Thursday, April 26, 2012


Today's café sketch resurrected an old character I created ages ago...I'm a terrible writer, especially in the genre of horror, so I never did much with her. But at times I go back and draw her again. Her story is that her creator built her, Frankenstein-style, as a blank slate that he could then mold into the "perfect" woman...only to lose interest and become repulsed by her, before eventually dismantling her.
To be fair, she does clean up well, in spite
of all the stitches.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Garotas de Ipanema

A series of pin-ups inspired by the Rio de Janeiro beach culture and the beautiful, confident carioca women that people have been writing cheesy songs about for as long as there has been a Rio. I used to be a cold weather, only-happy-when-it-rains, scarves and boots kind of girl. Although I loved the beach, I hid beneath layers of clothes and SPF 80, fearing the sun as much as showing off any bit of my less than perfect beach bod. 

Well, Rio beat that out of me, and fast. I'm still religious about my sunscreen, but now that I've been converted to the cult of the barely-there biquini (and tricked by the carioca men into believing I look good in one), I use about twice as much...


Just a couple of random sketches from last night and this morning...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

São Paulo

During my first trip to Brazil, I never left Rio de Janeiro...I was broke, only knew one person in the entire country, and my Portuguese was rough at best (and incomprehensible at worst), so that was pretty much as far outside my comfort zone as I was willing to go at the time. This second time around, I was still broke, but managed to arrange a week of traveling to two other cities in southern Brazil, São Paulo and Florianópolis.

I had heard São Paulo described as "ugly" and "crowded" compared to Rio...that it was nothing but buildings with no green anywhere. I didn't find this true at all. There were plenty of lush trees and parks throughout all of the skyscrapers and high-rise apartment buildings. Of course the geography of the place isn't quite as naturally stunning as Rio's beaches and mountains, but calling "Sampa" an ugly city is hardly fair.

São Paulo did feel much less like a foreign city to me than Rio arrive in Rio and immediately you know you are not in Kansas anymore. Sampa, on the other hand, seems to have built itself up as a global city from the get-go. It felt like the older, more responsible lawyer firstborn to Rio's wild bohemian baby of the family...complete with the sibling rivalry.

"Porra! Why are there so many windows? This is taking
FOREVER to draw..."

I hope to get the chance to go back and explore more...I definitely am more of a carioca at heart, but I loved São Paulo.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Café sketches

One of my favorite artist clichés is to go to a café in the morning before a long day of drawing, and sit and do warm-up sketches before my serious work.

Sometimes I draw what I see...

...and sometimes I just draw whatever's in my head at the moment. (These are two of the characters from my webcomic "Somewhere In Between", Molly and Marcelo.) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

País Tropical

I haven't yet posted anything in color here!

I've become a fan of the Tombow dual-ended brush pens...I probably should just cave and get a watercolor set, but I always feel like I'm too wimpy with watercolors, and always end up with a mushy mess. With markers I'm usually too saturated and cartoonish but at least it looks like a big, loud, colorful mistake instead of an overworked dull one.

Basically I was marvelling at the effect that Rio's tropical climate had had on me after a week. (I may have been exaggerating a little.) For all the things I do love about LA, the arid climate is not one of them, and you'll never hear me happily talking about "dry heat". I am not a desert creature.


Just a little doodle in the garden outside my friend's condo. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012


More Rio sketches. At the tail end of my second visit to this city, I finally made it to one of the major landmarks, Corcovado.

While waiting to take the train back down from the Cristo Redentor (or Christ Redeemer) statue, we had time for a caipirinha and I had time for some sketching. It must be a total pain going anywhere with me, all I want to do is sit and draw, which takes so much longer than snapping pictures! 

Yes, this is a butt shot of Jesus. The cafe
didn't exactly have the best view. 
Carioca com caipirinha.

I had to stop at these three sketches because a thunderstorm rolled in and it started to rain. (Yay! I love rain! Oh no! My sketchbook pages don't!) With a view like this, I could've stayed up there scribbling all afternoon:

Saturday, April 14, 2012


One of my sketches from near the end of the Brazil trip. This favela (according to Google Maps, Favela Morro dos Cabritos...I never asked the name of it while I was there) was right next door to my friend's condo where I stayed in Copacabana for most of my visit. 

While working on T-shirt designs for the Rocinha Media School, in Rio de Janeiro's largest favela Rocinha, I found a certain zen in drawing the crazy stacked buildings of the favela communities. I'd just pick a point to start from, put pen to paper, and draw outward from that point. No pencil underdrawing, no wasn't important that my favela sketches looked 100% photographically accurate, but that they captured the structured madness that is the favela. These buildings have been built up over decades on top of each other, painted bright colors, added on seems almost everyone has satellite TV...there's always laundry out to dry and amazing cooking smells in the air. 

I want to do a whole series of favela drawings, larger and more detailed than this, but the same basic concept and approach...freehand pen sketches of sprawling, stacked buildings. With all their satellite dishes. Hey, you think maybe I could make a friend in the favela who'd let me come over and watch "Game of Thrones"? 

(This would of course require me living in Rio.)

(I am totally OK with that.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sei lá?

Sketch I did on one of my last days of work before the Brazil trip. My sketchbooks often end up being as much diaries as they are places to work out ideas for my artwork, and my "diary entry" portions are usually written in Portuguese, as practice for my second language. So feel free to bust out Google Translate...I won't be posting anything particularly juicy here. ;-)

Bombs away!

So, it seemed it was time to start keeping a sketch blog. My goal for this year has been to make a real effort to get back to my first love---comics. For a while I thought the "dream" was to work full time in a studio here in Los Angeles, to have a "day job" doing art. And that was fun, but I always felt like something was missing, and that something was comics, and I was never going to be able to do comics again as long as I was working full time doing something else.

So now we're trying something different. And part of that is being a "real" artist and keeping a good sketchbook and drawing all the damn time.

Soon to come...a bunch of doodles from my travel sketchbooks from when I went to Brazil. (Oh, this is probably a good time to mention, I was in Brazil for a month. I really liked it there. And I'm inevitably going to talk about Brazil on this blog. Like, a LOT.) But since I haven't scanned those yet, and since it's rainy and gloomy here in LA tonight, here's your drawing for tonight instead.