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Getting a few anticipation jitters for the upcoming Spectrum Fantastic Art Live week!
  • Listening to: "How to Train Your Dragon" soundtrack
  • Reading: "Troubled Waters" by Shinn
  • Watching: Elysium
  • Drinking: green tea
So, I intend to be inside drawing for the winter.
On what, you ask? Projects of all sorts!
Here is a bit of my 2014 to-do list, copied from my Work-In-Progress blog:

It's good to have goals. :) 

This year's list of stuff to-do gets some inspiration from various items I had on my list last year, along with a few additions. To make it all a little more interesting, don't you know. So, let's get started:

-- Submit entry for Spectrum 21 Fantastic Art
-- Participate in ArtOrder challenges (as time permits)
-- Sketchbook! Printing and selling my first sketchbook, collecting daily doodles and preliminary sketches from a variety of recent projects (not under NDA at the time of printing).
-- Conferences! Currently signed up for two art shows and bringing original art and prints to sell: 
  1. Spectrum Live (May)
  2. IlluxCon (September)
-- Picture Book(s)! 
  1. Subbing one project to publishers in collaboration with a writer already this year (January)
  2. Completion of two dummy book proposals as writer/artist
-- Comics! Complete client projects already in the pipeline, and get some new ones lined up for end of Summer/Fall project development...
-- Graphic novels! Complete proposals already in progress and get to pitching 
-- Book Illustration! I have a fantasy project collaboration with a new writer that I'm very excited about; she has a novella that will be out late Winter/early Spring...I'll be focusing on the art side of things (cover illustrations) along with a few related items.
-- Traditional painting! I already have various studies developed, now I just need to get going on the final paintings, particularly since I intend to bring a few along with me for my conference art tables. From mini to 20 x24 (approx.), mostly acrylic.
-- Update Portfolio(s)! Again. Finally? Especially my main one,, focusing on book jacket illustration (primarily fantasy and sci-fi for YA and adult markets), middle grade projects (jacket and interior art), as well as assorted comic book and graphic novel projects. Lots of new art and some existing client art to show there.  Like art from, for instance, the 2013 Harvey Award nominated WOMANTHOLOGY: SPACE! End of April deadline, but I foresee an "unscheduled" launch in March if not sooner.
-- Drawing and Concept Art! As though I would not be doing that anyways...
  • Listening to: "Gravity" soundtrack
  • Reading: The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic
  • Drinking: morning coffee
Let the Summer 2013 projects begin...
  • Listening to: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows soundtrack
Keeping busy with a couple of winter-themed fantasy illustrations in addition to a couple of other client projects that will be revealed early is a children's picture book and the other a sci-fi adaption comic mini-series (4 issues).

NYC Comic-con was awesome, I learned even more and met some great people.  I'd like to go again next year...thinking that I will see about sharing an art table and bringing a few prints to sell, a sketchbook and maybe some original art -- I have a difficult time parting with my originals...they're like family. ;)

My fantasy YA graphic novel script is moving a bit slower right now, but still progressing.  Today I'll be designing a few building interiors...I need the reference before I start scripting the next chapter.      

New art coming to my gallery (finally) in the next few days....

- t
  • Listening to: Brave soundtrack by Patrick Doyle
  • Reading: Claudia's Story GN
Thought for today: "No spec work."

Donating art you've created for a cause you're interested in supporting is something different and admirable.  That isn't spec work.


Basically, spec work is any kind of creative work rendered and submitted, either partial or completed, by a designer to a prospective client/employer before taking steps to secure both their work and an equitable fee. Under these conditions, a designer will often be requested to submit work under the guise of either a contest or an entry exam on actual, existing jobs as a "test" of their skill. In addition, the designer normally unwittingly loses all rights to their creative work because they failed to protect themselves by means of a signed binding contract or agreement. The client/employer often uses this freely gained work as they see fit without fear of legal repercussion.


The designer in essence works free of charge and with an often falsely advertised, overinflated promise for future employment; or is given other insufficient forms of compensation. Usually these glorified prizes or "carrots" appear tantalizing for creative communicators just starting out, ending with encouraging examples like "good for your portfolio" or "gain recognition." The reality is that they often yield little extra work, profit or referrals. Moreover they often must sign a contract unwittingly waiving their valuable creative rights and ownership of their work to the ones promoting this system. A verbal agreement is ineffective in protecting the rights of the designer in a court of law. As a result the client/employer will often employ other designers using similar unprincipled tactics to change and/or resell the creative work as their own. This also promotes the practice of designers ridiculously undercharging themselves in the hopes of "outbidding" any potential rivals, devaluing both their skills and those of the graphics industry in the process. Promoting this method encourages some clients/employers to continue preying on uninformed creatives for menially valued labor.


To answer this, ask yourself:

    Will I equitably pay a winning designer for the work rendered as if they were hired under contract to do the same thing?
    Will I negotiate a proper compensation for the usage rights commensurate to their level of skill?
    Will I return the working files and usage rights to ALL designs submitted, particularly if they don't win?

If the answer is "no" to any of these questions then your contest likely promotes speculative work. Moreover, any contest that expects a designer to work for free ( especially in the case of the "losers" ) encourages the undervaluing of a designer's labor, which ultimately undermines the quality of any professional workplace.

Read more here:
I seem to be posting about once a year...that may soon change. :)

"Womanthology:Heroic" was a most excellent experience, and I learned just how different it was to be a contributing comic book artist as opposed to a children's book illustrator. I also met (virtually) a lot of awesome people involved in the production of this project. In fact, I enjoyed the experiences so much, I was ecstatic to be asked to contribute art to the start of the next anthology, "Womanthology: Space". That story, written by Sandy King, is in Issue #1 which will be published through IDW this Fall (September 2012 if everything goes to plan).

And now, I am putting the practical experience I gained to my own project -- a YA fantasy graphic novel that I am both writing and illustrating.  This was a project I had been musing about for awhile (several years in fact), but just wasn't sure what steps I needed to take to actually create it.  Well, now I'm doing it. The 40+ page (Word file) outline was completed a few months ago, and I've been working on the script in-between other projects.  It may end up being 300+ pages of drawing...unless my editor helps me compress it a bit, if the story needs it. Yesterday, I received my pro-badge approval for NYCC; so my goal now is to make a pitch with the finished script, bring along some sample pages (prints, not originals) and concept art (characters and sets) with me...and then we'll see what happens. I decided not to get an art table, but I might be sharing with other Womanthology contributors...I'll post as soon as I find out more.

Thinking that I'll probably start posting a finished page online periodically (hmm...need to figure a timeline for that).

In the meantime, I'll continue working on my freelance illustration paying client work is still very key to the happiness of my creative world. :)

- t
I am very excited to be one of the artists contributing to the Womanthology comic book project to be published by IDW Publishing, with funding via Kickstarter. Artist Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn graphic novel) wanted to create a comic book anthology that would be developed entirely by women, with all proceeds from sales of the Womanthology Comic Book going to charity (GlobalGiving). Check out the video and visit the blog to find out more about the project, its creative contributors, and our Kickstarter launch today at 6pm Eastern.

Womanthology Video:
Womanthology Blog:

And, yes, I'll be posting some new art soon! :)
  • Listening to: Kingdom of Heaven soundtrack
  • Reading: "The Iron King" by Julie Kagawa
  • Drinking: Green Tea, hot.
Juggling projects as usual, but I also started up a new weekly sketch practice for myself to work on lighting, speed-painting, and other areas in my artwork that I feel still "needs improvement".  I'm calling it "Friday Faces" and plan on posting a new one of those images every week as I have been doing on my Facebook page.  Also wanted to say how much I appreciate all of the comments I've been getting on my DA artwork -- thank you all very much! :)
  • Listening to: Emiliana Torrini
  • Reading: "Ghost Brigade" by John Scalzi
Finally getting a little cooler here so it's starting to feel like Fall weather for mid-October.  It also means that next month is IlluxCon 3.  It's my first visit to this conference so I'm feeling a lot excited and also nervous; mostly because not only do I get to meet some of my favorite fantasy illustrators, but I'm bringing along some of my own art as well.  Naturally, that means I'm trying to decide what few pieces to bring, revising some older art, and working on some new -- none of which I've posted in my DA gallery as of yet.

And, running out of time to get everything done -- surprise!
Wish me luck!
  • Listening to: Delerium
  • Reading: "Singing for the Dead" by Dana Stabenow
While I love seeing all the beautiful flowers and so much variety of colors (all kinds of greens, too) showing up now that it's Spring -- the pollen is driving me crazy!  And the amount flying around (and covering my poor car) is overwhelming.  Evidently the pollen this year is breaking records everywhere.  Needless to say, I'm taking allergy pills just about every day.

The regional SCBWI conference was this past weekend -- an inspiration to me both as a professional illustrator and as an aspiring writer.  It was a great opportunity to talk directly with a major children's book editor, and an agent who works with picture book writers/illustrators (among other clients). Definitely have some things to think about and do over the next few weeks!

Which brings me to my calendar schedule: I'm updating that today with some new enthusiasm...and now have a little bit of time to work on some of my personal projects.  So, new artwork posts coming soon!

  • Listening to: Mister Sandman
  • Reading: "The Disappeared" by Kristine K. Rusch
Going slightly crazy juggling projects, both creative and otherwise -- the usual Spring insanity! To go along with that theme, evidently tornado season is starting earlier this year: we had at least four last night but thankfully they chose to go around us.

Spent some time working on "Gorgon's Daughter" over the last few days (taking a break from "Kelpie's Rider" so that I can look at it with fresh eyes again when I'm ready). Some excellent progress yesterday on my picture book artwork, a dummy book version of which I'll be bringing with me to the regional SCBWI conference next month and shopping around after that. Settled on the narrative theme for my wyvern illustration which I'm now calling "Dragon Healer" or "What job she wants when she finally grows up".
  • Listening to: Alice's Theme by Danny Elfman
  • Reading: Sisters Grimm
Why I should be at all surprised when my personal project schedules don't go according to plan, I don't know...

Still continuing to juggle various projects both personal and professional. Finally figured out the character pose to update my wyvern concept, so now I just need to get the base detailed drawing done.  Revised my kelpie horse, so now I just need to update the original layout in Photoshop before starting to paint that one digitally, too. Haven't worked more on the other two yet and it's getting close to the end of the month. Bah.
  • Listening to: John Williams' soundtrack for HP3
  • Reading: "Strange Brew" collection
So far I've pulled three...well, maybe four different concepts from my "to-be-completed" list that I'll be working on from now through next week. This also includes thumbnail revisions for one of my picture book projects and my collaborative sci-fi sequential art project as well as some licensed work all of which I won't be posting...until they're published and out in print. :)

- Wyvern illustration (nothing posted here yet)
- Kelpie Ride illustration (line-art previously posted in gallery)
- Gorgon's Daughter illustration (WIP in gallery)
- Baba Yaga illustration (nothing posted here yet)

I've just started the detail line-art for the Kelpie piece, but plan on finishing it over the weekend. I do plan on posting a few work-in-progress images for that over on my sketchblog...and if all goes according to plan, the color piece by Monday.
This is finally my year to get some major new artwork completed that fits my preferred project interests: childrens book illustration, cover illustration (YA, Fantasy and SciFi), and sequential art for comic books and graphic novels.  Have lots to do, yay!

Ideally, I'll be posting new art every two weeks. :)