"Elvis Panda and the Mermaid" Chalk Painting at the Sylmar Olive Festival

Here are the step by step photos of how Tom Fremgen and I created this 10' x 10' giant piece in two days! It was a lot of fun, even in 96 degree weather. We got to hang out with other chalk artists and chat with the public.

I created this painting as a concept for the chalk piece. I ran out of time and thus, half of this painting is digitally done on top of traditional paint.

Day 1: After riding around in a golf cart with the organizer, I found my pavement spot at the festival. The first thing I did was prime the ground with white tempera as a base. This helps the chalk adhere to the surface. Then I created a grid so I can transfer my drawing accurately

I laid down a simple background and stared working on the mermaid's hair. Yellow and orange chalks are vibrant!

While I am working on the hair, Tom Fremgen is rendering Elvis Panda

After the hair, I work my butt off on the face. I draw reference lines to guide the placement of the eyes, mouth and nose. When working on such a large scale so closely, it's easy to get thrown off.

The end of day 1

For day 2, Tom Fremgen and I filled in the rest of the background and added in details. Even though I laid down a base coat, there are still areas where the chalk doesn't stick to the ground

I take multiple photographs of the finished piece because it's hard to capture a 10'x 10' art on the pavement. The camera distorts the proportions. I wish I had a tall ladder.

Here I am putting finish touches. Hopefully this shows the scale of the piece.

Tom Fremgen and I finished just in time for judging. We are gross and exhausted. If we do another chalk piece together, I promised that he can pick the subject. — with Tom Fremgen at Sylmar Olive Festival.

Pie Painting Exchange with Andrew Dost of Fun.

July 5: 2014

I don't know how to write about this without sounding like a crazy fan! The painting on the left "Kitty Pie" was created for me by Andrew Dost, one of the musicians of my favorite band Fun. As a fundraiser for an animal shelter, Andrew created 50 custom paintings for his fans. When I signed up for mine, I emailed and asked if i could create something for him.. Amazingly enough, he said YES!! So on the right is "Andrew's Pie Shop," which is the name of his project... It's influenced by his song "Some Nights," "The Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, my Panda character and Andrew and his pie paintings of course! (His twitter quote and his pie paintings are on the "menu"). I am mailing this painting out to him on MOnday. It is so cool to get to give something back to a musician who has inspired so much of my art!!

The Painting on the left is by Andrew. The painting on the right is by me.

The Painting on the left is by Andrew. The painting on the right is by me.

The "Panda and YOU" project starts now!

A sneak preview of the wonderful participants! =)

A sneak preview of the wonderful participants! =)

When I was at Wondercon last month, I spontaneously put down a blank sheet of paper and asked people if they wanted to stay in touch via email. Surprisingly, people were more than happy to!

On Sunday, I had a list of about 40 people. Even though I had briefly interacted with each person, I couldn't remember anybody specific on the list. I didn't want to just have a list of unknowns and so I started to brainstorm how I could genuinely connect with each person.

That is how the “Panda and YOU” project was born.

I emailed everyone and asked them to send me a photo of themselves and a description of their personality. In return, I drew a picture of them doing something cool with Panda! I've done about 6 pencil drawings so far and it has been a blast squeezing in all of the fun facts of each participant's life. It has been so enriching learning about each person's life.

As a gift, each participant gets a digital copy (to share to friends online about Panda) AND the physical copy. It's important that each participant gets a physical copy because this may be their FIRST PIECE OF ORIGINAL ART EVER. As an artist, it is my goal to help every one experience the joy of owning a piece of original artwork. It's so easy to just go to IKEA and pick out the classic Van Gogh or Da Vinci artwork. Yes those masterpieces are beautiful, but there is something so special about owning a one-of-a kind artwork. A person's artwork collection SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT THEM. In other words, an art collector tells THEIR STORY through the narrative of the artwork they collect.

A personal goal with this project is to improve my drawing skills. I want to draw more efficiently and not draw the same type of person over and over again.

Each month I will be doing a fan feature in my email newsletter. It should be exciting for fans to see each other's artworks.