Hello! I have a lot going on with this blog so here are some links to navigate your way:

Land here looking for my new comic, Tales of Elgon? Right this way please.

Looking for general updates? Keep scrolling down!

Happy clicking! Any questions? Leave a comment or email me at AbrianC@hotmail.com.

So… If you didn’t see Legend of Korra Book 3 yet… Well go watch it.

Legend of Korra

And then get really anxious about Book 4 coming October 3rd. Then get CRAZY PUMPED when you see this picture. I want to plaster it all over this post but I don’t think it’s that exciting unless you’ve drug through the Book 3 finale!

It’s super funny that some people don’t think I’m geeky. I’m really geeky, people.

Plus I wrote more about story crafting over at the Tales of Elgon blog.

Just some links and reviews today!

James Gurney is having another competition, this one being about troll caught tuna. Trust me, it’s way more fun than that description! Head on over to check it out.


I also got my copy of Tales from The Wilder Forest yesterday. The first story was delightful and I hope all the rest are as well! If you’re thinking of buying one (if they’re made available post-Kickstarter), it’s printed just like Cory Godbey’s sketchbooks. Only thicker and a book rather than a sketchbook.

I have a few print company reviews long in the making… I guess I never did that full loom review I talked about now that I think of it…

Artist's Note #5

On Tales of Elgon today, I talk a little about story building in Story Crafting Part 1.

Aaaand some artwork. I’m trying to keep up with the levels I’m gaining in the IlloLifeRPG… It’s the problem with actually achieving the major goals one sets up :P

Illolife Character 2Illolife Character 3



UPDATE: My little buddy has found a new home! Maybe the new owner will send us a picture of themselves with it?! Who knows!

Who’s participating in Art Drop Day (today)?! I sure am. If you’re in University Place, WA and feel like checking out a book you might find this lil’ fella ripe for the taking, reading a book by a cozy fireplace (starting at 1:00pm PST) #artdropday

Warning: Lots of screenshot charts today.

Tracking your progress can make you feel better about your art life and projects. I know that personally I’ve felt like I was doing things that had no purpose like random doodles or longer pieces for no aim and not suitable for a portfolio. I felt stagnant.

Then I decided to get busy and track my time to see how I could be more efficient. I started using a task timer through TaskCoach:

Screen TaskCoach

I read this post by Paolo Rivera and started using Google Calender:

(his image, not mine)

Another post by Paolo Rivera and I improved my freelance spreadsheet:

(his image again)

Finally, I started an Illolife RPG character in order to track my personal achievements. The ones that can often seem insignificant:

Illolife Quest Log

And because I’m a geek, it’s not only color-coded but the total XP (over to the right) auto-calculates and changes color when I’ve reached a new level (it’s green meaning I’m a level 2 but I haven’t been accepted into the FB group yet which starts at level 1). Not to mention that you get to think of yourself as an artist warrior, conquering the many demons of the art world!

This is my Level 1 character sheet. It made me really think about my skills and honestly evaluate how I’m doing in my career soul-wise. Like do I really have the Will I think I do? Am I really networking and relating to other people? And of course it gave me a chance to test out my paint!

Illolife Character

So if you feel like you’re stagnating I suggest you:

  1. Look at how your spending your time and replace the time eaters with productivity.
  2. Get your finances, accounts, workflow, etc organized so you can fit things better into your available time.
  3. Find a fun way to track your progress. This isn’t necessary but there are many things that feel like time eaters that are actually very beneficial to your growth. Like warming up properly. Which I’m really bad at doing.

Marc Taro Holmes (aka Citizen Sketcher) has an awesome downloadable pamphlet over at his blog that explains his Tea, Milk, Honey method of painting. This method is very effective and I often fail at it because I don’t like to wait for watercolor to dry. I know that’s crazy but it’s kind of like… it’s not oil, it should dray automatically, let’s get going…

Colored Lines Test Lo

I used a similar approach in this quick painting. I’m still testing the capabilities of the Holbein Acryla Gouache but it’s going very well so far!

Artist Note #3

Over at Tales of Elgon, I talk briefly about how medium can effect the way your comic read, the pluses of both digital and traditional, and about a blue cat…


My digital painting class is progressing! Here’s how our favorite red panda coming along:

Red Panda Portrait Brush Block In

We’re buddies. Don’t be jealous. You can make a friend too by joining the Oatley Art Academy.


I lightened the face a bit to match the original portrait better:

Red Panda Portrait Brush Block In

EDIT 2: I brought the pop of blue in the background out more. Basically, in order to post these to the class forum, I have to post the image online somewhere. So you may be getting more process stuff in the future. Which is pretty cool too I guess :)

Red Panda Portrait Brush Block In

Korra ReactionSo. Stern. I’m not even kidding.

In other news, there’s an awesome art drop for Setpember from Jake Parker over here.

And I talk about picking a rendering medium over at Tales of Elgon.

In other other news… Go watch season 3 of Legend of Korra!


Has anyone heard of the IllolifeRPG facebook group? I’m not a role player but basically it turns your creative life into an RPG. Make a commission? Start up your Etsy page? Land a publishing deal? You get XP. Get enough and you gain a level. Not only is it a fun idea but it also helps you track your progress and gives the little things you do daily some meaning.

Illolife Character

Here’s my sheet. My Holbein Acryla Gouache arrived today and I busted them straight out for a trail. I think they work wonderfully! I will do some real testing and have a review ready soon but as you can see I’m still getting used to using them. I have to learn how to work opaquely again. And how to mix the new colors…

The image also didn’t scan very well. May just be that I need to use more prominent ink lines… we’ll see!

My set up looks something like:

Tier 1 (+50): Add to workspace, full 30min warm up time
Tier 2 (+100): Set up official website, finish a portfolio piece
Tier 3 (+500): Complete a commission, complete a comic issue
Tier 4 (+1000): Complete a final volume script, exercise 5 days a week for a month
Tier 5 (+5000): Publisher for a series, save a year’s salary

Let’s go for it!



I got my copy of Matt Cubberly’s Charlotte, Wander On, Illustrated by Irina Kovalova. It was a Kickstarter I wrote about a few months ago and at the time I wasn’t sure why I backed it. I mean, other than Cubberly’s clear desire to produce a quality product, which I admired. I suppose I was just intrigued. That and the fact that the images had powerful composition which I found really gripping.

I’m not sorry I invested in this project! The book is just as well crafted as any I would pick up from the store and I didn’t expect anything less since the book’s quality was where almost all of the funding was supposed to go. What I was nervous about was the story. It was supposed to be a darker children’s epic poem as far as I understood.

And it was. Not to the point of being scary, it was touching and it’s structure was not like most books. It leaves you with likely more questions than answers. But it’s very satisfying none-the-less. Great work on this one guys!

Chance Meeting Web

I just decided to go gray scale for this one! Does everyone know about ArtOrder’s poster competition? I’m not sure why I didn’t mention it earlier… Head on over and check it out: Personal Poster Challenge

Becoming An Artist Sketch

Over at Tales of Elgon today, I talk about finding your place as an artist, or at least the path to finding mine (that I’m still traversing)! The week before that, I discussed the tendency to find something that works… then try a bunch of other stuff only to arrive back at the original thing that worked…

As always, feel free to comment. I’d like to get a discussion going!



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