10 February 2018

The two faces of spring.


It may not be spring where you are. February in NorthAmerica usually isn't thought of as spring. Here in the Bay Area, we have had many lovely days of 70' degree weather, which will probably lead to drought later on. Meanwhile, the jonquils are popping up in my yard, gifts from a former self. If you are like me and deal with depression, planting flower bulbs in the fall can help when the darkness descends to spite the weather. 

31 December 2017

2017 Book list


Spacehipw.jpg
I read. A lot. This year I hit a personal goal of an average of four books a week. I had wanted to draw way more book reviews. However, the one above is the only one I finished. Ah well, tomorrow is another year.

  1. Forest of Memory - Mary Robinette Kowal. A great novella from one of my penpals.
  2. Once Broken Faith - Seannan McGuire. 10th in a great series.
  3. The Spaceship Next Door - Gene Doucette.
  4. True Story #3 Muzzled - Gabriela Denise Frank. Chilling.
  5. The Heart Goes Last - Margaret Atwood. Creepy dystopia goes wrong.
  6. Tides, Surges and Mean Sea-Level - David Pugh. Yay, tidal research!
  7. The Reason I Jump - Naoki Higashida. Excellent book written by an autistic individual explaining life from inside their head. Highly recommend.

19 November 2017

Looking back at Inktober

Friends added me into their Inktober challenge this year. I did a variation on it. For those of you unfamiliar with it, Inktober is organized with prompts for drawing and some basic rules (try this link). I decided that it fit my life better to just draw something in ink every day. I would take a photo of the one drawing I did in my sketchbook, or the best of the lot if I did more than one, maybe adjust the lighting (since I am pretty crappy at taking photos), and post them in a shared album so that my friends could view them. This also allowed us to make comments. 

These are a few of my favorites. The rest can be seen here. Overall I found it fun. I was pretty burnt out by the 27th. I don't think I've drawn all that much since then. I prefer my usual sketchbook approach. I aim for one drawing a week. When weeks are stressful - work, kids, house repairs - I draw less. I don't berate myself when this happens. I continue to carry my sketchbook everywhere. I remind myself to slow down and look. Eventually the lighting or a series of shapes grabs me, and then I grab a pen.


01 January 2017

Annual book post

I like to read. A lot. This year's list is different in a couple of ways. First, inspired by my good friend, Elaine, this year there is a short description of each one to help you decide if you want to read it as well. This means that the list is longer than usual - or maybe it just seems so. Secondly, I have introduced illustrated book reviews. There are less of these than I had hoped, but only because I seriously injured my drawing arm and lost 3-4 months of potential productivity. Anywho, the whole series of illustrated book reviews can be found here. I hope to have more in 2017. Enjoy!


  1. Bats of the Republic - Zachary Thomas Dodson. An illuminated novel, the drawings being one of the main reasons I bought the book. Odd, surreal. Honesty, I thought there would be more about bats in it.
  2. The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B - Teresa Toten. Good at capturing confusing emotions and working some of them out. Two pages were ripped from the volume I read. The book made sense anyway.
  3. The Golden Age of Death - Amber Benson. #5 in a series
  4. The Edge of Lost - Kristina McMorris. Through loss of family, immigrating, assimilating and adventure, an Irish boy is constantly reinventing himself. The tie-in to SF Bay is what made me pick it up.

09 November 2016

my every-four-years election results post

I have been doing this for some time now, mapping the election results in my sketchbook. See previous images here.

The view at about 7:15pm PST

This is what it looked like when I headed to bed. Electoral votes stand at 209 - Democratic; 238 - Repblican.

And this is where we are this morning. Vermont, Michigan and Arizona still not called one way or the other.

Regardless of how I feel about the outcome, I still find it cool to illustrate the results as they come in. Look for the next installment in 2020!

27 August 2016

Embracing the zombie

This will be the view of my writing and drawing arm for some time. I fell and broke my radius in several places. I'm talented that way. I am also very visual, so here are some x-rays to explain the damage.

18 August 2016

Book Reviews on Toast

Introducing Book Reviews on Toast!!! As many of you know, I read a lot. I have wanted to review many books I have devoured, but couldn't find the right balance of teasers/descriptions to entice without giving away the whole plot. For me this is essential, as the joy of reading is in discovering how the pieces fit together.
This is the first in a series of book reviews I am doing. You can find the whole series here on tumblr, or here.

17 August 2016

Some recent sketches and things






Not a sketch, but some photos I took of the garden bounty turned into salsa. :)
Also a photo. These are cukes I grew inside my own mailbox - I needed someplace to put them while I dealt with the dog.




13 July 2016

Ode to Norm

I found out today that my favorite entomologist has passed away. Dr. Norm Penny was one of the nicest, kindest scientists I have ever met. He gave me one of my first professional jobs doing scientific illustration. A couple of the neuropteran wings I illustrated for him were new species (see below). He always made sure to send me copies of the papers my illustrations got published in. He gave a great tour of the entomology collection at the California Academy of Sciences. I learned so much from him over the years. Thanks, Norm.
Penny, N. (2002) "Lacewings of Costa Rica" Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, vol. 52 no. 12. Image 117 by Diane T Sands. Images 118, 119 by Victoria Saxe

02 July 2016

Brain roll-up

One of my favorite things about brains is they way you feed questions in, let them rattle around for a bit and a solution occurs to you some point down the line. Usually when you are doing something completely different - walking, driving, singing in the shower. Recently, I had one dilemma and, much later, a thought that did not seem related to me at the time.

I like to preserve fruit through canning or freezing.