Tuesday, December 17, 2013


It has been a crazy couple of months.
All good things, though!
I have been able to work on some fun commissions and freelance projects lately.
Also, I have been lucky to have my family in town for the holidays!
I knew I needed to post at least one last time before the year ended.
So, I drew a little something to say "Happy Holidays!"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

# Inktober

Last month the awesome Jake Parker posted a challenge on his blog to do ink drawings over the month of October and called it "Inktober"... clever chap!
I had planned to do one every day, but for many reasons, only got a few posted to my Instagram.
Even so, it was really fun getting to play with ink again!
I thought for my Halloween image this year, I would share one of those ink drawings:


Monday, September 30, 2013


It's been a while!
I've been busy, busy- but in good ways.
Since I graduated, I have been working full time and doing lots of freelance work.
To make up for the lack of posting on my blog, I have some fun posts planned for the next few months!

There will be Artist spotlights and lots of illustrations!
Speaking of illustrations... here is a sketch I did over the summer after a trip to the zoo:

Monday, July 15, 2013

'Girls in Whites Dresses'

Here is another piece I had at my BFA show based on the theme 'A few of my favorite things'.
I love shopping, fashion and cupcakes!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Visual Development

It was last summer I looked at so many blogs of artists I liked and whenever I read their profiles, it would say the words 'Visual Development'.

I knew the term 'Concept Design' well enough, but never realized it was used more in the gaming industry.  Visual Development or 'Vis Dev' is concept art for the animation field.

I have always been drawn to the art of animation and now I had found a focus I could both satisfied my needs as an illustrator and my love for animation. I based my senior project on doing a visual development portfolio and I wanted to share those pieces with you.

First I picked a story that not only was nostalgic for me, but had a good variety of characters for me to work with.

Creating characters is more than googling an image and reproducing it in a stylized way.

It is really taking the time to explore the personality of your characters and visually portraying those traits the best way possible to tell the story.
I chose the story 'Snow White and Rose Red', a Grimm's Brother's Fairytale.
The main characters included two young girls, a dwarf and a bear.

I tried to emulate the characters personalities in the environments I created.
Asking yourself questions as you draw helps.

There it is! My first attempt at Visual Development.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Stephen Silver: How to Get More Creative

Doing a BFA Show: My experience.

I have been told by many graduates before me how much work putting on a BFA show would be.
You never completely realize it until you have to do one yourself.
There's a lot that you have to take into consideration, it almost feels like planning a wedding!

The information in this post is more for the people in the program who are looking at doing a show soon, kind of a 'head's up' for my friends who might be a little unaware of whats to come. I hope it helps!

I had originally submitted a proposal for my show in the first part of the semester, Fall 2012 with a completely different direction than what I ended up with.
But when I went to CTN and got some really good feedback on the kind of portfolio's people wanted to see, I decided right then and there I needed to change my whole direction.

Decide ahead of time what direction you want to focus on - gaming, animation, children's book...
whatever it is, you need to know the avenue for your audience.
I wanted to focus on visual development for animation.

By this time, it was already the end of November, so I lost a chunk of time working on my project, but I was determined!

Over the next 6 mths, while juggling a full load of classes and a part time job and then a new full time job, I did whatever I could to get my project finished on time.
It was not easy.

Artists, like everyone else, have good and bad days.
Sometimes everything I draw will turn out exactly the way I want it to, and then other days I will have to redraw one thing over and over again because it's just not working.
For me, this is the most challenging and oddly, the most enjoyable part of drawing.
The feeling of struggling to get something right can be incredibly satisfying.

I planned to do character and environment designs more extensively, but was talked into having more finished images for my show so I cut back on the 'vis dev' pieces and the finished pieces turned into creating a mini children's book for the story I chose.

I am really glad I did these images with my professors advising me through the process.
If I had tried this later on my own I probably would have been really lost.

When you are under the pressure of a deadline, you have to balance what you can and can't get done.
I wish I could have spent a lot more time on each of my pieces... I think it's the curse of an artist to want to keep working and reworking a piece, but know your limits and when to stop.

When it comes to your pieces, take advantage of your access to professors! These people have lot of experience and know what they are talking about (most of the time!) I highly recommend heeding their advice

Remember to factor in time to print, frame and wire all your pieces.
Have everything figured out in the gallery area for displaying all your pieces (hanging space, podiums). Make preparations for creating labels, an artist statement, parking, food and something to wear. If you plan to sell art or prints at your show, be sure you have a payment situation set up too.
(Try to put a trustworthy friend or family member in charge of your sales to keep you free to meet and greet your guests.)
Also, remember that you'll need to advertise your show with posters, postcards, business cards, social media, etc.

PHEW! It's a lot.
You will also need to consider the costs of all these things.
Also be warned that the unexpected WILL happen!
Don't forget to factor in things going wrong: my computer crashed (BACK UP YOUR WORK!), I got sick AND I had car problems.

I would recommend keeping a checklist of all these things so you aren't running around last minute to get everything done.
I would also advise that you have reliable people helping you.
It makes things so much better when you have one less thing to stress about.
In the end things came together and it was definitely a learning experience.
The last piece of advice to my friends still in school is: Enjoy yourselves!
It is a lot of work and can get really difficult at times, and really easy to forget to breathe, but really try to make time to enjoy the journey and you will always have those great memories to look back on.


Opening Reception

As stressful as everything was right up until the show, it turned out to be a great success.
We had a LOT of people come and see it.
When I say 'we' I mean Nate Call, James Allen, Ginny Tilby and myself.

We had decided to do our BFA show together because those are the funnest shows I've been to with more variety and a lot more people attending. Also, you can split the cost on certain things.

We were REALLY lucky to have Nate's wife, Camie offer to make our refreshments. She nailed it.

There were many more people who helped with a lot of the behind the scenes stuff to help pull off such an incredible night:

My awesome husband, Jared, my amazing mother-in law, Denise, my sweet friends-Annie Pugmire, Jacque Secor, Heather Michelle Owens, Stewart Craig, my Sister-in-law and her husband Tyler, who all offered help with random tasks.
I had someone let me borrow their laptop when mine crashed.
My boss an new work mates, who have been super understanding and supportive of my schedule.
My amazing professors who got me here and the incredible Lindsey Sweat who took amazing pictures of the night.

(My Book!)


Nate Call, myself and James Allen. Two great artists I did my show with.

It was wonderful to celebrate the last step in officially graduating with our incredible friends and family who have supported us in this journey.
Though the opening reception was only for one night, the show will be up at the UVU Library for the next two weeks. It's free to the public, so definitely go check it out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Counting down the days!!!

My BFA Show is this week!
I can't believe it's finally here.

Stop by if you can:
UVU Library, 5th floor
28th June- 14th July

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Well, it may have seemed like I have fallen off the face of the earth, but I am trucking away at getting my BFA project finished.
I changed my direction after attending CTN to focus on a Visual Development portfolio, which is completely new to me.
Never doing one before, I didn't realize that I hadn't given myself the time I really needed to take on such an endeavor.

Working out the main ideas, thumbnails and style took up most of the semester this Spring and now I am doing all my drawings and paintings in 6 weeks (when I am not at work).
As crazy as it has been, I love doing it.
The moment I come home, I sit and my desk, turn on some Pandora or Schoolism interviews and draw away.

From this process, I have already learned a lot on how I will do things differently the next time and the ideas buzzing through my head are making me excited to already start on my next projects once my BFA is finished.
Here's a couple of sketches I did for one of my characters:

Sorry about the quality, not so great, but I will post better ones soon!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Outstanding Start

Only two weeks before I walk at graduation! I'm counting the days.
An update on last week's Club Social, our club was nominated for the 'Outstanding Start' Award and we won!

It was a really a fun night and I felt so excited for all the incredible people who made this happen.
Our club really has done some rad stuff in it's first year of being around.

Here is part of our Club Bio they read on the night-

We are the resident Illustration Club at Utah Valley University. We are committed to providing a place for artists of every level to meet and learn from each other, as well as share our talents with the community through print sales and service.
This past year the community service projects we were involved in were painting murals at Lakeridge Junior High and making artwork to display at Primary Children's Hospital.
We also had the opportunity to have Guest Lecturer, Terryl Whitlatch, Creature Designer for "Star Wars", "John Carter" and other blockbuster films, give a workshop to our students and community members.

Besides the fun things I have going on, I'm spending most of my spare time (when I'm not in class or work) trying to work on my BFA.
I have a sneak peak to share with you!

I'm working on a Visual Development  portfolio for children's story and this is one of the character explorations.
More to come soon!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Big Things

I officially have less than a month of classes left of school!
I'm both excited and sad about this. 
I'll be happy to have more time to work on personal projects, but I'll miss being a part of an incredible learning environment.

Besides walking at graduation at the end of the month, I have some big things happening over the next few weeks to look forward to:

Club Social- The Illustration Club I helped start at UVU has been nominated for awards which is pretty great for our club being so new. There will be a dinner and award ceremony this week. Even if we don't win, I'm really happy that we were nominated. I'm proud of what we've accomplished in such a short amount of time. 

Publications- My artworks were chosen to be in 2 publications for UVU this year. 
The publications, "Warp and Weave" and "Touchstones" are having launch party's next week. I was emailed by the "Touchstones" editor, letting me know I received a 3rd place award for the piece I submitted and 1st place for one of my pieces in "Warp and Weave"!

Gallery Show- My awesome friend Adam Munoa has been asked to do a show at the Hive Gallery on the 25th and he extended the invitation to me and Stewart Craig to join him.

I'm super excited to have such great things happening this month. I will keep you posted on how it all pans out
AND of course more info on my BFA coming soon!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chevron Stripes

I love playing with patterns and one of my favorite trends right now is the chevron stripe.
Here's an image I did for fun (taking a little break from HWK).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Peter and the Wolf

Its been a while since I last posted.
I've had a lot going on, but in a good way.
I recently started a new job as a Illustrator/ Designer! 
So far its been really great.
It's kind of crazy that my life at UVU is coming to an end, but I'm also excited for my next big adventure.
School isn't over for me just yet though. 
I still have my BFA show coming up this summer and one more month of classes left.
Here's an assignment I had to do for one, an illustration for the story "Peter and the Wolf".

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sneak Peak

I have been working on something for my BFA project that is a new challenge for me. I’m already learning a lot from the process (of what NOT to do.)
But as challenging as it has been, I love doing it. 
People who like running know exactly what I’m talking about.
The first time I decided to run a ½ marathon, the idea of lasting 13.1 miles was daunting.
But over a few months of training, I was running 14 miles on a good day up the canyon.
I wasn't running as fast as I wanted, but I was doing it. 
Some days were definitely harder than others. When I missed a few days, I'd paid for it. I realized how much of it takes mental power over the physical to keep myself going. 
The day of the race I was so pumped, I ran it faster than I did anytime training for it.
When I finally accomplished my goal, it felt amazing.
I wanted to do it again, only better!
That is exactly how it feels with art.
I wanted to share a sneak peak of what I'm working on for my BFA show this summer (more details on that to come.)

Really early Character Study sketches:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Frosty Hugs

Class assignment.
We were supposed to play with scale, flat shapes and anthropomorphism.

What a Week!

This has been an incredible week.
I was able to hang out with the amazing artists at Disney's Avalanche Studios, went to a lecture and all-day workshop with Creature Designer Terryl Whitlatch and attended the SCBWI conference featuring Martha Rago, Art Director for HarperCollins publishing.

At Avalanche, the artists were so incredibly nice and gave me some great advice.
This advice can be summed up in a quote I found from an interview with David Colman on the Character Design blog:

"On a more specific level as you apply for design jobs be sure to include several designs that show a wide range of styles, versatility is key. Also, maybe a page or so of one character drawn in many different poses, showing the key story points of the character, who the character is.
It really communicates your strengths in trying to figure out the character and developing the design. Many people can draw a really cool design from one angle but only the best can draw that character in every angle, numerous poses, and story sketch ideas. Be sure to show some cleaned up characters, maybe some in color too but if you are not strong in color don’t do it, it will hurt you. Also, have model sheets in your portfolio. A really good turn goes a long way. Add your figure drawings and life studies in the back becauseit is important but should never be the focus of your portfolio. If you are strong in life drawing it will show in your designs."

The people I met were so genuine and willing to give me feedback. I loved being in that kind of environment with such talented artists who are so excited and passionate about what they do and at the same time are so willing to share their knowledge.

When it comes to creature design, though it has never been a a big interest of mine, no one could have gone to Terryl Whitlatch's workshop without gaining an incredible appreciation for what kind of work goes into it and the importance of knowing the science behind art.
Terryl has designed for many movies, books and more such as, "Star Wars", "Brother Bear", "John Carter" and "Brave".
She really pushed the importance of drawing realism well.
Understanding anatomy of humans and animals is a HUGE benefit in being able to create good art.
Being at her workshop made me crave to have the knowledge she possessed.
She is incredibly poised, talented and a charming person.I am SO grateful to have been involved in her workshop.

Then there was the SCBWI conference.
The highlight of the for me was Martha Rago.
She has a vast understanding of what good art is and how it should be presented in a children's book from cover to cover.
The advice I took away from her presentation:

-When creating art for a children's books you need to think about the setting, details, composition, point of view, rhythm or pacing and choice of medium.
-When creating a character you need to think about making them likeable, their consistency in expression, gestures, attitudes and context and overall appearance
-When you are focusing on the narrative, think about staging and sequence, voice or style.
-And always strive to strengthen your level of skill, emotional impact and universality.

When she saw my sketches for the assignment (posted earlier), she had told me to push my character some more and here are a few sketches I did to do that:

This week was full of incredible opportunities and experiences.
I feel motivated and want to continue pushing myself to become a better artist!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Young Hunters

I started this piece as a class assignment, but the requirements were going in a different direction to what I wanted for this piece.
I ended up working on it for fun!

This is my original sketch:

And the piece that  resulted:

Saturday, January 26, 2013

'Princess Cupcake'

I signed up to attend the upcoming 'Society of Children's Book Writer & Illustrators' Utah conference next month. It will be my first time to go and I've heard good things.
My Professor, Will Terry lectured there last year and I was sad to miss it due to prior commitments.

This year Martha Rago, Executive Art Director and HarperCollins Childrens Books will be doing a workshop. We were asked to do some sketches for a suggested story, "Princess Cupcake" and email our images to her for feedback. Whatever feedback we get, we'll then make changes and present the final pieces at the workshop for a critique. These are the rough sketches I sent:

Character Design

Story Scene

(Look familiar? I used the same idea in a previous illustration)

I'm still waiting to to get feedback, but I will make sure to post the final pieces when they are done.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Toned paper

I never really got into drawing on toned paper until this semester. A lot of my art friends love it and I can see why. I thought it would be fun to share a quick sketch I did.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Making muffins

I love Clarence Coles Phillips and his fadeaway girls.
I first learned about him in my 'History of Illustration' class and I fell in love with his beautifully designed compositions.
The muffins are of course inspired by memories of baking with my mum.
The 'Great American Cookbook' she has is not only falling apart, but covered in smudges of flour and batter from all the baking we did as kids.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I cannot believe it's already 2013.
I had to do a post to commemorate the new year, but unfortunately I haven't had a ton of free time to do anything finished, so here's a quick sketch I did earlier today.

I have high hopes for 2013 and let's hope it's a good one for all of us!