Sketchbook Pages from the National Museum of the American Indian

Imagine two kids on the playground: a hippie kid, and a big, mean kid in boat shoes named Chet.

The hippie kid is doing fine in school until Chet transfers in. Chet kicks the crap out of the hippie kid, kills his family, and lights his house on fire.

If you’re thinking Chet sounds unkind, welcome to American history. Take a seat. Chet does plenty more for hundreds of years.

The United States has apologetically carved out a space dedicated to the hippie kid. The National Museum of the American Indian is a smooth, striking building in muted tones that nestles in with the other Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. The exterior has no angles.

Native-American-Museum

I find its blobbiness appealing. I’m sure someone bitched about it, though. People always hate cool architecture.

Inside the museum, there are a variety of exhibits, including the Treaty exhibit, which details “the diplomacy, promises, and betrayals involved in two hundred years of treaty-making between the United States and Native Nations, as one side sought to own the riches of North America and the other struggled to hold on to its homelands and ways of life.”

The extensive sadness of the Treaty exhibit cannot be overstated.

However, there were also tons of exhibits that were charming. My favorites were the ones with artifacts.

I love artifacts. 

I could draw artifacts all day.

NA-Museum

 

My favorite artifacts are masks.

And my favorite masks were the Inti Raymi Festival masks (drawn on bottom right). They look just like Guy Fawkes masks. (Or, as my mom called them, “the masks those hackers use.”)

GuyFawkes

Going to one of these Peruvian festivals has just been placed onto my bucket list!

Overall, I recommend this museum. There is a tinge of sadness associated with it, due to the obvious; but the overall feeling is celebratory, historical, and hopeful.

Inside my Sketchbook: Terrifying Dali-Masked Male Ballerinas In Tutus

Want to see a performance that’s halfway between Cirque Du Soleil and the most fucked thing you’ve ever seen? Try La Verite!

It has all the Dali-masked ballerinas in tutus you could ever need. There are also people in giant rhino heads, enormous dandelions, trapeze artists, and a goddamn terrifying doll controlled by men in all black.

Lots of great nightmares to sketch.

Masks-On-Masks

Also on the drawing radar: the break room table. Sketching during lunch beats checking your email or Facebook (again).

Ugh, Facebook. I need a cleanse.

Break-Room-Doodles

In response to questions you probably didn’t have:

1. No, I’ve never had sriracha before yesterday. I get on board with everything too late.

2. The only exception to my Whole30 diet is one of Liz’s tiny cupcakes a week. She makes these itsy-bitsy, dainty cupcakes from scratch and brings them in every Friday. They are very special.

3. I absolutely make lists of the dogs I pet in the street. The giant brindled English bulldog was at the post office. The doofy, slightly-greasy pug was on the sidewalk by a tiny subterranean Korean restaurant.

4. The pens/inks used were Bent Nib Jinhao w/Japanese Beautyberry, Hero 9315 w/Visconti Bordeaux, a vintage Pelikano w/Pelikan turquoise, and a vintage Sheaffer w/Private Reserve Ebony Purple. I use a lot of vintage fountain pens because I keep snapping them up at thrifts, antiques shops, flea markets, etc. I clean them out and re-fill them with blunt-nib syringes. Here are a few on Instagram.

5. I really do have a friend named Jiggy. (She insists her Korean birth name is unpronounceable.) She sits next to me and eats the healthiest stuff imaginable so she can continue being (literally) the strongest woman I know.

Jiggy

I draw her lunches in the vain hope that some of that healthiness will rub off on me.

My fountain pens are basically tiny barbells, right?

… Right?

Illustration Tutorial: Peeper, Part One

Today we’re going to do Part One of How I Illustrate! This process is spontaneous, fun, and colorful. You can try it at home!

Step 1: Inspiration. For this piece, my source material/idea is this image from RedditGetsDrawn. There’s something fascinating about the fact that the author calls this “my very cute boyfriend and our plants.” In any other context, this image looks like a screen grab from a horror movie.

HowItsMade-01

Step 2: Line art. I draw hella-simple line art. It can be smudgy or messy. This is where the composition is figured out. I moved the face to the other window to balance it out. I made the pots fun. I added in curtains.

Step 3: Basic colors. I locked the line art screen and set it to “multiply.” Then I added in shapes underneath. I used the Pen tool, but you could use the manual lasso or polygonal lasso and dump colors in places. When adding in colors, I make everything basically mid-toned.

Because I can’t quite see what I’m doing, the lines aren’t precisely matching up down there. I do not, under any circumstances, remove the line art screen at this point. Because I will begin to fuss. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

HowItsMade-02

Step 4: Highlights/shadows. I take the polygonal lasso tool, make a fresh layer, and start adding in highlights using a textured brush. Then I make another fresh layer and start adding in shadows using a textured brush.

Step 4 detail: Here’s how the highlight and shadow layers look on their own.

HowItsMade-03

Step 5: The Reveal: Completely delete the line layer. It is not coming back. (Bye, Felicia.) You’ll be left with something sort of funky. Stuff won’t line up. Nothing will be straight. You will notice your mistakes. You will despair. Too late.

Step 6: Levels and touches. Here’s the part where you add in some contrast and add in a few details to the spots that look weird. (I realized, for example, that the curtains didn’t have any shading.)

Click here for the final steps: adding in some line work, highlights, definition, and color adjustments.

Happy HOWL-idays

This holiday (“HOWL-iday”) season is fairly bittersweet on the dog front.

HOWL-Idays

Before you worry, William is okay.

But his best friend, Pollyanna Banana, passed away unexpectedly last weekend.

12322957_10109827817591654_1377900857637789708_o

She was good, smart, clever, crazy, shy, standoffish, smelly, strong, caring, protective, misandrist, fluffy, maternal — and dangerous as fuck to ducklings.

Dogs burn bright, shimmer, and pass before we have a chance to really appreciate them.

Please take a moment this holiday season to kiss your pets on their slippery, wet, stinky noses.