Emerald Hall Illustration

This illustration has gone through a lot of different stages.


The initial inspiration was from binge-watching Project Runway and being reminded of my favorite type of hem on a dress: handkerchief hem, or hanky hem.

This started out as a design I envisioned as something that could be on a runway for fashion– then later a voice kept complaining in my head “this looks way too boring compared to all your other work.”

Most of my illustrations are more inspired by video game character and costume designs, and I don’t actually want to become a fashion designer (though I have been paid to illustrate costume designs before and wouldn’t mind doing that again).


So then I went back to trying to find ways to make this image more interesting for my own taste. This painting went through a bunch of iterations where I found it to be pretty ugly (well maybe some of you might find what I ultimately went with is still pretty ugly lol).

I changed the belt like 10 times again. Why don’t I do the same for earrings or necklaces? Maybe I don’t care as much about them. Then again I’m not sure if I want to turn each of these paintings into like 60-hour ordeals rather than the usual 20-30 hours.

I always do this thing where I leave an in-progress painting for a while then come back to it and keep telling myself “I have to finish it!” while switching between hating the painting and hating myself. The last finishing stretch is like the hardest for me because it feels like polishing can take forever and ever and I’m trying to prioritize putting out more work. I find it okay to rush it a teeny bit at the end because over the years I have pushed my limit on each of my paintings where I spend at least 10 hours on. I just need to get more ambitious with my ideas and then fill in the canvas. Pfft… easier said than done though.

I felt like this girl needed more panache… like literally. So when the royal wedding happened, I saw pictures/videos of hats worn at the event and got inspired by looking at hats made by Vivien Sheriff.

On her head, a hat I put…

Phew, choosing design ideas out of the many hats by Viven Sheriff was really tough. I just loved so many of them.

Here are some close-ups of the complete product:

I went back to my old favorite digital painters, including Linda Bergkvist. One of her greatest strengths was portraying depth of field, which I think kicks everything up a notch in terms of making it look more polished. Glad her artwork is still around for me to reference!

And just in case, here’s a wallpaper you can download:

Yay for more finished work! 😀 Cheers!

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Bath Time pg47

Other pages found here.


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Raspberry Lipstick Bunny

Another piece I finished after starting it while teaching a student an animation lesson. Based off of that really popular video of that bunny basically doing the same thing 😛



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Hearts Stars and Hearts Anthro Art


Just did a really quick and dirty piece of anthro art for a student and for promotional purposes, since this seems to be the most popular subject matter to draw for my younger students. I don’t even know what animal this is 😛 Just kind of made her up.

Yay for finished work!

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Bath Time pages 43-46

Other pages found here.

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Gif Animation Dump from Lessons

Here’s a bunch of animations I made during lessons while teaching animations students. Most of the time, I teach the same old walk cycle, jumping and hair dynamics stuff, but just a few students choose to take more than 1 class per animation.

This first one is Spike from Cowboy Bebop:

This one is an imagined scenario in my student’s original story:

This one is from the Blade Runner Short “Black Out 2022”

This one is from Animatrix’s “Detective Story” (hmm I guess I like Shinichiro Watanabe :P):

This next one I think is sort of a made-up fan animation of Gudetama:

These next two are just referenced from GIF’s of gymnasts. Animating realistic people has actually been a great way to teach some body/muscle anatomy to students who are unfamiliar with that area of drawing.

This next one was just a random thing with a cat:

Here’s Winnie the Pooh doing his thing:

We also decided to do a crossover of Simon’s Cat with Litten, the Pokemon:

And lastly, here’s a very very rough 2-frame animation I did for myself as a personal project. I’ll likely add more frames and other stuff to it later:

Basically just trying to show that I’m not dead yet and to keep this blog updated 😛

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Featured Student: Nianna

Today I’m posting about Nianna (age 13), who recently got successful admission into LaGuardia High School (a school that specializes in the arts, basically like a magnet school) after a long arduous preparation process for the school’s portfolio requirements and audition.

After we had lessons together for about 9 months with LaGuardia High School in mind, she was able to improve her skills, build a great portfolio, and she was prepared for her audition.

Here is one of her final portfolio pieces:

Here’s some of her work I’d received before we started our first lesson together:

What I’ve realized over the years was that an artist can have the ability to draw something well, but completion and polishing for good presentation is actually a separate skill. I think what students ought to know is that there is value to any time put into practicing drawing, even if you don’t finish the work. Any sort of drawing counts as sort of like drilling, and the student acquires more of the skill of whatever they practiced. A dancer might stretch to become more flexible and be good at a few dance combinations, but putting together a polished choreographed performance is a separate item. It requires dedicated time and effort.

There is value in unfinished pieces — artists will gain skills that carry them through any future pieces that require those skills. But if you want an audience, especially as a professional, it’s important to make sure your work is completed and presented well.

The way I’m going to split up the next part of this post is by subject matter and showing Nianna’s progress over time.

Here’s a shot of a still life she drew:

In the following still life below for her portfolio, you can see how much more carefully she shaded in the objects, and how all the geometric shapes are much more straightened out:

The first time we went over color, we tried experimenting with rendering a leaf without using only green:

Here are the other colored pieces she put into her portfolio (alongside the flowers piece at the top of this post):

What I try to teach to all my students when I teach color is that, given your illustration process is open to the whole range of colors, don’t just use the light and dark versions of the same color for the same object if in theory that object is just one color (like an egg, a rose petal, a hand, or a tennis ball). Use cool versus warm colors to add more contrast. When I paint leaves for example, I like to use not only greens, but blues and turquoise for the darker areas, and orange and yellow for the more highlighted areas. Colors will pop out more and look even more like themselves if there is a color contrast next to them — this can be shown in Nianna’s landscape painting, where brown, yellow and amber colors are used alongside the greens on the hills. The depth of that painting was also accentuated by how faded out the blueish backdrop was rendered.

Nianna had expressed that she enjoyed illustrating fabrics. What can be tough about them is that there needs to be balance between stiffness and fluidity — in the line work, shading, and in the resulting illustration.  Since she’d expressed this interest, I suggested that she draw pictures of dresses to keep things exciting.

I think Nianna was a natural when it came to drawing draped fabrics in full value.

Here’s one of her fabric pieces in her portfolio:

In this last section, Nianna shows her drastic improvements in drawing portraits.

Like many of my students who aren’t too familiar with drawing hair, Nianna started out with what I call “spaghetti hair.” I’d written about it in the past (about halfway through the post), and it is definitely the most common mistake that artists make when they first try to draw hair, myself included. But it’s really great that artists make an effort and put some kind of hair on the head anyway just to keep the illustrations coherent, completed and polished.

Here’s some of her work during the first (or at least one of the first) lesson we had with going over hair:

Definitely the first step is to realize that hair should be parted into smaller sections. Some sections can cast shadows and sit on top of other locks of hair, some sit underneath other locks of hair.

I think Nianna’s drawings of Emma Watson were fairly recognizable, and by this time she’d significantly improved her skill of drawing portraits.

Here are the portraits that went into her successful portfolio:

With this next one, Nianna demonstrated her capacity to take risks. Portraits of people looking up are among the toughest to render, in my experience, and Nianna illustrated it very confidently. A lot of editing, time and effort went into this one and I’m really proud of her for finishing it. This piece could easily have been really demoralizing but I’m really impressed that she pushed through the process.

Well, that statement can actually be said about the entire process of building a portfolio on a deadline!

The preparation process for LaGuardia High School was a long, stressful and exhausting one — but look how far you’ve come! I am so proud of you, Nianna — you’ve worked hard, and you have earned your successful admission! Congratulations! ❤

Thank you for checking out this post everyone! I hope Nianna has inspired you all 😀

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