Friday, April 20, 2012


I recently made a little set of notecards for a special girlfriend's birthday. She's a loyal blog visitor, and a writer of lovely notes, so I knew she'd appreciate them. I decided to focus on drawings of edibles, as she's also a wonderful cook.

It was such fun selecting the blank cards and box at my local Paper Source—I could spend hours in that shop! I printed the drawings on my inkjet printer on Canon Matte Photo Paper. (It's a great heavyweight paper, and is reasonably priced, too.) Then, I trimmed them and spray-mounted them onto 5 x 7 notecards (color: "paper bag") and they fit beautifully in a little mailer box (color: "chartreuse"). To make them look more "store-bought", I made a contents label for the back of the box in Adobe Illustrator.

Finally, I cut a vellum band to go around the box, and added a little sticker  that I made by printing one of my drawings onto Avery Clear Sticker Paper that I had lying around. (Being a former graphic designer, I love playing with the packaging details.)

While I'm not quite ready to venture into Etsy territory, I definitely had a great time putting this little package together!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Illustration Friday: Puzzled

You know me...when I learn the topic for Illustration Friday each week, I usually start thinking in botanical terms. This week, "puzzled" reminded me of the strange characteristics of the bark of a Ponderosa pine tree in California's gorgeous Sierra Nevada. When you walk through an area with lots of Ponderosa pines, the ground is scattered with what look like jigsaw puzzle pieces. At certain times in its lifecycle, the trees develop furrows in their trunks that display this amazingly unique texture. I only illustrated a single piece in my drawing above, but this is what it looks like on the tree:

This drawing is a collection of some treasures that I collected last summer while visiting my son, a field biologist, who was studying Spotted Owls near Dinkey Creek in the Sierra. (Don't worry, I'm careful not to pick up bits of nature in protected areas.) The small pinecone is from the huge Lodgepole pine, and the moss is sort of a reindeer-type of moss.
My son has since moved on to another of California's natural wonders, Pinnacles National Monument, where he is part of the California Condor study group. He's a lucky young man: here are his "workplace" shots. (The second shot includes my daughter, who turns 23 today—Happy Birthday, E!)

Dinkey Creek, CA     July 2011
Pinnacles National Monument, CA    April 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Illustration Friday: The Return of Spring

The return of fresh asparagus to the produce department is a sure sign that spring is here. I love the tidy bundles—I even love the lavender rubber band that surrounds them. 

I left this piece unfinished...or is it? I actually like how it looks, and may leave it like this. I find work-in-progress shot very appealings, and sometimes they have a vitality and movement that makes the "finished" piece looks kind of static by comparison. To my eye, especially with pencil drawings, the unfinished image seems to be emerging from the paper. 

What do you think? Does it look unfinished to you?

Monday, April 2, 2012

CP Magazine!

Last month, I received an email, out-of-the-blue, from the amazing Ann Kullberg. (If you are into colored pencil art, then you're no doubt familiar with Ann. She has a fabulous website devoted to colored pencil art, has published a number of books, and even publishes CP Magazine.) Ann was emailing to ask if she could use my delphinium drawing in the April issue of her magazine, which would feature botanical art!  I was thrilled, of course, but quite humbled. Would my little drawing, created to illustrate "gesture" for Illustration Friday, hold its own among pieces by well-known artists? Well, I've just downloaded the digital version of the issue, and I'm happy that Ann chose this piece—it's not your "textbook" photo-realistic botanical art, so I think it helps to illustrate the range of styles in botanical drawings.

So, check out the April issue of CP Magazine—it features the amazing Ann Swan (my idol), a fascinating step-by-step by the talented Susan Jones (her work is exquisite) and includes one of my all-time favorite botanical pieces, that astounding Savoy cabbage drawn by Janie Pirie. Thank you so much for including my little bouquet, Ann!!