Things I’ve quit

Things I’ve quit. Pencil, pen, watercolor 10 x 8 inches.

A drawing of a list of things I’ve quit. Started in 2008, I think? Rediscovered and finished in summer of 2011. Re-rediscovered today!

I can definitely tell this is a pre-art school drawing. Oh the things I didn’t know back then about tangencies and focal points and line width variation! Still, I like this. It comes from a time in my life when I was cutting out addictions – coffee, manga buying, World of Warcraft, cigarettes, and more things that I couldn’t draw. A systematic winnowing out of all the things that didn’t serve me, to make more room for the stuff that did. Like drawing!

This was done on heavy Moleskine drawing paper, which doesn’t like watercolor very much. I’m kinda proud of how my WoW characters turned out despite that. (Quillshwammy the troll shammy, Tryptophan the undead rogue engineer, and Ginsei the silver-haired ninja lady – only three of the thirty-some-odd characters I created for that game. Ahh, I still miss them sometimes…)

Kennedy school lamps

Kennedy School lamps. watercolor & pen, 11×3.5 inches.

The Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon has some awesome decor. I went to their restaurant for dinner with the vague intention to draw something. I had no idea it would be so gorgeous there! I could probably spend a week drawing all over this place and still not be finished.


While I was doing this a woman from another table came up to see. She asked if I was a professional artist. Took some mental “hnngh–argh–fjdak–Idjst–”  before I could smile and say “Working on it.”  Despite the fact that people have already started paying me to make art for them, this is a difficult mental shift to make. There are all those internal disclaimers of ‘well I’m not that good yet” and ‘I don’t make very much at it’ and ‘I wish my style were more like _______’ and so on. I’m working on that, too.

swordplay by lamplight

swordplay by lamplight. PTSD comix the first. 8x10. pen, marker, photoshop.

One point perspective assignment
+ poorly worded text messages from needy suitors
+ less-than-groovy personal history
= PTSD comix the first.

Complex PTSD: I has it. Even after all these years, even with all the reading and the therapy and the processing and the relatively normal life they’ve given me, this stuff is still there to be triggered. It is not much fun. In fact, it tends to knock me sideways for a few days whenever it happens. Thankfully I’ve learned ways to deal – like turning my occasional 3 a.m. freakouts into school assignments, for one.

I call this “the first” because drawing this one made me realize there could be more of these – that there are more, that I’ve kind of been composing them in my head for a while without noticing. Still in the early stages of dreaming this up, and it’s joining a long list of projects that poke at me for attention, so I don’t know how quickly this will happen or in what form. But, much like the PTSD itself, it’s there waiting for me.

moss garden at night

Moss garden at night. Pen, marker, Photoshop. 8x10 inches.

Isometric perspective exercise from spring 2011. (Click for big version.) The light and shadow version of this linework. I had quite a bit of trouble figuring out the multi-level shadows, so I took a page from James Gurney’s book and built a model out of cardboard and a tiny bendy booklight. (Photo here if you’re curious!)