Author Archives: littledragonblue

About littledragonblue

Dreamer, Writer, Artist, Lover

Another Sonoran Switchplate

I’m painting a lot lately, and I am working on a bigger canvas all week: it’s about 4 feet high and 18 inches wide. Making a lot of progress and wasn’t done painting for the day, but I needed to let that project rest/dry, so I did another switchplate. I’ve been wanting to do this design for a while. Honestly part of the problem was that I couldn’t find a screwdriver. However, I persevered.

It started out pretty good but then some of the paint pens exploded, and some of the pens weren’t flowing so all. I cleaned it up as best I could but some bits of it were better before. Paint pens are less versatile than actual paints. Still, it’s about what I wanted. I meant to put it by my front door, and put the zentangle that’s there now in my studio, but in fact they’re different plates. The one in the front has 3 switches.

Only 2 blank switchplates left in this house. Gonna have to start painting the walls soon.

Muse and Duende Redux: Trickster’s Hat part 6(a)

If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know that Nick Bantok’s The Trickster’s Hat was a huge part of my transitional journey from writer to visual artist, and you may even remember my original take on this concept: the first Muse and Duende poster. For a while, I’ve wanted to do better versions, and this was the result.

This project took about 12 hours total over 6 days of working. I think the originals took 3 or 4 hours.

Oil paint is a medium about which I know nothing and have next to no experience but it’s rich and delicious. (Last year the Otter decided to “learn to paint like Bob Ross” and invested in all the materials and then painted a picture and then decided he was done painting, so I was the lucky recipient of a lot of art supplies I couldn’t afford on my own.) The results are pretty satisfying compared to the original but also…I could improve that much again. I’ll be painting more (working on something else already that ‘s probably more disturbing but less NSFW than this ) but I’m going to do some acrylic stuff before I go back to oils. I love the oils, but the environmental impact is ridiculous and I don’t think breathing the paint or the paint thinner is really doing much for my respiratory issues.

But I think I want to paint more, even though it’s an insanely expensive hobby and I don’t know how long it would take to reach a marketable standard and it’s murder on my back and hands. But oh, that flow…

These paintings were a gift for the Coyote, whose home decor supports this sort of thing.

A Cozy Pretend Fire

I was asked to create a cardboard “fireplace” for an event that will involve children drinking hot chocolate before school. While it usually isn’t cool enough for daytime fires in Arizona, lately it kind of has been, but I guess you can’t have a real fire at an elementary school, so they still will have to sit around the pretend fire.

This piece took a little extra time because it had to fold flat, meaning that I couldn’t just wrap the whole thing up, but had to keep each panel separate. There’s one piece of tape on the back and the whole thing collapses if it’s removed. The fire itself comes out: the grate isn’t attached to anything, and the flames and the wood are stuck into grooves cut into the grate and can also be removed.

Currently, the cozy pretend fire is sitting in the front office next to an artificial Christmas tree. Maybe I should make a pretend Hanukkiah to go along with it. There probably aren’t that many Jewish kids at this school—guessing we have more indigenous kids than Jewish kids—but not everyone is cool with Christmas stuff. I never do overtly religious designs, although I’ve done culturally relevant adjacent imagery, like luminarias.

Picture Books in Winter

Forgot to post my holiday bulletin board last week. That fireplace does look pretty cool but I was kicking myself because I mismeasured somehow, which shouldn’t surprise me because I do it every time, but the chimney’s too short and the rest is so wide it almost covered the text and didn’t leave any room for picture books.

Anyway, this is my cozy winter bulletin board. I don’t remember this Robert Louis Stevenson poem from my childhood but it seemed perfect for the occasion. There are more stanzas to “Picture Books in Winter.” This is the last one.

Funny that it’s a poem for children about childhood but it’s really about the kind of nostalgia that kids can’t experience.

Lettering is freehand based on lowercase but with all characters having approximately the same height.

Local Monsters on RedBubble

I had a few (local) requests for this design on a T-shirt, so here it is. I tweaked the colors and fixed the font, but otherwise, it’s the same design as the Halloween bulletin board that inspired it. And it can be yours on a T-shirt, sticker, mug, water bottle, and dozens of other functional products.

Check out Respect Your Local Monsters in my RedBubble shop. (This is a great time to buy from RedBubble. Pretty much everything is on sale!)

Gotta Get Away?

Some people are islands, not in the sense that they stand completely alone, unaffected by anyone around them (that’s not even a apt metaphor; islands are obviously impacted by the weather, the water, geothermal activity, and climate change) but in the sense that they offer safety and security in otherwise inhospitable situations. If you’ve been treading water for so long you can’t keep your head up for another moment and are in danger of going under for good, an island is exactly what you need to survive.

A Character Strong Lion

This lion lifts

Just a little guy I made for someone else’s “character strong trait” display. There are 9 of these traits they want to communicate to children, one for every month of the school year. We added “kindness” so the weights could balance, plus we’re a “Be Kind” school. I guess they’re going to laminate the pieces and reuse then for a while, but it’s not my bulletin board so I don’t know the whole story.

As I was working, one kid informed me that, “there is this thing called heterochromia,” and that I should make a lion with different colored eyes. Then another kid told me that I should give this lion abs.

This Machine Annoys Fascists

It probably annoys other people, too, but we’re aiming for Fascists.

I once read that after writing “Night Moves,” Bob Seger fell into a deep depression, fueled by the belief that he had hit the pinnacle of his career and would never write another song as great and meaningful as that one. Personally, I prefer “Old Time Rock and Roll,” but when I look at this image, I think to myself, “You might as well retire from graphic design because this is the greatest thing you’ll ever do.”

But Bob Seeger didn’t retire and neither will I. People are already asking for T-shirt versions of “Respect Your Local Monsters,” so that’s what I will make next. Plus I have another cool commission in the works.

The quote here is, of course, a riff off Woody Guthrie’s, “This Machine Kills Fascists,” message, which the folk singer wrote in black across his acoustic guitar. And the ukulele being a sort of baby guitar, its power is not as lethal, but still shots fired against the enemy.

As it’s looking more and more likely that this country is willing to go full Fascist in the next couple years, and Gen X is old and has back pain, and this is about the level of resistance I’m able to muster currently. I personally plan to get shot in the face in my own home if they start hauling off antifa. I’m Jewish and don’t have the stomach for going quietly.

You can purchase “This Machine Annoys Fascists” on a wide array of fine quality stickers, T-shirts, home goods, and various other production in my RedBubble shop.

She Tortoise Well

All’s shell that ends shell

My mom was recently admiring my fishy switch plate so I thought I’d make her something in a similar style for a birthday card, but I decided on a turtle, because she also likes those little folksy Mexican bobble head turtle things. I don’t know what they’re called.

The turtle’s body is cut from a single image of a hibiscus and the shell is an ad for fiber or something like that. I love how hexagons tesselate, even though these ones are imperfect.

I brought this card to the library, where my parents were presenting a science program about electricity for little kids on my mom’s birthday, because that is how my parents roll.