Author Archives: Dani

Call For iPad Art!

I’m excited to (kinda) announce a new project I’m working on, and I’m also seeking some digital artists to help me with it! Here’s the gist:

I am currently involved in a book about art on the iPad. I can’t say much about it yet, but part of the book will be a gallery of images. I am looking for artists who draw on the iPad who would like to have their work featured in this section.

Here are all the details and instructions:

  • Any subject matter, genre, or style is welcome. In fact, the more variety the better.
  • This is not a paying gig. I want to be clear that this is strictly on volunteer basis. If you’re not willing to do that, that’s fine. I also don’t expect anyone to spend hours creating brand new artwork for this. Only submit if you happen to have something already made and would enjoy seeing it printed in a book.
  • All artists chosen to be featured will receive a free copy of the book.
  • Artists retain all copyright to their images, and this is non-exclusive. The publisher and I are only asking for rights to print the images in all versions of the book.
  • All artists will be credited with name and website.

To submit:

  • Please send entries to with the subject IPAD ART SUBMISSION.
  • Please send it in full resolution (I know iPad art is typically low-res – just send the best you have). If it is vector art, please send the vector file. If you have multiple images or the file is too large to email, you can send a link.
  • Include:
    1) Your name (However you want to be credited. Real names please.)
    2) Your website link, if you have one
    3) Your iPad model (1, 2, or new)
    4) What app you used

**Update**: To answer some common questions,

  • Yes, you can send multiple submissions. Send as many as you want.
  • No, please don’t submit artwork created on other tablets such as Android, Wacom, etc. This is iPad-specific.
  • You may send sketches (it doesn’t have to be finished artwork). However, I’m not taking art that was started on the iPad, then finished on your desktop computer. It must be all-iPad.

All submissions must be received by APRIL 4 APRIL 9!

If your art is selected, you will be notified and given further instructions.

Can’t wait to share more info further down the pipeline. Thanks in advance to everyone who can help me out!

Womanthology Book Release

Womanthology, a HUGE anthology of comics written, drawn, and edited all by women, is going to be available very soon. I believe it will be in comic shops starting today and it is also up for order on All proceeds from this book go to charity.

I received my copy in the mail yesterday. It is one ginormous book, and it is filled to the brim with comics, artwork, industry tips, and interviews.

I illustrated a four-page story for the book. It is called “Swimming” by Ashley Avard. It starts on page 180. I was really happy that I got to illustrate such a sweet and poignant story.

View the Process Video!

Hourly Comic 2012

Yesterday, I was reading my internets and started seeing all of these diary comics being posted by a bunch of different artists. Apparently, February 1 is Hourly Comic Day. On Hourly Comic Day, artists are encouraged to sit down and draw a comic for every hour of the day that they are awake. I was a bit disappointed that I missed it, but then I was like, hey I’ll do one anyway!

So here it is, a day late. Forgive the messiness – these are very very quick sketches and I did minimal cleanup and editing.

Super 8 Sketch Card Process

When I’m not busy making children’s books or comics, I like to make sketch cards for fun, often featuring geeky fan art of my favorite TV or movie characters. (You can check out previous cards I’ve made here, here, and here.) I recently made a set of six cards featuring the gang of kids from the movie Super 8, which was my favorite movie of 2011 (probably one of my favorite movies ever actually). Anyway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to show a little process stuff.

Click to see how I made the cards!

My Sister the Freak Returns!

I make a webcomic called My Sister the Freak (if you are unaware of it, you can read the whole first volume in the Stories section!). I haven’t updated it in awhile, but I am planning a triumphant return. After struggling for months with plans and updates for this comic, I can now give you some solid news and dates!

My Sister the Freak will be back to regular updates on FEBRUARY 3, 2012. And with this return, I am implementing a few changes.

New Schedule, Two Times the Fun!

The comic will now update twice per week on TUESDAYS and FRIDAYS. Mark your calendars and subscribe to stay up to date.

Introducing "The Adventures of Captain Bacon"

On February 3, I will not start Volume 2. Instead, I'm going to launch a spinoff comic called "The Adventures of Captain Bacon" featuring crazy imaginary adventures of Mary and Captain Bacon. I am very excited about this idea and hope you'll enjoy it.

The spinoff comic will be a lot quicker, snappier, and black and white, which means it will be a whole lot easier for me to write and draw. This will be a fun way to fill in the time between volumes and chapters of the main comic.

So Where is Volume 2?

I have the story outlined and am fleshing out the full script. I was going to put a rush on it and get it done for February, but as I was working on it I really felt that I should give this every ounce of effort that I can and write the best story possible. So, I'm going to slow down, finish the script, then begin working on a buffer of pages.

As of now, I expect Volume 2 to go up around May. The time in between will allow me to draw and color the whole first chapter, and with that buffer in place, the comic can update uninterrupted on the new twice-a-week schedule for the duration of Volume 2.

Fan Art Contest

While I am working on the comic and posting the spinoff, I am going to take the opportunity to do other fun activities too. First up, I want to hold a fan art contest. I want to see what talented readers I have out there! There will be both adult and kid divisions, and winners will receive signed books, original art, and gift cards. All entries will also be posted to the website with credits and links. Look out for the full details coming up on the My Sister the Freak website, and start sketching up those ideas!

See you February 3!

Watch Me Paint on Ustream

As part of my commission deal, I will be painting live throughout the month on Ustream. Come by every Friday at 10 AM ET to watch and chat.

View the show here:

If you are unfamiliar with Ustream, it is a live video streaming service. I will be drawing and painting live from my studio. You can chat in a chatroom and ask questions while I work.

Reminder: Commissions are open until January 31. All the details are in my previous post. Get in your order soon, and I might even draw it on the show!

Open for Commissions / Cintiq Fundraiser!

I recently bought one of these:

Happy 2012 to me! When it arrives, expect a full review and pics here on the blog!

However, this also cost me 2500 smackaroonies.

So for a limited time, I am opening up commissions. I have had commissions closed for a while because I am blessed to be super busy with client work. But I figured this would be a fun way to cushion the blow to my wallet and draw lots of nerdy stuff.

So if you would like me to paint you a picture of anything, anyone, and anyhoo, read below for the details:

  • All guidelines and ordering info are here:
  • Limited time only. I am closing all commissions again on January 31.
  • I am making two sizes available – sketch cards and larger 5x7s. All are full color and painted with watercolors and/or gouache.


SpikeAngel of DeathBorg QueenJack SkellingtonRobin HoodSam CarterCaptain KirkBuddy the ElfRalphieJohn McClane

Doctor Who Christmas Carol Fan Art

This is a piece of fan art I made based on last year’s Doctor Who Christmas special, A Christmas Carol. I love this episode! It has quickly become one of my favorite things to watch around the holidays. I recently re-watched it, and I might have to do so again before the season is over. It is brilliant. Thanks Steven Moffat.

You can check out the entire painting process in the vid below. It was done in Photoshop. Actual painting time was around four hours.

And for your further enjoyment:

Watch it if you haven’t yet! [iTunes]

Merry Christmas!

Building an Artist’s Website with WordPress

I’m finally going to answer, in depth, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten over the past few years – how did I build my website?

Most artists ask me this because they want to know a) how I built my portfolio gallery or b) how I integrated my blog into my website. I will attempt to answer both of those questions.

Continue reading


I had the opportunity to contribute to a project called Womanthology. It is an anthology graphic novel featuring stories written, illustrated, edited, and organized all by women. Over 140 people have worked on this book, including everyone from young girls to industry professionals. It is being released under IDW publishing and all the proceeds from this book will go to charity.

I worked on a four-page story called “Swimming” by Ashley Avard. It is a simple yet powerful story and I’m proud to have worked on it.

You can pre-order the Womanthology book and the accompanying process sketchbook now on Amazon. It will ship early next year. All profits go to the Global Giving Foundation.

Click to see the process behind my Womanthology comic

Picture This

I am contributing to a new blog called Picture This. Check it out at!

The other day, I was lamenting on Twitter how there are few art blogs out there that are highlighting children’s illustration. There’s a lot of general illustration blogs who only occasionally mention children’s illustration. Most emphasize editorial and contemporary stuff. I strongly hinted that someone should start a new site with a more kids lit flavor.

Casey Girard came to the rescue. Casey is the illustrator coordinator for NESCBWI. We decided to partner up and get a site running, and she has been kind enough to set it up.

We are going to use Picture This to post any news, links, events, and artwork related to children’s books that we find interesting. Please subscribe, follow, and share the site with your friends and help us spread the word!

Send Your Submissions!

We are opening Picture This to reader submissions. Just go to the Submit page and send us your links. We’ll post anything we find interesting.

How to Make It As An Artist

I am extremely lucky to do what I do every day.

That being said, becoming an illustrator is not a big game of chance. I’m a firm believer that success as a working artist is just a splash of luck, a little bit of talent, and a lot of hard work and persistence.

“Making it” is a matter of PRACTICE and TIME. Lots of people say that the odds are slim you can make a living as an artist, but that’s only because most people are lacking one of those two elements. Do both, and your odds go up greatly. Granted, some people might have to practice harder, and others may need more time, but I believe most people can do it if they have enough drive.

Artists go through different stages. How you succeed depends on how you move from one stage to the next.

Continue reading

Sleepy Hollow Illustration Process

On Halloween, I shared a new illustration that I recently finished featuring Ichabod Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Here’s some of the process work that went into the painting:

The original sketch, drawn on a regular sheet of paper. I used a red pencil to rough it out and then went over it with a regular pencil line.

Before I started painting, I did a few studies to figure out what direction I wanted to go with the color.

The initial color block-in:

Texture, shading, and details:

Final painting, with effects like wind and stars added:

My Sister the Freak Volume 1 Books

I recently got a bunch of My Sister the Freak Volume 1 books in the mail. They look awesome! Thanks to Ka-Blam for the printing job.

This book marks a big milestone for me. It collects the first four issues of MSTF together in one volume to create one full graphic novel. It represents over a year’s worth of work and the completion of my first major writing/comic project. I’m so happy to see this story all together as it should be read.

The book is over 100 pages. Nearly half the book is bonus material, including a peek into my process, activities, and a super guest art section.

I have been slowly but surely getting all the preorders signed, sketched up, and mailed out. Thanks so much to everyone who preordered the book – I could not have gotten the printing done without you!

Every person that took advantage of the preorder is receiving a full-color watercolor sketch. Here is a sampling of some of the sketches I made for the orders already:

Thanks for waiting so patiently while I get these all done. I should have them all mailed off within the next week or so.

Here’s one book that already has a happy home!

[Captain Bacon for Mike!]

If you receive your copy, email or tweet me some pics. I love seeing ’em!

The book is still available in my store. New orders won’t receive the watercolor sketches, but I’ll include a pencil sketch (and I’ll sign the book too of course!). There is limited quantities available. Once I get all the preorders mailed out, I’ll have to figure out just how many I have left. If I run out, you can also order it from IndyPlanet, who can print it on-demand.

And if you don’t want to spend $20, you can also get the digital copy for much cheaper here.

Web Presence Revamp: Back to Basics

It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my life as an illustrator is changing. More than ever before, I am being bombarded with things calling for my attention, whether it be a growing freelance workload, more ambitious personal projects, miscellaneous websites, and life outside of my job. On top of it all, social networking is more confusing, spread out, and demanding as ever. I am, quite frankly, wearing thin.

So I have come to the decision to scale back. I am going to put my emphasis into what I think matters most for my needs and goals and get back to basics.

My plan:

Reduce social networking

My social networking philosophy so far has been to TRY EVERYTHING. This has been a great strategy for me over the past several years and I don’t regret it. I’ve learned so much about promotion, technology, and the internet and I’ve gotten to know a whole lot of interesting and talented people.

But this strategy isn’t going to work for me anymore. I’m no longer a newbie looking for ways to get out there. And also, social networking is growing fast. It’s no longer possible to do everything and keep up. The farther I spread between them, the thinner my presence becomes in each.

I am going to continue to use Twitter as my main social outlet. I’ll also keep my Facebook page (which is really just an extension of my Twitter feed). I’m dumping everything else, or vastly decreasing my dependence on them. These include Tumblr, deviantArt, Ustream, Flickr, and Google+. Some I’ll get rid of completely; others I’ll keep for only posting occasionally or to follow other artists.

Back to Blogging

I’ve let blogging take a backseat while I’ve been trying out this newfangled social network thing. It’s time to bring it back! Twitter is great for small snippets of info, but after so long it starts to drain you instead of help you. On the other hand, maintaining a blog is something that really helps me keep my creative momentum going. I create more, learn more, and teach better while I am blogging because it forces me to come up with meaningful content rather than shooting out random bits of info and links.

So prepare for the triumphant return of my blog! I will try to post more artwork, process, tutorials, videos, advice, and other random thoughts. Subscribe to stay up to date on all my latest posts.

Some Unfortunate Necessities

Schedules and strategies for other various projects are also going to go through an overhaul. My weekly webcomic, for example, will suffer temporarily. It is definitely not going away by any means, but I am going to try to be smarter about it. This means I will not put it back on its regular schedule until I have the next volume completed.


I am sharing all these thoughts to give you an idea of what goes on in the mind of this illustrator. I am always making plans, mistakes, and even more plans. This job is a constant balance of artistry, business, promotion, creation, and timing. Even those of us who have been at it for a few years still struggle daily.

What strategies have you used to manage your web presence? What’s worked? What hasn’t? How is it evolving as the internet landscape changes?

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the holiday today, here is a spooky illustration of Ichabod Crane from “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” that I recently finished for a client.

Have a safe and happy holiday everyone! Eat lots of candy.