April 30, 2012

30DC: Day 17: Favorite Plant

As you might have guessed from Day 7, I like plants very much. A favorite plant is kind of difficult for me to pick as I like most for different reasons. I love my citronella plant for keeping bugs away. I love tomato plants because they cough up delicious food. But I think the most used plant I own and the one that I consistently grow every year is: Basil!

But there is a sure fire way to make any plant my favorite though... Googly Eyes. Watch this, if you have not already seen it: Man Who is Afraid of Plants.
Not only does Basil smell great, but I use it in almost everything I cook, since I am Italian. Pesto, seasonings, red sauce, caprese salad, flavored olive oil, etc... Plus it is kind of hard to kill.

April 27, 2012

30DC: Day 16: Inspiration

Halfway though now. Woot!

Inspiration has many names, mine is named Collette!... oh wait, that's Ratatouille. :P

Guess mine would be a blank piece of paper, but that would make for a pretty boring image today, so instead I went with something that always inspires me to draw: Getting new pencils/markers/erasers/supplies.

In case anyone is interested... I use a spiral bound sketchbook with a green cover... pretty sure its a thicker archival quality paper inside. I usually sketch my doodles with a Prismacolor 6H 'chemi-sealed' pencil. Since I am poor and cannot afford the fancy inking brushes and pens that most illustrators use, I just use a plain old Sharpie pen, extra fine. I do have one Zig Millennium 005 pen, but I rarely use it since it is SO fine (meaning it has an almost microscopic tip that I really only use for detail work and things that are important). 

April 26, 2012

30DC: Day 15: Family Picture

Today's prompt was hard again... jeeze... this thing really is a "challenge"!

Drawing my family is tough. We are no longer all in the same place... I stayed, everyone else moved! I'm in what I consider our families' home in DFW, my younger brother and sister are in Houston and my parents are in Tennessee. So I had no pictures of us all to use for reference. Instead I decided to kind of take a little liberties and make up something a little silly with just me and my siblings.

My sister started this phrase, not sure when or how, but she just one day squealed "LOOK AT IT" and held her little dog, Minky, up to the phone in Facetime. It stuck with me and always makes me laugh. Looking through my old photos trying to find the screenshot of this occasion I also found an image of my sister trying to pick up my 60lb dog in the same way and I thought it would be hilarious if I had tried to do the same thing to her with my pup. And recently my brother has acquired a scooter! He has been working on for a while now and it is finally finished, so he has mentioned how cool it is and fun to drive every time I talk to him recently. This scene formed in my mind out of all of that.

It was really hard to caricature my siblings in the same way that I have come to feel comfortable drawing myself... I hope they don't get insulted by the results. :)  I like it anyway...

Miss you!

April 25, 2012

30DC: Day 14: Favorite Fairytale

Guess I will have to say... Beauty and the Beast. Never really read any and only been familiar with the movies, but I liked how everyone thought she was strange for reading. I could relate. Decided to take it to my own past a bit when I drew it. I also thought it might be fun to make the Beast a bit more timid.

A teacher at Ursuline Academy of Dallas emailed me last year for permission to slightly alter and use this image for a student play. I was honored to be asked and of course gave my blessing. I have heard back and wanted to share:
Ursuline's design for their t-shirts for the play.
    "[the play] went well Angela, thank you.  Very little modification of your image was done.  We put an Ursuline-style skirt and saddle oxfords on her... We met our sales quota and made enough to send $1000 to our friends in Kenya, The St. Catherine’s Nangina Girls’ School.  Two orphans will continue their education for another year.  Sister Anne expressed great gratitude and prayed God’s blessings upon us."
I am so happy that something I made as just a doodle was able to help out other students both here and abroad.

April 24, 2012

30DC: Day 13: Comic (Assassin's Creed 2)

I used to do comics about my semester in college in Rome. That's where the name of this blog came from, however I have not done one in a long time.

So since everyone loves video games and comics relating to them I thought I would try my hand at one. I also made it a bit based off a meme and a few rage faces. Hopefully you at least chuckle.

Assassin's Creed 2

If you haven't played it, I highly recommend it. I haven't been excited to play a game this much since Katamari Damacy.

April 23, 2012

30DC: Day 12: Most Recent Accomplishment

These just keep getting harder... I started out thinking "I haven't accomplished anything lately." But the more I think about it, the more I feel like, no, everything I do is accomplishing something! So, I guess if we are talking BIG things, than I feel like having my art be printed in a box which will be sold online and in stores is a pretty big accomplishment. Especially since I have gotten good feedback.

Really, though, last week I put some finishing touches on a 24 page guide, and the week before that I finished a 100+ page operations manual and both of those things were no easy feat.

How about this: every time I finish a project feels like a big accomplishment to me!

April 20, 2012

30DC: Day 11: Turning Point

Another tough one. I could say when I moved to Texas in 1999, or when I met my future husband that same year. I could say when I moved on from my school days by graduating from UD in 2007.  I could say when I got a job and decided that Graphic Design might just be able to allow me to live the way I wanted. I could say when I got married, but that would be a half truth since I don't think marriage did much other than tell everyone else what we already knew for 10 years: that we were going to be together forever. I could say when I got a dog. (Most people wouldn't consider it a turning point/ life changing event, but for someone who had never had pets or something to really look after, it was for me.)

More like it is all of those things. I think I can my call my turning point that period of my life between 2007 and 2010. Those years I went from being a bit of a scatterbrained art student to a working somewhat-more-organized wife.

I also said goodbye to my studio art days. I do miss those long nights in buildings full of potential. Messing with clay, mixing glazes, etching plates, applying ink, exposing images... I also kind of miss studying art history. I keep saying to myself that I should go and reread all my art history books, but I don't have much time and day to day life gets in the way.

These 30 days are a little way to get back to at least holding a pencil and drawing on some paper. Maybe I can reclaim a bit of lost creativity.

Hopefully if I keep moving forward, I will be able in the future to once again have a studio to work, create, fail and succeed in... along with all those other things that make my current situation wonderful.

April 19, 2012

30DC: Day 10: Favorite Candy

I know it says favorite candy, but I don't really have one. I like Reese's Pieces and Mounds, but not enough that I would go out of my way to get them. However there is one chocolate snack that I will try to import on a somewhat regular basis from other parts of the country: Mallomars.

Most people in Texas don't know what they are because we are too far away from where they are made and too hot most of the year for these delicate confections to make it to this great state. Dark chocolate enrobed fluffy marshmallow on top of a light, buttery cookie. It's everything a S'more should be, but without the pain of making a fire and then having a cold graham cracker, too thick chocolate and messy marshmallow everywhere. If you see one, and you like marshmallow, chocolate and cookies, EAT IT.

April 18, 2012

30DC: Day 9: Favorite TV Show

I think by now, you should all know plenty about my love of Adventure Time, so rather than populate the entire 30 days by drawing AT characters, I decided to do another show that I really like.

If you don't know, the premise of the show is that four chefs cook an appetizer, entree and dessert and each round has its own basket of mystery ingredients that must be incorporated in some way. They are judged on presentation, taste and creativity. Right now they are doing an All Stars where the first episode was four of the Iron Chefs competing. Pretty awesome stuff came out even though the ingredients are always tricky to say the least. Did I mention it has Ted Allen? He's like Alton Brown and Tim Gunn: a little snarky, very intelligent.

Some good examples: (appetizer = a, entree = e, dessert = d)
Teething Biscuts, Hungarian Hot Peppers, Raspberries, Canned Haggis (e)
Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Bison Sirloin Steaks, Spinach, Italian Hot Peppers (e)
Cosmopolitan Mix, Dried Apples, Biscotti, Edible Flowers (d)
Smoked Mozzarella, Fresh Pasta Sheets, Rainier Cherries, Hot Dogs (a)
Leftover Pizza, Leftover Beer, Graffiti Eggplant, Dried Plums (e)
Black Bass, Raspberry Lavender Rissotto, Savoy Cabbage, Caul Fat (e)
Amber Ale, Salmon Fillets, Frisee, Kantola (a)
Bloody Mary Mix, Chicken Steak, Seedless Green Grapes, Cashews (e)
Fresh Pasta Sheets, Plum Tomatoes, Basil, White Chocolate (d!! especially vicious I think)
it goes on and on...

Chopped, Food Network (FIOS 164), Tuesdays @9pm CST

April 17, 2012

30DC: Day 8: Favorite Animated Character

Another tough one... lately I have seen a few good animated movies and I love characters like Arrietty, Po and King Kazuma... But favorite?? Of all time?? Well then I guess that is obvious from looking at my possessions.

My Neighbor Totoro. 
I really like the character, but the movie, not so much.

April 16, 2012

30DC: Day 7: Favorite Word

This prompt was hard. I have spent since the first day I decided to do this challenge thinking about it. I can tell you my husband's favorite word: Defenestration. But me? I was trying to think of my favorite word to use or my favorite word to say (caterpillar?). Finally I decided on a word that always makes me smile...

Not sure when I really realized that I love growing things, but I do. I am currently growing all these and a few more. Others being Citronella plant (to keep out mosquitos), Marigolds (as a bug lure to protect the tomatoes), Zinnias, Tulips, and Blueberries.

Warm sun, cool water, the smell of the plants and the dirt; it's relaxing.

April 13, 2012

30DC: Day 6: Favorite Book Character

To find my favorite book character, I first had to pick a favorite book, which is tough. So I went with the one that I can read over and over without being bored.

The first time I saw a pairing of a boy and a dog was not Adventure Time, but rather the Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. With the third issue of Adventure Time comics out yesterday, and the new episodes, though, AT has been on my mind. So what better way to draw my two favorite characters than in that very popular style. I added one of my favorite quotes to the image.

If you haven't read it, you should. If you have, pass it on to young kids! I overheard a mom in a half price almost not get it for her son who had found and asked for it because the title sounded scary. I convinced her otherwise and I hope her son enjoyed it as much as I did.

Kind of like the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket, this book is full of humorous and silly wordplay with large words that inspire the reader to learn them. The 1970 movie does a good job of portraying this book and I have heard rumors that there will be a remake next year sometime.

"Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life."

Felt like coloring it... so here is that version too.

April 12, 2012

30DC: Day 5: Best Friend

When all else fails, hug the dog. 

I work from home, so she's my only companion/coworker all day. She's my 5 minute break and my lunch time de-stresser. If I'm sad, she sits next to me. If John and I fight, she barks at him. My couch and tv watching buddy. My motivation to get out of bed in the morning and to take a walk in the afternoon.

Amazing that I sometimes take her for granted... Like all the people who are in our lives. It is good to stop and appreciate what we take for granted.

Be the person your dog thinks you are.

April 11, 2012

30DC: Day 4: Favorite Place

I'm realizing that I don't really have ready answers for these prompts... I've been blessed to have traveled a lot, but something that does is make you realize how nice home is.

A comfy couch, loving husband, adorable puppy and something the whole family likes to watch.

April 10, 2012

30DC: Day 3: Favorite Food

Welcome again to another installment of the 30DC!

Favorite Food: This sandwich from Granada Market in Irving, Texas.

Fresh sourdough from a local bakery in Dallas, soft and rich and just a little tangy. Crisp vegetables. Boar's Head deli meats; the best by far. Delicate mayonnaise lace. I have driven upwards of an hour round trip for this lunch. This sandwich is amazing. Period.

Forgot to draw, Zapp's BBQ kettle chips on the side and a Coke. Heaven!!

April 9, 2012

30DC: Day 2: Favorite Animal

My favorite animals are cats... However I cannot own, pet or really even be around one. Allergies. So that my eyes feel as though they are coated in sand rolling around in my skull and tear up and itch. Not to mention the runny nose and stuffed up sinuses. So cute and loving though!!

April 6, 2012

30DC: Day 1: Yourself

Day 1: Yourself

Well there is already one of me at the top of this page... that one was in Photoshop with my wacom Intuos 3 tablet. Here are the new ones though. Like I mentioned before I will do one in SketchBook Pro for the iPad and one pencil/ink version.

This first is sketched based off an image of myself I just took in Photobooth.

The little doodle is how I usually sign cards and things. Little Black Marker started out as a comic of myself and my friends during our college semester in Rome where I bought the smallest black marker in a KaDeWe in Germany. This doodle has evolved from those comics... Ignore the hand, I can do better. Promise. Wanna see? Play Draw Something with me, I'm Angela Skees or Khyarete.

And finally a horrid iPad painting. SketchBook Pro is a pretty robust app. It has several brushes, can do layers, transparencies and hex colors. And will save as a PSD file as well as the standard ones. The problem here that I will have is that there is almost no way for a stylus to get those lines as precise as I feel I am drawing them. But this will hopefully get better in time... we will see.

April 5, 2012

30 Day Challenge: Start!

So I have been meaning to do this for a while...

It will be a good exercise. Feel free to do it along with me and link to it. I know a lot of artists have done it. If you would like to see a somewhat current example by a very talented person you can look at Oliver Akuin's blog.

So, lets get started! (also from now on I will be using the label 30DC for these posts)

April 4, 2012

Viral Marketing Campaigns

Lemony Snicket is a bit of a mystery to me and I like it that way. Both fictional and actual he moves in a realm of intelligence and intrigue, both involved in the real world and the one he has created. For example, have you read his observations of the Occupy Movement?

The name is a pen name and you might know him from the numerous books that he has written. If you have not read the Series of Unfortunate Events, than I have a question for you... WHY NOT? "Its for children." you might reply and I would answer "True enough, but that is only on the surface and the shelf that it sits on in the library."

The truth is that if you, as a learned adult, were to read said series, you might just discover the inkling of the larger nefarious plot afoot in the lives of the Baudelaire children. For instance, what is the VFD? A name, an organization, something hinted at in the outskirts of your mind as you read. These questions are only exacerbated if you take into account and read the other novels that orbit around the primary series like satellites. Or perhaps you might wonder, who is Beatrice? (I have often wondered if something is meant to be drawn between the relationships between Lemony and Beatrice and Dante and Beatrice.)

Anyway, I digress, the purpose of this article is not to spur you into going out and purchasing the entire series for your iPad and digesting them at an unhealthy rate, but rather to demonstrate a new marketing technology that I find fascinating: Drip Campaigns, Viral Marketing, whatever you call it!

I happened to stumble upon this site. I have no recollection of how I got there, but once there it was clear to see that something was happening and all I needed to do was express an interest in what that was and provide my email address. The impetus for all the events to follow.

Nothing happened. A few weeks went by and I put the strange site out of my mind. And then I received this in my inbox.

After staring at the image for a few days I saw something that I thought might just be the reason... VFD. It is maddening! I replied to the email and got this response:

Hilarious. So I waited some more. Every few weeks, I would check my email to find another clue, another puzzle, another maddening hint.

 Then I got one that said Drop Everything! with the date March 28th and an image of a man falling from the sky. I cannot show you that email, because after March 28th the email image somehow changed and became this:

It is the cover of a new book to be released sometime in October. Exciting isn't it! What an excellent use of email, to ratchet up anticipation and inspire your loyal followers to talk about it to friends, coworkers and strangers. Just a light touch; never once saying "Buy This" or "On Sale Soon" simply gaining interest and allowing your market to find your product in their own way. It is refreshing and keeps me looking for more, and was glad to see that although an announcement was made, the campaign was not over.

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book.
Can you see how powerful this marketing technique can be? I bet you have experienced something like it and not even realized it. That is it's true power.

April 2, 2012


Adventure Time is awesome and inspiring; lets just accept that as fact.

Been working on these for a while, but only now got around to photographing them. Lady Rainicorn is one of my favorite characters, and with a wonderful selection of colorful yarn at my local store it was only a matter of time before I had enough colors to tackle her. I had first thought to simply crochet an amigurumi plush toy, but then I thought a scarf might be more appropriate and not to mention easy.

It was simple to just crochet color rows, changing colors at the end of each row in accordance with her colors from a image I found online. I whipped up a few legs (2sc, chain 1, turn) following her color scheme and a head. Made a horn by decreasing a ring of 6 to one, and then painstakingly threaded light yellow yarn for a mane and tail. She was such fun, and I had so much orangey yellow yarn left over that I thought to make a companion scarf for my hubby as Jake the Dog.

Jake is still a work in progress but I shall try to finish him tonight during the NEW episode! One thing to note is that these scarves are really really long, but not very wide... Perhaps I could slip stitch them together at some point. Hrmmmm. Once they are both done, they will get felt eyes.

I think they will look very cute together. And for super cold days, you could wear them both together and their snuggling could keep you very warm indeed.