A Lesson On Improvement and Improvisation From A Flower

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“Improve-isation” is an illustration I created in 2009, while living in Peoria Heights, IL. A couple days ago, I saw this little sunflower growing on a highway in Milwaukee, WI, while on the way to the Paul McCartney concert.

When I created the artwork, I was inspired by the nature preserve I lived next to, where I went hiking in the trails nearly every morning. This real sunflower is very persistent on growing, even in the asphalt, because that’s what sunflowers do!

Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? This is great example that sometimes all a little seed needs is a little dirt and a little water to create something beautiful in the most unexpected place. Go on to bigger and better things, little sunflower!

The Making of “Brainstorm” Illustration

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Brainstorm – 11×14 Watercolor & Ink for IllustrArticles 3 Easy Steps To Total Mind Control

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain” – Vivian Greene

This might be one of my favorite illustrations I’ve done because of the spontaneity behind it. Most of my “brainstorming” happened subconsciously! It was created for IllustrArticles “3 Easy Steps to Total Mind Control.” The idea for the illustration came from a mix of a million things, such as:

– A thunderstorm that unexpectedly drenched me as I was walking down the street one day
– An apocalyptic dream I had, in which it was very windy on a field near a beach (similar to the one I live next to) and the sky was changing colors every few seconds (probably prompted by walking into that thunderstorm the day before).
– The Stepford Wives movie I watched
– I’ve been noticing cloud formations for about 2 weeks straight.
– Stress I’ve been dealing with around that time

I pretty much saw the gist of it the image in my mind before I even started doodling it, and kept making small changes as I went along. See if you notice them. These are some of the thumbnails and sketches I did, first:


And then I scanned them and arranged them in Photoshop, and traced my computer screen on tracing paper. This is the tracing paper line art and the finished art:

tracing paper lineart & finished illustration

I should have photographed this step, but I forgot! Basically, after that, I attached the tracing paper line art to the back of a blank watercolor paper sheet, and placed them on top of a lightbox. From there, I went straight to inking with a brush. Then, I used watercolor for color. Last, I scanned the finished illustration and corrected the colors in Photoshop so that it looked on screen just like the original.

FaceOff Gallery Show Opening

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Recently, I attended the FaceOff Gallery Show opening at the International Museum of Surgical Science, co-curated by Noah Scalin of Skull-A-Day and Vanessa Ruiz of Street Anatomy. It was the first time I’ve been at the museum and saying that the entire event was amazing would be an understatement.

FaceOff includes various artworks depicting the human skull and face-to-face skull connections.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Melissa Murillo (Meyoko) x Ali Glec
Giclee print on archival matte paper – 19.75 x 27.5 inches



Joshua Harker
3D printed polyamide sculptures – 3.6 x 4.5 x 5 inches



Life-size white-chocolate skull by Annabel de Vetten from Conjurer’s Kitchen. Later, it was smashed so that everyone could eat it. It was delicious!

Since I’ve never been to the museum before, I took the opportunity to wander around. It includes tons of medical artifacts from different centuries and importance of fine craft and illustration are highly evident. Each tool was intricately decorated and detailed for its own specialized use:









Individual memories that each viewer carries with them paint the final picture on top of the reality in front of them. No matter what we do, we see things through our own personal filter.

For me, a part of me felt like I was in my dad’s old metal workshop (he was an airgun inventor). Another part of me remembered the medical adventures in my childhood while living in Ukraine. And the entire time, I was filled with pure curiosity and appreciation of the human anatomy, evolution of the tools, and their artistry. (Plus, appreciation for today’s existence of anesthesia.)

Of course, the evening was also filled with music, beer & wine, and great people. I even got to participate in drawing a skull:


The FaceOff Art Show is gong on until August 25, 2013 so be sure to make time for it and the museum. If you’re unable to make it, you can check out the photos of the art here.

New Illustration Blog and Art Process

posted in: Art Process, Blog | 0

New Blog!

IllustrArticles – Illustrated articles about important stuff.

I love reading blogs and articles about various topics and I’ve always wanted illustrate for editorials. I’ve done a few editorial illustrations for a newspaper in the past, and would love to do more for magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. I also love to write. So, IllustrArticles is my way of indulging in both: illustration and writing, based on my life experiences and introspection about IMPORTANT STUFF.

About 2 weeks ago, I told myself that if I can think of 5 topics to write AND draw, I will buy the IllustrArticles domain name. It was up by May 2nd. So far, I’ve done 2 posts and working on more. If my sense of humor doesn’t make your eyeballs bleed, you can follow on Tumblr or subscribe to the RSS feed.

This Razorberries blog is just more of a place to read about my new art and peeks of my work processes, which I will post more of, now that I have IllustrArticles and I feel more organized. Speaking of work process…

Work process: Before/After

The following sketches and illustrations are the ones I created for my first two IllustrArticles (anyone getting sick of that word, yet?) posts.

Stiff Upper Lip - Before/After

Warm Hands in Cold Water - Before/After

Brrrds Chillin in Chicago

posted in: Blog, Illustration | 0


Oh, snow!

It snowed again. A whopping 3 inches. With all the reports raving about the WINTER STORM HEADING FOR CHICAGO, I mildly pondered if I should have shopped for the groceries I’ve been neglecting to go get for the past week, before the snow comes. But then I fell asleep.

I happened to have experienced the Snowpocalypse of 2011 when I’d been living in Chicago for just 4 months at the time. I had just gotten a new job, and even though every place was closed, somehow my mind tried to convince me, “Where is your dedication to your job?! You still have to show up!” So when I couldn’t access my car or public transportation to get to work, I tried calling the store (no one picked up) and I panicked my way through the day, hoping I won’t get fired. By the next day I had to work, most of the streets have been cleaned and, of course, it was just a regular day. I found out that the day of the Snowpocalypse, the store was closed because no employees could make it in. And there was no one at the store to take calls for people calling off work! Duh. I’d been panicking for no reason.

Ah, those were the good, old, anxiety-ridden days. Since identifying as an introvert and reading a little here and there about introversion, I learned that anxiety is just a part of the personality. Well, no wonder, since introversion is looked upon as a weakness! A weakness deemed by who? Extroverts? SOME extroverts? Introphobes?

Whatever. Introverts know themselves better than anyone else does.  Some things are not worth getting worked up about. Most introverts are chill and stay true-blue, like these Brrrds of a feather who chill together 🙂

The Russian Meteor: From Cupid, With Love

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From Cupid, With Love

BREAKING NEWS: The real culprit behind the Russian Meteor is believed to be none other than Cupid.

Experts note that Cupid has been behind many different disastrous relations with his past attempts to make people fall in love. With his favorite day, Valentine’s Day, just passing, it comes as no surprise that the Love Sniper been up to his tricks, again.


posted in: Blog, Illustration | 0


What better day to reveal this new piece than Valentine’s Day. It may have been labeled as a Hallmark holiday, but to me, it’s a day that celebrates love & passions.

I created this in watercolor & ink and it’s 20×30 inches, largest I’ve painted so far. I even changed the title a few times, deciding to stick with “Glow,” because it rhymes with the word ‘go’. A big painting with a little reminder that you are the light at the end of the tunnel.

You may have heard the quotes, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And, “The light at the end of the tunnel.” And then, Aerosmith said, “There’s something wrong with the world today, the light bulb is getting dim.”

Imagine that we, the humanity as a whole, are that light bulb. Each one of us is a little ball of energy contributing to the brightness. Each one wants something to happen.

But hoping, wishing, waiting, talking, and thinking about what we want doesn’t make anything happen. Any change that we want to happen begins within ourselves first. The only way the light bulb can be brighter is if each one of us becomes a little brighter. It’s a lifelong process.

The best part of all is that you get to decide what all of this means and you get to decide what works for you.

Icebox Turtle

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Icebox Turtle

Created this for an art jam with my friend, Joshua Dixon. He chose the topic for us: “Quirky & detailed house guarded by a significantly large creature/animal, attached to the house as a guard.”

Season’s Greetings! A (gross) greeting card for you.

posted in: Blog, Freebies, Illustration | 0

(But that’s snot how you’re supposed to deck the halls.)

For the past few years, I’ve created a holiday card for you to print and share. This year is no different. Just a little gross.

‘Tis the season to take extra good care of yourself to stay clear of colds or the flu. But if you still really like sharing gross stuff with your family and friends, “Gross Greeting” is available as an easy DIY greeting card:


1. Print
2. Cut & fold
3. Write a message
4. Try really hard to make sure that the only type of grossness you might be giving to your loved ones this season is just in the form of this card.

Too busy for DIY?
You can get these cards already made. Order them at RedBubble. Discount of 30% on every order of 16+ cards:

I hope your holidays are happy and healthy!

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