Wednesday, December 23, 2009

book sleuth: harriet the spy (3 of 6)

hi, everyone! so it has been a while, and man, i am fully aware that i am dragging out the book sleuth's debut in a painfully long way... thanks for being patient, or at least being nice and/or quiet about your discontent. here's number three, harriet the spy by louise fitzhugh!

IMPORTANT: harriet the spy was my very favorite book when i was small.

stay tuned (for real this time! the holiday season and lack of immediate grad school obligations means that i can post at a less annoyingly infrequent rate) for the second half of the book sleuth's recommended reading!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

book sleuth: the higher power of lucky (2 of 6)

a super-speedy (and procrastination-friendly) post to share the next spread in my book sleuth series. it's on the higher power of lucky by susan patron. it's a pretty new book, and so scandalous because she uses the word 'scrotum' in the first paragraph. crazytown! click to read slash, see the big version.
in other non-relevant news, i had a lovely pair of thanksgivings this year, one of which involved thanksgiving pizza, and one that involved dutch apple pie made by someone who's actually dutch, and both of which involved an outrageously huge vat of cranberry sauce, which is already gone. i hope you all celebrated accordingly, too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

away we go: the book sleuth (1 of 6)

all right, i'll admit that i'm making zero work right now that is not grad-school-flavored. in an effort to keep things at least a little bit updated around here, here's the first of my book sleuth spreads! fun fact: in a serendipitous trip to baltimore's book thing, i found a free copy of my father's dragon just days after i finished the series. hooray! if you'd like to read my lovely kid-oriented review of the book as well, click to enlarge, friends!

i did the whole spread: digital collage for the color full-page and the black and white spread, the writing, and the layout. i am so not a graphic designer, but i think the layout is pretty okay? maybe? i will even settle for not distractingly bad. stay tuned for the rest of the series, to be unveiled in a painstakingly slow manner. thanks for hanging with me as i try to, you know, get my masters.

Friday, November 6, 2009


my show is up my show is up my show is up! thanks to everyone who came out to the opening last friday, it was lovely of you to join me. i like to think that me and the cupcakes got equal billing. for those of you that couldn't make it, here are some pictures that prove its existence:

it's still chilling on the 3rd floor of the fox building at mica, if you're in the baltimore area and just can't keep yourself away. if not, i'll post some fancier images of the finished spreads later. i'm gonna draw it out really annoying and slow-like, since i don't have a lot (coughanycough) of new work to show since, oh yeah, grad school has consumed my soul. boo.

in other news, i'm going to nyc this weekend for a super-speedy mini-vacation. that's right soul, i'm coming for you. grad school can't have you forever!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

it's getting closer!

installation is in just two weeks! here are the postcards for the show, both mine and the group postcard announcement. we did a "dress up like we're in grade school and take a class picture" photoshoot for that one. classy. awesome. you can see a couple of the (silly) frames from the shoot below. because if there's one thing you should know by now, it's that we take ourselves very, very seriously.
the show will be up on friday, october 30th, and the opening is that night. also, this is a grad event, so the catering? twice as delicious and/or fancy. last year? there were cupcakes WAHOO.

in the meantime i need to finish the final touches on my work and put it all together for the show. snoop around the fox building or just ask nicely if you'd like a postcard.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

i haven't abandoned you, internet!

hi, friends. i swear i haven't disappeared from the blogosphere, but some of my efforts have been redirected toward my other companion blog, "heart-sleeve teaching." i'm exploring the implications of visual/material/media/pop culture on art-making and education at large. so. if you miss me, i'm over there. so are some other cool things! so if you like pop culture, go take a look.

but! i'll be back here soon. i'm just getting things together and orderly for proper sharing. i ordered my postcards, and my thesis (round two!) show goes up in just a couple weeks! here is an actual illustration thing to leave you with, so that i'm not a total tease and/or jerkface:

tiny painting made as a part of a new fun thing called the nomadic playlist, a traveling sketchbook and flash drive where each track is illustrated in the book and added to the flash. first up: the coral's dreaming of you. fun, right? i'll keep you posted as it develops.

Friday, October 2, 2009

more slightly-less-sneaky previews.

so, it has been a little while, tiny collection of faithful blog readers. i'm sorry to be posting so sporadically - as it turns out, grad school is hard! go figure. right now, i am teaching fourth graders art and math together, an unlikely but pretty okay combination, as well as middle-schoolers in a book arts/reflective art-making class, and a portfolio prep after-school program for students who want to apply to attend the baltimore school of the arts. WHOA.

i am, however, glad to introduce the book sleuth, the host character for my series of articles reviewing various the children's/young adult books that i posted super-small slivers of a few weeks ago. each one matches up to the six books from last week (clockwise from top left): harriet the spy, the view from saturday, my father's dragon, the higher power of lucky, a wrinkle in time, and the wednesday wars. his behavior is dictated by some chunk of each story, as though he is taking on the persona of one of the main characters as he reads. then, he (meaning i) share all about the book to get other real-life kids excited about reading! hopefully. more soon! i'm prepping postcards for the show as we speak. and by speak i mean i type and some indeterminate time later, you maybe read.

Monday, September 14, 2009

super secret sneak peek.

i am finally finishing up my summer thesis! i am closing in on the 95% mark, wrapping up the final details, etc. the exhibition will be in october here at mica, but here is a sneak peek in the meantime.
if you'd like to do some matching, the following books are included in the series: harriet the spy by louise fitzhugh, my father's dragon by ruth stiles gannett, the wednesday wars by gary schmidt, a wrinkle in time by madeleine l'engle, the higher power of lucky by susan patron, and the view from saturday by e.l. konisgburg. wahoo!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

dailies 8/24-8/30 + ANOTHER BONUS FUN TIME

so today was the first day of school! with that comes dramatically less life, so hopefully things around here won't thin out too much... i do have a slew of super-secret master's thesis things to debut, but i decided to just ultra-drag out the non-suspense i've been building for, you know, the whole summer and wait until they are all done to share with you. mostly because of the lazy factor.
one thing i am presently debating is whether or not to continue with the new(ish) non sequitur dailies, or to a) revisit the old mini hand-drawn diary thing (perhaps with a renewed sense of not-variants-on-the-same-few themes) or b) invest in a more fleshed out series of once-a-week things, like illustrating a song a week or something. thoughts? these present dailies feel sort of... question mark. anyway. this is me making the thinking face. any input you have on the matter would be greatly appreciated, mystery blog readers. do you prefer these ones? the old ones, if you have been around that long? something more substantial? TELL ME WHAT TO DO.

lastly, i am loosely obsessed with this ridiculous song "good day" by tally hall. you should go listen to it over at spin magazine's website. then you can download it from them and listen to it forever. like me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

oh hey, i forgot i went to dr. sketchy's.

so a couple weeks ago i went to dr. sketchy's! i nearly forgot, what with all the work-doing. here are two pages combo-plattered from the many many drawings i did that night. it's really fun! and outside my normal subject matter of cute and/or adorable things, and i love the change of pace.
if you haven't been, you should check it out dr. sketchy's baltimore, or a branch local to you.

whoo! also of note, the rollergirl with zombie-face in the upper right hand corner of that second image is my attempt at drawing with my opposite hand, i didn't have like a mini-stroke or anything. that's all. time for more more work work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

dailies 8/17-8/23 + BONUS HOORAY

a busy busy week. at the end of my first full week of nothing but illustration, i am feeling pretty good about my progress, and about the sheer quantities of marathon tv i can churn through in the background. along with dexter, i've devoured it's always sunny in philadelphia and the oc, both of which can be hulu'ed for your viewing pleasure. any suggestions for my next conquest?

first up are the dailies, followed by a fun surprise!

at the end of my walters classes, i got a little bit of time to draw from their collection, so here's a study of thomas couture's daydream! hooray academic exercises. i forgot how much i love doing these kinds of things.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

dailies 8/10-8/16.

back from a long weekend of relaxation just in time to buckle down for lots and lots and lots of work. i finished up my summer camps at the walters and have two uninterrupted weeks to, um, get it together. this is me, getting it together READYSETGO. i'll be back soon.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

dailies 8/3-8/9.

back again with more dailies. and! i've been trucking along on my master's thesis (this time for real!) and i've made lots of progress this week and last, since my daily schedule has basically devolved into teaching at the walters, illustrating children's books while watching marathon stretches of dexter (a very contradictory pair), and eating sugary cereal straight from the box.

i'm keeping things under wraps for the moment (plus, i have four underway but zero fully completed), but i'm basically illustrating a children's recommended reading column/book review series. i'll be tying up the loose digital ends on pieces for the view from saturday and harriet the spy this weekend on my SHINY NEW MACBOOK PRO. the days of typing a sentence and then going and getting a snack, making a phone call, and then having the letters appear on my screen are over. his name is quincy, and he is the unofficial sponsor of this week's dailies. WAHOO.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

dailies 7/27-8/2.

more dailies more dailies more dailies! i'm in the throes of a swell comics class at the walters, and am finally in knee-deep in my thesis. embarassingly late, but better than not at all, right? so, brief now, more later! lesson plans and sketches await me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

dailies 7/20-7/26.

all right, i made it. here, before our very eyes, are the dailies recording the final days of mica pre-college 2009. i have a short little break now to catch up on things and get settled into a more normal life rhythm, and starting next week, i'll be teaching summer art camp at the walters, a gig i was lucky enough to score from the ever-delightful brian ralph.

at the same time that i'm teaching kids how to draw comics in the coming weeks, i've got some major ground to cover with my thesis work. so, EXPECT MAJOR UPDATES REALLY SOON. or, in lieu of updates, some sort of murder-suicide pact with my buddy james wu who is similarly troubled in our present lack of thesis work to show. thanks, pre-college, thanks.

okay, cynicism over. STAY TUNED.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

dailies 7/13-7/19.

dailies! sigh. i am only a few days away from the conclusion of the my present life-stealing job, so expect future updates for real on all sorts of fronts very soon. like, really. no joke.

in other news, i was in nyc for the day on saturday and had a delightful reunion with kit, michael, and elle, and did all sorts of frivolous shopping in an effort to dress more like a grown-up. it was partially successful, though i partially spent an unreasonable amount of money on rice pudding, as per always.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

dailies 7/6-7/12.

dailies! dailies! dailies! enough said.

i also discovered another excellent daily-illustration project via the delightful piers gelly (a lovely human): post-it note stories by arthur jones are a one-sentence story with a one-post-it illustration that he uploads everyday. AND, he even illustrates others' submitted stories as well. THAT IS NEAT.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

dailies 6/29-7/5.

again with the apologies for erratic posting. my life has basically been hijacked for the rest of july. try as i might to sneak away and be a real human, for all intents and purposes, i've fallen off the face of the earth. here are last week's dailies:

in other news, in an effort to strive for even a little relevance, i tweaked my blog layout. nothing major, but a slight improvement on things, i think. if you're google-readering this business, click the link and see for yourself!

there will definitely, probably, be more to show you soon. ish. maybe. i hope.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

dailies 6/22-6/28.

delayed! but here they are. i am super-busy in a non-illustration capacity right now, which is making me pretty sad. so much so that i apparently did not know what day it was for half the week, realizing only on monday that i erased the 26th from the universe somehow. i'm working hard to stay on track, and ideally, i'll have some progress to report on my other studio work sometime before, you know, never. thanks for hanging in there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

dailies 6/15-6/21.

it's dailies time. but more importantly, it's sleep time. and really, dailies time was like two days ago. please bear with me during this WOW BUSY time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

dailies 6/8-6/14.

dailies week two wahoo! this will be a quick one because i am very sleepy, even though it is very early. fun fact: the last pattern-y drawing was loosely inspired by staring into the middle distance at my bookshelf, and the first hand-lettering one is me lamenting and/or punishing myself for getting my car towed. because i am a genius.

thank you ladies and gentlemen goodnight!

Friday, June 12, 2009

new studio, new technique.

my new studio is set up and delightful and in my house, wow! hopefully there will be photos to comw, but in the meantime, this is the first thing to come out of it. here we have a tiny experiment where ink drawing meets digital collage, lovingly referred to in my head as "giant-girl naps in the clouds." all the textures were prepped by hand with real paint on real paper, and then scanned beneath an ink drawing that has been digitally colored. thoughts? i'm trying to work out a way to attack my summer thesis (since i'm obsessed with school, slash, am heading into a grad program in the fall), and this is showing some potential, i think.

in other news, i was profiled over at matthew's puzzle, a blog that promotes autism awareness. maryann, the editor, liked the way my what-if series concretely represented whimsical, imaginary situations that autistic children can have difficulty generating in their own minds. please consider visiting and seeing the lovely work she's doing over there, and enter to win a digital print of my "what if... you could fly?" illustration! i'm also doing a sale for matthew's puzzle visitors to my etsy shop for the rest of june, so if you're interested in picking up something adorable from my shop on the cheap, snoop around her site to get the coupon code, and shop to your heart's content!

Monday, June 8, 2009

THE GREAT DAILIES REVIVAL 2009: june 1st-7th.

sorry for the pausity of posts lately - i have been moving to a new place, trying to settle in, and most importantly, crying myself to sleep over my lack of internet. we're trying to work out the kinks, but it's a long, boring, and very sad story that i will definitely spare you. just know it's sad.

on the plus side, the dailies are back! full disclosure: i temporarily forgot when i planned to restart these, and with the nuttiness that was the move to my shiny new (INTERNETLESS; HORRIBLE) apartment, i had to play catch-up and i actually started on june 3rd. ultra-sneaky and terrible, i know. but! they are back in full force and haven't been sidelined since, so there.

now, as far as the posting... this week's was delayed by my impromptu venture up to nyc for MoCCA yesterday. the festival was delightful, and i awkwardly stalked many lovely humans (and actually talked to a few: wahoo brian ralph, jason hoffman, and alex uyeno) and saw a solid panel discussion by seth and adrian tomine.

i must admit that my decision to attend was partially fueled by my comic-love, and partially by my desperate desire for free wi-fi on the bolt bus, i was in no position to wander around baltimore searching for free wi-fi at midnight. i'm devoted, but really? i'd die. plus, this way you get to see my rendition of the eccentric audiophile sitting across from me, emphatically air-conducting many, many symphonies all the way there.

the moral of the story is that a) i am still making things, and b) i still want to show you them, but c) i still have no internet. c) is terrible. c) ruins everything. i will defeat you, c). stay tuned, and thanks for hanging in there.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

hey look, i graduated.

well, it's official. i'm a real human. diploma earned, car purchased, lease signed. as promised, here are some photos of my installation for commencement. included in my tiny show were all of my what if illustrations and mixtape story from thesis, as well as my hug-a-city friend. the frames are actually vinyl (think giant, black stickers) as is the table leg beneath the shelf pretending to be a table. but the stool is real, courtesy of the lovely sara allred.

anyway, in my endeavors to be a grown-up, i'm in the midst of moving, so things might be sparse for a bit. i really do plan to restart the dailies, but it looks like june 1st will be a much more reasonable resume date than my birthday, which, by the way, was lovely. so, stay tuned for the big reveal on my summer thesis (yes, it never stops) and dailies: tng!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

where the magic happens.

well kids, i did it. not the graduating part, not quite yet, anyway, but the college part? that's done. classes finished up last week, my commencement exhibition is installed, i even got a much needed haircut. i'm packing up my life to move to my new apartment and be a real human. i'm pretty much really excited, but will definitely miss some things.

oh studio, you are my favorite friend. this little guy was small, but cozy, and had 2 windows and the air conditioner. aka, he was perfect. anyway, i thought it would be neat to see where things went down for the whole of this year. full disclosure: my studio was never this clean.

i'm off to pretty myself up for mica's artwalk event, where people get a sneak peek at commencement the night before the show officially opens! be sure to stop by and see the show sometime before it comes down on monday, or, stay tuned for some slightly less impressive photo documentation of my exhibition coming up next!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

practically-almost-nearly-virtually a real, grown-up human.

the posting of this illustration comes with a huge sigh of relief since OH YEAH IT'S THE END OF MY THESIS. the last what-if? in the series (for the meantime...?) is "what if... you could bring your stories to life?" because what collection of children's illustrations would be complete without an adorable, tiny nerd in horn-rimmed glasses, really?
after the guilt-ridden sketch post of last week, i powered through and knocked out this one just in time for my final review board on monday, and mica's illustration showcase on thursday. showcase is a delightful event in which the illustration seniors are essentially pimped out to art directors in the hopes that they like what they see and want to pay to see more of it in their publications. this is definitely, probably referring to our illustrations, and not our sexy sexy selves.

too bad it is mega-disgusting outside, i will soon be braving a slimy trip to the print lab to get hard copies of this and all my other what-ifs to prepare for my installation which is WOW REALLY SOON. totally feeling the 'being done right now' thing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

you've got a little guilt on your face.

dear blog,
i promise i don't hate you.
love, alissandra

i can't lie, this is a guilt-ridden sketch post. it should be finished, and provide you with a far juicier payoff for your devoted days waiting patiently by your google reader, but as you can see, not so much. in real life, it is a little farther along than this, fully inked and itching to be gouached, but alas, i've been swamped by meetings and review panels, forms to fill out and documents to turn in. soon i will lock myself in my studio to give her the technicolor treatment, otherwise i will go batty from the art-free existence i'm currently living.

once it's all grown up, it will become "what if... you could bring your stories to life?". in color, it'll make more sense and make your eyes bleed less, i swear.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

it just takes practice.

i have totally been doing more things than it seems like i have been doing, they just aren't nearly pretty or exhilarating enough to warrant blogging about them. nothing says "WOW AMAZING" quite like html house-cleaning and digital image-tidying... so i apologize for the posts being few and far between, there are all sorts of tiny tasks required so that i can properly commence in like, less than a month. i have managed to stay on track-ish (for now) with my what-ifs, so here is "what if... you could fly?" a classic, i suppose, but a very seriously entertained childhood goal:

did anyone else run down hills constantly, convinced that leaping at just the right time would render you airborne? no? just me? well, all right.

in other news, i finally stocked my etsy shop with a few things. not many to start, but modest collection of silkscreens and digital prints. take a look at it if you please. it's nice, and matches every other tiny web presence i hold. it's also perma-linked to the left now, so you can come and go as you please. i'll be slowly building up a larger variety of items, so stop back frequently!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

pretty please?

i am planning to print my postcards for commencement slash, real life in the immediate future.
i am definitely decided on the "what if... flowers bloomed with your every step?" image for the front, but i have been waffling on the color scheme for the back for infinity hours. i would love you to help me decide, and/or decide for me, which one i should go with. here are the whittled options (from many, many permutations of unreasonably similar alternatives):

please please comment and let me know which one you like better (and p.s., don't forget how washed out blogger makes things!). my brain is so overstuffed, i can't choose all alone. incentive! do so and i will make sure you get one. don't you want to help me not go crazy?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

too busy to come up with a reasonable title.

it's been far too long, i'm so very sorry. here is my latest illustration, "what if... we could live in the clouds?" thoughts?

phew, it's been a busy busy time as of late. i thought my thesis professor whitney sherman was joking and/or crazy when she told us we would accomplish next to no work on our thesis following spring break. turns out? way correct. i have two sketches that are supposed to be in the pipeline that are in fact just chilling out in my brain. sort of. i'm doing my best to stay current over here on the blog, so thanks for being patient.

in other news, i was told that my "what if... flowers bloomed with your every step?" will be the cover of the juxtapositions publication for mica's exhibitions in may-july, aka, the commencement catalog. that is neat.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

in which digital coloring corrupts alissandra's soul.

spring break afforded me the luxury of attempting this piece both in gouache, as per normal, and as a fully digital adventure. i prefer the gouache piece (super apparently the second image) both aesthetically and because working entirely digitally made me want to die a little bit. but! here they both are, "what if... you were friends with the monsters under our bed?"
while there are a few magic things that only digital techniques can truly accomplish, my loyalties lie with paint. and brushes. and pushing them around on real paper in real life. i am trying to build up an arsenal of digital skills to incorporate in my manipulation of my final illustrations even when using gouache (like, for example, the colored ink lines and the unifying "nighttime" layer i added after the fact) to maximize the potential digital color has to offer, and to at least be reasonably competent, should something particularly lend itself to being digital. but really, i just don't enjoy it much. bummer, because it is way cost effective, and man it's fun being poor.

also, it features a boy! hooray.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

heart-sleeve studio version 2.0.

happy almost-spring to everyone! apparently, it's actually tomorrow, but whatever, that's not going to stop me from announcing that i have mega-updated my website wow! you may or may not have noticed the slight color-shift around these bloggy parts, and that was to color-coordinate (because i am a giant nerd) with my shiny new site. my twitter matches-ish too. what can i say, other than "i'm sorry?"

anyway, you loyal readers won't find much new work that you haven't seen here, but i have included the first few "what if?" illustrations on the new site. the big updates are purely aesthetic: a slightly changed palette and big-time layout & design things. swing on by heart-sleeve studio and have a look-see (special tiny preview coming up right now!):

lastly, i finally made the leap into a seller's account with etsy, which, if you aren't already familiar, is kind of like an ebay for handmade things. now, my declarative is a bit misleading because while i do now have a shop (at, there is presently nothing in it. baby steps. i do have a few things just dying to be taken home, like these delightful postcards of inanimate objects saying nice things, but i'm still getting my bearings in the etsy world, so bear with me. in the meantime, feel free to contact me directly at if you're interested in things of mine becoming yours. hooray! i hope you like the new site, and please let me know if you run into any bugs, since me and web-design have a cursory relationship at best.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

hey! look! for real!

the opening for the mini-mini exhibition i am in was a week-ish ago at the push gallery in phoenix! since i couldn't be there myself, it's nice to have verification that my work was in fact in the show, looking precious. thanks, internet. see more photos of the opening over at spraygraphic's mini-mini art show profile.

the end! more things soon, but i don't want to spoil the surprise. let's just say it starts with a 'w' and ends with a 'hatifyouwerefriendswiththemonstersunderyourbed?' stay tuned.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

oh hi, spring break, nice to see you.

my dailies exhibition is officially down! phew. thanks to everyone who came to the opening, signed the guestbook, and/or flagged me down on the street with kind words about the work. for those of you who couldn't make it to the show, below are samples of how the illustrations were laid out for installation for the months of january through may. in the case of the real show, the text was hand-written beneath each image, but scanning/piecing these poster-sized prints was so not an option (both because they're giant and i'm lazy):
uploading these samples serves a two-fold purpose: to show everyone ever my sneaky calendar-style layout (of which i am very proud), but also to satisfy my completist tendencies and have the entire year available on the interwebs! now the images that were created pre-weekly blog updates can be seen and enjoyed by all.

i am also selling limited edition prints of the dailies. if you'd like to take home a tiny piece of the project, let me know. they are 3-inch squares with a 1-inch border, editioned in series of 25, signed, and include their respective line of handwritten text. AND THEY ARE ONLY $12. with maybe a tiny bit of shipping if you're not close enough for personal delivery. would this be an appropriate time for a pokemon catchphrase? maybe. anyway, there that is. enjoy!

lastly, this post officially marks the end of midterms and start of spring break! i have plenty to do throughout the week, but i am relishing the free time i will have to go to the book thing (baltimore's non-profit free bookstore), the evergreen (my local coffee shop of choice: comfy couches, free wi-fi, and epic lattes) and just have the opportunity to do things at my own pace. mmmm.