Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday Shopping in NYC

"Holiday Shoppers," available at The Nancydraws Shop:

Well, its the last week before Christmas, and not even a week before Hanukkah begins. I'm sure there are still cards to write, cookies to bake, parties to attend, and gifts buy and wrap, so thanks for taking a look at my blog post today. I want to share some pictures to show what inspired a greeting card that I created last year, which is pictured above, "Holiday Shoppers."

If you spend much time in Manhattan at this time of year, you'll see people wandering around the city with all kinds of colorful and festive shopping bags. Since this week is the height of the holiday shopping season, I've taken a bunch of photos of these bags, which you'll see when you scroll down.

This illustration also reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me from when she was in high school. She went to midtown after school in December with a friend to see the store window decorations along Fifth Avenue. Both of them were raised in a blue-collar Queens neighborhood and had their backpacks with them as they walked around and enjoyed the sites. They both felt a little out of place, walking past others in fur coats, carrying their purchases from the ritzy stores along the avenue in festive shopping bags.

The friend suggested going into Saks Fifth Avenue and requested 2 shopping bags from one of the sales clerks. The two then placed their backpacks in the bags and felt better about "blending in" with the rest of the well-to-do shopping crowd. So, you never know what's in those bags you see people carrying down the street!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Can You Control the Holiday Whirl?

It's the beginning of holiday time again, and as much as I love the parties, decorations, and the fun that comes along with it, sometimes it can be overwhelming, can't it?

There are extra shopping trips and errands to add in to our usual schedule; card and gift buying, wrapping, and sometimes shipping; special dishes to cook and bring with us to the holiday parties or events we attend. If you're the host/hostess of such an event, your home must be decorated and cleaned up and down.

Amongst all of the usual holiday preparations I am gearing up for orders from The Nancydraws Shop, stocking up on my supplies, finishing the artwork that appears on the cards and tags, and thinking of ways to spread the word out about my shop to potential buyers. Since I print the cards from my home printer, I wait until a new order comes in and then get to work printing them out, trimming to size, and wrapping them up for shipment.

So, aside from hiring a personal assistant, what are your tips for staying sane during this exciting but busy time of year?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blog Swap: Eat Your Beans!

Today I am participating in a blog swap with a friend of mine from high school, Jean Ciemniecki Mead. We were in art classes together, our first class of the day, if I remember correctly. I always marveled at how perfectly her black liquid eyeliner was applied each morning.

Nowadays, Jean lives in Georgia and has a blog called "Eat Your Beans, A Vegan Mom Challenge," which she began in June 2011. Jean documents her process of going vegan and has some great recipes posted, as well as inspiring quotes and photos. Make sure to check out the Beer Battered Tofu or the Vegan Lasagne. Jean and I are both fans of the Red Lentil Thai Chili, which I created art work for on my post on her blog today. Links and photos for recipes are throughout the post.

Hi, Jean,
What is your blog about? How did you start writing it?

I started my blog this past June, I was challenging myself to go vegan and decided that by blogging about it, I would not only be held accountable  but I might help others too. I include vegan recipes, music and book info and I rant every now and again about how difficult (but rewarding) being vegan in an omnivorous household is.

What else aside from blogging and searching out new vegan recipes do you do most days?

I work part time at the local library. I really love my job; I am surrounded by books and have a blast with the kids during story time. I am also a wife and mother of two kids, so I spend a lot of time refereeing, driving, cooking and cleaning.

What are your guilty pleasures?
Reading. On the couch, with wine and no interruptions….it doesn’t happen often (the interruption part anyway). I love stupid horror movies, blasting music and dancing around like an idiot with my kids (or alone), and thrift store shopping.

Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs, a Belgian Malinois (German Shepard type dog) who is a 2 year old crazy toddler and a Husky mix that is 12 years old but still wrestles with the “puppy” when she gets the notion. It usually sounds like Chewbacca and the Hamburgler at a WWF smack down.

Do you have any favorites out of all of the recipes you have posted on the blog?

Yes, the Red Lentil Thai Chili. I make it every week and freeze it. Everyone I know is sick to death about hearing about it. I am also enjoying homemade miso soup.

Any recipes that turned out to be disasters?
Yup, plenty! I have murdered quite a lot of perfectly good food. In my house, they are called “epic fails” and it usually includes a baked good. My current disaster has been vegan Yorkshire pudding. Not. Going. To. Happen.

Has your life become more creative since you began your blog? If yes, in what way(s)?

Yes! Back in High School and College, I was creative in a totally different way, very much into art and a little writing. But now, I have discovered how much I love writing and do so every chance I get.

Is there anything in particular that inspires you? (a color? a place? a person? a time of year?, etc.)

Music is my muse. I love it and listen to all types any chance I get. I would rather listen to my online radio station than watch TV at any given time.

Vegan Lasagne

Since Thanksgiving is only one week away, what are you thankful for?
I am thankful for my friend's and family's unwavering support in everything I try.... I am also thankful for spell check.

Do you have any advice for others who would like to go vegan?
Yes, do it! Try it! Inform yourself, read, read, read about it and try out recipes. Make small changes if you have to and eliminate one animal product at a time. If you feel that going vegan is the right thing to do for yourself, whether it is because of health reasons or animal cruelty reasons-do it and don’t let others talk you out of it. I have a list of books on my site that help and recipes on there that will get you through your cravings.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for letting me share my blog with you and your readers! I always end my blog posts with a quote of the day, this one is a favorite of mine… 

“Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird. Go out and screw up! You’re going to anyway, so you might as well enjoy the process. Take the opportunity to learn from your mistakes: find the cause of your problem and eliminate it. Don’t try to be perfect; just be an excellent example of being human.”
—Anthony Robbins
Jean in her kitchen, as she massacres fresh beets!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Group Show, November 11!

Hello Family, Friends, and Fans,
I've been invited to be hang two of my illustrations in a group show at the Gowanus Print Lab in Brooklyn, NY. "Hybrid World" is a joint venture with the Gowanus Print Lab and the Graphic Artists Guild, which I am a member of.

I'm thrilled to take part in this opportunity and I hope you'll be able to join me for the opening reception on Friday, November 11 from 6-9pm. Further details at the link:

Gowanus Print Lab
54 Second Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 1121

Monday, October 24, 2011

Coming Attractions!

Last night I cooked up a delicious pot of Red Lentil Thai Chili for dinner. It was for nourishment as well as doing my part of a guest blogging swap that I'm participating in with Jean Ciemniecki Mead. I made sketches of some of the ingredients to go along with my post for Jean's blog, Eat Your Beans: A Vegan Mom Challenge. We'll each be taking a turn on each others blogs in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes and your sweet potatoes peeled!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Illustration Portfolio App

Great news! The Graphic Artists Guild iPad app is now available, and five of my illustrations are featured. It is F-R-E-E so I hope any of you who have iPads will download it and let me know what you think... especially if you're an art director! ; )

Here's the link:
Graphic Artists Guild on the iTunes App Store

Friday, July 29, 2011

Farmers' Market

This page is part of Adele's trip to the market where she buys a lot of her food. In an earlier post, I showed you the luscious strawberries that she picked up on the same shopping trip, and this page drawing faces that page.

Adele's story is set during the springtime, but shopping at an open-air market always makes me think of summer here on the east coast, since that is when our farmers' markets are overflowing with a large variety of my favorite produce... tomatoes, corn, peaches, blueberries, and so much more! I really love the smell of all of that fresh food. Go local!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Above is a sketch I did as a tribute to the famous Brassai photo of the Montmatre steps from the early 1930s.

It is going to be a very small part of the Adele book I'm working on, and I wanted to include it since I have been an admirer of his work for a long time. I haven't worked on the page that it appears on yet, so you'll be seeing it again in its smaller form, as part of Adele's blog. The story is partly told in the present tense along with important excerpts from Adele's blog/journal.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hello, July, here comes December!

As a rather laid back online retailer, I was surprised to see an e-mail today about "Free Shipping Day" on December 16th in my inbox.

Then again, every year I wish I had stared on my Christmas card illustration earlier! Maybe I should start sketching now.... I know that my 2011 card will involve another city scene, but that's all I'm giving away.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Henrí in the Spotlight

One of the characters in my story and an important part of Adele's life is her feline companion, Henrí, named for Henrí Matisse, one of my favorite artists. Henrí is rarely seen without his beret and can converse with all humans, not just Adele. On this page he is terrorizing pigeons, one of his favorite pastimes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

AIR Gallery art

I painted and drew the artwork picture above for the A.I.R. gallery's benefit show Wish You Were Here 10. Many artists, both well-known (for example, Yoko Ono) and lesser-known (for example, me) contributed 4" x" 6" original art. I was there tonight for the main opening of the postcard show and it was a lot of fun to see all of the different styles and materials that the contributors worked with.

For more info, visit the gallery's exhibits page:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Show of Hands

In this post I have to be honest, I am not good at drawing hands. Since my college figure drawing classes, rendering that body part has always given me the most trouble. In my sketches, they end up looking like "Attack of The Claw," sausages, (as one of my Illustration professors put it), or worse! So please bear that in mind when you look at the next page of Adele's story. The "hand" that appears here is definitely better than how they usually come out, but I think Adele's hands should look more elegant, so I'll be working on that some more.

Also, I have been uploading the pages out of order, this is page 2, page 1 was posted on May 25.

Rainy Weekend Post

I'm taking a break from the errands and cleaning doldrums on this rainy Sunday to share another page of the Adele book. Most of what I currently have is at this level of completion. I am still fine-tuning the composition and details, but I have decided that this one looks good enough to share. I may post it again once it is more complete.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adele, encore

Over the years I have been working on-and-off with an idea for a graphic novel featuring my character, Adele, from an illustration I created in 2001 inspired by my first trip to Paris, France that March. Since I lack knowledge and experience with sequential art and comics, I have also lacked confidence in how to move forward on this, and have had doubts about even trying at all. I haven't shared the story or sketches with many people... it never seems to be "ready" for others to see! I am always sketching and re-sketching the panels and pages.

Recently I traveled to Paris for a third time and 10 years (ouch!) have passed since Adele first came to life on the pages of my sketch book, I've decided that I owe it to her and to myself to push forward to see what can happen with this story. Plus, I can't seem to completely drop the idea, that has got to mean something.

Although it feels a bit scary, I've decided to start posting sketches and finished pages on this blog. I hope it will make the project seem more tangible, plus many of you might have comments that could help or encourage me. So please click "follow" on my blog page, add me to your RSS feeds, or catch the posts on Facebook since my blog updates automatically to The Nancydraws Shop page.

I may not be posting the pages in sequential order as this experiment goes along, but here's page 1!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Any which way

I haven't been able to get myself to work on any of my drawing projects but I since I was on my own creative time and wanted to use it wisely, I figured out a way to have some kind of outlet today... after cleaning up some paper piles, gathering up recycling and a few things to give to Housing Works. ( BTW, they are opening up an outpost in my area soon and they are asking for gently used items to be dropped off this Saturday.

Anyway, what I came up with for myself today is a series of "window collages." I had a large pack of paper scraps from Kate's Paperie ( that I was sorting through and I noticed some of the see-through and transparent scraps, held them up to the light and decided it would be fun to tape some up in the window to make a collage. I'm so glad it was a partly-sunny day! Above are a few examples. You can see more at:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

For me, the freelance-office-gig to working-creatively-at-home transition is always a little tough. I certainly look forward to my less structured days but laundry, gym time, and internal battery-recharging is always in the mix. I'm blogging today as a way to bridge the gap this time.

I am looking forward to my trip to Europe which is coming up in April. It has been quite some time since I've been out of the country now and it would be putting it lightly to say that I am looking forward to it! I'll be visiting friends in Barcelona and then meeting up with a gang of single ladies for sight-seeing and celebration in Paris. As luck would have it, my parents will also be in Paris one of the days that I'm there, so I'll get to see them, too.

With this trip, I am finding that more than any other I have been on, the anticipation and planning are almost as good as actually being on the trip! This is mainly because of the large number of blogs and apps that have come into existence since the last time I traveled. I have downloaded tourist guide apps from TimeOut for both Barcelona and Paris, so I can browse activities and facts on my phone wherever I happen to be.

I have also been browsing through blogs and travel websites for each city... here are a few of my favorites:

Paris: (Each day, a beautiful shot of the City of Light) (A U.K. ex-pat illustrator's take on Paris life and art) (More excellent photography) (Daily restaurant and food-related blog) (A great all-around travel blog)

Barcelona: (Daily photos from around the city) (36-Hours in Barcelona)

Yes, the list for Paris is longer, but keep in mind, there are 5 other women involved in that trip and we've been sending one another Paris web links for the past few weeks. I also did a search on Google Earth for the address of our hotel in Montmatre... really fun!

So I hope this trip brings plenty of new energy and inspiration; traveling internationally always does the trick for me.

Au revior and hasta le vista!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Coming soon to an iPad near you!

Great news, I recently was invited to participate in the Graphic Artists Guild's Illustration Directory iPad application. The app will create a digital, flippable portfolio of 5 images per artist and will be available sometime in April.

I have been wanting to get more involved with tablet technology, and this will be a great way to reach art directors and buyers who use the iPad on a regular basis.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope you're all enjoying 2011, and getting back to the daily grind isn't too painful. I'm proud to report that The Nancydraws Shop did more business this Christmas season than last year, which was my first year. Thanks to everyone who made a purchase and passed the word along!

I also have an illustration in the current Winter issue of the Park Slope Reader. The article my artwork goes with is about cooking with butternut squash. One of the recipes is for Thai Butternut Squash soup and I ended up making it in tandem with my illustration. Delicious... I wonder if it affected my creative skills for this piece.

I have some new ideas for the Nancydraws Shop for 2011; I'll let you know when I post my birthday card designs for sale.

Until then, I hope you stay healthy and happy.