Sunday, December 30, 2012

Snail Mailer - Finished

If someone were to ask me, I'd admit that this isn't a terribly original idea, but I think the illustration turned out well. I now want to draw different Snail Mailers.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Snail Mail

I wonder if I could find the original sketch that inspired this, but I've got a feeling it was drawn on a scrap piece of paper, which was the sheet that the assignment was given on, and I probably lost it. Here's the working rough for this illustration. I'd love to finish this before the new years as a way to end 2012.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

So I've realized that I'm starting to let my slightly dark sense of humour into my work. it's fun though. But this is my Christmas card for the year. The bottom half is the front side while the top half is the back side.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Types of Gift Wrappers

I'm sure I'm missing some type of gift wrapper, but I've gotten gifts from each type of wrapper before. As ugly as the "hey, it's the thought that counts". I do sort of enjoy how the bundle of tape, ribbons and wrapping paper looks like.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Absolut (School assignment)

I've been going through my old files trying to find something and I found this instead. I remembering working on this for a digital media class while I was at OCAD. There's stuff that I still like about it: colour palette (thought I cheated a bit since I just dropped a colour overlay after I was finish to make it more yellow) and the graphic line quality, but there are other stuff I think are pretty horrible when I look at it now. First off, the foot just jutting out there feels way too static; I know what I'm trying to show, but honestly it feels really awkward there and then the swirly motion lines are sloppy. I should have used the swirl lines in Illustrator 'cause my free hand for that is awful. I think the other issue is that the bottle shape isn't as obviously. But it's interesting to look at where I came from digitally, pure vector, to something that's a hybrid of vector and textures.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dreams WiP

Sometimes I wish I was a bear 'cause no one messes with a bear except hunters so maybe I don't wish I was a bear any more, but I still want to be a penguin.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Halloween Gang

So I've finally gotten around to posting this. I liked how it turned out quite a bit though parts of it turned out a bit darker than I'd like. Onward to the next holiday.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Square Jacket

I really wish I had a cool square pattern jacket/blazer like that except that I know I probably couldn't pull it off. I think half the time of fashion, it's just the confidence to wear whatever you want regardless of how silly it may look.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Watercolour Sketches

Some more watercolour drawings though I guess it's more mix media than pure watercolours. I really like how the warrior turned out 'cause I realized I seldom used those colours. I realized that I kind of want to draw flaming weapons lately though I should think of some better flaming weapons than flaming swords.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sketch Dump (I forgot whatever number I'm on)

I've been switching back and forth between a technical pen and a calligraphy pen lately. Both are very different in how I use them and what I can do with them. I'm finding that the calligraphy pen is faster 'cause I get the stroke width by pressure instead of artificially. With the technical pen, I normally go back and forth with the pen to increase thickness 'cause there's only so hard you can press down on one of them without destroying the nib.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Gang - WiP3

This is the fun part before I start work on it in Photoshop. I honestly wish the export with layer feature is as good as I wish it was. I always end up just copying and pasting over into one program from another. All the various colours just make it easier to select areas exactly in Photoshop and it looks interesting sometimes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Snail Mail

I had this really bad idea for a project at OCAD to do a promo piece with some kind of digital snail as the illustration. It was a really really bad idea for snail mail-email kind of thing. It wasn't a terribly smart idea or even a drawn well 'cause I did it very quick and I wasn't thinking at all. Anyway, I still like that idea of a snail postman ... or post-animal so here it is.

Halloween Gang (WiP)

It's been a busy week last week so I finally got around to starting on this, which honestly doesn't leave me a lot of time to finish it by Halloween. I'm hoping to finish it and not just abandoning it. Hopefully I can get around to posting roughs for a project that was unfortunately cancelled recently. It was a fun little project and I'm a bit sad that for whatever reason it was cancelled.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Gang

I'm just working on something simple for Halloween.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I am not a watercolour artist

I love watercolours, but I can't ever seem to figure out how to use it in a way I want. It always seems like I keep struggling though they are alright. I guess, to me, they're not good enough that I could tell people I'm a watercolour artist. Maybe one day so for now, this is what I have and I'm kind of enjoying this. I'm laying down the colours after a rough sketch and then inking over it to tighten things up. And then after all that, I go back with some colour pencils.

EDIT It might not be too clear, but I'm having a flaming sword being used to cook food. Somehow it's funny to me and it saves a lot of time instead of making a real fire.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mid-Autumn Festival ( aka Fall Promo )

I just wanted to upload this before I forgot. I finished this earlier this week and haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. It turned out better than I hope and I enjoyed the piece. It's fun using the warmer colours that I tend to normally avoid as my colour range is more cool and blues and greens.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sketch Dump (insert random number)

I've been sick all week and I don't have any trippy drawings so much for it probably 'cause I didn't take a wrong combination of drugs again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I will admit that this honestly took me longer than it should have. I spend a lot of time just fooling around with colours. It makes me glad I work digitally so I can go back and re-think what colours I want as I'd end up forever re-painting things if I could paint traditionally. I'm not horrible at it, but on a professional level, I'm not that great, but anyway ... back to the illustration. It's simple and nice and I'm not sure which one I like better. The pen lines somehow end up flattening the image again and there's a certain "human" feel to it 'cause the pen strokes. I might try going back to this for some small spot-type illustrations to play around.
Just a little small quickie illustration.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fall Dance - WiP(i)

I'm making my way through this though colour is still a bother for me. I envy illustrations that know exactly what colours they want as they work on their piece. For me, I fiddle around a lot to get exactly what colours that fit with the piece though having a background colour locked in helps a lot, but it also plays havoc with things if I ever change the background colour half way through colouring the piece.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall Dance - process work

I thought I'd show some of the process work for the fall promo. A lot of times, drawing is just drawing different variations until you get one that is alright. I had a few variations of how the set up the scene and settle for this once instead of one that just had them floating there. It honestly took me awhile to get the boy looking the way I wanted 'cause the boy in all these drawings just wasn't agree with me. For the girl, I wanted to just minor variation in her hair and the shape of her head. Subtle things can make a big difference.

Fall Dance

So I've been busy drawing, but really haven't been posting like I said I would. Sometimes I really do need a web monkey to handle my blogs and website for me. That really lame joke also shows how old I am when "web monkey" was something everyone wish they had. I wanted to do something a bit festive for autumn and something at night. I'm looking forward to this 'cause I'm early for once since fall doesn't start until the 21st.

Monday, September 3, 2012


So besides the fact that my personal balance is off, I'm working on a big project so I've been a bit busy and will probably be for awhile. The interesting thing is that lately, I've been going back to using a nib pen. It's quite a different few compare to a technical pen, which is what I normally use. I've used brushes, brush pen, technical pen and nib pen all before, but I normally stick with a technical pen 'cause it's consistent and has a ready supply of ink and has roughly the same stroke width. There's a lot of beautiful things once can do with a brush and brush pen, but I never really liked it. I found it a bit hard to consistent supply of ink into a brush without always dapping it out on a piece of paper so it felt like half the ink was just being wasted.

I love the way that the ink just flows across the paper and how just manoeuvring the nib changes the stroke of the line. I can do the same thing with a technical pen, but it's not really the same in terms of how I'd try it. So far I've just done some sketching with the nib, but hopefully I'll find the time to do a more fuller illustration to get a better feel of it.

Monday, August 20, 2012


So I decided to give myself even more by having another blog and the thing I've set for myself is that I will try not to post the same thing on both blogs. Yep, different material and I'll try to post once a week so that means I'd have to think up of 104 different things to say throughout the year along with to show whatever I'm working on at the moment whether it be an illustrator or a sketch or a comic. Sometimes we really aren't too nice to ourselves. But here I am on tumblr and the picture at the top of this post has nothing to do with tumblr, but I like it. I've always enjoyed drawing the characters from Journey to the West.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Angry Sun

I wanted to do something to reflect how this summer has been. It's been really, really, really hot this year. It almost feels like the sun is beating on me with the heat.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

E is for Forest

So here it is, I'm finally finished one letter of four. Hopefully I can find the time to sketch out the other two letters. I have some rough ideas of what I want to do for one of them, but not sure of the composition yet and my original idea for the last year just doesn't look as good any more literally it's back to the drawing board, well drawing paper anyway.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

New Avatar

I've been meaning to draw a new self-portrait-ish picture to replace my old Classy Panda from a few years back so here it is. I wondering how much it'd cost to purchase a flying boat.

Friday, July 20, 2012

cool iced tea for the summer

So this is my fancy promo for the summer. Originally I had wanted to make this as a booklet to send out but I ran out of time to put it together. I still might as a leave behind, but at the moment I send it off as an email promo as a fun way to cool down and something I could imagine my self illustrating. So that's it for now and I go back to drawing.

the darker side of Illustration: the business side

It's funny that I never talk about the business side of illustration on my blog. It's not a bad thing. It is as it is as it's part of any business 'cause we want to make money. Not because we're greedy, but because money lets us buy food, pay for a place to live and buy supplies to continue doing what we love to do. One of the best advice ever given to me by another illustrator, (Huan Tran) was that "treat illustration as a business" in that think accordingly about dealing with expenses, meeting clients, etc.

I love to draw, but I will have to admit that I don't enjoy the business side too much: bothering potential clients with promos (by email or by mail), killing a lot of trees for my physical promos (I'm really sorry trees and hopefully the promos go into the recycling and not the trash on the receiving end or better yet, they get kept)or contacting and being a bit fierce when payment is way over due. I can see why many illustrators have reps to deal with this at a nice cut of their pay, but nothing is free in life. Everything has its ups and downs as some illustrator will tell you that you don't need a rep and can do it all yourself (thank you Kathryn Adams).

One of the ways to find the contact of potential clients is through companies that have a database of this information. Since Adbase and Agency Access are the same company now, I believe there are really few or no other options left for purchasing contact list now. I've bought list from both services in the past, when they were separate companies and am currently with Adbase (extra month of service for the free shoutout? ... okay, probably not.). So with a subscription, I have access to their database to use to send out promos in whatever means I can afford. Physical promos are wonderful, but costly not due to printing cost, but postage. 61 cent for Canadian postage and over dollar for USA postage which adds up fast. 1000 postcard in Canada is 610$ and over 1000$ for them in the States. A cheaper, and potential more environmentally friend method, is e-mails.

I honestly can't imagine the fun of an Art Director's inbox with all the massive amount of promo e-mails they get. I have had other illustrator tell me that they hate sending out e-mails 'cause some art directors hate it with a passion and others have told me that it's one of the tools we have to promote ourself so why not use it. I send out e-mail promos though I narrow down my giant contact list at Adbase. I can't remember what the last count was, but I have the contact info for thousands of people in the graphic design, advertisement and magazine business in North America. I would imagine that with all the email promos they get, it'd suck a lot to be flooded with these stuff they didn't ask for.

I'm writing this whole long thing 'cause the reply back I got this week to my email promo, which I'll post the illustrations for in the next post. I'm not mentioning names or companies, but the reply was this: "Don't email to this address anymore. You are now considered spam and your services will never be used by my company. Go fuck yourself." It's funny that I didn't notice this before; I had gotten quite a few "Out of Office" auto-replies as it's the summer and things happen so people aren't always at the office. I deleted the "Out of Office" replies along with said e-amil. I went back to double check my deleted email after receiving an apology email, which unfortunately spelt my name wrong as "Brenda Hong" though I will have to admit that my life long friends still spell my name wrong so I guess a stranger spell it wrong isn't too bad.

Said person is going through a rough spot in their life and I'm sorry that they're going through that at the moment. I'm no sure what the issues are, but I wish them the best and I hope things get better so they can go back to enjoying things more. No matter who we are or what we do, we're still humans at the end of the day and we react accordingly under stress. And I'm sorry for all the massive amount of e-mails that they and every other art director or creative director or someone with some creative input in an agency, design firm, magazine company, etc have to receive. Unfortunately, it's one of the few ways I can reach out to potential clients as I can't call up everyone and meet them in person. I think that if I could, I might be at a nice beach right now with a cool drink.

In the creative world, I am a nobody. Few know me and none probably would care if stopped being an illustrator sort of one less spam promo they would have received. I am no James Jean, Jillian Tamaki, Anita Kunz or Marcos Chin where their reputation proceeds them (I remember being a student and having these names spoken of in awe) or steady life long illustrators that have worked for years in the field. I don't have enough steady illustration work to get me by. But I am lucky in that I have a wonderful part-time job that I enjoy and lucky, a wonderful co-ordinator who helps me out as often as she can. As much as I love my part-time job, I love drawing more and wish that I could draw all day and be paid for it.

I am a nobody illustrator trying to make my way so that I can turn what I've always love to do, draw, into something that can provide a living for myself. I am sorry that there aren't better ways for me to reach all you people out there that would hire me and I hope that all you art directors, creative directors and graphic designers that get a promo e-mail can understand a little bit of why you get those.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

e is for Forest - WiP 2

I'm really liking the resorts of this and I figured out a way to help out my Photoshop process of my illustration process. Mostly, I finish my promo instruction and it's fun to start a fresh new project now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

e is for Forest - WiP

I wanted to just lay down some rough colours to get a sense of what I wanted to do for the piece, but ended up doing more than that. I'm enjoying how the elements are playing out and can't wait for the final rendering with the textures.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"E" is for Forest and "N" is for tunnel

I'm working on illustrated a name. It's actually quite fun to be starting on a new project as my tea promo is almost finished.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ingredient List

I'm slowly working on my summer promo and technically it's still spring so I'm doing things head of time. It looks like it's going to be a hot summer this year so a recipe for some ice tea will probably be quite helpful to cooling off this summer. Layout is not my speciality, but it was fun playing with it this time around and I decided to show the rough layout to show how things have changed big and small from the beginning to the end.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monkey King

Now that this is finished, time to get started on Pigsy and Sandy, the other discipline in Journey to the West.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Monkey King - WiP ii

This is coming along really well, more so than I thought it would be. I've still got to find the time to add more textures to my library 'cause I'm still looking for a proper "sky" texture. I'm going to see if a picture of clouds might really work but I've got a feeling it won't. The digital version of this takes on quite a different feeling over the ink one. They're both very different, but I like what each medium brings on them. I should go back to trying to combine the two mediums again.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monkey King - WiP i.

I tried to keep the palette simple with just blues and oranges. It is in some way harder to work with a limited colour range, but there's a fun in the challenge of it, too. Now comes the painfully fun process of transferring the layers into Photoshop. There is one thing I found is that export layers is still pretty bad after all these years from Adobe Illustrator to Adobe Photoshop. There's no perfect system and in the end, a human hand always works best with a human mind guiding it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I actually started this last week, but have forgotten it for a few days. I wanted to create an opposite picture to the pony ride one I had with the father daughter pair.

Monkey King - rough

I am really happy with how the original ink drawing turned out, but once I scanned it into the computer to show it off I immediately wanted to create a digital version of it instead. Mostly it's just different ways I can imagine the textures to replace the hatching I used. The funny thing that I can never figure out how to draw the Monk in the story. I always found him a bit bland 'cause he's the "damsel" in the story. Every monster is after the monk and although his work is the "most important", in terms of the story, it's up to everyone else to save his life time and time again ... and mostly, I'm not that good at drawing robes.