Monday, January 18, 2010


More process pictures!

The original photograph, taken from Waterloo Bridge on my last full day in London: the Thames River, the London Eye, Parliament and Big Ben there in the background, and the Royal Festival Hall where the London Philharmonia plays.

The carbon paper transfer of my pencil sketch onto watercolor paper, and the very beginnings of the watercolor wash for the sky and river.

The watercolor washes of the sky, water, and sand.

Starting to add some details: windows of the Royal Festival Hall, the silhouette of Big Ben, the staircase down to the beach.

Adding more detail: reflections on the water, skin, etc.

Adding more and more detail.

And finally adding inking around the edges of the watercolor panels.

Now that I'm back at school, the countdown has begun: I've got until April to paint 50 more pages, design a cover, and get this thing printed and bound. A daunting task, but I think I'm up to the challenge. (But encouraging comments are always welcome. Heehee.) See you next time!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bon Voyage!

Today is the one-year anniversary of my first day in London. So many things in my life have changed for the better since then personally and emotionally, and I owe a lot of those feelings to going abroad. Since stepping off that plane and navigating around a foreign city (albeit with the help of good friends and good staff at SU London), I feel like I can go anywhere and accomplish anything. It sounds cheesy, but it's true: going to London opened me up to (literally) a world of possibilities.

So this anniversary day got me thinking of all the kids from SU who are just starting their journey abroad. Best of luck to all of you. Be safe, but take chances. Explore. Go out in groups, but go out. Have fun. And you don't always have to go out to have fun-- know that sometimes it's okay to stay in with a book or a movie and some buddies. Take advantage of as many trips as possible, but don't forget that the city you're in is one of the most historically rich and culturally vibrant cities in the Western world.

And say hello to this guy for me. Tell him I'll be back to visit him someday.

Bon voyage and cheers to all of you!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Photo Reference

As I keep painting, I'm excited to have more colorful stuff to post on here. Yesterday, I tackled painting this spread that you may remember from a few months back. As you may remember, each letter has inside it a different scene from somewhere I encountered along my travels. To accurately depict them, I used photos I took while in those places as a guide for sketching and, yesterday, for painting. Instead of showing the whole spread, I thought I'd share a more detailed look, along with the photo references I looked at while painting.

I'll show the photo, then the painting. The references are just that: references-- meaning that in some cases, they are very similar, and in some cases, the paintings are less exact copies and more just about the general idea from the photograph.

1) A gorgeous fountain in Regents Park in Late April:

2) A view of the Blue Mosque from the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul:

3) The London Eye reflected in a puddle near the Hungerford Pedestrian Bridge, taken my first day in London:

4) I.M. Pei's pyramids outside the Louvre in Paris.

Hope you enjoyed these little glimpses-- I want to save the spread as a whole as a surprise for when the book gets published. I've got more painting to do this afternoon, so keep a look out for more frequent posts as I go.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Page #1!

Finally, process pictures!

The photocopy of page 1 laid out on watercolor paper with carbon paper for transferring.

The carbon paper transfer on watercolor paper, ready for me to paint.

The after-image on the back of the carbon paper itself. (Not really a part of the process, I just thought it was neat.)

Painting! A base layer of red. (In London, I lived in a brick building painted bright red with complex white molding. And I decided to paint it all. Haha. As my mother said, "You certainly didn't give yourself anything easy.")

Starting to add some grey tones to to the street and windows.

Some lovely greenery in the windows now, plus getting the background

Painting some lovely irises. They actually grew on our flat's terrace, and bloomed just a few weeks before we left England. They made me very happy.

After adding some detail to the red brick facade and finishing the flowers, I go in with my Micron pen for lettering and outlining.

And voila! The first peek at the first page.

As always, comments are appreciated. And there will be many more like this to come, so keep checking back! See you again soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Walk Around the World

Work is going slowly but surely here. To distract myself from the monotony of carbon paper, I've been making my way through the many graphic novels I got for Christmas. This morning, I was reading The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman, and I ran across this quote:

"My dream is to walk around the world. A smallish backpack, all essentials neatly in place. A camera. A notebook. A traveling paint set. A hat. Good shoes. A nice pleated (green?) skirt for the occasional seaside hotel afternoon dance."

This quote brings me back to my first day in London. We had gotten off the plane and taken to our hotel, then went to our school for a few information sessions and a meet-and-greet. Then, the entire afternoon was ours to do with whatever we wished. They warned us not to go to sleep until that night (to get over the jetlag appropriately), so a nap was out of the question (even though I so didn't want it to be.) So, fueled by adrenaline and curiosity, Allie and I set out on a walk.

I didn't have a phone. I didn't have much cash. My only ID at this point was my passport, which we'd been told was not a good idea to bring with you on casual outings (as it could get easily stolen). It was much too cold in London for a green pleated skirt, but I did have on my good walking shoes and my winter hat. All I had in my pockets was my camera, my notebook and pen, and a few pounds. And I've never felt so free, so unhindered, so curious. I felt safe, I felt inspired, I felt open. Reading Maira Kalman's quote took me back to that moment and gave me new energy to focus on my project. Because I want to share how London made me feel.

A photo from the walk I took with Allie my first day in London, when I was wandering around going "How did we get here?!" Look, it's Buckingham Palace!

So, Maira Kalman, can I join you on that walk around the world?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy 2010 everyone!

I apologize for the large gap in posting last month. December is a tough month time-wise, what with finals and the holidays. But the holidays brought with them a wealth of new, inspiring graphic novels for me to dig into: Chicken With Rice by the always-wonderful Marjane Satrapi, the first two hardback volumes of Y: The Last Man by Brian Vaughan and Pia Guerra, and the long-coveted travelogue by Craig Thompson, Carnet de Voyage. I also got a sketch diary entitled The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. Lots of reading material with which to start out the new year.

2010 will see the completion of my as-yet-unnamed graphic novel, which will be a big accomplishment for me. It's crazy to think that in just five months, all the work that has gone into it will have yielded something real, tangible, published. And all of the steps leading up to that will be documented here, so keep an eye out as the year progresses. I've started transferring pages to watercolor paper via carbon paper (old school, I know) but I'm taking a bit of a break to spend time with family and friends for holiday/New Years festivities. I hope you all are enjoying a little relaxing time yourselves.

Here's to a happy and productive 2010!