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Chinatown Patterns

Visited Oakland’s Chinatown to sketch before a doctor’s appointment. There were patterns everywhere. From the abundance of shop signs and umbrellas, the way the produce was organized along the sidewalks, to the decorative crosswalks. I wish I focused more on the amazing textile patterns some of the older folks were wearing. You could find plaid, stripes, flowers and paisley…. all on one jacket.


Shattuck Sketches and a Doctor's Note

Sorry it's been slow around here. I've been recuperating the past couple months from a broken neck during a mountain biking accident. I know, I know... Lamest. Excuse. Ever.

On most days, I am absolutely free of complaints, knowing things could have easily been worse. But sometimes I get kinda antsy, like last night, when I was trying to skip my pain meds and had too much coffee instead, and my neck brace began to feel like it was made of iron. I did some drawing to help calm my nerves, which eventually worked.

What made me happier than being able to go to sleep was that I noticed there wasn't too much discomfort in my neck after an hour or so of sketching. So I decided to go for a walk today to see if I could sketch a bit longer. I broke up my sketches into little half-hour sessions, taking breaks in between. It was a bit exhausting to carry even a light bag of sketching gear (below the weight restrictions my doctor imposed, of course) and it's definitely a bit challenging to sit in a chair now to finish up this blog post, but I am happy I challenged myself today.

Until now, I haven't been drawing much (and have been off work all this time as well), but a slow'n'steady combination of recovery and stir craziness is allowing me to overcome this dry spell. It's been encouraging to say the least. I hope I'll have more to show soon!


The Generalife

One of my favorite places I've ever visited: Granada, Spain.

When it popped up in the pipeline as a potential Google Doodle celebrating the Granadas Millenium, I knew I had to do it. A fellow doodler was gracious enough to let me take the assignment off his hands, though it meant I had to juggle the deadline with a mildly interactive Father's Day doodle on the same day.

While the doodle acknowledges a festive occasion, I really wanted to highlight the amazing juxtapositions of the city itself: A majestic Moorish/Medieval stronghold among stuccoed Spanish houses. The expanse of the Sierra Nevada mountain range against the narrow winding alleyways. The city itself is at once wonderfully alive and sleepy with plenty to do or not do. In fact, you can learn about everything I did and did not do by visting (or not visiting?) my ancient but well-preserved sketch travelogue.


Chicago Tribune

Hey that's my picture in the Chicago Tribune!

It's part of a slideshow accompanying an in-depth profile on the Doodle team. Though it's an interview with mostly one member of the team (leader, Ryan Germick), it's well-rounded and thoughtful, and echoes many of the things that drives us creatively as a team and on an individual basis. Also, there are burritos.

And the writer uses Tom Sawyer to describe me.


In a behind-the-scenes discussion about this behind-the-scenes piece (so meta) the writer, Chris Borrelli, answers why it was so important to visit the actual Doodler area to do this piece:

That’s a good question, because this piece could be handled with a Q&A probably. And with a company like Google, you assume you will receive a bare minimum of cooperation, anyway. But they were fairly open to the story, partly because the Doodle team is so unique and what tends to be written about them is superficial and brushes right past the point that these things probably took a team and a lot of time and there’s a story behind the creation of this tiny thing so many people worldwide are seeing everyday.



Background paintings for the Maurice Sendak Google doodle. Fellow doodler, Jennifer Hom did a brilliant job leading the creative on this and doing all the heavy lifting, including the characters, animation, and the layouts and block-ins for these BGs. I was happy to do my small part and take the backgrounds to a finish.

I was even happier to use this opportunity to study Sendak’s work a little more closely. I originally planned to paint these backgrounds in watercolor, but due to the complexity of the project and the short timeline I had to work in, I opted for digital. Yet I still feel like I got to learn a thing or two about how he composed images and made sense out of the most amazing kinds of clutter, whether a dense jungle, buildings from the pantry, or the skeletal remains of a farmhouse ripe for a birthday parade.

Happy 85th birthday to a true master! You can see the fully animated tribute here: