David Bowie

We will miss you David Bowie!!!

Making of the Characters for "O Gato e O Macaco" (The Cat and The Monkey)

Last year I illustrated the picture book "O Gato e O Macaco"  (The Cat and The Monkey) written by João Manuel Ribeiro and published by Trinta Por Uma Linha in Portugal.

The picture book is in Portuguese and I was given an English translation by the publishers to illustrate.  One day I hope to learn Portuguese!!
I will share the long step-by-step process of the Characters, Storyboarding and Final Artwork in the next three blog posts.
First, I was given the manuscript by João Manuel Ribeiro.  The story was simple with two main characters taking place inside a house.  The text was mostly dialog between the Cat and the Monkey, conveying the relationship between the two personalities, the gullible Cat and the sly and smart Monkey.
I thought about comedic pairs, such as Ren and Stimpy:

Laurel and Hardy:

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I thought about size relationship and decided the Monkey will be skinny and the Cat will be fat. Silhouette was also very important.

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I painted loose sketches with watercolor and drew with my five year old nephew.

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I studied my friend's house cat (Rafi).  I also studied some lemurs at the Bronx Zoo:

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I looked at illustrations, engravings, and photos of monkeys and cats on the internet. The key was to understand the way they move their bodies and their animal mannerisms.

In addition to pictures, I watched a great documentary from PBS Nature about monkeys in Japan called, "Snow Monkeys".  These monkeys survive in the cold weather by bathing in natural hot springs during the winter months. They spend a lot of time grooming each other and the little ones ride on the older monkey's backs.

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Also, inspiration came from photos of family friends:

Making of the Storyboard and Sketches for "O Gato e O Macaco" (The Cat and The Monkey)


When I am satisfied with the identity of the characters, I begin the process of storyboarding.

The text by João Manuel Ribeiro was already broken up into pages, so I planned the drawings around the amount of space given for the illustrations.

During this process, added the two mice as extra characters for more visual storytelling.

The book was going to be small and square in format and simple in the narrative.  I admired the simple formatting and size of Beatrix Potter's books, with text on one page and a vignette on the other:

Keeping the same idea for vignettes and white space for text, I began to make a storyboard of all 28 pages of the book, trying to keep the characters and background consistent.

Below are the final drawings:

Making of the Final Artwork for "O Gato e O Macaco" (The Cat and The Monkey)

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Before starting the final artwork, I made some small color studies to decide on a consistent color palette for the entire book.  The Cat is a Fire Cat - so I wanted him to be reddish while the blue background contrasts the warm characters and the fire place.

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Once the drawings for the book were all finalized, I transferred the drawings to smooth hot press watercolor paper in a light pencil.  Then I used waterproof colored acrylic inks and a 102 nib crow quill dip pen to ink all the line work.

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After I finished inking all the line work, I taped the paper to large masonite boards to keep the paper from wrinkling due to water washes. Then, I painted with watercolor and ink washes on top of the inked line work to create shadows and more color to the paintings.

And then after lots of painting.....the finished illustration!

Therapy Sessions

About Therapy:

By talking about the interior world that exists within, one can let it out.  A Therapist can support self-awareness and growth, by listening, empathizing, and pointing out the things we don't realize we say or do so we can start to notice more about ourselves.  

Therapy can teach you about yourself.  It's a long journey. 

Musica de Powell

Here is the cover of a Binder for Music that I made, for a very talented Andrew Powell.  Now all his music tabs are organized together.

Emotional Clean-Up Crew

 Feel all the feels!

When life gets down, always know there are penguins out there to clean up your flood of tears.

Drawings from a Mexican Adventure!

At the end of February I went to visit my cousin Carolina Kopeloff in Mexico City and explore a little bit of the Pacific beaches in Oaxaca!!!

My cousin Carolina founded a fair of handmade items by designers and artists, called Fusion.  The fair grew and now is located in a renovated schoolhouse, a perfect location for the collection of designers.  Walking through the building feels like you are in the most fantastic special secret mall of one of a kind items, from custom made shoes, ponchos, jewelry, and kids backpacks decorated with chihuahuas. 

The ground level has a coffee shop, were I sat drew the surrounding plants and architecture.  Fusion hosts monthly special events and different designers every weekend to keep it fresh! 

It is a one of a kind place in Mexico City and worth seeing the collection of local artists and designers.  I am very impressed!!! 

Daniel Mendez Donis, a very knowledgeable guide, taught me a mountain of information about pre-colonial Mexico and we went to the pyramids of Teotihuacan! 

Then I took an overnight bus to Puerto Escondido and then made my way to Mazunte, a small hippy beach town one hour away.  It was so very hard to leave Mazunte, a town of stories and friends:  
Para placticar el chido con Vertin and Scarlett, el conejo y la cara en la luna, los puestos del sol, y siempre siempre con el sonido del mar. 

I stumbled upon OceanoMar, a hotel and cafeteria with the most gorgeous view and chill vibe.  The cool breezes and strong coffee relieved the burning tropical midday sun -  la hora de la siesta! 

I am in love with Mexico, la gente, los colores, los picosos, la historia y cultura indigena.  It was wonderful to stay with my cousin, who I have not seen since I was 6 years old!!!

Below are some sketches I made through out the trip!!!  

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Happy Valentine's Day!

I experimented with paper marbling and was able to capture some psychedelic effects on paper. For more, visit my Instagram collection.

Also, check out a new illustration about the balance of opposites that creates wholeness of love. Call it yin & yang, negative & positive, black & white....in the end the two parts equal Love.

INKTOBER!!! and Rumi Hara Collaboration

Recently Rumi Hara, a fellow SCAD graduate and fresh in NYC, came over to play with some ink!  

We collaborated on a large piece of watercolor paper - super fun!  

Inspired, I inked a few drawings for Inktober!  I'm going to post new Inktober pictures every day, so come back for more!

Inking Videos

I recently discovered "Vine" and filmed a few very short videos of my inking process.  I had to hold my phone in one hand, and ink with the other, so the camera is a bit wobbly.   I've gotten a lot of questions in the past about my inking process, and now you can see it in video!

You can also see how dirty the side of my hand gets!


Robot and Penguin Thank You Cards!

I created a very elaborate Thank You Card with a window in the front to see the text on the inside of the card. This was really fun to make with a lot of mechanical trail and error involved. I trouble shot a lot of printing and scoring as well, plus, what a great excuse to use my new printer! Printing double sided for perfect registration was not easy, but I figured out ways to get around the registration issues. In the end, all the fuss was worth being able to create and print the card in my own studio, instead of outsourcing the print job! Doing it yourself adds a special charm to everything.

Robots Thank you and wish you a Happy 2014!

Coffin for FINAL Day of the Dead Exhibition @ Young Blood Gallery!

I had the opportunity of participating in the Young Blood Gallery's Day of the Dead Exhibition in Atlanta, GA.  This is my second year being involved in the show, and it's so much fun! I was sent a wooden coffin with the freedom to create anything for the interior.

This year I made a Ghost, a tribute to a friend who died this summer. Around the side walls of the coffin there are 10 small illustrations that tell a story of the life of the Ghost, from birth to death. The stomach of the Ghost has a window into his internal haunting, the love that he left behind.

Here is the "Life Story," illustrations that appear along the walls of the coffin:

If you are in the Atlanta area, please join me for the FINAL Day of the Dead exhibit hosted by Young Blood Gallery and Tweet Design.

Here are the details:

Final Day of the Dead Show
November 3 - 25
Opening Reception Saturday November 3 from 7pm - 10pm

Young Blood Gallery 
636 N. Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30306

Tues - Sat from 12pm - 8pm
Sun from 12pm - 6pm