About My Art

Every now and then, I get the art ‘bug’ and do a whole flurry of art back to back. It makes a nice break from the intensely verbal and analytical activities I spend most of my time on. So, most of my art is organized in series with all the art I did close together. 

My artwork explores nature and fantasy themes, usually in the media of ink, watercolor, and digital. I like to experiment with sustainable art supplies. It’s an interesting microcosm of sustainable supply chains more broadly.

Here are some of my art series you might enjoy:

  • The Oceans and Sunsets series. The only series I did in acrylic on canvas, where I was teaching myself wispy, opaque cloud effects. I’ll revisit acrylic someday, especially when I get my hands on some biodegradable ones.
  • The Leaves and Foliage series (#1, #2 and #3). I did these in botanical ink on watercolor paper. Painting them was a calming and meditative experience, especially painting the intricate foliage.
  • The Watercolor Travel series (part 1 and part 2). Watercolor paintings I did either while on vacation or afterwards from vacation photos. Either way, a wonderful way to soak up extra details and enjoyment from a trip. I recommend trying it.
  • The Plant Portraits series. A 10-day challenge of making digital line art of plants in my house (beginning, update 1, update 2, gallery) . This series was a lot of ‘firsts’ – my first YouTube videos where I showed the behind the scenes of making art, (nearly) my first time using this particular line art program, and my first-ever drawing challenge.
  • The Nature Girl series (#1, #2, #3, wrapup). A short series in fountain pen on hemp paper. A few adventurous girl-characters that emerge from their natural surroundings.
  • The Fantasy and Nature series. A month-long challenge where I worked on digital paintings, including concept art for my novel. You can watch the behind-the-scenes and hear about my novel-writing progress in the YouTube speed-paint videos that go with them. 
  • The Atmospheric series. Digital paintings I did in response to various prompts from art communities, trying to capture the feeling of cool air, early mornings, stretching one’s arms, and of course, coffee.

Expect more series to come as I cycle between my favorite art media, try new ones, or dig through my sketchbook for ideas to give a refresh! If you’d like to hear about them when they come out, you can sign up here.


Also appears: Medium, LinkedIn

Wrapping Up My Writing/Drawing Challenge!

I think I’m on to something here

Here’s the last video update in this series, where I draw another location for the novel (a storeroom) and harvested scenes from my Q&A document.

I listed the scenes from the ‘answers’ I had highlighted in orange in a new document, and gave them each a summary. I do intend to refer back to the original Q&A document for more detail when needed.

I ended up with 40 scenes for Acts 2 and 3, of which 29 are new. Now I just need to develop them out!

Reflecting on the past month, I thought I’d share some observations and things I’ve learned from this experience.


This challenge had just the right amount of flexibility. When setting it up, I gave myself a choice of what to do each day: write, draw, or prepare to write (mashing up Inktober Prepober and NaNoWriMo into December, which is why this challenge has that unpronounceable name).

Having options was great! I could switch between tasks, depending on:

  • how much time I had,
  • what I was in the mood for, and
  • what phase the project was, in terms of what it needed next.

I tracked my writing in a sprint tracker I made in Notion (you can see it in the video). To ‘win’ the challenge for the day, I just had to write (at all). Even if I wrote for five minutes, it counted.

That was pretty much all the structure I needed to maintain consistency. I typically wrote more than that, because I was having fun.

Measuring progress in ‘streaks’

It was helpful to measure my progress in streaks, so if I fell off the consistency train (which I did a couple of times), I just restarted my streak counter. I got the idea from Wordle because that’s how it displays your statistics.

Streaks incentivized me to keep the challenge going even after I’d fallen off. Here was the result:

  • I wrote or drew every day of the month except for two.
  • My longest streak was 18 days.
  • Even on the days that I drew, ended up also writing, because the momentum was starting to build and I was excited to push my draft forward even a tiny bit.

Often, writing was the easier choice because I could do it in about five minutes, if I wanted. Drawing a picture typically took an hour or more.

In that way, the incentives lined up well with my goal because writing was the more important task. The drawing was mostly for fun and to help visualize scenes in my writing. Since I ended up writing more often, that worked out well.

Three phases

Over the month, my writing went through three phases.

  • The first phase was just reading my old draft.
  • Next, I started pulling pieces out to make an outline.
  • Last, I went through a couple of passes of questions and answers about each plot point.

That evolution just happened naturally, out of asking myself what I needed to do to get more clarity and get closer to be able to draft the scenes.

The small level of consistency I maintained helped in finding answers to my questions, just between writing sessions. I posed a question one day, and had an answer the next.

I guess my subconscious was plugging away at it without me knowing, which is always nice.

Qualitatively, there was a ton of progress!

Looking at the before-and-after of my novel makes that clear.

At the start of the month, I had been stuck for a while, and I hadn’t read my draft in months. (I was scared to.)

At the end, with just a little bit of effort, I’ve built up momentum and have a clear plan going forward. And most importantly, a bunch of confidence that I didn’t have before.

So, suffice it say that I’m really glad I did this!

I’m nowhere near as tired as I have been after NaNoWriMo, (the couple of times I attempted it, and didn’t win, obviously). With this challenge, I did what I set out to do and still feel energized.

That’s important for making sustainable progress.

If you’re considering devising a challenge for yourself…

I would definitely encourage doing it! I think it’s a great idea.

And I’d also encourage kind of setting the bar low. I think there’s a lot to be gained from consistency alone, without going after crazy word counts that will tire you out.

I guess what I’m saying is that doing something easy can actually be beneficial, believe it or not.

* * *

So, that concludes this series, and I hope you enjoyed following along!

Here is the storeroom I drew! Mmm, dry beans.

Organizing Everything I Wrote

Gearing up for some serious drafting in 2023.

Here is a video update where I’m drawing another setting for my novel! It is a type of work room.

In my last update, I had just finished my third pass through my new outline in the form of Q&A about each plot point, adding in the world building element or character motivation that was missing.

By this point, I’d got a ton of material in the Q&A. Before going back to the start for another pass, I needed to do was decide what I was going to do next. There are always more questions to answer, so I could have done more of that.

Instead, I decided to organize all the material first, because it was getting unwieldy. There’s no point creating a giant document that’s super hard to read, since I’m trying to create something that will help me in the drafting process.

As soon as I’m sufficiently clear on the story and have enough of the details, I intend to build out the next draft, under each scene heading, by either pasting in pieces of the existing draft, rewriting a scene, or more likely, writing a missing scene for the first time.

Writing from an outline will be interesting, since I’m not much of a “plotter,” if you buy the plotter/pantser dichotomy. (I think it’s more of a spectrum.) But you can’t “pants” a second draft, so it’s important to be able to write from an outline.

Anyway, I spent the last day of my InkPrepNoWriCember challenge organizing all of my notes. Here’s how:

  • I highlighted answers that needed to be their own scene. Maybe because I needed it to set up a conflict that would come up later, or introduce new information.
  • Some elements needed to be introduced, but didn’t need a full scene. I could squish them into an existing scene, so I highlighted this answers and labeled them ‘breadcrumbs.’
  • The next thing I will need to do is pull those out into a separate list, soo that I have a complete list of all the scenes, including the ones I’ve added now, and the ones I already had.
  • After that, I can decide on their order. In some cases, the order is clear, and in other cases, I have leeway to decide which order makes the narration the most interesting.

The story is inching toward clarity! I’m nearly ready to start drafting in earnest, and I think that’s really good progress for a month of work.

Here is the workroom I drew! I think the end result ended up cozy and atmospheric.

Approaching the End of InkPrepNoWriCember and Looking Ahead

I have a couple of days left in my writing and drawing challenge, and I’m really happy with how it’s going.

This is about as much consistency as I can manage, which is not in the same league, at all, as the people who do NaNoWriMo or Inktober in their original form, but a tiny bit of consistency does go a long way.

The continuity of coming back to the novel every day makes it easier to get into the story each time. My brain is simmering on the novel in the background, even when I’m not working on it.

Here is a video update where I’m drawing one of the settings of my novel. It’s one of the few settings that I can say, with confidence, will appear. I won’t say much about it! I want it to be a surprise.

Writing Update: Last time, I was on my third pass through the story, working on the plot Q&A. Today, I spent a little longer than planned and made it to the end of story! The third pass is done, so I’m going to have to figure out what to do next.

  • I could continue pretty much as I have been, just go back to the beginning and just keep refining.
  • Or I might spend some time organizing all the material I’ve generated so far, turning those Q&As into actual scenes, or bullet points, or something that I can basically use to do the actual writing with.
  • This challenge will be done soon, so I want to figure out the organizing principle for the next round of edits.
    Will it be another month long challenge? And should I jump into it straight away?

After this is done, I’ll take a couple of days to go through everything I’ve done and then decide.

And of course, the new year and planning ahead got me thinking about this time last year, which was a lot like now: cool weather and editing.

About a year ago is when I finally figured out how to do novel revisions, and edited the first section of the novel. It’s crazy to think that a whole year has passed since then! And what a year it has been.

The Mystery Room I drew in the video.