— I very seldomly have time to do commissions. Sometimes I announce that I’m available for commissions in my blog or social media. Please watch there. You’re always welcome to send me a commission request, if it sounds interesting and I have time, I might do it. My charge depends on the commission in question.
NOTE: I do NOT take costume or wig commissions, sorry! I just don’t have time. I do sometimes sell my older costumes, but if the costume is not listed for sale, then it’s unlikely that I’ll be willing to sell it.
I do not do “art trades”.
— You’re free to use my images for your own private usage. But you cannot use it for publication, sale, modification, redistribution, etc. I don’t allow it for use in tube or stock sites. Basically, do not use ANY of my artwork anywhere without permission. Please email me to ask for permission or clarification.
IMAGE USE FOR PUBLICATION
— I keep high resolution files of my artwork and photographs. If you would like to use one for publication or product, please email me and we can discuss it.
— I keep high resolution files of my artwork, if you’d like a print of one, just email me.
Typically a drawing starts out as a baby idea which then becomes a thumbnail, then I start roughing out the bodies and details, then I clean it up a bit, and then I do my final line in graphite. I don’t erase the red pencil, usually. I don’t ink. I then remove the red channel in Photoshop to leave just the final line in graphite. Sometimes I up the contrast or color the pencil lines in Photoshop. If I’m coloring, I color in COPIC markers on a separate page and then composite with the final line layer in Photoshop.
If I’m doing storyboards for work, I draw rough messy thumbnails in Storyboard Pro using a cintiq, and then after they are approved I start to put the drawings on model and flesh them out with more acting.
If I’m animating something with unusual movement like martial arts or a dance… I’ll usually go on youtube or my movie collection and look for reference and inspiration.
Do you ever experience “art block”, or a lack of inspiration/motivation?
I think all artists must, but when you’re a professional artist you don’t have the luxury of allowing a lack of inspiration/motivation to keep you from drawing. If someone’s paying you a salary, etc, you can’t just sit there and mess around instead of drawing.
Also, I think that forcing yourself to draw “anyway” often helps you work through your block. You can think, “wow, I really don’t have an idea for this scene/drawing” but instead of giving up, you do some research, you keep drawing, you try different things, and then you find an hour or two later that you come up with a good idea for it. If I still can’t come up with something, then I take a walk outside, go get some tea or something and I come back in about half an hour and try again.
Also, in general, drawing daily is very important to up your ease and your skill. Think of how much better someone who draws about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week would be than someone who just draws occasionally when they get the inspiration.
How did you get into animation?
— I drew since I was a little kid and I have always loved cartoons. When I was 9, I created elaborate (bad) comics about Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers. When I was about 11, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” came out. I’d loved “The Little Mermaid”, but something about “Beauty and the Beast” really hit me. I’d always been a huge fan of fairy tales… but I loved the smart quality of Disney’s Belle and I loved the visual power of the Beast. This was also the first time when I saw any sort of information about animation being created BY PEOPLE. They showed “The Making of Beauty and the Beast” on TV and interviewed Glen Keane, and that was that. I decided right then that I would be an animator (specifically I wanted to be a feature animator at Disney), and stayed true to that dream for years.
I got into Calarts right after highschool and focused almost entirely on feature-style character animation. I found storyboarding and other parts of animation hard and not as much fun.
Then my junior year in college, Disney decided they didn’t want to do 2-D animation anymore and fired 99% of their staff. I tried 3d animation multiple times (in fact, I taught myself 3d animation in high school), but I’ve never enjoyed it like I enjoy the rush of rough animation in 2d or just drawing in general, so I gave 3d up. Instead I was lucky enough to get some jobs doing character layout and storyboard revision work at various TV studios. Eventually I learned animation timing and full storyboards (thanks to Disney TV and Rough Draft Studios). This gave me the skills to attempt Assistant Directing. I think it’s kind of funny that I’m doing exactly what I thought I WOULDN’T be doing in animation, and honestly, I’m enjoying it greatly. I’ve learned so very much. (And I still have so much to learn.)
How did you get Japan Ai published?
— I’d known Go! Comi for a couple years and I’d done a little bit of work with them but most of the time I was so busy with animation work that I didn’t have time to do comics stuff. We went out to karaoke one night and Audry asked if I was working on anything and I said I was doing some comics about my trip to Japan. I emailed them to her later, mentioning that I might self-publish them. She emailed me back saying, “You do remember we are a publisher, right?” They really liked my early drawings for the book and really wanted to publish it! I’m very lucky for that. I never would have been able to publish the book in color myself, and it wouldn’t have been as long either. More importantly, they gave me a lot of advice about shaping the book and the whole thing became more polished and appealing by the time it was finished. I’m very happy with it. So that’s basically how it happened. I enjoyed making the book and people’s reaction to it so very much! This really is something that I could have never anticipated. What a joy.
How did you get interested in Japan?
— Part of it came from watching anime on TV, stuff like Ranma 1/2, Kimba the White Lion and My Neighbor Totoro. Later when I was researching which college to go to, I visited New York and they had a show of traditional Japanese art at the Metropolitan Museum. So I’m interested in both the traditional and the popular culture of Japan. Gradually I learned more about Japanese artwork, history and fashion.
How fluent was your Japanese when you left for your trip?
— Not very. I knew very basic things like “Where is this?”, “I’m sorry!” and “Thank you!”. I had several guidebooks though, and an annotated bilingual atlas (invaluable) from a friend who had gone several times, plus the friend I went with had gone to Japan previously. I do think that if you are prepared, you can easily go to Japan for the first time without knowing too much Japanese. It’s very helpful, though.
SOLD OUT JAPAN AI, SEQUEL TO JAPAN AI?
Japan Ai sold so well that it sold out and is now out of print! I would like to get it reprinted with a new publisher, but I’m really busy right now. (I’m so sorry!) I do have a second book which is somewhat similar to Japan Ai (ie, Cosplay AI) which is about 80% finished,… but we’ll see how it goes. I really enjoy making books, and I love to travel. I appreciate your support in buying them so that I can make more!
When and how did you learn how to sew? Any tips for newbies starting out?
I sewed a little and very badly when I was a kid (thanks to my mom) but I didn’t really truly learn to sew until I got into college. My roomate Crisso and my cosplay friend, Judy, helped me learn how to sew better, mostly. There are a lot of books out there that can help you with beginning sewing, but I’d say the best way to learn is to take a class, have a friend teach you and of course… learning by experience. Probably the most important thing to someone starting out is to follow the pattern (don’t cut corners) and make sure you make a muslin (a test garment out of cheap fabric) for fitted parts of the garment. Also, clipping seams on curves is not optional.