December 30, 2009

The Lucky Year of the Ox

 Like other 1985 babies, Year of the Ox '09 was my lucky year!  And it has been!  I advanced in my careertraveled quite a bit, became Pro at Wii Tennis (1588!), gave up bad habits {stopped biting my nails} and started good ones {lost 15 lbs}, reconnected with old friends and made new ones, and not the least of which, got engaged.

February 14th 2010 begins the Year of the Tiger, and as such, my resolution.  

One thing that held me back year to year was an inability to be aggressive when it came to things I was passionate about.  Should I call that publishing house in San Fransisco?  Yes... but what if they hate my work?  What if they say I don't have my voice yet or enough important clients?  ... No phone call. 

I'm changing all that!  I will get up the nerve to work harder, to stop assuming negative things, to go after life like a tiger, baby, a tiger.

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Goodbye old datebook and all that stuff I freaked out to finish

Hello new datebook, you definitely won't remain this empty for long.

   After a really nice dinner with my big Italian family, Andy and I walked around our favorite parts of New Haven, the Yale Campus.  I'll never get over how lovely Yale is.  It's like walking through a sprawling castle keep!  It feels different from Harvard, closer to home for us, which is mostly New England style houses and brownstones.  Yale is almost frighteningly majestic!  Especially at dusk!  All pointed patinas and gargoyles like it's the 17th century.


Ate way to much this holiday season, but it's been worth it! Gnocchi, Terry's Chocolate oranges, peppermint bark, stuffed mushrooms - any more of this and I'll look like Hercule Poirot.  Well, if I grew me a Belgian moustache.

December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday week!

After a really nice Christmas Eve party with Andy's family, we exchanged presents.  Andy said "Would you like to open them tonight instead of tomorrow morning?" and before he could finish his sentence I squealed like a hamster and was shoving gifts in his face.

Christmas Day we had a great dinner with my family.  My sister stayed up all night making me a custom pink Snuggie, complete with my initials (velcro since they'll change when I'm married), random Sharpie scribbling and iron-on transfers of Mystery Science Theater DVD covers.  It's the ugliest thing I've ever received, and I love it.  My aunt, who is from Hong Kong, brought her famous lo mein noodles {which I am addicted to} and we played some games while the kitten climbed up the tree.

We caught an evening showing of Sherlock Holmes.  It was pretty good!  A bit long, but we both enjoyed it a lot - nothing like a good slapboxing brawl to get you pumped for winter.

It's the end of a decade!  Enjoy the last of '09!

Happy Holidays! 

December 23, 2009

Borrowing a cat's hand


{" neko no te mo karitai "}

is a Japanese saying literally meaning "I want to borrow a cat's paw".
Meaning - well, there is a lot of stuff going on and it's crazy busy here in the studio.

It's not officially the holidays until I eat a ridiculous amount of peppermint bark

Sometimes I envy people with day jobs.  Being a freelance artist is not easy.  For starters, nobody understands what you do besides other artists or people who love art, and you'll have to explain ad nauseum that you are NOT unemployed for the 4th straight year

We get paid sporadically, have weird taxes + insurance paperwork, have to line up jobs months in advance, hoping work comes in steadily, call up art directors and nervously prattle on about how reliable and awesome you are and then, have to work on Christmas to meet a deadline.

And yet, I love it!  It's pretty awesome to look back on the scribblings I did as a kid "I want to be an artists" and know I'm following that dream still - paid to scribble.

Enter comics!  The majority of my time in 2010 will be spent working on a 96 page graphic novel with amazing writer JJ Kahrs.  He's excited, I'm excited - we're all excited - and for good reason!  Ninjas, lady pirate Captain with an eye patch, airship battles; peppered with witty humor.  It will be epic.

Some of my process //
lots and lots and lots of reference material

learning from the masters

sketchbooks dedicated to this project with a ton of character, ship + location designs

I love my job! 

I often take pictures of friends as reference material as well, especially if a shot is particularly difficult or I just can't "see it on paper".  I'll be posting another time with these pictures compared to the actual art - fun stuff.

I'm off to get a few things for our big Christmas party tomorrow night - have a happy holiday, everyone!

December 19, 2009

Culture concentrated

sketch for current project proposal

Hope you're all keeping warm!  My hands are so freezing lately I just hold my tea cup until it gets cold again! I'm working on some great projects lately, but sadly that means working in my studio ... the coldest room in the apartment!  Yeesh...  I set up a small heater underneath the table so it burns my feet to a nice roast but my hands are STILL LIKE ICE.

But it's okay - I can live out my Bob Cratchit fantasy.

I was meeting my dad for dinner at Harry's and was able to convince him to come with me to Showa University's Culture Day.  Showa Boston is the US branch of the Tokyo women's university.  The students go all out decorating all 10 wings and both hallways.  It was where I met my good friend Yuka!

please to enjoy some J-mas music

\\ Some photos of Showa's Culture day in Brookline //


 My dad killed it in the Poke-toss

Shin-chan {creator in memorium}

Hanako's Ghost {on left - she haunts bathrooms} 
+ kids attempting to pick up rice


December 18, 2009

Grex Airbrush // Review

It was pretty awesome of C.C Lowell in Worcester, MA to ask me to try out their new Grex Airbrush kit.

At first I was embarrassed, "... Uh.. you know I've never used one before? heh..." The extent of my airbrush knowledge was pressing the "ON" switch of Andy's Badger air compressor.  But as it turns out, that is a plus in reviewing how easy the system is for a n00b.

ASSEMBLY // The system is super easy to put together.  Plug in.  Connect cord from the compressor to a small valve, and valve to air gun.  DONE.   

The compressor uses 'selective air flow' which means it only makes noise when you use it.  It's awesome!  Most compressors go "WWWWRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHWWWW" loud enough to make your neighbors think there's an inter-dimensional portal in your house.  This one is very quiet, and even silent when you stop painting!

enamel on natural leather is waterproof!

PAINTING // I tested this machine on a pair of custom shoes I was commisioned to emblazen with SHE-HULK {Rock on in those Steve, by the by}  These shoes were matte leather so all I did was pour the green enamel in the cup attachment and start it up.

The first time no paint came out; and after a short trouble-shooting session, the problem was that I didn't connect the cord tight enough and needed to open the air flow valve (which was just fail common sense on my end)

The air gun has a variety of ways to adjust air pressure + paint flow, giving you great varying line widths.  It takes practice but you can get it down in about an hour.

the result


The machine is quiet, easy to clean and compact... and it looks hot. {for an air compressor}

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WHO IS THIS FOR? //  A $400 airbrush system is only for die-hards and businesses, but it's worth it.

Consider getting this machine if you : work in custom apparel + shoes, do auto-detailing, have a cake-decorating business, run a beauty salon, are painting in a large studio with other artists + you all share one, work in special effects, create silkscreens + stencil art, or are creating vinyl toys.

Now I know what you're thinking... "Airbrush is for guys stuck in the 70s who paint wizards on their vans"

Airbrushing doesn't have to be associated with these :

USES //   Airbrushing can be used for lots of things!

paper, canvas + leather; model kits, vinyl + plastic toys, customizing hats, bags + shoes; painting wood + furniture; make-up + special effects application; decorating cakes + other food; detailing cars, motorcycles + metal-working; etc...

Kaiju Big Battel limited edition vinyl toys
{which we featured at the Pop Euphoria show last year}

evenly glaze or paint confections!

Famous makeup-artist Rick Baker is a master with this stuff

{What Popeye would look like in real life}

ETC // Notes

The benefits to using an airbrush is the 'hand-less' quality of the paint.  With no visible brush strokes, the paint job looks almost mechanically perfect. 

My favorite part of using an airbrush is actually going in after the first layer has dried, working over it with paint pens, inks + other dyes.  I love combining the "mechanical perfection" with hand-drawn elements.  But I also just love mixed media artwork, since using one media over and over makes me feel stifled.

December 16, 2009

Sherlock Holmes + Xmas things

It's just a short 9 days until Christmas!  We had a fun week - after working on some graphic novel pre-production, we hit up a Christmas party for Museum staff and then Rifftrax Live where they spoofed some holiday short films with Weird Al as a special guest.  Hilarious!

If you don't know Rifftrax - it's the MST3000 guys adding witty commentary tracks to all kinds of movies.  { Reccomended Riffs // "Eragon", "Twilight", "Harry Potter", and "Star Trek 5" }  The event we went to was a live simulcast of their performance in California.  My grandparents listen to opera simulcasts - we... listen to Weird Al.  Ahh culture.

Look at that nice, clean studio

 fancy confections at the Museum Director's house

please to enjoy two different remixes of JINGLE BELLS


I've talked about our cat Basil before, but felt it the right time to talk about the dude we named him for - Basil Rathbone! 
Basil the cat = not smart.  Basil the actor = crazy smart.

Drawing of Rathbone by our friend JJB {in our kitchen}

Basil Rathbone is THE MAN.  You may know him from Errol Flynn's classic Robin Hood movie, or the narrator for Wind in the Willows, but he is my favorite actor to play Sherlock Holmes.  And his birthday is the day after mine!  Well almost, if I was born June 12th, 1892...

Needless to say, I'm skepitcal of the Robert Downey Jr. movie.  Adding in "strong-willed, 20th Century -hot-lady, ahead-of-her-time" (Rachel McAdams) is just silly.  Hollywood seems to feel they need to inject some sexual tension into it's period films, even if the character is just a shadow of historical accuracy.  Oh well! It's just a movie!

If you want to see some awesome Sherlock Holmes comics, check out Bret's graphic novel!  Right now it's Alterna Comic's Best Seller!  Congrats, Bret!

December 13, 2009

Little Things

cocoa onsen

Christmas always gets me excited!  I love seasonal candies like peppermint bark + French vanilla cocoa, getting gifts for people and putting a new string of colored lights up in the living room.

     I really love trying to find weird, bizarre gifts for people, and hopefully my weird, bizarre friends enjoy getting them. {ALISON} Of course, the friends who weren't interested in keychains of Kewpie mayonnaise or dancing robot pencil sharpeners are decidedly lame and we gradually stopped swapping gifts.  They got tired of the forced smiling and figuring out what to do with getting bacon floss or whatever.  Oh well!

our tree this year

    Andy and I had a great weekend, between our 4 favorite restaurants we can kind of sample most of the world.  Which is great - since I can't really cook anything that requires more steps than boiling water.  Speaking of boiling water - I seem to be perpetually cold again this year, so I took a hot bath with some Japanese onsen powder.

I assumed this stuff would turn me into a Batman villian, but alas, it did not.

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Our cat Basil has been bored lately.  He even started scratching up the garment bag that holds my wedding gown.  Yeeek!  He needs a friend.  We're looking at getting a second cat; but I think in our hearts we really want a puppy.  Maybe in the new apartment, 2010! 

★ Many thanks to Teddy for sending me photos of the Gallery 1988 opening including my section of works on paper. 

December 8, 2009

Desktop wallpaper - Deerberries

It's been a long time since I posted a desktop wallpaper!  
{This one feels a bit like a reindeer ... }

NEW 12.11  1920x1200 added


 Hope everyone is having a good holiday season, our is going surprisingly well!  Holiday stress has been pretty much nil even with wedding planning!    I have work in a couple of gallery shows both opening this Friday, coincidentally both in bay-cities on opposite ends of the country.

Please check them out!  The work is so inspiring!

 Poster print available at : SPACE 242 BOSTON // Dec 11th - Jan 8th '10
Original drawing on paper available at :  GALLERY 1988 SAN FRANSISCO // Dec 11th - Dec 23rd


Print sale still goin' strong until Christmas!

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Yuka : KO