Thursday, October 20, 2016

Flora and Fauna of Mt. Lemmon

One thing I have been working on this semester that I haven't really talked about is my scientific illustrations of the plants, animals and occasional fungi on Mt. Lemmon. My goal is to put together a little, super simple field guide for Mt. Lemmon, my local Sky Island. You can visit to find out more about that. 

I love the desert, and it seems to me that it's very underappreciated. People like big trees and deer, or beaches and fish, but I've learned to really love all these pointy, prickly, gray, dead-looking, evil plants and animals that crawl and attack me. They're so unique and resilient, it's amazing! I want to spread the love and appreciation I feel to anyone who is willing to listen. . .or read my field guide. It'll be self-published through, and maybe I'll get a bunch to distribute around Tucson. I haven't began putting the book together yet, but here are some of my favorite drawings for it. I'll keep you posted on how it goes. 


Monday, October 17, 2016

Mid-Semester Round Up

Happy Fall everyone!

I've been having a very good semester, my job is going very well and even though school is as rough as ever, I've made some work I'm really proud of. It was a bit of a struggle at first, because since it's senior year I felt like I should know my "thing" by now. Looking around the room of my illustration classes most people seem to have a "thing." One draws very uniquely awkward characters, another paints very realistically, another always makes monsters, but me? I do a little bit of everything, some of it good and some. . impresses people who can't draw stick figures. So should I find my "thing"? Or do I keep experimenting and going way out of my comfort zone like I have in the past? Turns out, I sort of found a way to do both. By taking some of my previous successful techniques and styles and pushing them with new inspirations I made some cool stuff! And some not good stuff, some not good stuff at all. . .but I'll spare you that.

This piece is about how robots seem to be about to take over all the jobs, from the manufacturing of goods, to cleaning and cooking robots, data analyzing robots to a robot that 3D printed a new Rembrandt painting! (I'm not kidding, check this crazy stuff out at What role will humans have to offer? Will there even be a place for humans in a robot-dominated world? The piece is titled "Coffee Meeting."

This next piece is an interesting one, it's a linoleum print that I scanned into Photoshop and then colored in. It was an interesting technique, I'm not sure I care for it that much, but it was a lot of fun to make! This piece is an illustration for the short story Brasalina, by Poe Ballentine, about a young Brazilian woman who marries a very old man and goes to visit her new grandchild, she is wild, irresponsible, and full of life, but there's a very morbid reason for her reckless behavior. 

This was the outcome of a very interesting assignment; the class was partnered up and we interviewed each other in order to do a portrait of the other person. The woman I partnered with is from Taiwan, but she moved to Arizona for school. I never talked to her much, even though we've had most classes together for more than a year now, and it was amazing to get to know her. Since we were conducting interviews I could skip the small talk and get right into what she likes to eat, how she feels about her roommate, how she feels living in Arizona as an immigrant. For a precious moment I got to know a human being in a very personal way, sometimes I wish people could be that open all the time, that we just ask each other about our fears and our hopes and what kind of tacos we like without it being too bold or inappropriate.  

This last piece had been my life for two weeks, I took on more than I could handle, and that's how I ended up printing and cutting this thing at 2am last Thursday, just a handful of hours before it was due. But it was still not an all-nighter! I'm proud to say I have never stayed up all night! (In order to complete a school assignment anyway, I've been to sleepovers and parties where I stayed up till sunrise, I'm not that lame). This was way more work that I expected it to be, but I had a lot of fun doing it. I've recently started getting into graphic novels like Paper Girls and Nimona, so I was inspired to make a little graphic novel myself. I present to you "The Adventures of Awkward Mermaid: The First Date" Click on the picture to make it bigger. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

My Art is on real Websites Y'all

So I haven't really talked about what I do at my graphic design job, mostly because it's not very exciting. I most make flyers and pamphlets about the various things and events the college of Social and Behavioral Sciences has to offer. Occasionally Photoshop terrible pictures of professors for their website profile picture. 

However, a few weeks ago I got to do a really exciting thing! The SBS college is hosting an event called The Great Cartoon Debate of 2016. Two famous political cartoonists from each side of the political spectrum are going to talk politics in the best way they know how: through cartoons! This will all take place in front of a live audience, in a small movie theather here in Tucson (I'm not much into politics, but I think I might actually go to this, it seems that it will be hilarious!) But anyway, a graphic was needed to advertise this on the social medias and various print and online calendars, and yours truly was asked to create it! 

Here it is: 

And this is on the SBS Facebook page, the theater's website, and a few more websites. It's so exciting to see my (MY) art out in the world, it's just a little cartoon, it took only a few hours to make, but still!! Everyone at work was super impressed, and more people know my name and what I do now. This is just the begging of a lot of great opportunities, I just know it!

Now for some art for school. 

For some reason art classes love to start with a portrait, often a self portrait too, so I'll be doing one of those soon(bleh), but since the other portrait can be of anyone or anything I got real creative and chose Pharaoh Hatshepsut. I learned about Hatshepsut about a year ago, and she's been in the back of my mind ever since, and while pondering what awesome woman to do for this portrait assignment her story popped back into the front of my mind. 

Let me tell you a little about her. She lived way back in 1400 BCE, daughter of the Pharaoh, Thutmose I. Her husband/brother died when his son was very young, and since a kid can't really rule Egypt, she became queen regent. However, she really took over, becoming more powerful than any female ruler before her, taking on the role of Pharaoh, which is supposed to be a male role since the Pharaoh was an incarnation of the male god Horus. So she tried to assume a more masculine role by wearing the Nemes headdress (think King Tut's sarcophagus) and fake beard, and sometimes using the name Hetshepsu, with a masculine ending (think Alexander vs. Alexandra). From the records she seemed to be pretty good ruler, started trade, built a cool burial complex, fought off the enemy, etc. 

But about 20 years after her death, someone tried to literally erase her from history. Her statues were destroyer, her name and images chiseled off the walls of her temple. Just enough remains that archaeologists pieced her story together, and even found her mummy not in the official tomb, but in an unmarked one somewhere else. No one knows who did this, or exactly why, but we can be pretty certain that the fact that she was a woman had something do with it. As I mentioned before, the Pharaoh was an incarnation of a male god, and a woman doing that went against societal roles and cultural values of predictability and maintaining tradition. 

Here's a picture of one of her statues from Wikipedia:

There a several documentaries about her on YouTube that I would encourage you to check out to learn more, it's a really fascinating tale. So I have this idea of drawing her, standing in a powerful positing, but she's also being blown away, as if she were made from the sand dunes of Egypt itself. These are some of my first doodles for it. 

I'm very excited to work on this project!

Lastly, some leg art =D

Friday, August 19, 2016

Last Days of Summer

 Happy Friday!

It's my last Friday before school starts, so I better finish catching up on what I've been doing this summer (the big stuff anyway, I won't bore you with my napkin doodles).

Here is the last illustration I did for Love in the Time of Global Warming. I didn't do all the illustrations I wanted to, but maybe I can continue them in whatever bit of free time I have as well as during holiday breaks. 

I really like this hoodie, by the way. I'm way too proud of it, I don't usually do fabric that well.

I have been making a few illustrations for an internship I will have over the next school year. They wanted me to have some stuff ready before school started, which was not preferable, but at least it was enjoyable to make. I also made a couple of maps and started designing a workbook for children (my internship involves me creating teaching materials); that stuff isn't very exciting though, so I won't bother to post it here. 

Check out these desert animals though! I'm going to be learning so much about the Sonoran Desert here in southern Arizona. 

This is a Cooper's Hawk.

Purple-backed spiny lizard. 

And this is giant desert centipede, it's about as long as a dollar bill.

I will use these and other drawings for the cover of the workbook as well as for creating a poster of the the various biomes at Mt. Lemmon, which is a mountain just north and east of Tucson, AZ. The workbook will be in black and white, but the poster will be in color, and here are some of the plants that I have just finished coloring this morning. 

This is an Ocotillo plant, which is just nature's barbed wire. It's just sticks with giant spikes coming out and a few leaves in between, lovely. 

Of course, the famous Saguaro cactus, I don't think the color is quite right on this one, so I will probably do it again. 

And lastly we have a Prickly Pear cactus, these guys are everywhere in southern Arizona, they produce a dark purple-redish fruit which some people like to eat. I will be making lots of similar drawings for my internship in the next few months, so I will keep you updated on those.

So that's it, that's just about all the art I've made this summer. And that's the end of summer 2016. Where did the time go? Time to get back to class projects. I'm really excited about the things I'll come up with this semester!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Catching Up

Hey y'all. 

I have not forgotten about this blog, I have just didn't really have any art to share for a while, but in the past couple of weeks I have made a lot of art. Every week this summer has been different, some days I get home from work and just art until I go to bed, other days I watch TV (which I now have!) and hang out with friends, so I've just been all over the place. I have also been working with a friend making logos and working on branding for a company he's starting, and that's all I say for now. For real, he made me sign an non-disclosure agreement. . .

So, it's been a good summer overall, even though I've been working, I've still had time to do a good handful of fun things and still bust out my sketchbook once in a while. 

So earlier I mentioned I was working on a long-term project: illustrating a young adult book! So this has been quite the challenge, and I don't know if I'll even do as many illustrations as I wanted to. It was harder than I thought too. The plan was to read the book and I went along I would leave sticky notes with ideas and doodles for whatever scene I wanted to illustrate, then once I finished the book I would go on to make all the illustrations. 

But being the person I am, I just read the book for fun, got really into it and totally forgot to take notes on what scenes to illustrate! So I'd have to go back and re-read things, and then make the notes. And other times I would get really into my doodles and overthink them. Instead of just drawing a street and pretending it's a place in California I spent an hour or two stalking stalking the streets of Beverly Hills on Google Maps looking for the perfect intersection. This was completely unnecessary. So it's been slow going. 

I'll tell you a little about the book before the pictures so that maybe they make sense. They are completely out of order because I was excited to draw some scenes and characters more than others. The book is "Love in the Time of Global Warming" by Francesca Lia Block, the title of course being a reference to "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I thought it was really clever! Because you know, back in the day lack of sanitation killed humans, and now one of our biggest problems is dealing with global warming. (Though there are still people out there who don't have sanitation and clean drinking water, and that sucks and makes me very sad. . .but that's not why we're here, is it?). 

So the book is sort of a typical post apocalypse story, a few survivors become unlikely friends as they drive around in a car fueled by used vegetable oil, raiding convenience stores for scraps of canned food. But it's also sci-fi because there's some mad scientist creating genetic mutants. And it is also a sort of re-telling of The Odyssey by Homer, you know, the one where the dude takes forever to get home because he's a show off and keeps getting in trouble with gods and witches and cyclopes? So there are giants and witches and mermaids (kinda), as well as characters finding stuff out about themselves,
finding out what's important in life, and of course, falling in love. It was a very fun book to read, and illustrating it has been fun too. 

So these are some of the complete drawings I have as well as some not-so-finished products. 

 This is the main character, Penn, waking up in her what's left of her house alone, 56 days after the earthquake/tsunami/flood that destroyed everything. 

This is the "Lotus Hotel" where a bunch of teenagers found refuge after the disaster. 

This is Hex, the love interest with a neck tattoo, squeezing some flower juice into a cup. 

In this scene some creeps break into Penn's house, and she's just sitting on a mattress in the basement holding some scissors in a feeble attempt at defending herself. I couldn't get the perspective right, so I cut out some people shapes from paper and taped them in the right place on a bookshelf, took some pictures and used those to help me draw. Gotta get creative like that sometimes. 

This is Tara, a sort of reincarnation of the Buddhist goddess by the same name. 

And this was my first attempt at a gouache painting! I know it's not great, but hey, gotta start somewhere.

I very impulsively bought gouache last week. I have never used it before, but after watching some videos of people using it, I decided it was a medium worth trying. I have really liked it so far. It's like watercolor, but better! Watercolor is the devil of art supplies, it's incredibly difficult to control, once it's on the paper there's no going back, and it just does whatever it wants, doesn't matter what you want, watercolor will overpower you! Gauche (pronounced goo-ash) is more opaque, and it's re workable, and not runny. So here are some things I've been doing with it.

I'm actually pretty happy with this little mermaid. We're getting there. 

So I still have a lot of stuff to share, including some of the fun stuff I've make at work, but this post is getting a little too long. I'll be back before the end of next week, bye for now!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Update on art and life

Hey y'all.

So I have some news: I have a real design job! Actually, I have 3 (THREE) jobs right now. I work as a page designer for my school's newspaper, which is only an hour or two a week, and I get payed peanuts, so it's just for the experience really. Then I have been freelancing Snapchat filters. Snapchat is a phone app that allows you to send pictures and messages to your friends, or anyone really if you know their usuername--I totally follow Ariana Grande--and the pictures and messages disappear  in seconds. And people and businesses pay me to create custom filters, for business events, birthday parties, sporting events, anything really. You could technically pay me to make you a filter for laundry day. What a time to be alive! And now I have a job as a graphic designer at my school. 

I don't know how I'm handling this, but I have taken 19 school credits in the past, so I think I got this. Maybe.

All this is my way of saying that I won't be making as much art as I had hoped this summer. It's sad, but getting a paycheck is a cool, adult thing to do. A girl needs new shoes. 

Anyways, I'll post every two weeks or so, it won't be as much art as it has been in the past, but I'll try to have at least a few sketches and updates on long term projects. 

Here are some examples of my latest project: wine labels! I got the idea after a very emotional night where my friends and I watched the last few episodes of the series Friends. There may have been some crying and wine drinking. 

I thought it would be fun to get wine for specific occasions, but not the "you got the job!" kind of occasion. Instead these are funny, sardonic, and maybe too real for certain moments in life--moments when you just need a bottle of wine and some friends. 

(The movie "Office Space" comes to mind)

(Don't dwell on your troubles, take a break with this Zinfandel)

(For when you're dealing with a lot, and just surviving is a reason to celebrate)

These lovely mockups came from, they bring my labels to life.

I plan on making a few more, including "You did things today!" and "It's finally the weekend!" We'll see how that goes. Other ones can be seen on my Instagram at divasque. 

To finish, here are some random doodles I've made!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Time Art!

Happy Summer!

I know it's summer, but that doesn't stop me from making art. Although I have taken a bit of break. I have been sleeping in, binge watching "Friends," hanging out the real friends, exercising a lot, and occasionally I just lie on the floor listening to music. I've been doing all the things there is never enough time for during school! 

But I have taken on some projects! My roommate Alex is going to be an elementary school teacher in the fall, and I'm helping here make some decorations for her classroom. I made a bunch of fun patterns, each in a theme of a subject she loves (ballet, baking, dinosaurs, etc.), and I used those patterns to create a sign for her name.

 We fell in love with these patterns so much that we might print and frame them to hang in our apartment. 

I have also been having some fun with Illustrator, rediscovering what I can do with it. So sort of completely out of the blue I came up with this! I started by making some mountains, and suddenly the idea of a whale emerging from the desert sounded like a picture I had to create. It is the first time I made a digital image without having handmade sketch first. I think that's an accomplishment!  

And lastly, I made another Glenda doll. My teacher kept the first one, and not having one with me just wouldn't do. 

I still need to paint her eyes and add a little color to her cheeks, but I also like her like this. So I haven't been entirely useless these last . . .5 weeks? Has it really been that long?! Well, I have a few more projects that I just started on, I'll keep you posted!