I Pranked OK Go

posted in: Art Process | 2

Illustration of OK Go Adds 503 New Band Members at Secret Audition

Last week’s illustrarticle featured one of my favorite bands, OK Go. I wrote and illustrated the story, “OK Go Adds 503 New Band Members at Secret Audition” – which you can read here: http://illustrarticles.com/exclusive-ok-go-adds-503-new-band-members-at-secret-audition/

okgo-clsup1 okgo-clsup2 okgo-clsup3

Click the above thumbnails to see the closeups of the painting.


A couple weeks ago, I attended an OK Go live show at Lincoln Hall here in Chicago. Basically, it was awesome. I bought the ticket back in May and later, the show was sold-out. The venue was tiny for a now popular band that originated in Chicago. The maximum capacity of Lincoln Hall is 507. It was a very intimate setting and I managed to get to the front. One of my favorite things about the band is their creativity. I love their videos and the way they interact with their fans.

This photo is of the audience at Lincoln Hall, which was taken by the lead singer, Damian Kulash. Can you find me in the crowd? Hint: I’m the screaming brunette in the center, behind the two dudes by the mic.



Can you tell that the show was very colorful? The band sounded amazing, too. Their new album, Hungry Ghosts, is coming out in October. At the last song of the set, the band invited some of the audience to climb up on stage to dance.

Here’s the photo I took while I was up there. It captured my perspective of that moment EXACTLY: trippy lights, confetti, jumping & screaming fellow fans, and the back of Damian Kulash’s head.


Long story short, I sorta immediately got inspired and the result was this illustrarticle.



I had a show of my own coming up that weekend, Chicago’s Bucktown Arts Fest (my upcoming post), so I was pressed for time to finish. Still, I managed to get everything done.

My goal with this illustrarticle was to make OK Go laugh. Upon posting the illustrarticle last week, I tagged each of them in the IllustrArticles Instagram post, hoping they’d see the illustration and where to read the article. And, it sorta worked.

OK Go Adds 503 New Band Members At Secret Audition
OK Go Adds 503 New Band Members At Secret Audition

I cannot confirm nor deny whether any of them actually laughed, let alone read it, because I don’t know. But look:


okgo-damiankulashlikeDamian Kulash’s seal of approval! Printing this out and laminating it!


posted in: Art Process, Blog | 0



The latest story on IllustrArticles is about a trouble-making pastry’s run-in with the police. Read “Traffic Jam Caused By A Cake And Her Cups” here: http://illustrarticles.com/traffic-jam-caused-by-a-cake-and-her-cups/




The above is how the sketch started off. I doodled it on the side of my sketchbook pretty quickly last week. It’s loosely modeled after California Street in San Francisco.

During my trip to SF back in March, I hopped on to a street car on California Street and held onto the side while riding down. The street cars don’t go very fast and stop constantly, but it seems strange to me that people are allowed and encouraged to just cling on to a pole and stand on the side while riding. So if you’re standing, there is no protection between you and the passing cars. Your only safety is your hopefully strong grip.


Things got a little intense as I was finishing the illustration. One paint brush was injured during the making of this illustrarticle. I must have leaned a little too hard on my new paint brush while inking and nearly dozing off at 1 a.m., a few hours after getting home from my job.


IllustrArticles has its own new store! There are posters, and pillows, and bags, oh my! Shop for fun stuff here: http://www.redbubble.com/people/illustrarticles/shop

Plus, every time you buy something from the store, a new illustrarticle gets its wings.

Bark in the Dark

posted in: Art Process, Blog, Uncategorized | 0

How do people even keep up with multiple blogs?

This blog here is more of a behind-the-scenes thing, in case it helps anyone. But my main focus is IllustrArticles. I’m pushing myself to take more in-progress photos.

In the past few years, I’ve been pushed by several people to try teaching art that I actually started to consider it, but then my thoughts were like, “Uh. What?” and “Uh. Thank you! Here, buy some of my artwork, instead! :D”

I was lucky that I had good teachers in high school. Teaching takes a lot of planning, dedication, and patience. Yeah, I couldn’t be a teacher. Or maybe I just don’t want to teach…? I don’t know – not even thinking about it!


Here’s an illustrarticle I’ve recently finished:


It’s for a story about a dog I heard barking in the distance as I tried for fall asleep one night. A lot of dogs bark in my neighborhood. Basically, I don’t live in the Rogers Park neighborhood. I live in Rogers BARK.

After I wrote the story, the illustration started with this little sketch:


Then, it turned into an outlined final sketch:


And then, a finished painting:


Ta-da! Those little hearts were originally sketched out as dog skulls & cross bones. But right before inking the illustration, I realized that’s not the direction I wanted it to go. You can read the illustrarticle here: “Why Dogs Bark At Night”

An illustrarticle is it’s not quite a comic, not quite a blog. It’s an illustration with an article. Can’t have one without the other. Thought I should clarify that. New IllustrArticles are posted whenever important stuff happens. And sometimes, Thursdays.

“Bark in the Dark” illustration is available is a poster, framed print, tote bag, and more at the IllustrArticles shop.

Touring Chicago’s Wells Street Art Fest and Driving a Pickup Truck

posted in: Art Shows, Blog | 0


The Wells Street Art Festival was my first outdoor art fair in Chicago. It was quite an adventure getting to my space and setting up my canopy and stuff. And at the end, taking everything down and packing up.

Thank you to everyone who visited my booth and took some Razorberries art home. Plus, I couldn’t have asked for better weather.


And I especially couldn’t have asked for better artist neighbors! I love meeting interesting and great people while doing art fairs.

Before this weekend, I’ve never driven a pickup truck. I generally avoid giant vehicles. I didn’t even want to drive my mom’s SUV back home in Galesburg, IL, even though it was fun the one time I drove it. This pickup truck was the only vehicle that was available at the car rental to fit my equipment, at the time.

Chicago roads get pretty narrow. When the man at the car rental place handed me the truck keys, I thought to myself – “Heeeere we go…” And then, I could barely climb up to get into the driver’s seat!


The Ford F150 XLT 4×4. This thing is probably 3x the size of any car I’ve driven before. Yet, somehow I managed to maneuver this truck through some really tight spaces to get to my booth at Wells Street. It’s a really nice ride and did its job but it’s definitely not built for a person my size. I felt like Goldilocks in Papa Bear’s truck the entire time!

This coming weekend I’ll be at the Custer Fair in Evanston, IL – I wonder what vehicle I’ll be driving next 😀

Traveling San Francisco in the Razor Rover

posted in: Blog, Razor Rover | 0

photo (6)

I finally visited San Francisco a few weeks ago. It was a pretty big deal because this was the first time I got to see a palm tree within its natural habitat.

Oh, yeah, and, this is the farthest I’ve ever traveled alone, to a place I haven’t been to, but have been dreaming of visiting for years.

I wanted to do a fun art project for this trip and was inspired by Land Rover. The little car I’m sitting in is the Razor Rover. It’s very lightweight. And no, I didn’t drive all the way to San Francisco from Chicago in it. Because that would’ve been crazy. I flew in on Virgin Airlines, and they are awesome because they let me take Razor Rover in my carry-on.

Oh, yeah, and, because they sing and dance in their airplane safety video and give you free tomato juice.


Before my trip, I designed Razor Rover, built it out of watercolor paper, and drew the details in with ink markers. Then I took the photos with the help of my iPhone, a fisheye phone-camera lens (thanks, Land Rover!), Joby GripTight Mount, and a bluetooth remote.


For my 29th birthday, I strolled through the Golden Gate Bridge. I spent  about 4 hours in the area. (One of those hours was spent charging my phone.) It was so windy that I didn’t think I’d be able to get a Razor Rover photo. Thankfully, one of the employees at the gift shop was able to give me a couple strips of tape to secure the Razor Rover to keep me from flying away in it.

There were a lot of people at the bridge that day and I got some weird looks while I was driving Razor Rover. I thought maybe it’s because they wanted a ride. So, I offered. But then they said stuff like, “Uh, that’s okay. Good luck!”



At Pier 39, a few people did enjoy Razor Rover. Because it’s such a smooth ride, this guy didn’t even realize he was driving it!


Here’s me in the Razor Rover, attempting to go where no car has gone before: UPHILL the squiggliest street – Lombard Street.


When I got to the top, I parked Razor Rover to the side and enjoyed the view from Russian Hill.

photo (5)

During my first Razor Rover trip, this was the first time I stayed in a hostel, too. The Green Tortoise Hostel SF hallways have this amazing, colorful carpet. During my week-long stay there, I got to meet people from lots of different countries, including England, Australia, Germany, and Italy. Some of them were just enjoying traveling, some were backpacking countries and working temporary jobs, and some were visiting San Francisco for conferences.


I also met Mia, a glassblower from Finland, because she was staying in the same dorm as me. Here, she is testing out Razor Rover’s cruise control. Look, no hands!

It was her idea was that we should catch the sunset at Ocean Beach.


Mission accomplished!

The Razor Rover trip photos were improvised on-location, and I live-tweeted and live-Instagrammed (it was very-instant, okay?) most of the trip. There will be more Razor Rover adventures in the future, and you’ll be able to see the live updates by following the #RazorRover hashtag from my Twitter & Instagram.

The 9 Secret Steps To Drawing The “Kooky” Illustration

posted in: Art Process, Blog, How To | 0

I documented my work process from start to finish for my illustration “Kooky”. This was drawn for an illustrarticle called “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Baking Delicious Cookies

"Kooky" - Buy Print
“Kooky” – Buy Print

Step 1
Before starting the illustration, I wrote the story “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Baking Delicious Cookies“. These are my initial notes in my tiny moleskine sketchbook that goes everywhere I go. After these notes, I write the complete story on my laptop. Then I edit, edit, edit.

Step 2
I sketched some thumbnails of what the illustration might look like. Since the #1 Secret Ingredient is amazing, the illustration had to be, too. So I chose the last thumbnail and added circles that would later be painted as a bokeh background. Bokeh is a photography term. I love photography and it’s in my background. So naturally, it influences my illustration work.

Step 3
The thumbnail was then redrawn with more detail, on a larger piece of plain paper. This is the sheet that is sandwiched between my lightbox and a sheet of watercolor paper. I turn on the lightbox and start to lightly trace the main lines on the watercolor paper, with watercolor. It’s all freehand-permanent-no-going-back from here so it has to be perfect. I’ve had to redraw and repaint entire illustrations before, if they didn’t turn out like I’d imagined.

Step 4
And when I started working on the final piece, I started thinking of even more ideas to play with. No more lightbox from this step, forward. So, then this goat made an appearance. And a car. The planet Saturn. A shoe. You know, all those things you’d normally find in a delicious cookie.

Step 5
Color! Here, started to color the smoke/steam and the new cookie ingredients. I usually do a few color tests on separate sheets of paper to determine which colors will work with the illustration.

Step 6
Here, I inked the hand and the cookie. And after I painted the background and some bokeh, I decided that the smoke/steam needs to be toned down. Since the story is not “The #1 Secret Ingredient For Making Amazing Smoke,” I painted over most of it.

Step 7
Then, I painted the steam/smoke with a few highlights using acrylic. Now the focus is more on the cookie/bokeh/awesomeness instead of the smoke.

Step 8
Illustration is complete! Yes, total completion deserves its own step. You can see the color layers I added to the smoke, through which some bokeh can still be seen.

Step 9
I was just kidding about total completion. This work process isn’t complete without this step: Put your Kooky where your mouth is!

The story is not far from how I bake cookies… I don’t usually attempt cooking fancy stuff, and stay in the pre-mixed items safe zone. So, one of the recipes I like to do is from the back of Betty Crocker’s Sugar Cookie Mix.

You could use another brand, I guess. But I’ve only tried Betty Crocker’s. I thought it would be good to add white chocolate chips and dried cranberries into the dry mix because I’m adventurous like that. Add 1 cup of each of those, and then add the 1 egg and 1 stick of softened butter that that sugar cookie mix asks for. Mix everything together to make the batter.

Then, after I bake the cookies like a crazy person, I let them cool for a just a couple minutes. Stick them into a ziplock bag or airtight container right after that, so that the steam stops escaping the cookies. That keeps the cookies soft.

I’ve made these White Chocolate & Cranberry kookies for my friends and coworkers a couple times, and they keep asking for more because “these cookies taste like cheesecake.” Since I don’t want to quit illustration to become a cookie-mix baker, I’ve written my recipe here because with practice, anyone can make these into their own recipe.

Now go out there and make some of your own kookies, you daredevil, you 8)

1 2 3 4