Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Voyage to a New Blog!

I'd like to invite you all to travel with me to my new "official" blog! Actually, it isn't new at all-- over six months old-- but I wanted to work out a few bugs before I made the formal move.

I think things are in order now, & with the end of the AlphaBots project, this seems like a good time to travel onward. I won't take this blog down, but probably won't be updating it, so I do hope you'll join me over there. You'll see a lot of duplicate content from the last few months at the moment, but I promise there will be new stuff coming soon!

Monday, July 29, 2013


Wow-- the end of another Alphabet Project! Of course I still have a few stragglers to fill in, but I must say I'm happy to be (nearly) done with this one. Over the past six months I've certainly learned a lot about Adobe Illustrator,* but frankly I've lost much of my zeal for vector & robots, & I'm itching to get back to more organic artwork, both in subject matter & technique. I have a completely different & fun new series in my head & can't wait to get started! I'm hoping to have my first piece up in the next week or two-- stay tuned!

In the meantime, check out everybody's AlphaBots from A to Z here!

*I just learned about the Distort/Roughen effect, which I used (twice) on a zig-zag path, to make the zap of electricity on this guy's head look more convincingly random.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cartozia Tales Sneak Peek

I'm excited to be a part of this inventive new comic! Conceived by Isaac Cates, it is co-created by a team of writers and artists who take turns telling fantastic stories about various sectors of an imaginary world, Cartozia. It's really a fascinating system-- read more about it here. The first issue should be coming out in August, & can be pre-ordered now.

Monday, July 22, 2013


I’m not sure what this bot is yearning for, but I’m yearning for more time to do all the things I need/want to do (including catching up on the missing AlphaBots)!

Monday, July 8, 2013


You may have noticed a glaring lack of UV in this alphabet-- no, it's not due to excessive sunscreen use! The last couple of weeks have been a brain-frazzling swirl, but I do intend to fill in the gaps at some point. (I've done the sketches, just didn't have time for AI.)

This is not the time of year when I'm prone to wistful reveries-- they usually hit me when the days are short-- but this song can sometimes bring them on, especially when I'm chained to the computer!

Monday, June 17, 2013


I'm not sure if a tantrum is an emotion, precisely, but it's definitely an emotional outburst.

I'm happy to say that my life has been pretty much tantrum-free lately, but I certainly remember them vividly from the days when my twins were toddlers. I was pretty lucky even then, really. The boys weren't excessively frequent fit-throwers, and usually they were kind enough to take turns, but once in a while they'd gang up on me with a tandem tantrum, & that was pretty miserable!

But you know, I always felt their fits were at least as hard on them. After all, kids have it rough-- they're always being told what to do, with very little say in the matter, & that would make me cranky too! Besides, their outbursts were mainly triggered by exhaustion, hunger or over-stimulation, so I tried to minimize all as much as possible, & it helped.  Still, those days were wearying, & my heart goes out to those of you who are still living in the tantrum era!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Surprise! I did an AlphaBot this week after all!

We had a surprise flood situation this weekend that put me behind in everything– only the basement was affected, but with both sons home there was a lot of stuff stored down there. Luckily nothing truly precious was destroyed, but it still took many, many hours of clean-up. And it happened on my birthday, too, hmph!! The nerve!! This bot pretty much captures my mien upon discovering the situation.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Oh how I identify with this wiggly bot! It's strange that someone with a severe case of the fidgets would choose a career that requires hours on end of near-immobility, but making art is just as irresistible as movement, so my two obsessions fight it out every day. Usually I start with the art & when I can't sit still another minute, I get up & hoop-dance madly for a while. Then back to the desk or drawing table until the wiggles take over again.

I'm very tempted to animate this little guy, but that would mean sitting here a lot longer, & I really need to go hoop!

Monday, May 27, 2013


A supposedly useful thing I may never try again: Adobe Illustrator's perspective tool. I thought it would save time, but there were many things it didn't seem able to handle-- although I must admit the problem probably exists "between chair & computer" as my brother the electrical engineer likes to say. :-\

I had to fake the y-axis eyebrow curve, for instance, & the eyes came out looking excessively flat. If anyone knows any tips on how to make AI render curves in perspective, I'd appreciate hearing them! (I have tried the 3D tool, by the way but I don't like its color-deadening nastiness.)

After all that fussing, I remembered that I've never actually felt satisfied with mechanically accurate perspective in a drawing anyway. It usually makes it look a little stiff & dead to my eyes.

All in all, the experience has left me quite querulous!  Should've seen that coming, I guess.

Monday, May 20, 2013


I've been trying to learn to code lately, so I've been experiencing plenty of puzzlement! However, I thoroughly enjoy the tutorials, in part because it tickles me to hear serious-sounding British dudes saying "curly braces" repeatedly.

Still, I do sometimes wish I could remove my head & give it a good tune-up from time to time. For one thing there is loads of useless information in there that I wish I could dump out to make room for more!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


It's been far too long since I posted an actual painting! The Illustrator experiments have been good training, but my hand was itching to hold a brush. So here's the result:

I imagined a medieval monk patiently illuminating a manuscript, when suddenly an alien spaceship lands in the monastery courtyard. Surely his new acquaintances would make their way into the margins.

Acrylic on text on canvas, 12" x 6"

Monday, May 13, 2013


Sometimes it's all too much!!!

And before you say anything about the undeniably awkward title, there is NO really good noun form for "overwhelm"! I had a choice between a rarely-heard & semi-archaic word ("overwhelmedness") & a cleaner, more current, but non-standard one ("overwhelm" as noun). I rather liked someone's suggestion of "overwhelmment" but that wasn't in the OED either. So I went with the superannuated version, because that's how I roll! I mean, I use a dip pen every day. What did you expect? ;-) It would have been easier if I'd chosen adjectives to begin with, but too late now!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


Sometimes these bots come along at just the right time. It happens that my parents are selling the home where my siblings & I grew up. It’s the right thing to do, but still a bittersweet moment. We had a family “house-cooling” last weekend where we all indulged in a good bit of nostalgia, along with some champagne, a few tears & plenty of laughter.

Do you think the electronic beings of today look back at vacuum tubes with fond nostalgia?

I must say crafting this one in Illustrator was quite the maddening experience. Although I felt it was the perfect program for all the mechanical precision, it kept selecting the wrong paths of the zillion & three I had to create for the circuitry. I was locking everything else down, so I don’t quite understand why. Any wisdom from the AI wizards out there?

On the bright side, I discovered Envelope Mesh. Man that was handy for tweaking the perspective!

p.s. Please forgive my electronic ignorance, all you folks out there who know how circuits really work. (You know who you are!) I’m sure this configuration is ridiculous & impossible. I claim artistic license!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Apologies for the miserably late post! I thought robot’s tears would be hard & sharp– tears do sometimes feel that way.  And misery can accumulate like a bed of nails, making it hard to find one’s way out without pain.

Monday, April 22, 2013


I have a quotation by Deena Metzger painted on my studio wall: “There is time only to work slowly. There is no time not to love.” It helps me keep my focus when I’m freaking out about a deadline or something. Whenever I get frantic & try to rush things, I end up making mistakes that set me back even more. And when my children were small & constantly interrupting, seeing that quotation helped me remember what was really important.

My patience was tested today (with gradient mesh, what a surprise!) & I’m still not happy with the results, but I’m trying to remember that this project is all about exploring a new program, & the only way to make progress is to keep learning from my mistakes!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I was late starting this week’s AlphaBot due to some last-minute tax snafus. Just as I was about to begin I found out about the Boston Marathon explosions. So the whole time I was doing this I was thinking of those who ran into the disaster area to help the wounded. I’m sure most of you have heard or read this quote from Fred Rogers:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
- Mr. Rogers