All, Inspiration

Floating, a short film by Greg Jardin

Take a moment to enjoy this short film, directed by Greg Jardin. “Floating” is a story with many feels packed into a wee 10 minutes. Original score by The Joy Formidable.


All, Inspiration

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein is seriously beautiful.

It’s hard to believe it came out in 1983, and yet I only knew of Mr. Wrightson’s Batman (Which was the subject of some “Why can’t he illustrate all the heroes?!” conversations between my husband and myself) and of his Swamp Thing. Adding to that, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is pretty much in almost everyone I know’s top 20 books. It just goes to show how dense I am, since close friends of mine just sort of nodded like, “Yeah, its one of his most incredible works…” So, I’m sharing with you all so you can have it right in front of your face too. Get it. Its bonkers. I got it on Amazon.

It reminds me of the first time I sat down in-front of Gustave Doré’s illustrations for Dante’s Divine Comedy – that same captivating composition and play between light and dark, the awe when seeing something so terrible turned beautiful. Just an insanely great way to start the morning. This has become a prize possession in my hoardings of beautiful things.

And yes, that is a peek into my studio – it’s almost done!!

Photo on 8-17-13 at 10.53 AM Photo on 8-17-13 at 10.53 AM #2 Photo on 8-17-13 at 10.53 AM #3

All, Inspiration

Make What You Love

This isn’t a blog post about how to be successful because I’m not even getting into how hard that is to measure and I don’t know shit about it. This post is about love.

Go big or go home. I see that concept as a fun battle cry to shout at friends before regrettable decisions that provide an experience to laugh about later over mending egos and bones.
 I don’t see it as fuel to belittle those who would try.

On a few occasions artists, mentors, and creative idols have said things like
(and I am paraphrasing – and luckily it’s rare):
If art/writing is hard for you, don’t do it.”

Or how about:
Find what you’re good at, and do that.”

Its like they take a dump, shine it up with awards and followers, then fling it at people as if it was some kind of gift. When they do that, it makes me feel like they think I shouldn’t even TRY, ’cause if it can’t be the best, then it’s not worth the effort. Like mediocrity is some kind of horrible, banal sin instead of a step in a process.

Maybe people who say such things have always been “gifted” and don’t know what its like to have to learn to draw, paint, sculpt, write, and more. Maybe their dark secret is that they used to struggle at things, like the rest of us, and they fling these polished turds to feel special.

The rest of us fight to learn those things we are terrible at because we love them.
We try and fail because we love.
We hope maybe one day it won’t be a battle to art or write.

Turdslingers can’t keep us from trying to be better than we were yesterday.
 Make what you love! 

All, Inspiration

Open letter to Miss Monster and Chris Ryniak

On occasion I write an open letter to artists that inspire me. In this case it is creature creators Chris Ryniak and Miss Monster. Both are prolific, on the interwebs, kind to fans, and a source of inspiration to many Creators.

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Dear Chris and Mel,

You are inspiring me to be a better artist.

Melita, my friends and I fawn over your creations, and cheer when they go up on ebay. You have single handedly made me get into casting seriously. I have a page of bookmarks dedicated to your process photos, so whenever all these new terms and new workflow gets overwhelming, I look at your photos and I find calm. Then I get back to work.

Chris, your drawings and paintings make every line look so effortless and character driven. I hope to be able to cast such a spell with my work some day. Your sculpted work blows my mind, and makes me wonder how on earth that creature can exist for REALZ!

You both are giving a lot of us artists a fire in our bellies to keep at it. Recently you two had a bit o’ discussion on your tumblrs/blogs. I am quoting here:


This is something that has been addressed many times by creative professionals and entrepreneurs, but it never hurts to repeat. MOST of my day as an artist is not spent in an absinthe fueled rampage of feverishly tossing paint onto a canvas …sorry.  MOST of my day IS filled with drudgery: writing emails, planning projects, fielding phone calls, brand management, event planning, researching and gathering materials, design work, social media promotion, prep-work, varnishing, sanding, packing, shipping…etc….and somewhere in there is drawing, painting and sculpting.

For the audience, my job is to make it look like all I do is my artwork, but the truth is that I fill every position from CEO to janitor of Chris Ryniak industries.I have the added role of a single father, oh and I ALSO have a full-time job on top of all of this, not to mention owning a house that needs tending as well as all of the minutia that goes along with being a functioning human.

So what is the point?   well, I get a lot of comments like ” I wish I was where you are in your career” from young artists.  And the simple fact is, that much like losing weight,  becoming a functioning and mildly successful ANYTHING takes work, not wishing.  

Of course, this all depends what you want to accomplish, and how far you want to take it.  

The point is that next time you see your favorite artist doing really well, know that they doing a lot of work that you will never see.  

MELITA’s response

YEP. If if Chris doesnt mind id like to add to this: My full time job is art and im extremely grateful for this. But what some people, esp newer followers, dont realize is that i have been working towards this for over 10 years.

Some people get lucky and get a good break that allows them a solid career very quickly but a lot of us… it’s years of making art when you come home from a full or part time job, making work you might not be all that into to build your reputation and honestly a lot of time fielding bullshit/getting burned on projects/learning how to deal with people and clients. And some of us even have kids which is a full time job in itself ( so much respect for folks that can handle that on top of it all! )

I don’t want to discourage anyone from wanting to be a career artist but i do want to prepare you for the reality. Nobody did that for me and i wasted a lot of time not knowing what the hell i was doing and learning the hard way! And like Chris mentioned it’s a lot of not so fun backstage work that adds up really quickly. There have been many days where i dont even get to touch any projects because im packing orders, buying supplies,running errands, researching,doing cons, prepping for cons, reading, emailing, organizing, cleaning the workspace or um …writing stuff on tumblr. Guess i should get back to work! 😉

As someone who works full-time, leaving evenings and weekends for my art, this is a wonderful read. My schedule makes minutes feel precious.  When I am working on everything that supports my art, or  spending time learning instead of making, I get anxious. I get down on myself for not being productive enough with finished art. Its discussions like the one above which encourages artists like me to take a breath and just keep going forward, one step at a time. And when it comes from artists we respect and admire, it has extra longevity in our little spastic brains. (OOOh SHINY!)

Anywhoo, very many thanks.

Keep at it,


All, Inspiration

Canadian Artists, why you so cool?

The power of the internet surges and tumbles, tweets, pins, and posts. Across the bandwidth waves, I float and discover artists who are new or have been around forever and I am a total noooob. Is Canada overtaking my interwebs and filling my posts with cool artists who I am now following, pinning, and pleasantly stalking?

HEY! Canada! Hey! You listening? I’ve only ever been to Toronto – and that place was full of badass bilingual ladies with cool hair and beautiful tattoos. I figured I got lucky and Toronto was a little Oasis of Awesome in a giant, snowy wilderness I knew nothing about. Other than you having the highest population of wolverines, which only goes to further your badassity because they are one of the coolest carnivores EVER. Also your maple syrup and food there was bonkers good. Now you are showing me your shmancy artists and I have to say: Dang. What is UP with CANADA?!?

So, here is my list so far – please feel free to add in the comments. I probably follow more artists that are Canadian but had no idea since I wasn’t there when they mentioned it in a post. Yes, yes, tons of amazing artists from all around the world, just giving some of the love back right now to those who have been dressing up my tumblr and twitter feeds these past few weeks!

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Renee Nault – Illustrator, comic artist – check our her work. Just BEAUTIMUS. Her comic Witchling will be at the Toronto Comic Festival, which sounds glorious because its so far from me and I’ve never been (On their homepage they feature Taiyō Matsumoto whose work I lurrrrrve….gahh… Reign it in Brain….stop diverging. You are talking about Renee right now.) You can also buy some of her arts at her shop or follow her on twitter!

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Genevieve F. T. – I’m telling you, Candadians be poppin’ up on mah tumblr, twitter, or featured in comic blogs. Blushing, stylized pinups as well as adorable character art with a great sensitivity to silhouette and color. Just delicious. Yes, also on twitter and facebook!

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Jeff Simpson – concept artist at Ubisoft with incredible textures, moody palettes, and makes fantastical structures on humans look possible and mystical. He worked on Snow White and the Huntsman, – just LOOKIT some o’ dis concept art. He’s also doing a live painting tutorial with…

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Keita Morimoto – isn’t this Canada thing bonkers?!? ITS STILL GOING! A fine artist from Japan, but moved to Toronto. On his website you will see some works that have been filling tumblr with quiet scenes that are rich with energy. People might be sitting still, or gazing off canvas, but the colors and composition he chooses make them vibrate, like they are anticipating something. Follow him on Twitter or Google+. And hes doing that live painting thing with Jeff Simpson. You in Canada? Go to it, then tell me about it so I can sulk behind my computer screen.

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Tim Skinner – gifted sculptor and a brilliant twitter conversationalist, I think due to the fact that he’s also writer. Dem peeps whoo eez gud wid der werds! Technically, I have been following him for a while, but we’re talking about Canadians and he was my first clue that the frozen North was up to something  beyond the wall. YOU KNOW NOTHING JOHN SNOW! I digress. He posts great process photos and beautiful finished works at his blog

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Karl Kerschl – overall badass accomplished artist who I have been stalking for a while. I discovered him through the art and story he makes for his comic The Abominable Charles Christopher, the most adorable snowman you will ever meet. Had to include him. Yes, facebook and twitter.

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Chris Hadfield – Slightly diverged, but still on point in my mind because he’s an artist of mind, music, and the stars. He’s the astronaut who sang Bowie in space. Let us take a moment and enjoy his music video again. <swooooon> He has his own youtube channel. SUBSCRIBE TO SPACE MAGIC!

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In my surprise of all this Canadian beauty, I did a websearch for “Canadian Comic Artists” and whobam! Lookit this post by the the Joe Shuster Awards. Time for me to dive in and take this from odd accident to figuring out: What is this magic in the frozen north?

Canada. They make wolverines, artists, and astronauts there.

I like that so much I did a quick sketch. Hmm – maybe I should do a little illo whenever I post. Meh, more work. I’ll do it sometimes.

Canada Is The Frozen North

All, Inspiration

Infographics Make Me Joyfizzle

I love information.

I also can’t remember anything.

Despite how much I love and read and enjoy facts and tidbits, after I read them, instead of nesting in my brain they go fly away to warmer climates.

Finally we are in an advertising rage of what we call the infographic. It is a visual translation of information. They fizz my brain with happy because they help me remember at least a few things, or at least the big picture (see what i did there?). They are also fun to read.

Sometimes I am handed the opportunity to create infographics, and I jump on those chances. The form it takes is based on the information given. It makes no sense to create one that says nothing.  Yet, I have had to create one or two (maybe more) where no content is given to me. So I piece together pretty pie charts, arrows, and silly symbols of generic people doing generic things. Apparently I am rather gifted at making shit infographics that mean nothing for inputting content later. I am not proud of this.

Anyway, let me share some with you that are just a pleasure to look at, to read, to enjoy, and to appreciate how they took the information and turned it into something wonderful. There are stories to be seen here.

ALSO: INFORMATION IS BEAUTIFUL is an oasis of visual genius.

sea depth infographic
plot lines
hierarchy of digital distractions

All, Inspiration

Being Productive In Art #1 and #2

On occasion I get questions about what you do when inspiration runs dry. Those are fun answers. No matter how different everyone’s methods are, they are wonderful to talk about. The creative process is naturally rewarding. This is not about that. This is about when people ask me “How do you make time?”

Which brings me to

TIP #1 : Sacrificing time from one awesome thing for your art.
Tip #1 is my number one tip. Choose what gets cut from your life that week, but not the same thing all the time. I can’t have one thing cut out of my life completely or my soul hurts, so every week its different. Once week my workouts suffer, another the cleanliness of my home, time with loved ones, and even sleep. These are all important to me, and all take time. If you know how to have it all, then do that. But if you are like me, have so much to do, much of the time, and get only some of it done, then this is my first tip.

TIP #2: Follow productive artists on tumblr, google reader, the kind who post work regularly as inspiration for finishing art.
What? WASTE TIME ON INTERNET? My darlings, inspiration is not time wasted. Finishing art projects is hard. This morning I was tired, there is a birthday celebration I would rather be at, but I have slotted today for my art. For about an hour over tea and breakfast, I allow myself to just immerse my eyes into internet-art. Then when I can’t take the fact that they are so productive and I am not, I have that artistic self guilt as a kick in the pants to finish my work.

And this is why I have decided to start these random tips. Because if they work for me, maybe they work for you. Here is a list of some of the ones that were in my browser this morning as morning kick-ass, and the end reason for this post (in NO order, and only a handful. I promise more will come later – i gotta get back to inking my mermaid coloring book!):

Paige Halsey Warren (Also the author of Busty Girl Comics – which is also amazing. She’s almost done with it tho – check it out anyway)

Matthew Ellero – he tweets a lot and finds cool things – is pretty much the next hot thing in illustration

Abby Wright – illustrator magnifique

Madéleine Flores – ” I like to draw and eat ice cream. But not at the same time.” Her words

LackaDaisy – Yeah – if you don’t know….then you are VERY welcome for this share

Rachel Curtis – her tumblr is new, but I love her on Deviant art

Tim Shumate – the darling of the internet, and a wonderful artist

Hi Fructose Magazine – always posts about all the awesome artist they love

Emmy – great blogger/artist/sense of humor

Tim Beard – he will be posting all month his beautiful sketches

Riika Auvinen – doesn’t post as much as some of the previous, but when she does – i want to draw for DAYS. And her DeviantArt of course.

A Gentlewoman – a fashion blogger who has an eye for compelling imagery, and posts regularly

Animation Anomaly Blog name says it all

Motion Graphics online mag and community

Cats In Hats – you’re welcome

Lets go be productive! Happy Saturday all!


All, Inspiration

Crazy Awesome Dream

Last night, I had a crazy awesome dream. It was so awesome and featured some of my artist friends and those I admire, so I felt it appropriate to share:

I was walking around Los Angeles, and I effortlessly ended up at the front gates of the LA Convention center, where the convention was for none other than The Society Of Children’s Book Writer’s And Illustrators (SCBWI). (In waking life I am a member, and have great respect for the organization. I went to a convention once and it was mind-blowing. It helped me step up my illustration game). I found the help desk where I asked if I could wander for free (In waking life, you need to pay a hefty sum to meet all the awesome talent and listen to their lectures) and they said “Absolutely! All Weekend! Plus we have the writer of Peanuts here.” As I bolted down the colorful convention halls to go stalk Charles Schulz, I heard my name announced loudly over the convention speakers. A gasp emanated from a small crowd at another info booth. I busted a 180 and galloped over. Important looking people were drawing names for who was chosen to get into Artist Alley at next year’s San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) infront of a dry-erase board. Upon seeing me run up, they wrote my name on the board under the names Sarah Kushner, Purple Top Hat, Megan Lara, and Tess Fowler. Someone next to me said “You sure are lucky you got here in time!”. As I turned to see who said that, I no longer saw crowds or a convention hall, but a crystal clear, azure ocean. I was on a luxury sailboat. Looking down, I saw in my hands the certificate that proved I got a spot in SDCC. In waking there is no certificate, but in my dream it looked like those gold inked graduation diplomas. The wind was on my face, and I could hear the sails luffing right before they caught a strong wind as the boat and I scooted off toward a beautiful island on the horizon. I got so excited, I woke myself up.

Yes, I will say that again. I got SO EXCITED, that I woke myself UP from sleeping. I sat up in bed, my heart was pounding….and even when I realized it was just a dream, it was such a good dream I wasn’t sad it wasn’t real. I promised myself I would share it in the morning.

Have a lovely Thursday. I know I am. If today gets me down, I’ll just remember that a dream is a wish your heart makes.

All, Inspiration

Open Letter to Lucy Knisley, plus the Rabbit Hole Effect

Here is an example of what I call the Rabbit Hole Effect of the internet, and how its leads me to a precious jewel…when not leading me to the dark depths of the bandwidth demons…

I was reading here because the story of lorises in captivity needs to be told and OH MY they are so cute and its so sad and I need to get informed then I clicked on this :

When done I saw a face in the sidebar that reminded me of a clip I saw once once and I love gifs so I was like ooh funny or sad lets decide after we click!

Then I saw something else in the sidebar, when I realized I don’t speak fangirl and I have no idea what PWP stands for and maybe this will explain some of the internet’s mysteries!

That article told me to look at lots of links, which I did, but then that is when I found something incredible…

I was blown away. It was just bonkers awesome. I went full stalker and went to her site:

And I am still going through all her work – I could lose hours here…so,
here is my open letter to Lucy Knisley:

Dear Lucy Knisley,

No. I cannot stop paying attention, as your url so demurely requests. First of all I want to exclaim on the breadth of your art. So much work with a consistent, humorous, and lovable voice. There is so much to look through, to admire the details of. Thank you for putting it online, because sadly, I am one of those who never knew to look until now. I gratefully click and browse, enjoying the colors, the point of view, the stories you delicately weave into the expressions and scenes of your worlds.

You are an inspiration, and I look forward to seeing the world fill with your artistic voice. We need more smiles, and more moments to look past the cheeky grins and be open to the friendly invitation to admire a bit longer, and maybe feel that hug. Great work. You have a new fan.

I look forward to following your work, buying some of those books and reading them while eating something with a spoon.

With much admiration,

All, Inspiration

Open letter to Rick Mereki and Team

I suppose this requires a letter as well, because they are a source of inspiration through this video. Letter below.

Dear Rick Mereki and Team,

I wish….
I wish……
I wish I would make something like this kind of travel happen or myself and those I love.
Inspiring, beautiful, fleeting, epic.
You have fired up my dream-state as my mind wanders where you have already been.

Well done, good sirs and madams…WELL DONE.

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Rick Mereki : Director, producer, additional camera and editing
Tim White : DOP, producer, primary editing, sound
Andrew Lees : Actor, mover, groover
All Music composed and performed by Kelsey James

“3 guys, 44 days, 11 countries, 18 flights, 38 thousand miles, an exploding volcano, 2 cameras and almost a terabyte of footage… all to turn 3 ambitious linear concepts based on movement, learning and food ….into 3 beautiful and hopefully compelling short films…..
= a trip of a lifetime. move, eat, learn”