Thursday, October 16, 2014

Anatomy of Bliss - three ways

Painting in Photoshop. You know why it's so cool?
In a few small clicks...
you have a new mood.

This was done pretty intuitively, and in one go.
I didn't draw it out, or plan it to go any which way.

The part I like best about painting
(either with 'real' paints, or digitally)
is that the work takes on its own life and direction.

After that, it's only a matter of facilitating it,
and letting it manifest itself.

I could have gone on painting it,
but I stopped, and just changed the backgrounds.

In the end, I don't have a favorite - do you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Art and animals

I thought I'd share some of the Nanobot's drawings over the years.
It's funny how some things are still the same -
she still draws straight with pen,
no pencils or erasers for her!

It's pretty much animals all the way :)

Cats and bunnies rule supreme,but I've seen
lemurs, elephants, horses, tigers, seals, dinosaurs,
butterflies, anteaters, wolves, pandas, snakes
...and then some.

This first drawing is from when she was exactly 2 and a half.

Each picture tells a definite story,
which she remembers with clarity
no matter how long ago it was.

At seven she still draws the same way,
still loves the same critters,
and still won't use a pencil or eraser :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Eid rocks!

I did this post a few years ago, about how I made decoupaged rocks,
but I keep running into them on Pinterest,
so I thought a revisit for my blog readers would be good,
since the timing is just right - 
we are once again at the end of Ramadan.

Here it is:

I'm always sorry to see Ramadan go, but Eid is a wonderful way to say goodbye to this month of blessings.  It's great to make your own decorations and gifts - handmade rules! - and I wanted something that would do double duty, since I already have two shows in a few days that I need to prepare for as well...

If you remember, some of the beautiful rocks I collected last summer
I turned into this:

It took me a LOT of time!
(so much time that I never got past doing these two)

I had more rocks left over that were so inspiring in their lovely, soft shapes, but I did not have the hours to cover them up in fabric.  
I still wanted to use them for an Eid decoration idea. 

So I decoupaged them with used gift tissue (hey, I love the three R's!) and then remembered my white pens, with which I'd had a lot of fun 
until I forgot about them.

Remember these?

So this is what I did:

The layers of tissue paper created a wonderful, subtle leathery texture, and the varnish gives them a very lacquered look, with their 
deep, deep, shiny, shiny red.  

I'm also making some in my favorite, black and white!

They look great as Eid decorations, 
but will also make wonderful gifts, InshaAllah.

If you are celebrating it, have a wonderful Eid!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Enchanting Eid

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Discover Issue 22 - Part Two

In my last post I shared a picture of Khalid,
who is suffering from hay fever.

Here are Khalid's friends,
who have discovered that pure, local honey 
is a great antidote to pollen allergies,
and they have bought him a jar of the golden goodness.

I had great fun making the bees!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Discover illustration 22

Wow.  22 issues already!!!
I love working for the folks at Discover - 
the coolest people I've worked with. Ever.

Meanwhile, part one of the Issue 22 illo.

It's Khalid, with allergies.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hand drawing.
Something connects so intimately to the heart
when all you have is a pencil and some paper.

Part two coming soon.

Also, please check out my facebook page,

I hope to start doing giveaways soon there,
so do use that "Like" button :)
And many thanks!!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Illustrated Recipe - Preserved Lemons

Food is an art, right?
Well then, how perfect to turn the instructions
to prepare food also into art?

My mom and I have been toying with a recipe book idea for years.
We want to make something that people will cherish and use,
something instructive but fun and colorful, and full of anecdotes.

So I decided to take the plunge and just start
playing around with it, at least.
And voila, my first illustrated recipe :)

I chose preserved lemons, because
A. I love them :)
B.  It's a simple recipe.
C.  They're special because my mom makes them for me.

Hope you like the recipe enough to try it.
Don't forget to rinse the lemons out before using - 
they will be VERY salty.

There is a whole website devoted to illustrated recipes
- can you believe it?
You might even see mine there, if they accept it!

Have fun while you cook - it's therapeutic!

Friday, May 23, 2014


This is one of those journey vs. destination things.

I've always been a journey person.
The destination is important, of course,
but the road not taken, ah, the charms of that.

This painting began at one place and ended up
somewhere altogether unexpected.

There were magnolias lurking in my mind's eye
(Magnolia season is just ending here,
which always flusters me a bit.  Will I see them again next year?
Will I ever look at them long enough to satisfy me?)

I was thinking about art and healing.

I was thinking black and white.

And yet the picture was something else before.
And now it's like this.
And that's all good :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sophia's Journal - almost done

So, here it is!
This is pretty much the final version
of the book cover I'm illustrating for
author Najiyah Diana Helwani,
also known as Diana Maxfield.

Sophia's Journal chronicles the events in the life of Sophia,
a teen from modern-day America, who is transported
into Kansas of the 1850's, and lives
the life of a pioneer girl while she is there.

The typeface I used for the title was designed by
the very talented Guillame Seguin
You can see more of his work HERE.

The book is coming out soon!

You can see the steps this cover went through

Thursday, May 15, 2014


I came home today to find fall leaves
blown onto our front yard.
It's not fall. It's spring. But there they were.

Sweet and beautiful and so, so perfect.

I've painted leaves on everything.
Done them on paper as botanical drawings.
Done them on paper as abstract art.
Digitally as vector illustrations.
On pots, on walls, even on clothes with sequins added :)

But I can't seem to leave the leaves behind!!!

And now I want to do a personal project all about leaves.

All the various shapes and colors they come in.
And why they are that way for that particular tree.

I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Meanwhile, this is how it's REALLY like right now:

Yay, spring!