Thursday, January 7, 2016

Good Bye to Artist in LA LA Land! Hello NEW ADVENTURE at Melicious 1900!

My little "Cosmic Winter Bear" painting for a friend to help him chillax.
I’m on a new chapter in my artistic career!  My focus WAS on helping people play with my retro paper puppets here at Artist in LA  LA Land. Now, my focus IS on helping people connect to magic, mystery, transformation & beauty through my DELICIOUS RETRO ART.  It's a darker more mature career chapter.  I may lose some of my audience. but I know I'll gain new followers too.  So my new website is  (That’s  Melissa + Delicious + Retro = Melicious 1900).

For those who love dark fairytales & Alice in Wonderland,  I help you connect to magic, mystery, transformation and beauty.  My elegant yet edgy artwork will remind you that your innocence is what will get you through your darkest most challenging times.  And the things that you think will destroy you actually transform you into what you really want to be.

If anything you’ve read above excites you and makes you curious, please go to my website and sign up for my newsletter.  When you sign up, you’ll know when I create new art work, where I’m selling art, and get a chance to win some art. That’s why right now until February 2, 2016, when you sign up, you’ll be entered to win a sketchbook with my original painting on it. Follow my blog: and see my progress as I paint it on the sketchbook.

Thank you, everyone who followed me here on Artist in LA LA Land. So this is good bye to Artist in LA LA Land and hello to a NEW ADVENTURE at Melicious 1900!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

It's Time to Take A Holiday Break (Breaks Help You & Me Work Better!)

Have a Happy Holiday from Artist in LA LA Land!

It's been a great year and now it's time to savor the end of it by wishing you a happy holiday and taking a holiday break.  Have you heard it said that taking breaks help you work better?  Well, there's research about it!  It's true!  I observe my own behavior and understand that I too work better when I come to it refreshed after taking breaks.

I'm betting the same is true for this Aritst in LA LA Land blog!  I'll take time to relax, refresh and regroup and come back renewed!  My posts will start up at the end of January 2016.  Have a wonderful celebration and I hope you'll make it meaningful----whatever that is for you (You deserve a meaningful celebration.)!

(Also---my computer just crashed, so I'm in the middle of figuring out my next move----how to retrieve my data and how to keep doing digital work.  What I really want is a Mac Laptop!  Maybe, Santa will deliver me one.  You never know!  Wishes do come true! Mine have come true many times!)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Graphic Design & Illustration for Children's Fashion Lookbook: Fall & Holiday 2015 (Cupcakes & Pastries)

When the L.A. fashion brand, Cupcakes & Pastries, asks me to create a lookbook for their children's fashion, I know it's going to have some beautiful elements to it.  For Fall & Holiday 2015, they had me hand-letter their name in glittery gold.  I also got to create some pretty, illustrated elements like flowers and lace to make this an extra special e-book.  Below you can look at the whole thing.  I'm quite proud of how it turned out and I'm happy to share it with you.  

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Work in Progress: Traveling Couple Portrait from Sketch to Final Painting

A couple in Montreal contacted me and wanted me to paint a portrait of them because they really loved my artwork.  I told them what I wanted to do----something that reflected who they were and what they liked to do.  They thought that sounded great.  I asked them to tell me stories about them and send me lots of photos.  It turns out that they love animals and have several kitty cats.  They also travel a lot to hot, tropical places like Mexico and Jamaica.  Above, is the first sketch of what I wanted to do for them.  They really liked it.

I fleshed it out a little more----the faces don't look so cartoony---and I removed some of the cacti above the bottom kitty cat.  They still liked it and said to go ahead and paint it.

I started the painting as you can see above.  A friend came to visit me and saw the progress I was making.  He liked seeing how the man looked so primitive and the woman was more realistic.  He said that he hoped I was taking photos of the progress because it was fun to see how it changed.  Of course, I obliged him.

Little by little, the couple was becoming more and more 3 dimensional.  The kitty cat in the back was coming to life too.  

After a few weeks of painting, I finally finished it.  I sent a photo to the couple and asked them what they thought of it.   They said it was fantastic!  That was good enough for me.  I wrapped it carefully and send it to Montreal.  Hopefully, it arrived safely and has a happy new home.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11th Annual Post-It Art Show at Giant Robot (and My 3rd Year to Participate)

At the end of the year, it's time for me to create little masterpieces on post-it paper.  For the last 2 years that I've participated in Giant Robot's Post-It Art Show, I created cute, cut paper animals.  This year, my 3rd year, I decided to create cute girl animals who are retro and vintage inspired.  You can see my sketches below of these animal girls.

Besides painting instead of cutting this year, the other thing that has changed is that I've only painted 3 little masterpieces.  This is the least amount that I've created for the Post-It Art Show.  It takes more time to paint and I don't get much money for these little art pieces, so that was my logic.  

If you're in L.A. at the beginning of December, I'd say make this a to-do on your list.  The artwork is only $25 each.  That's a steal for a precious, little piece of original art!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Animated Fall Ink Drawings to Wish You Happy Thanksgiving!

Since it's a holiday, I have some extra time today to mess around and play. You know what that means for this artist woman.  I get to DRAW!!!  I drew a "Fall" Series with cute girl, cute animals and warm colors like brown, orange and red.  Afterward, I wondered what it would be like to animate a few elements in them.  You can see what I did here.  It was a fun first attempt.  When I get more time, I'll try more.  Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you're enjoying this day with some fun folks and a yummy feast!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sneak Peek: My First Children's Book (Piggy Forest; A Dark Fairy Tale)

I can't really talk to you about my first children's book.  It's really hush, hush so here is the slightest sneak peek.  This is the final cover for "Piggy Forest" which is a dark fairy tale.  I have been working on it for over a year and finally finished the cover and all the illustrations.  The publisher still doesn't know how they want to publish it since there are so many options nowadays.  They could e-publish it like to Amazon and Kindle or they could make it into an actual hard cover book.  They could even do both.  Not knowing what they want yet is the hold up here.  I've showed hints of it to friends and they are very excited for it to come out.  I am too because I want to share the great work I've done on it.  And right now, I can only tease you with the cover.  You can bet I'll let you know when I can reveal more.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Own Your Super Power & Play: Designer Tina Roth's Rules for Living

Anyone who talks about the importance of play has my undivided attention.  In this inspiring talk by designer Tina Roth, she encourages you to play.  So you know I'm on board!  You know I have to share it with you!  Why play?  Well, it's one of 5 rules she lives by that helps her make an impact, make awesome designs and to create a meaningful life.  What else do you need to know besides that? 

Designer Tina Roth talks about owning your super power and not forgetting to play in this 99U Speech.
Watch the whole inspiring video at the link above.  Below I've written down her 5 rules.

1.       Embrace  your super power
2.       Don’t complain, make things better (or let it go).
3.       Choose wisely who you hang out with
4.       Don’t forget to play
5.       Push to be BETTER

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Evolution of a Book Cover: Pam Gross's Career Workbook (+ My Evolution of Confidence in My Career)

Almost 2 years ago, I definitely didn't know if I would be able to make a career out of my passions; art & design.  I felt in my bones that it was right and true and what I was intended to do.  But the world wasn't seeing it my way-----------yet.  

Then I took a class that helped me change things around.  It was Pam Gross's career workshop.  During the 4 days,  among many other things, I learned how to make "skill stories.  As I did so,  I discovered that I had a lot of skills, experience and talent that I felt good about and with the "skill stories", I had an easy way to talk about myself and what I did best.  It boosted my confidence.  It made interviews and resume writing so much easier.  

My first attempt at a book cover for Pam Gross's career workbook.

At the end of the workshop, Pam asked me to help her update her career workbook.  She'd been wanting to rewrite it and do some better graphic design and charts.  I said yes.  I was very happy to take on the opportunity because it was more experience under my belt to show what I could do and it was going to help someone who I believed had a wonderful message to share. 

Without a title, we got to work.  Pam kept talking about career-making with water and nautical metaphors and I pointed this out to  her.  This clued her in to where she might find inspiration for a title and a cover.  Once Pam had a title, I started working on the book cover.  Above, you can see my very first attempt.  

She said she liked it, but she was afraid it looked like a children's book not a career book for adults.  I had to agree, even though I loved the little kitty in the paper boat.

Covers 2, 3 and 4 for Pam Gross's workbook.

I went back to the drawing board to come up with something else.  The working title was, "Paddle Your Own Boat", so I drew a rowboat for the cover.  She liked it, then she changed the title.  This time it was, "Take the Helm", so I drew a boat steering wheel.  She liked that too. However, she still wasn't satisfied with the title.  It became, "Career Making".  For this change, I drew an old compass.

If you haven't guessed it by now, Pam is always coming up with bigger and better ideas.  So "Career Making" had to be changed to "Career Tides".  We kept the compass for the cover and most of everything else.  She didn't change her mind again.  This was the final book cover.  

We took a lot more time to update the rest of her workbook.  But this was just the beginning of more projects to come from her many other clients.  I attribute her career workshop and this first graphic design project to helping me find confidence in my career of choice.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sidewalk Chalk Drawing With My Nieces & Nephew (The Last Days to Draw Before The Wet Season)

Sometimes, it's really nice to get out of the city and visit my family in the 'burbs.  Things are quieter out there, and of course, there's less traffic.  Not to mention, the sidewalks are empty and waiting to be filled with sidewalk chalk drawings!  On one such warm Sunday afternoon, I went to play with my little nieces and nephew.  I brought my special box of sidewalk chalks (chalk pastels) and plopped down outside in front of their house.

What should I draw?  I said to my nieces and nephew.  My oldest niece wanted me to draw a watermelon.  No, I didn't want to draw that.  I saw a sort of totem pole of animals in my mind, so I started with a bunny as the base and sketched in animals on top of his head.  They all watched me.

If you have kids, you know that they won't be satisfied with just watching.  They wanted to join in the drawing fun.  So my oldest niece started to draw a watermelon, just like she suggested I draw.

My youngest niece has a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out), so she couldn't stand it if her older sister got to draw on the sidewalk and she didn't get to.  She started to draw a big pink heart.

When we were all, busy with our sidewalk drawings, my nephew decided to join us too.  He didn't know what to draw at first.  Then he decided that he'd draw a "creeper" from a video game he liked to play (maybe you know which video game this is?).  It certainly looked creepy to me.

When I was done with my totem pole of cute animals.  They all looked at it and said the bunny seemed really sad.  "Well, maybe, he's sad because he has so many animals on his head."  I said to them.  We laughed.  It was certainly fun to start a drawing party with them.  I know this will be one of the last times we'll get to do this because the rainy season is coming.  Soon, those sidewalks will be too wet to draw on.  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

If You're Batty About Halloween (My Free Halloween Printables)

Yes, I am batty about Halloween.  I love the decorations and costumes and....well...let's be honest...there's not much I don't like about Halloween. A few years ago, I created this free bat and ghost printable for Little Gatherer to help everyone celebrate.  Yep, you can still download them for all your Halloween decor and fun!  Or who knows how you'll customize them!  Let youR imagination go batty!  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Art Book Project: A Storybook for Adults About a Wise Homeless Woman, "Street Buddha"

A friend contacted me and wanted me to illustrated a story she wrote about a wise homeless woman in her town.  Everyone knew her as "Street Buddha".  There were a lot of stories about her.  Some legends.  Some rumors.  But my friend wanted to tell about the things she saw herself or that her friends witnessed.   

I was intrigued.  I read it and told her I'd like to illustrate it as a storybook and print it in zine style.  She gave me complete artistic freedom.  I really appreciated that.  Below is the fruit of our collaboration.  I did a very small print run, but you can read it in the e-book below.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

MIA: My Old Sketchbooks from 2006-2010

I recently got back some old artwork that a friend had been saving for me.  I really appreciated her storing it.  When she took it, I was still not sure where I was moving and I had no safe place for it.  Now, my artwork and I are reunited.  It's been fun going through drawing and paintings that I did when I was still developing my craft and exploring all sorts of styles and mediums.  

But I couldn't find my sketchbooks.  I asked her where they were.  She hadn't seen them.  They are MISSING IN ACTION  (MIA).  She said she looked through everything, but she'd go through it again.  So far, no news of their whereabouts.  I hope she finds them.  They amaze me with how surreal and raw and stunning my drawings are.  If they don't show up, I, at least, scanned them and made a digital e-book with them.  I edited them down to 250 pages for 4 years; 2006-2010.  You can skim through or peruse it below.  I enjoyed  going through it if I do say so myself. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

I Love it When You Customize My Free Printables

It was so fun receiving this message from a blog reader.  She told me she printed out the Free Paper Balloon Printable that I created for Little Gatherer and she customized it with her an image of her little baby.  How whimsical it turned out!  How adorably sweet!  I thought it was perfect.  Thanks for letting me know how you customize my printables!  I love it!

Free Paper Balloon printable by Artist in LA LA Land for Little Gatherer, customized by a blog reader. 


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