Drawings: Girls Drawing Girls final sketch of Jasmine

Here’s my final drawing of Jasmine.  She will be printed in Volume IV of ‘Flora + Fauna’, the annual Girls Drawing Girls book, along with the work of quite a few amazing female artists (check out the GDG website for artist links). I wanted to keep Jasmine looking soft so I kept her colour palette washed out and subtle. She’s holding a tuxedo kitty plush, which is a nod to my sweet kitty whom I miss dearly. ❤

And one extra pic of her starting to be inked…

And here’s Lucky, my inspiration for Jasmine’s plush cat.

Drawings: Girls Drawing Girls rough sketch of Jasmine

Here’s a little sneak peek of my sketch for the next Girls Drawing Girls book. GDG releases an annual book comprised of artwork from all members. This year will be the release of Volume IV, and the theme is Flora & Fauna, with my flower being Jasmine. Because the flower is white, I wanted to create a soft looking — yet sexy — pin up girl. She has Jasmine flowers throughout her hair. She will be inked and coloured with very light shades of whites and pinks. Stay tuned for more pics as I finish her up this weekend! 🙂


Graffiti: Sketches + Pieces

I drew this in 1997 for my 1st graffiti piece. I used blue and purple pencil crayons for the lettering and yellow paint for the arrows.

I was really into graffiti back when I was in my senior years of high school (’95-’97).  I wasn’t into the tagging crap you see on mailboxes, I was into the full out colourful mural pieces.  Graffiti is generally thought of in a negative light because of the illegal aspects, but for me it was a very empowering art form.  It was a way for me to explore my own creativity because it has no boundaries.  I already had a huge appreciation for artistic and stylized lettering from my Dad who was a Hand Letterer/Sign Writer (I talked about this in a previous post), so being able to express myself through my own lettering was exciting.  However, not everyone was so encouraging.  I’ll never forget the time my high school art teacher exclaimed: “It’s not art if it’s not in the textbook.”.  Can you believe the close mindedness?!  Ugh, it’s insane.  That basically shuts out most art on this planet!  I remember how much her opinion completely frustrated me.  Thankfully my good friend Air33 (who was as much into graffiti as I was), teamed up with me and we went out to paint walls together.  Female graf artists are rare, so we stuck together, but we were usually not taken that seriously by other artists.  We weren’t looking for approval though, we were doing it for the fun of it.

I was heavily influenced by DAIM and LOOMIT, as they were both totally groundbreaking graffiti artists at the time. 3D lettering was sort of just emerging, and that was the style that I loved. Every single one of their pieces was totally mind blowing and inspiring. Each graffiti artist uses a fake name to identify themselves and write with. I chose the name STAR33. Stars are meaningful to me because they symbolize hope and guidance. Graffiti gave me artistic hope and inspiration. 33 is a special number in my family. 🙂

^ This is my very first piece ever! It was my first time spray painting, so I was getting used to using the spray nozzle (as you can see it’s quite messy). I found out fast that it’s hard to use if you don’t have strong hands. :S I had to change my initially planned purple to orange because we couldn’t get any purple spraypaint. 😛

^ I got to paint on this wall because I was chosen (along with 2 other people) as one of the winners of the Scarborough Arts Council Urban Art Mural Competition in 1996. Each of us were given a huge wall to paint in a dilapidated factory area of Scarborough that was visible from the RT line. It took many weekends in very cold weather to get it done. We were mentored by Sady, who was one of the Scarborough Graffiti greats. It was an amazing learning experience.

^ This was drawn for my 3rd graffiti piece. I wanted it to look shredded, and coloured like there were spotlights shining down on it. The very bottom of the letters spell out “MANICAN”, which was my brother’s B-Boy name at the time.

^ Here’s the piece in progress on the Keele wall in Toronto that is visible from the Bloor subway line. That’s AIR33 on the left and me on the right just before the cops showed up and stopped our progress before we could even get 1/2 way!  Haha. :S This pic is from 1997 (man, I feel old!) 😛 [Pic property of Air33]

^ Next up I did this mural for the North Toronto Memorial Community Centre (NTMCC) in 1997. They didn’t allow spraypaint inside the building (due to poor ventilation), so I airbrushed and hand painted the whole thing. I sketched everything out on paper first, then projected my sketches on the wall. Then I outlined the letters and characters with pencil, and from there I painted everything. It took a few months, because I only had a few hours to go there after school. My Dad helped me out tons on this project from letting me use his airbrush, projector, scaffolding and of course a few mural painting tips. Thanks Dad! 🙂

^Here are some of the (super shiney looking) characters. They’re supposed to look sporty since the mural is in a Community Centre. If you notice in the pic of me above, I’m wearing the same red shorts as my mural. LOL. I haven’t been back to NTMCC in years, so I don’t even know if this mural is there anymore. 😛

When I got into College I didn’t have any time left to do extra art on the side (they worked us like dogs!), so I stopped doing graffiti altogether.  :\  But I still totally love and appreciate the art form to this day!  If you want to see Toronto Graffiti (’96-’97) from lots of amazing artists, check out my photo gallery here.  My girl Air33 is producing a photography book called T.Oldskool, all about old school Toronto graffiti.  Keep an eye on her site because the book will be available soon! 🙂

In Progress: Two plush dolls > pics + creative process

I’m currently making two plush dolls for a special project, so I thought I’d share some in progress pics and talk about making them. 🙂

1) First I start out with a rough sketch of what I want to make.  I already have an idea of what their personalities are like, and I try to bring that out in their expression, outfit, and overall look.  My creative process is always evolving, and new decisions are made at every step that I could never have forseen with the initial sketch (later on you can see that I scrapped the dresses, and swapped the mouths).

2) Next I choose the colours and fabric I want to use. I lay everything out in an abstract kind of way to help visualize what colours go together, and what don’t before I start cutting the fabric.

3) Then I cut everything out. It’s hard to tell that they’ll look any good at this point, lol.

4) Then I sew everything together that I can with the sewing machine (it makes my life easier!) and I start stuffing body parts.

5) Everything is sewn together! In this pic you can see that I’ve done a bit of handsewing already (sewn the legs on the body, sewn the hair on the heads, etc), and I’ve also pinned the eyes on their faces.  I do this so I can start adding the smokey-eye look (with pastels and q-tips) exactly where I want before sewing the eyes overtop of the added makeup.

6-7) I hand sew the tiny collars for the dresses, and choose which buttons will suit the white-haired girl best. Then I sew their eyes on after adding eyeshadow and blush.

8 ) I think once they have smokey eyes, the dolls really start to come together and their personality starts to show. At this point I’m figuring out what type of lace I’m going to use for the ruffle collar and other lacey accents. Their heads and arms aren’t attached yet… I do those last.  The white-haired girl’s hair buns won’t be sewn on until last because her buns sit low on her head, and I need to have room to sew the ruffle collar to her neck first.  The ruffle collars are then pre-sewn (so they are nice and ruffly), and ready to be attached to the bodies.  In this pic I decided on pink mouths.

9-10) The dolls are both happy (and unhappy) with their new smiles, and can’t wait for me to finish them!  I’ll be revealing their names & backstories when they’re completed. 🙂

…To be continued…

Drawings: Superhero chicks!

This week I drew two of my favourite girl superheros for fun. My plan is to take the time to draw more (like Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, etc…) I tried a new colouring technique this time. Instead of doing the flat layer of colour thing, I decided to colour them in properly. It took me much more time, but I think they look pretty good this way, especially Wonder Woman, since she’s so colourful and vibrant. I tried to make my line really clean this time around, because I wasn’t too happy with my messy lines in my previous drawings. (I was once a clean-up artist, so I really should try to keep my skill up.) Now that I look at them, I think they look like animation cels with that white background! Anyways, without further ado, here’s:

Wonder Woman

…and Catwoman!

Drawings: Alice and the Geisha

Sketchclub didn’t have a theme this week (not that I’m good at keeping up with it anyways…), but I decided to draw my own stuff this week anyways. I always start off with a Col-Erase pencil (in this case I used the colour pink), and when I have sketched everything out, I clean-up my sketch with a blue ball-point pen. Then I did the usual thing of adding a layer of colour over top of my drawing in Photoshop. This is what I came up with:

Alice’s Shock

In this scene, Alice has just fallen down the rabbit hole in pursuit of the white rabbit. She tries to go through a small door to chase after him, but she’s too big. Alice drinks a shrinking potion (to get through the door), but when she’s shrunk, she realizes that she’s forgotten the key on the table, so she finds a piece of cake (in my case a chocolate chip cookie), takes a bite and gets bigger again. She grows way too big to get through the door and begins to cry. Her teardrops create The Pool of Tears, which whisks her through the door and off to Wonderland. (For the Alice fans, you might notice that this drawing is in homage to John Tenniel’s version. ^_~) When I added the layer of blue to the drawing, I decided to add a bit of white to Alice’s eyes and pink to her cheeks to really enhance her look of shock.

Sad Geisha

Okay, I have to admit it: I *love* Geisha’s. I love them for their aesthetic value, and I love their dedication to their artistic lifestyle. One of my Flickr contacts (mboogiedown) is always posting absolutely gorgeous photos of authentic Geisha’s (Geiko’s) and Maiko’s, and it’s such a delight to peer into this secret world. It’s really hard *not* to appreciate the beauty of these women. Geisha’s wear a kimono (which can consist of over 10 layers of fabric), all held together with an obi (the large “belt” that is tied around their waist). They also wear geta (wooden sandals) which can be almost a foot high off the ground, so their body movement becomes quite limited and restrictive. However, when they do have to move around to dance, they can get quite expressive poses with simple shapes like the tilt of a head or a bent arm (like this photo or this one). I love playing around with these shapes while I’m drawing Geisha’s. This drawing is also a commentary on the life of a Geisha. I will never know what it is like to dedicate my entire life to mastering the arts 24/7, but I can just imagine that you’d have to sacrifice a lot. I think there is such a beauty to Geisha’s, yet I think there is an incredible sadness about them too. So, my Geisha is feeling sad as she lets beauty fall away.

I guess I have Geisha’s on the mind more than usual because of the Hannari: Geisha Modern documentary premieres in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like to read more information about Geisha’s, the Immortal Geisha site is great for information (for instance, did you know that the first Geisha were men?) and they have a great forum, too. If you’re looking for a great read, pick up Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki, a true biography written by a real Geisha who lived in Kyoto. Her story is fascinating, and she hopes to squash the common stereotype that all Geisha are prostitutes… a stereotype that is held up as fact in the well-known Memoirs of a Geisha book by Arthur Golden. Even though the life of Sayuri is practically stolen from Golden’s interview with Iwasaki, I still think it’s a good book, and the movie is gorgeous.

Paintings: Zombuki sisters ♥

I recently completed these two acrylic paintings of Hanami and Ume, the Zombuki Sisters. I kept the Hanami painting for myself (because I own Hanami), and I sent the Ume painting to Brigitte (because she owns Ume. Brigitte is also the mastermind behind the Zombuki customs). A few weeks ago Hanami sauntered off to spend some time at the “Zombuki Spa”, getting minor changes to her face-up. When she came back, she was even more gorgeous than I thought she could be! I was so pleased with Hanami’s new changes, that I decided to make something as a thank-you for Brigitte. That’s when I thought of making two paintings of the sisters. I thought it would be fun to make a set of paintings that match when they are side by side (they mirror each other, and the blue/turquoise gradation (that is hard to tell in pics) matches in the background), but they will forever be apart, just like Hanami & her sister Ume. Awww. ♥

[Hanami is on the left, Ume is on the right.]

[Strange Sisters #5, by pbrigitte]

Here are some close-up shots. It’s hard to tell in these pics, but their eyes have a silvery/shiny layer of paint over them.

Here are a few in progress shots:

[First concept sketch]

[First I draw out the preliminary sketch, then I draw directly on the canvas exactly what I’ll be painting. ^_^;]

[Next I just fill it in! I start painting their faces, and then their hair, and after Hanami & Ume are all painted in, I decide on the colour of the background.]

[They’re almost 1/2 done in this pic. There’s my reference pic of Ume, and Hanami thinks this work is very tiring, so she takes a nap. ^_^]

[And after all that painting, they’re finally done!]

More pics here!