Lovely Lenora Lovelle comes to life

So I’ve done a huge pile of fighting clown pictures, but none of what they are fighting for. The answer to that is LOVE of course. I decided it was high time to tackle one of the more difficult characters of the story, the bewitching contortionist, Lenora Lovelle. She’s beautiful, talented, unusually quiet, and is also the daughter of a rather sinister potion maker and inventor, the dastardly Doctor Vandersmouthe.

I guess the reason I’ve been putting off her glorious debut is obvious: I don’t know anyone who can do these poses in real life, so reference photos don’t do much good outside of her facial features (my sister, although I did make her wear a tutu for this). I ended up drawing her in normal poses, then using a light table to turn the image at odd angles as I drew in the limbs .

Yes she is spinning plates, and yes there is a bear in the rough poster design with the caption “Now featuring a live bear!”  Not sure yet where I’m going with that, just thought it could use a bear.


Circus tornado hits the MARN salon!

After a marathon week of framing, a series of ten drawings from the circus book are ready to be exhibited this week at MARN headquarters (that’s the Milwaukee Artists Resource Network). The show is part of their salon events where artists can get works viewed and critiqued by a wide range of people including other artists, gallery owners, and the general public. In other words, it’s a chance to get valuable feedback from people who aren’t my relatives and close friends! And hopefully make some good connections at the same time.


It’s always simultaneously a frustrating mess and a joy to frame works that have been sitting finished for a while. A pain because there are always problems, wrong measurements, and costs involved, but a joy because it definitely ads to the look and makes it appear more finished… not to mention ready to share with the public.

Like the Tibia opera series, I wanted to use vintage frames and unorthodox matting materials to compliment the look and feel of the images. The frames I find at goodwill, value village, and antique stores usually fit the bill. But what I save in money I usually more than make up for in time. It takes a lot of work and a lot of thrift shopping to get it just how I want it. Not that I mind browsing those stores. I find some interesting clothes there too… as well as adding to my collection of beat-up jewelry boxes I’m going to do something with some day.

The opening reception for this show will be:

Friday, March 25

5:30 – 9:00pm

5407 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee

The finished self-portrait

Well, I finished adding color yesterday. I’m still working on incorporating it into a business card design, but overall I’m happy with how it’s looking. Makes me look like an up-tight victorian snob, without the discomfort of a corset…


I feel like this should go on the label of a beauty tonic. Or my own brand of baking powder.

Don’t mess with the Zazel

So I started a small self-portrait this morning. It’s an old-fashioned cameo style picture. I only got as far as the outlines and will hopefully get around to coloring it next week. It will probably be used for my new business cards.


This drawing is loosely based off a portrait of a 19th century human cannon ball named “Zazel”. She was actually one of the first people to perform the human cannon ball stunt, being launched from the cannon and then grabbing a trapeze. I love this portrait because, despite the pink flowers in her hair and the high-collared dress, she still manages to look totally bad-ass. The circus was ahead of its time as far as the women’s movement goes. Female performers wore pants and shorts and other attire that were deemed inappropriate in polite "society". They tamed lions, flew out of cannons, jumped through rings of fire while riding horses bareback, fired guns, and some were even body builders. These were some tough gals!


Don't mess with the zazel.

Circus Bugle Boy Complete!

I finished a piece today! As the story illustrations are mostly wrapped up, I’ve been making some larger works styled after antique circus posters. This one features my brother-in-law in an old timey band uniform, an image of the tornado approaching, and a little poem on the theme.