Digital Drawings on the iPad

•July 2, 2017 • 1 Comment

As I get more comfortable working with the iPad I am finding more and more applications for it.

This week I stopped carrying my regular sketchpad and pencil case with me everyday (making my backpack much lighter and my drawing hand less sore).

By using layers and a general mannequin shape I am able to show mastectomy patients what kind of options they would be able to have for cover ups in a much more efficient way then just having the drawing on paper.

flower mastectomy scar cover up tattoo

This one was an attempt to design something with the background on a separate layer so that it could be put on other colors in RedBubble. I like the idea but am not really enamored with this particular drawing.

digital cat flowers drawing

When I had posted the mastectomy cover up design above, a friend of mine had asked me if I would design one for her. She wanted different flowers and a hummingbird.

decorative mastectomy cover up tattoo design

Just for fun. Wanted to make a Dragon version of an Ouroboros, although I didn’t really actually want him to look like he was eating himself. It’s just where the idea started.

dragon ouroboros

The video of me making this is on YouTube at The application ProCreate automatically records the process. Sometimes it’s a little glitchy, but I still like watching them.

I remember catching fireflies in a jar when I was small at my Grandma’s house. My Uncle would let the fireflies go after I fell asleep so that they wouldn’t die from being in the jar. I was thinking about love and how maybe if you try to hold on to it in your heart it can die too. I hope not. I hope that the fireflies of love can live on if we take good care of them.

fireflies love jar

The video of the drawing for this one is on YouTube also:

It’s been a while since I have done the Daily Drawings…. but when I looked and saw that the day was International Fairy Day, I decided to make a drawing on the iPad for the occasion.

fairy drawing on iPad

and her video is here: Fairy Drawing on iPad

I will continue to make drawings on the iPad, it’s super useful for laying out tattoos… I don’t know if I will keep posting the videos on YouTube. A bunch of people said that they wanted to see them and I should post them – but Facebook doesn’t like to show anything that is posted to YouTube (they are in a pissing contest with each other for the best statistics on videos played) and I can’t archive them if I post them on Facebook.

If you want me to keep posting them, be sure to let me know otherwise that portion of my sharing may go away.

Thank you again everyone for your ongoing support and your patience when I have disappeared and reappeared on my blog.

Thank you for those of you who have reached out to ask how I am doing. No, unfortunately the Vertigo has not gone away. While it is super frustrating the only thing it is really keeping me from is my motorcycle and I get pretty tired on the days it is bad. Other than that I may need to accept that it is my new normal. Still I will be devastated to lose the bike – but yes, I know there are much worse things that could have happened.

Bright Blessings to you.




Still Making Tattoos

•July 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

But don’t tell anyone because I keep hearing I am retired. Maybe if enough people believe it I will actually be able to.

When Robert first came in for his consultation appointment he had given me a list of things that he wanted in his tattoo. Now normally when this happen I send the person back home with their list to pick their top three must haves and then put the rest of the items in order of importance. Normally I can’t fit everything in and I need to know what is super important and what is “if it works”. Instead Robert went through and talked to me about what each symbol meant to him and why he was looking to have it included. He told me that I could pick anything from the list to use and he would be fine with it. I have heard this before from people that I didn’t believe – but I did believe him… and it has turned out to be a super fun project. It has been a real pleasure getting to know Robert and his amazing wife Kara (and their incredible daughter too!). They are the kind of family I think most of us would have given anything to have grown up in. I look forward to the progress on this piece and the time that I am able to spend with all of them.

steal your face tattoo

Leslie wanted an anatomical heart made out of flowers to go on the site of her mastectomy. She is another exceptional human being. I could spend all day hanging out with her. Besides her aesthetics are almost identical to mine. Everything she sent me for reference I though “I love this!!”. The hard part will be filtering down all of the really really amazing ideas before we run out of room.

These photos are from her second sitting on this piece. She is coming in again soon and all of this will be much larger by the time we are finished. Looking forward to it.

mastectomy cover up tattoo anatomical heart made of flowersanatomical flower heartchickadee tattoo

Second session on this Freya half sleeve. Super glad that we got to include some of Her kitties. Looking forward to adding the rest of this on as well.

Freya tattoo in progress

This piece I took a risk on. I completely deviated from the specs that Alex and I had agreed to. I was fully prepared for Alex to come in and tell me “this isn’t what we talked about” – but fortunately that isn’t the way that it went and I was fortunate enough to get to make this tattoo that I was MUCH happier with than how the original specs looked once I drew them out. It’s funny. Sometimes we can envision something in our heads and then when we try to put it down on paper realize that it JUST doesn’t quite work. Thank you Alex for trusting me with this project and being so flexible when it went a different direction.

greenman tattoo with horns

For his son Lincoln.

lincoln owl tattoo

Started this celtic axehead on Frank. Don’t let anyone kid you, rib tattoos HURT and Frank sat like a rock.

celtic axe in progress

Then Gretchen came to see me. Gretchen is one of my favorite humans ever. I am so grateful that tattooing brought her into my life. She came bearing the most AMAZING gifts!! and I returned the favor by hurting her way more than usual 😦 On the upside that means she will have to come back again to get this finished. But on the downside I felt like a complete asshat for hurting someone I care about.

Sorry Gretchen. Thank you for being awesome and understanding. I’m glad you aren’t holding this session against me.

Myron and his bunny slippers

Got to make this RottWeiler tattoo for Al. I haven’t worked on him in a while and it was nice to catch up. He was also nice enough to let me grab some healed photos a couple of weeks later.

rottweiler tattoohealed rottweiler tattoo

Super super excited about this I Hate Fairyland tattoo that Starr asked for. She refers to Gertrude as her Guardian Asshole. I have to admit that I made an error on this one. Starr asked me to give Gertrude a gold tooth – but I forgot. Hoping to get a minute where we can add that back in for her when we both have time.

i hate fairyland gertrude tattoo

Spank Me. No commentary necessary.

Spank Me Ass Heart tattoo

Deer Skull chest piece. Skin was VERY red, so I desaturated the photo so that it reads better, but it makes the left side look too dark. It will lighten up when it heals.

deer skull

So there was that time that Britney Spears got a little upset with the paparazzi… and now it is immortalized forever on Jesse’s leg. I so love my friends.

britney spears tattoo with umbrella

Fun (and different take on) Jesus on the cross as a tattoo. Hard to get a good photo of this because of where it is on his arm. This was not my idea, it’s a standard flash tattoo from the internet that I redrew custom for him. So the drawing is mine but the concept is not.

Jesus in a cross tattoo

Healed pocket watch tattoo on the same gentleman.

pocket watch tattoo healed

So I’m still making tattoos, at least for the time being. Try not to tell anyone because the next text from some idiot asking me to tattoo his name on his woman’s neck 10 minutes from now might be the moment that pushes me over the edge. Or Yelp. They might be the proverbial straw. Hard to say…

Cool tattoos and good people will continue to be welcome as long as I can hold on to my sanity. If not, Gertrude and Skottie Young have left me with some excellent suggestions.


Charcoal?!? Why did it have to be Charcoal?

•July 2, 2017 • 2 Comments

I hate charcoal.

I hate the mark that it makes. I hate the tactile sensation of it moving across the paper.

I hate the way it smudges and gets everywhere.

I hate the way it is almost impossible for me to get a nice smooth line out of charcoal.

I hate it.

But I keep coming back to it because so many amazing artists do so much amazing work with it. Plus I firmly believe that working outside of my comfort zone is good for me. It pushes me and helps me grow as an artist.

So I signed up to take a two day workshop from David Kassan at Off the Map – because his portrait work is stellar and because he likes charcoal.

I learned a whole lot from David. The singularly most important thing being that if you use the right paper and materials you can erase charcoal. This lessened my despising of it as a medium ever so slightly. Also he showed me a really simple way to sharpen charcoal pencils.

Of all of the portrait classes that I have taken, I liked David’s philosophy best. It made more sense to me than some of the things I have heard in other classes. He was very down to earth and made an effort to make everyone comfortable. There were some wildly differing political opinions going on in the class and he did a great job of keeping everyone calm and working together. He’s pretty bad at telling jokes, but even that helped put everyone at ease. He is a great teacher and I enjoyed getting to know him. (He was also at the show I did in Venice, but I didn’t get to talk to him much there).

Apparently he did a workshop here in Rochester a couple of years ago, but I missed that one. It was right before I started taking workshops through the Rochester Art Club. If he comes back this way, I wouldn’t hesitate to take another class from him.

I took photos of what he did as demos, but he asked us not to put them online. So here is the end of each day on the drawing that I did while I was in the workshop.

First Day:

charcoal portrait study

Second Day:

charcoal portrait study


charcoal portrait study

So a few weeks later I decided to give all this a try at home (and finally had time to do so). I started with a little bird that I had on my iPad from reference for a tattoo.

chickadee in charcoal

Then on to attempting faces:

(These are all from photographs)

portrait study charcoal

portrait study charcoalportrait study charcoal

My goal is to do a few more of these from photos and then find a figure/portrait open studio where I can try some from life. I also have a few friends who volunteered to sit for me. I need to get my lighting game down (I have a new camera) and then I can do that as well, both from life (if they will put up with me) and from photos when I can get them.

I still don’t like charcoal, but I think maybe we may have a little bit more of getting to know each other to go before we can be friends.

Figure Drawing on the iPad

•July 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After working with silverpoint for so long I decided it was time to try something new. Since I am trying to learn more about (and get quicker on) the iPad I figured I would give that a go. Why not jump ahead several hundred years in drawing media?

The first night I had a really hard time trying to figure out how to position and hold the iPad with the case that I have on it. The next week I figured out I could use the case to hold the iPad on the top of my drawing board. It actually worked out really well.

First night.

five minute gesture drawingsfigure drawing on iPaddigital figure drawing seated femalefigure drawing iPad

The program ProCreate automatically records a video of the work that you do in it. They have been a bit glitchy, but are still fun. I put them on YouTube if you are interested. Here is this one:

Life Drawing on iPad May 22nd, 2017

Next session:

gesture drawingfigure drawing life drawingfigure drawing female backfigure drawing reclining femalefigure drawing inverted reclining female

The video on YouTube: Life Drawing on iPad June 5th, 2017

Next Session:

gesture drawingfigure drawinglife drawingseated figure drawingfigure drawing

and again the video: June 19th, 2017 Figure Drawing on iPad

Next Session June 26th, 2017

I put a screen protector on my iPad and it made the surface much more slippery than it was. Currently I don’t like it at all, but I am hoping that I will get used to it and not notice it after a little while.

gesture drawinglife drawingfigure drawing backfigure drawing seated femalefigure drawingfigure drawingfigure drawing

Figure Drawing on iPad June 26th, 2017

There is no class next Monday due to the holiday, so I hope to have another one of these for you in two weeks.


Still Here – Rocking away on the Good Ship Vertigo

•May 17, 2017 • 1 Comment

I apologize for having abandoned my blog for a while there. I am still here. I am okay. The vertigo had gone away for a bit and I got cocky. It’s back, it’s not awful, but it’s still exhausting. I haven’t had anywhere near as much time or energy as I would like to make things or act like a human.

I decided to continue with the blog again.

I’m not going to try and fill in the gaps on everything. But it wouldn’t be any fun to make a post without giving you some new images.

I went to Hell City Columbus. I painted. These got this far while I was there.

Happy Flying Critter


earth mother and child

fox and the hare

Dande Lion

I also made a few new needle felted critters while I was at Hell City.

This last one requires a bit more explanation. There was an art show going on there with the theme “My Best Friend is a Dick”. So they were handing out these bitty penis canvases for us to paint on and contribute. I was working with oils and had only brought large brushes. I wasn’t going to be able to make anything on a surface that small. So instead I needle-felted a Trouser Mouse. Goes with the theme.

Some people were amused by the Trouser Mouse and some people were pretty indignant about how awful it was. Which is why I have hesitated to post it. I’ve decided if you don’t have a sense of humor, you might as well go away now.

Here is my first couple of attempts at creating digital drawings on the iPad with ProCreate. This is still more time consuming than drawing at this point, but I hope to become more efficient as I get more used to the program.

Since I have been laid up I decided to make the best of it so these are both inspired by the first book in the RedWall series which I hadn’t read previously.

Cluny the Scourge

Redwall Matthias

and here is another little rodent that I made more recently (with his little bunny friend).

needle felted kangaroo mouse and friend

Again, I apologize for vanishing for a while. I would say that I am going to be here more frequently again – but really, only time will tell.


Vertigo, the Demise of the Daily Drawings and a New Hobby

•February 21, 2017 • 5 Comments

On January 11th I was struck with vertigo. If you have every experienced this you know how horrible it can be. I spent the first day throwing up every time that I moved. By the second day I could sit up but walking around still brought back the nausea. By the third day I could walk around and with Dramamine taken regularly I no longer felt like I needed to vomit, but did feel like I was on a shifting platform or a boat rocking on the water. At that point things stopped improving.

For over a month I felt like my world was shifting and moving around me. Some days the seas were fairly calm and I could function and work. Usually if I was sitting down it wasn’t too bad, but walking and stairs remained arduous.

I won’t bore you with all of the nitty gritty details and what all we tried to get rid of it. (I was eventually diagnosed with vestibular neuritis and told there was nothing that I could do but wait it out)….But what I would like to talk about is what it did to my mind.

I went through some serious evaluation of my life and who I am as an artist and as a person. If this was never going to go away, tattooing was not going to be able to continue to be my artistic focus (nor my source of income). On the best of weeks I was cancelling about a third of my appointments and put a hold on booking anything new once I realized it was not abating.

I could sit down to draw, create and even tattoo on the better days.

Around the time all of this started my friend Holly sent me a box containing a “starter kit” for needle felting and an adorable little Meowl that she had made (from needle felting) that was based off of one of my drawings. Being confined mostly to the couch I had a lot of time to explore this new hobby and creating kept my mind off of what my body was up to.

I am obviously just learning this new art form, but I intend to stick with it and see how far I can push it and what I can create.

During this time I decided that if I was going to be needle felting I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with my daily drawings as well. I decided for a while that I would post progress on whatever I was working with… labeling them “daily maker” or “creative commitment”. Ultimately I decided that no one but me cares how many days I have been making things for. So there will be no more posting of the count, but I will continue to commit to creating outside of work every day.

I will be selling the little felted critters. Perhaps through an Etsy account or perhaps via social media and in person. For now they are mostly little Sanity Savers for me.

I don’t know how often I will be here. Part of the evaluation of my life led me to conclude that some of my priorities need to change.

As I sit here I have been symptom free for about 18 hours. I don’t know if it is coming back, but I have been super productive within the hiatus. It definitely hits home the whole “One Day at a Time” thing. Today I am grateful for stairs that can be navigated successfully and with barely a thought at all.

Some photos of the needle felting for you (in chronological order).


This is the one that Holly made for me:

needle felted meowl by Holly Azzara


My first attempt:

needle felted rabbit head

and the following:

needle felting this little purple bird is the only thing I have made so far that I was super disappointed with. It promptly became a cat toy.img_1704 needle felted bumble bunny  needle felted bumble bunny needle felted bumblebunny img_1804 needle felting bumble bunny needle felted dragon needle felted bumble bunnies needle felting needle felting needle felting needle felting needle felting round needle felted animals round needle felting needle felted kitty needle felted bunny from kit img_1964 needle felted bunny needle felted bunny img_1988 needle felted pink elephant needle felted pink elephant needle felted kitty needle felted mice needle felted mice needle felted bat in progress needle felted bat needle felted bunny img_2135 needle felted monster needle felted monsters needle felted monsters needle felted mouse in tiny tea cup

well that’s all for today and apparently the end of my vertigo reprieve (the doctor did tell me that “visual stimulation” would aggravate it). Glad that I was able to update here and get so much done today.





Daily Drawings Days 179 – 200

•January 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Day 179 – Woodland Tea Party

woodland tea party

Day 180 – The prompt was “happy clams” but I really have no idea how you tell if a clam is happy. so I was thinking that people say someone is “all clammed up” to say that they aren’t dealing with their feelings at all…. so I surmised that perhaps clams need therapy to be happy. This then became Clam Therapy instead… I still don’t know how to draw a happy clam.
Also, as a side note. It turns out that the expression is “happy as a clam at high tide” because apparently no one hunts for clams at high tide… perhaps it is cynical of me, but I think it takes more than just not being currently hunted to make someone happy. This may explain why I had a hard time with the drawing.

clam therapy

Day 181 – Cernunnos – I would have liked to have had more time for this. I would love to see it with a background. This guy needs to be deep in the woods.


Day 182 – drawing prompt was Stag in a Woodland Glade. Again, I didn’t really have enough time to put as much glade in as I would have liked. These two drawing re-kicked off my ‘put antlers on everything’ thing.

stag in woodland glade drawing

Day 183 – a facebook friend had been talking about how there aren’t enough chubby mermaids or mermaids of color. I actually prefer a colored chubby mermaid, so here is another one. Why is is that bunnies are more adorable when they are chubby, but it is so hard for people to see one another as adorable if they don’t conform to certain set standards? I’d rather be a bunny anyhow.

chubby merbunny

Day 184 – The prompt was for four horsemen of the apocalypse… but with everything going on I would rather focus on something nice. So here are the four bunnies of niceties. Peace, Innocence, Plenty and Growth. There are more than four niceties, but I can only draw so much in a day.

four bunnies of the niceties

Day 185 – Request was for three funky blue birds on a branch. See, here is the antler thing again.

three antlered blue birds

Day 186 – I didn’t feel like drawing. So I got way outside of my comfort zone and played with clay.


Day 187 – Figure Drawing. Yay!!! These are all done in silverpoint on plike paper.

silverpoint figure drawing

Day 188 – Edison Bulb Orchid – This has potential and has spawned a whole bunch of other ideas.

edison bulb orchid

Day 189 – I had wanted to put the battery bug on yesterday’s drawing, but there wasn’t enough room on the paper. So it got it’s own day.

battery bug and edison bulb orchid

Day 190 – Bat with the same theme

bulb belly bat

Day 191 – Talkative Beaver. We all know that guy. Lots of stories. Hostage talker. Pretty entertaining, but totally oblivious when you need to be doing something else.

talkative beaver

Day 192 – Dizzy Bird. I have been having a battle with Vertigo. Mostly losing. It’s not such fun. It’s hard for me to believe that I used to take substances that made me feel like this on purpose. Dramamine is my current drug of choice.

dizzy bird

Day 193 – yeah, another antlered bird


Day 194 – Silverpoint Mermaid (on plike paper)

silverpoint mermaid

Day 195 – I was going for a nice sleepy owl who was fairly oblivious. I didn’t notice the Furby resemblance until after I had finished.

sleepy owl

Day 196 – Witchsona. Apparently (according to the internet) it’s Witchsona Week. I had never heard of it before this year… but hey, why not? So here is my Witchsona.

TeeJay's Witchsona 2017

Day 197 – Drawing Prompt “Utopia”. This one kept me stumped for a while. To me, I associate Utopia with an entire Society. This isn’t really feasible for me to illustrate for a daily drawing. So I opted for more of a personal ideal situation.


Day 198 – Drawing Prompt “a knight in shining armor riding a bunny”. Check. Of course it’s a squirrel. What else would be riding a bunny?

Squirrel Knight, Bunny Steed

Day 199 – Drawing prompt “Centaur”. Centaurs guard the Labyrinth so I had to add a Labyrinth Worm too.

Labyrinth Minotaur

Day 200- Silverpoint drawing of the prompt “Greenman”. I had received multiple offers to purchase this one before it was finished so I added it to RedBubble.

silverpoint greenman drawing

I’m deciding if I am going to continue with the daily drawings or move on to another project…. or I may just take a few day break. The vertigo is still kicking me in ways that I don’t care for and I need a lot of extra rest. Naps are the answer to a lot of life’s problems. I think between that, kitties and cheese fries (and maybe some cute otter videos) almost everything can be addressed.

Enjoy your day!