keep the sites secure- or to even excavate them. You can pretty much walk down a jungle path, find a big hill overgrown with trees and not realize it’s a Mayan stepped pyramid.  BUT BACK TO BLACK MARKET MAYAN ARTIFACTS… people are jerks and even though this site is amazing, people take bits of plaster off of the buildings. The site isn’t secured and is one of the pyramids you can still climb, as a result people take the liberty steal things or yank off detailed bits of plaster for keepsakes. So what I saw in 2007 very well might not be the details I would see if I visited today. You can kind of see in the sketch of the foot at the top right- It used to be attached to a leg and most of the bas-relief has been lost to tourism. Nothing is being done to combat this. *Sad face*


Location Sketching

November 6, 2014

Gotta love taking your sketchbook with you to amazing locations. One of the great perks about working for Imagineering is the travel. Sometimes you just need to see and experience something as an artist to really get a feel for what you are trying to recreate. Part of what we strive for when we build an attraction or a place is a sense of authenticity. A place or experience is filtered through our imagination- what we found exciting, how we want to tell a story and what we want our guests to feel when they are in a place we’ve created. It’s editing on a strange and massive scale. We take what is beautiful and unique about a location and culture and try and edit it down to its best features. Idealism is a very real part of design for themeparks. I could recreate hollywood Blvd. for you as it REALLY is, but I’d imagine the hobos, hookers and pee smells might cause the Hollywood in your mind to lose it’s charm. So sometimes a copy of a place isn’t what you want… but the essence of a place is. Most of the time the essence of a places is what makes it feel authentic, and not how “real” you make it. That’s research and that is design. I always like to remember something Imagineering legend Joe Rohde said to me: “Our goal as designers is to make it look like there was no designer.” Which basically means in a nut shell, the place should feel so real that you forget you’re in a themepark and that you shouldn’t see the hand of an artist crafting anything. It’s just real place. I think this is best displayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just like taking notes helps you remember a subject in class, so does sketching on location. The details in architecture, landscape and materials in a place describe where it is… it all contributes to making something authentic. When you draw, details are programed into your mind differently then if you took a photo. A photo is so fast that there is no time to reflect upon shapes like you would in a drawing or painting. As you can see in this sketch I was focused on the details and influences of what makes Mexican architecture… well, Mexican. Most things have a history and it’s very easy to see the graphic geometries of the late Maya and Aztec cultures merging with spanish colonialism. It’s what gives this particular place (Campeche) it’s character. Light, color, shape and sound are all things an artist takes from a research trip and distills them down into an experience. It’s an incredibly valuable and indispensable process for great design. Unfortunately research is disregarded more and more by companies that do creative work, perhaps not understanding that the research and experiential phase if design is the most important. Creativity is an extremely exhausting, analytical, logical and laborious process. Creativity is a language born of knowledge, deduction, problem solving and skill. It really does deserve a LOT of respect as it doesn’t just fall out of someones brain without a lot of work.



Celebrity Fascination

November 3, 2014

Courtney Stodden. Those two words are synonymous in my mind with sheer mind-numbing voyeuristic entertainment. It’s not a big secret that the human psyche loves a little bazaar with their morning coffee and I am no exception to this rule. I don’t generally follow celebrity gossip columns as I generally don’t care that much about celebrities- but come to that I am not even sure if Courtney IS a celebrity. I have a few fave actors that I hold in great esteem like Daniel Day Lewis and Gary Oldman… but lets face it, they’re not up to entertaining antics. Courtney can’t sing, though she tries, she can’t act though she tries, her pumpkin carving skills are questionable at best- and in the shoes she wears… im pretty sure dancing could result in very serious injuries, if not death.

Courtney, if you remember- back in 2011 was the 16 year old bride of then 51 year old Doug Hutchison (Lost, Green Mile actor). She’s a busty, vivacious, perversely religious, animal loving, entirely STRANGE human being who I am utterly fascinated with.  Like, I want to be her friend and ask her questions and present philosophical conundrums and see how she responds. Her twitter kills me, her Instagram is nothing but ridiculousness and she once got kicked out of a pumpkin patch for being too risque. I should hate her, but I don’t! she owns being a cartoon character like no one I have ever seen with a naiveté that just makes you sigh and think “oooh that Courtney, she’s at it again.” Weirdly lovable.

Clearly she is a real person with real feelings and is probably a very nice person, but to me, she is like a really cool tropical bug exhibit at the natural history museum. I am perplexed, fascinated and wholly absorbed in all the things she does. I follow her on Instagram and Twitter and I can guarantee you I’d ask for her autograph and a picture if I saw her on the street. She seems like the kind of celebrity that both knows she’s ridiculous and is totally on board with it.

Anyway, her lady mammaries keep getting bigger, as do her lips. I drew her little character today after having yet another conversation about her to friends at a party. I didn’t really take the drawings far enough, eventually I’d like to draw a very silly one with just her eyeballs and a bit of platinum blond hair peeking above her giant knockers… but until that happens here you go. Magic in lucite heels.