An image of a little dragon swimming through a shallow, lilypad-filled lake under the watchful eye of sunbathing turtles
10 September 2019

More of a Great Lake

Back in July, Artstation posted a top down illustration of boats rowing across a lake and I thought I’d try to do a top down illustration of the little dragons at our local lake. And then summer vacation and our ongoing house construction project intervened and two months later, here it is finally.

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An image of an elegant, female water dragon peeking out from gently swaying seaweed
12 July 2019

Lakebottom Baby

There’s a small lake about 30 mins from our house that I love. It has a tiny sandy beach that’s perfect for the little kids to play on and a very nice public bathroom. It’s geothermally heated and free to access if you have the state park pass. It’s home to tiny blue dragonflies, big red dragonflies, small silver minnows, snapping turtles and ringed by aquatic flowers and lily pads and surrounded by old, towering pines and trees. It’s incredibly peaceful and I can’t help but feel intensely connected to nature every time I go there.

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An image of a dragon straining purposefully to reach some delicious raspberries just beyond his reach
01 July 2019

Berries

Summer time, especially here in Southern Michigan, means berries: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries.. We have a stand of black raspberries along one side of our back yard and I’ve added a couple of new bushes of red and yellow berries in various places this year. Hopefully they’ll thrive, as my own little dragons will routinely eat a pint of berries in one go!

I started this drawing nearly a month ago and it got lost in the crazy collision of the end of school, the beginning of summer vacation, traveling to sports meets, and visiting friends out of town. In the meantime, my painting style shifted from a line-based one to a more shaded one. I really struggled to keep the freshness of the original sketch while I worked and reworked the painting. In the end, I’m pretty happy with the results. I also think this dragon has the cutest eye I’ve drawn yet – by far, the most important factor for my older dragon baby!

An image of a pair of dragons sitting under a leaf, the younger one reaching for a dewdrop
23 May 2019

Reach

I changed so many things about this piece from the sketch to the finish. It was actually quite frustrating – as I would get closer to thinking I was finished, I would realize something was off or needed adjustment or perhaps I needed to add a new element or perhaps change that element into something else entirely. Somewhere along the way, I started drawing without outlines and adding subtle shading and so I feel the final drawing suffers a bit from an inconsistent approach.

That said, I’m very happy with the look of the dragons. I love their teeny claws and the thumbs, their chubby legs and their feathers. They, and the rest of the environment have a good sense of solidity and depth. The overall design of their bodies makes more sense as a collection of actual joints and limbs and not just cute outlines. To me, anyway.

A drawing of a dragon perched on a toadstool drawn to the scent of a grape hyacinth
07 May 2019

Muscari

After a long, snowy and cold winter, spring is cautiously taking over. While we’re still a ways from consistent t-shirt weather, spring flowers are popping up everywhere. My daughter brought in a lovely little clump of grape hyacinths and I imagined their delicate scent and lovely little bells would be equally alluring to the little dragons of Southern Michigan.

And here’s some links for real life examples of the mushrooms and the grape hyacinths in this drawing. Don’t you think it’s an interesting coincidence that their names are so similar?

Image of three dragons and a cardinal relaxing in hot springs
15 January 2019

Hot Springs

I can’t say this one is my best work but it’s done. I really like the color palette and the texture of the tree bark. I CAN I wish dragons AND hot springs were both native to Southern Michigan tho.

A little dragon stops to enjoy a late autumn sunset
19 November 2018

A Week Later

Well, it is Southern Michigan, after all… Winter has come quite early this year. When the first snow stripped the trees of their leaves, I immediately wanted to recolor the piece from last week. Spoiler alert, a snowy version is in the works…

A little dragon pauses to enjoy a later afternoon sunset through the many-colored autumnal trees.
07 November 2018

A Beautiful Moment Before Winter

Is there another time of year when the sky and the trees reveal their most beautiful, most colorful selves? Fall sunsets here in Southern Michigan are my favorite.

And this drawing is probably my favorite so far. I added some shading to it so give all the forms a little more dimensionality. I’m starting to develop a vernacular for textures and a style for the little dragons. For some reason, I really felt like this one needed feathers so she has feathers. I like the way she turned out – there may be more feathered dragons in the future…

In other news, I’m working on developing a store front for prints. I’m trying to choose between one that does the printing and fulfillment for me (a la RedBubble and Society6) and one where I do the fulfillment (Big Cartel, Storenvy). In the end, I’d like to do the fulfillment myself so I can have more control over the quality of the final printed product and be able to include little extras (stickers, etc) in shipment. On the other hand, having someone else do the work is nice too!

31 October 2018

Yuck

As much time and care as I put into packing my kid’s lunch in the morning, I’m pretty sure she feels like this every time.. “Awww, apples AGAIN??? Why can’t I have candy like *insert all her friends’ names here*???”

But she’ll thank me later for being such a thoughtful, conscientious mama, right? RIGHT??

In any case, I’m super happy with this drawing. It meets all three of my current illustration goals: it’s got a great sense of depth, the colors work together really well and it tells a clear story.

Two baby dragons sleeping in a nest
01 September 2018

A Nest for Two

The weather is still warm enough here to spend a warm afternoon at the lake but the signs of fall are appearing quickly. The geese fly noisily overhead while the peppers and the beans are ripening quickly. The squirrels and birds are fattening up and building their nests for winter. Something, I’m sure, the dragons of Southern Michigan would be doing too.

This drawing came together really quickly. In fact, I drew it completely from reference without any prior sketching. It’s mainly a color study with some illustrative elements thrown in. I didn’t try to do anything complicated like perspective or lighting or even movement. Nonetheless, I’m pretty happy with it.