January 17, 2008

The Machine Stops

So, I've been approached by Chester River Press to do a few illustrations for a book they're thinking about printing in a small run. This is exciting news, because it's a small press that does BEAUTIFUL letterpress work. You can't really tell quite how beautiful from the images online (even at large size) because part of the beauty of the whole letterpress thing is actually seeing the ink on the paper. Anyway, the last book they did was The Chesapeake Voyages of Captain John Smith (TCVoCJS for short), which our friend and subscriber Marc Castelli illustrated. The book that I might illustrate isn't going to be nearly as richly done as TCVoCJS, but I'm not complaining. They really went all out on that one and it is GORGEOUS. Plus, the idea that I'm considered even sort of in the same league as Marc is ridiculous (and yet strangely pleasing).

Anyway. The name of the book they're thinking of doing next is "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster. It's kind of a futuristic, apocalyptic, matrix-y type story that is creepy in large part because Forster wrote it in 1909. If you have some time, have a read, because it's really quite fascinating, if you like that sort of thing.

It's not a sure thing yet, but I'm glad I was pointed in the direction of the story regardless. I did some sketches but it's all still very much in the planning stages, so who knows if any of this will actually ever go to press (I'm a real under-expecter in life - it keeps me from getting disappointed when things don't pan out).

Matthew actually had trouble telling what this was, which means it's probably not a good illustration. But, it's these airships he talks about, crashing down through the earth. Color would help, but as I learned in grad school, if an image is illegible without color, then it's ultimately unsuccessful. Way to keep a woman down, grad school and Matthew.

So that's the exciting latest.

In other news, I recently hung out with two of my very best friends from college, Sam and Mike (though actually on separate occasions).

Okay. So the crazy thing about these two guys is that in spite of that fact that they look (and often act) like complete idiots (this is a high compliment, coming from an idiot herself) they are, in fact, wicked smart, and they profess at some very fancy institutions. Sam's a professor at Tufts and Mike is not a self-loathing illustrator (see the url), but rather a self-loathing professor at Harvard Business School. I mention this only in this here blog because if anyone who reads this should ever find themselves enrolled at Tufts or HBS, you should take a class from these guys because they're HILARIOUS. And maybe also because they seem to know something about, like, stuff. I also mention it because it kind of makes me look smart by association, which is as close as I'll get. Luckily, nobody in college picks their friends because of smarts, they pick them because they were impressed by the fact that they can fit 15 marshmallows in their mouth at once. Actually, I only met them because of my hot roommate Cathy who beguiled all the guys - I can't actually fit 15 marshmallows in my mouth. Sometimes, you just need to surround yourself with greatness, and then reap the benefits.

Posted by ribbu at 11:15 AM

September 20, 2007

I Know Someone Who Is So F*ING COOL

... or, is it HOT, these days? ... or, SICK? Whatever.
The dude is awesome (I particularly like def. #3 and #6).

The dude is BF Slattery (whom I know as Brian) and he's awesome because he wrote this book,


but he's F*ING COOL because he did this at one of his readings. Listen to the mp3s and read along at home. The guy is a mad fricking genius, in that totally frustrating way that he's good at EVERYTHING he does. Even singing (yes, singing - it's not a typo) his book. You can't make that sound cool unless you're a genius.

Buy the book. Buy it, and read it, and weep. Weep for the genius that you are not.

Sigh. I wish people would compare ME to Pynchon.
I mean, in ways other than our overbites.

Posted by ribbu at 01:33 PM

September 11, 2007

Again, One They Didn't Use

So, I just got finished another job for the Williams Review (the Alumni mag for the old alma mater) - just a small illo that runs at the top of a column reviewing the different places that professors pop up in the news (and thus the title of the column, "In the News"). Nothing big but it will reprint quarterly for the next year, which is nice (multiple payments on a single piece of work = good). Anyway, I did some brainstorming and came up with this sketch:

cuz, you know, like, it's Williams, and it's IN the news. Okay, well, evidently, that's as lame as it sounds (even though I like it graphically). It got soundly rejected, and they asked that I just sort of redraw the current header, but in my own style. The current header is kind of a collage-y side view of a big-headed person sitting at a desk reading a magazine or paper. It's very textural and painterly, so mostly the directive was "Draw someone reading the paper". So I came up with this:

Which I liked. Still a little loose, and still looks like a kind of googly Robbi Behr original. But, they decided that the last ambiguous outline of a person was a guy, and this time they wanted a woman. And you know the trouble I have with drawing women. They all have banana boobs and gorilla hands and baggy eyes, which somehow men can get away with (well, maybe not the banana boobs) but which nobody want to be representing them, really, in the concrete (it seems to be fine if it's just part of some bigger idea). So, I had to try to reign myself in and be kinder toward my sex. I ended up with a cute girl with a flippy hairdo that really doesn't look like I drew it, but they seem to be satisfied. I'll post once it goes public (which might be a long time from now, so don't hold your breath).

All told, I like my guy with the big nose and hairy knuckles. He just reeks "I'm way into the paper, man."

Don't you think?

Posted by ribbu at 10:17 PM

May 17, 2007

Recent Projects

So, many many moons ago (about 72) I lived in Massachusetts and had an ugly dead tooth (thanks dad, for dropping that buoy on my face when I was 12). One of matthew's co-workers noticed my ugly dead tooth (front right) and insisted that it needed to be fixed. (Probably many more of his co-workers noticed my ugly dead tooth, but weren't as rabid about me fixing it). It just so happened that this co-worker's husband is a dentist. And a mighty fine one, at that. She (the co-worker) is the quintessential mother hen - loved taking care of matthew and then by extension me. She's great. So, though I demurred again and again (at the time matthew was working for peanuts and I was picking up severely underpaid freelance work here and there) she kept insisting and finally just said "You have an appointment, you can pay us back in design stuff when you can." So, I got it fixed. I did a small wedding invitation project for her and have been anxiously awaiting the day that I could fulfill the rest of my obligation (fixing teeth is damn expensive!). So - she recently called me up for a second set of invitations (second son getting married, thank goodness for people falling in love!) and some t-shirts. So, that's a big weight off of my shoulders. She wanted something fun that she couldn't get elsewhere, so I'm putting together this funny little flip card - it's really hard to explain, so see the following:





Just sketches so far, and it will be larger scale for the final. It's going to be a pain to put together, but luckily there are only going to be 100 or so of them. It's actually just for the rehearsal dinner, hollywood-style, at the roosevelt hotel.

So that's been a fun little side project.

In other news, we got the proofs for The Town That Somehow Fooled The British back from China. They really look great. The color got much more saturated from our printouts, which in theory I don't like, but when I saw it I really loved it. The most exciting change, though, was how the cover looks on the finished stock. It looks like a real frickin book! So exciting!! I folded it down so it would look like the real thing (sans insides) and then took tons of glamour shots. The problem is that the thing that is best about it (matt lamination) you can't really SEE. It's totally a touch thing and oooh, it's yummy.

But, since you can't all touch, here are some of the glamour shots:

I have some boudoir shots as well, but thought it might be too risquee to post them here (don't want to satisfy those folks doing searches for "[St.] Michael's boudoir shots").

You know who you are.


Posted by ribbu at 10:03 AM

February 08, 2007


So, for those of you who don't already know, I'm teaching a printmaking class this semester. There are some minor snags having to do with the fact that there is no ventilation in the print studio, but we're going over the bumpy road as best we can. However, I seem to have terrible luck when it comes to doing demos (no surprise there) - during my first demo I broke (and repaired) a copy machine, managed to not get the result I was meant to get and had gotten just the night before, and exploded a tube of ink with my bare hand. What can I say, I did a fantastic job. Then, apropos of the fact that I had to recant something I had spoken about in my demo, one of my students asked, "So where did you go to school?" as in "who the hell thought you were qualified to teach this class?" Actually, they're all very sweet. Some of them might even be reading this (email me to find out what I really think). (just kidding). (don't email me, I hate email). (er, just kidding again. I love email. In fact, all of these parentheticals are just a way for me to get people to email me. What I really think? Yeah, my students are sweet. Well-behaved. I'm not even tortured a little bit. It's all very dull and doesn't make for good blogging, except for the bits where I make myself look like a tool by exploding ink all over the place).

So, anyway. Now I have to go through my demos two or three times before class just to make sure they work more than once. So, we're doing relief printing right now (3-color linocuts) so I made a small and manageable print. The tests went okay tonight, so keep your fingers crossed for demo day tomorrow.

In other news, it snowed last night. It was a great surprise, because apparently I'm completely out of touch. Other people were abuzz with anticipation all day yesterday, and I had no idea. I feel as if I've missed out, somehow. Anyway - in spite of her being terrified of the water and disliking the cold, Iggy is a big fan of snow. So as a special treat, I invited her boyfriend Tanker over, and we went up to the college fields for a little run-around.

Meet Tanker:

Isn't he a handsome chap? And aptly named. He makes Iggy look positively anorectic.

So, he and the Iggs did some wild and crazy running around. In the process I took about a million pictures, but I'm kind enough not to make you suffer through all of them here. Because, mostly what I discovered in taking all those pictures, is that I have an extraordinarily un-photogenic dog. It might be the ears:

or it might be the nose:

(Tanker seems to find her nose distasteful)

or it might be the glazed, faraway look, even when someone's trying to make out with her:

or it might be the tongue and crossed eyes:

Either way, I don't know why (maybe for lack of options), but Tanker still seems to like her, and they seemed to have a great time.

When we arrived, the snow was pretty much untouched. When we left, it looked like the entire cast of West Side Story had snapped, leaped and danced their way through 12 knife fights out there. Tanker took a dump but by the time I got to the other side of the field to find it, it had been completely obscured by dog mayhem, so I apologize to whomever steps in it.

Entirely my fault.

Posted by ribbu at 12:18 AM

November 01, 2006

Trophy Wife

I've been working on some illustrations for a piece that will be featured in the Washington College Magazine - my first illustrations for a work of fiction (matthew's gobbeldygook notwithstanding). Washington College has this great creative writing program, perhaps most notable for its wildly generous Sophie Kerr Award (and maybe some other important literary-type things, but the glitter of cash dollars is really what catches the eye), so there's lots of literary-ness running amok around here. The story that I am illustrating is the winner of a prize given to a junior for excellent writing in any field - this year's winner happened to be part of the WC lit mob. The story is aptly titled "The Trophy Wife" and is one of those self-aware-late-adolescent-discovering-the-dark-side-of-the-high-life-gatsbian-type deals, if I even have the literary know-how to describe it as such (don't, really). At any rate, I was given fairly free artistic reign (why, thank you!) and came up with the following:

After sketching them up and sending them over, I was called into the art director's office today, without much of an explanation as to what was up (I believe she said "so I can show you what we have in mind") which indicated to me that what they had in mind was entirely different from what I had in mind (so much for free artistic reign). It turns out, she just wanted to show me the pix in the layout, and it also so happens they'd like both. As mom would say, "Whippee!" So, since I've got them all comped up, I just have to complete finals before next wednesday. That is much more humane than I had previously thought.

In other news, I don't have class tonight (advising day) and matthew is out of town for the night (visiting pappa John who's in DC for a business meeting or something), which means that I should get some work done on the next Idiots'Book. Instead, I'm going to make dad fried tomatoes and maybe pass out from all the ingested grease. Right on.

Posted by ribbu at 02:42 PM

October 15, 2006


I would like to take this moment to talk about my favorite nib. Because, right now, I'm jonesing for my nib. For those of you corporate-types, lawyers and lawyers and whatnot (you know who you are) who don't know what nibs are (or, does everyone know what a nib is? Lawyers have to sign all those important documents all the time, like the writ of Habeas Corpus and the Magna Carta and the Rosetta Stone and stuff, don't they? They don't just do that shit with a regular bic, do they? DO THEY...? - Sheesh!) - the definition of nib found in dictionary.com is as follows:
1. the point of a pen, or either of its divisions.
2. a penpoint for insertion into a penholder.
3. a point of anything: a cutting tool with a diamond nib.
4. a bill or beak, as of a bird; neb.
5. any pointed extremity.
6. Metallurgy.
a. a piece of sintered tungsten carbide used as a die for drawing wire or the like.
b. (in powder metallurgy) a compact at any stage of its manufacture.
[Origin: 1575–85; perh. var. of neb; cf. D nib, MLG nibbe (var. of nebbe) beak, ON nibba sharp point. See nibble] (see here for proper citation) I like that it has the same root as "nibble".

Anyway. I'm talking about definition #2. The tip of the pen that you put into the penholder that you then dip into the ink and that then draws the line. It's a thing of beauty. My favorite nib is the Speedball Imperial

probably partly because it has that wicked-cool fleur-de-lis-type cutout and all the others just have lame little ovals or rectangles. I'm a sucker for the details. Plus, it's all coppery (or brassy?) too, instead of silvery. If they really wanted to sell me some, they should make them red, with a ninja-shaped cutout.

So, after unpacking everything, I must've put my new nibs in some sort of special secret hiding place, because I remember unpacking them but cannot find them anywhere. So replacements are currently on order from dickblick where I spent hours browsing through thousands of other things that I don't need. But I am antsy for my Imperial nibs, so instead of getting to use them, I am waxing poetic (or not) about them.

Anyway. I thought I was a bit of a nib nerd (just because, um, nobody else I know cares what kind of nib they don't use) until I did a search for nibs, and came up with this. I was sorely tempted by the William S. Hicks NY #3 w/Star vent hole (it's the "Star vent hole" that lured me in, not, say, the William S. Hicks, or the NY, or the #3) but am not sure that $70 for a star really outdoes 88 cents for a fleur-de-lis. Now, probably, if it were the other way around, I would have paid $70 for the fleur-de-lis. Just a note to you nib manufacturers out there. At any rate, I feel perfectly satisfied to be a nib dilettante if being a nib nerd means spending $200 on a frickin weensy piece of metal.

Ok. I'm going now. Matthew has started practicing his harmonica, and this means that keeping myself from strangling him is going to take all my concentration.

oh, ps, the best definition of nib I found was from Wordnet
which was:
2: horny projecting mouth of a bird [syn: beak, bill, neb, pecker]
I just love that the best way to describe something we all know as a beak is "horny projecting mouth". Really, it just sounds a lot more distressing than just a beak, doesn't it?

Posted by ribbu at 08:12 PM | Comments (5)

October 07, 2006

Le Nez Colossal

So, matthew and I are working on this little book about french explorers. I finally had some time today to sit down and try to sketch some things out. It's a series of portraits, so I was having a hard time not making them all look like balding, bulb-nosed, baggy-eyed, hairy-knuckled men from the Bronx. I worked on it, and this (a reject) turned up out of the blue (no pun intended) - his hand is going the wrong direction, but I love the way his hair turned out. The point was supposed to be that he had a big nose, but I think that got lost in all those pretty wavy locks (and behind the backwards hand). But, I thought I'd post anyway. Maybe coloring in will help...?

oh -
I just fixed it.
I'll color it in tomorrow and see if it makes any difference. At any rate, the backwards hand has been (not entirely successfully) taken care of. It's drying now, under the flanks of a big fat black cat. She just can't wait to go sit on wet ink. She probably does it so that all of the bits of cat litter that are stuck in her butt-fur get colored in to match.

Posted by ribbu at 10:55 PM

September 25, 2006

Alma! Mater!

I've been working on a project for the ole alma mater for the last few days - nothing too big, but it's shaping up to be a nice piece (lately it looks like I'm specializing in education pieces instead of airplane pieces, hmm...) - the trouble with this education business is that I have to make people look happy and inspired, instead of haggard and miserable. It's not my strong suit, but I'm trying to manage.

Anyway, it reminded me that I also recently got the last piece I did for them in the mail - it's been lost under piles of still-moving-in-stuff, but for you, I will sort through it all and slap that baby on the scanner. It's too small and low-res here to actually read the article, but you get to see the general layout. They said they would have a link available to it soon, so I'll post it when it comes.

Anyway, it's getting rave reviews. At least from my uncle. Who is an alum. And works for the college. And loves all alma mater-ial. (read: not the most unbiased reader)

and ps for those of you keen readers in the design business, I lied. I didn't slap this baby on the scanner... I couldn't even move myself to do that for you. I found an old pdf of it instead.

pps for those of you less-than-keen readers not in the design business, I really wore myself out scanning this article, it was loads of work and took tons of time to piece it all together and make it look perfect. I think I deserve an ice cream.

Posted by ribbu at 09:59 AM

September 05, 2006

On the Web!

For my last job, the one I recently quit, the one that I was probably crazy for quitting but was giving me an ulcer, I got to do some illustration work towards the end. And I mean drawings, not like illustrator maps, which I did all along (and was the only thing that didn't give me an ulcer, because, you see, I LOVE doing illustrator maps, seriously!). It was for the College of Wooster in Ohio. They were a remarkably accomodating and easy-to-please client, and the published pieces look awesome (not just because of my illustration, either - the whole package makes me want to re-enroll and live the fun and exciting life of an undergraduate again, which is saying a lot, really). I can't send everyone a sample, because I only have two, but you can see some of the drawings on their website. The drawings are small and a little washed out, but you get the basic idea. If you want to see the print materials, you should request more information, and they will send you all kinds of good stuff. This is a good option if you are always depressed at how little mail you get.

Posted by ribbu at 10:48 AM

August 22, 2006

Since You Asked...

Well, now that the Times article has faded and dried and been forgotten in the minds of my great fandom, I have decided that it is okay to post the illustration here, since it no longer belongs to the Times, and now belongs to me again. I think. Correct me, please, if I am wrong.

Originally there was neither exit row sign nor window to the left - without them it was apparently not enough information to recognize it as "plane interior" though with them it is confusing as to what kind of pencil plane they are on, that only has three seats across (this Matthew, the stickler for detail, pointed out). It's all about the essence, I say. The woods for the trees and all that.
I am particularly fond of crabby crabcake to the right, who looks like she could burn down a house with that glare. I think she once was after me for not having exact change. But hey - it's not my problem if I want to save my quarters for the Garden State Parkway.

Posted by ribbu at 12:30 AM | Comments (1)

July 26, 2006

My New Niche

So, I got the article for the latest NYT job, and strangely enough, it's another Travel article about being on planes. This one was about the best ways to get the best seats on the airplane (I won't divulge any of the article's secrets here, though).

Anyway, I sent in two sketches yesterday, and as usual they picked the one I liked less. But, that's okay. I partly don't like it because it's sort of similar to the last one (lineup of three people in airplane seats). This is that one that they didn't pick:

I like it because, well, what's up with the craze over "better" airplane seats? Ultimately, they're all just airplane seats. And you will be sitting there, at most, for like 22 hours and 40 minutes, and that's only if you're a Boeing executive trying to make headlines. I mean, how bad can it really be? (Actually, there were only 27 people on that flight, so they got to stretch out, so it doesn't even really count.) I mean, the worst thing about airplane seats is who you end up sitting next to, and that's pretty much totally out of your control. I once spent 5 hours sitting next to a man who was sobbing uncontrollably the entire time (oh, except for when he passed out after the stewardesses gave him like 8 cocktails, and then he woke up screaming about how his head hurt) (literally, screaming). It was not pleasant. I was trying not to be heartless the whole time too, which made everyone else on the plane think I was travelling with him. And so, they gave me the evil eye. I suppose if I could buy an airline ticket that guaranteed no crazies sitting next to me, I might pay extra for that. But then, what on earth would I have to write about on my blog?

Posted by ribbu at 12:37 PM | Comments (1)

May 31, 2006


One of the things I enjoy doing during weekly staff meetings is drawing. I always have to be careful to keep one ear open to what's going on, but that's pretty much all that's required of me. I have found that drawing with my wrong hand provides ample distraction during the Lulls. While looking very loose, it requires a good amount of concentration and thus passes the time quite well. However, I do need to be careful about concentrating too hard - it's hard to look like you have one ear open to what's going on when your tonque is sticking out and you're frowning furiously.

But, here are some of the results, colored in tonight while waiting for the dryer to do its magic:

There are a few more, but I haven't had time to color them in. I will post anon.

And - don't forget to vote for my shirt (see below). If it wins, you can buy one for a reasonable price!

Posted by ribbu at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

May 07, 2006


For those of you who didn't rush out to buy the Times this morning (believe it or not, I was one of you), and for those of you who maybe did, but then didn't feel like giving up your personal info to look at the Times website to see my illo in color, and for those of you who might have rushed out to buy the Times but then balked at the $4.50 newsstand price (sources say $10 Canadian), well, here it is, the way it ought to have been:

I did not rush out to get the paper this morning because I was, in fact, really dreading how my illo was going to look in greyscale. I have a tendency to do fairly low-contrast coloring, and even though I learned in school that I need to do a prelim/value study to see whether or not the thing is legible without color, I have ignored that step since graduating. Now I know why it is so important. But - Mom and Dad called bright and early to report that it didn't look bad at all, so I could get my ass out of bed and face the day. And, I'm happy to say that I think this was a much better showing than last time.

A number of our readership did notice a curious thing, though: the copy to the left of the illustration was just slightly trimmed, so that one or two letters from each line was missing.
< See?
It looks like whoever laid out the spread put my illustration (with its white background) over the type. Some designer is going to catch hell for that one. It looks like my illustration has the creeping ick, and the type is getting eaten away. I thought it was just in the paper I bought, but have since gotten reports from Williamstown and Kansas City with the same problem. Maybe it's a problem that spreads, like the mumps, via airplane, to the midwest.

Posted by ribbu at 08:22 PM

May 05, 2006


I knew it.

All my bragging about my big fat color illustration in the sunday times caught God's ear, and he sent his ad execs to put me in my place. From my art director:

because of ad placement
we lost color on your illo
i tried to switch it to a page that was color
but it just wasn't possible
this is the only time this has happened in the last 4 months that
i've been on the section

ah well.
I suppose if this is the worst that happens to me, I can't complain, even a little bit. But I may still be blinded by the tears of disappointment, and maybe then that would be the worst that happens to me.

Posted by ribbu at 12:18 PM | Comments (4)

May 01, 2006


Get your checkbooks out and prepare yourselves for the mad rush on the newstands that will happen this Sunday. My illustration will be in the Sunday Travel section of the New York Times at a whopping 7.5"x4" in full color (or so I've been led to believe). My art director is being coy and will not tell me what page it is on so that it will "be a surprise as you flip through the section". Will I be so casual in my perusing the Times this Sunday? I hardly think so. It would be more appropriate to say "tear through" or "maniacally shuffle through" or "stumble through feverishly with eyes blinded by excruciating anticipation."

Posted by ribbu at 09:49 AM

April 26, 2006

A Job!

So - I got an email yesterday from the guy at the NEW YORK TIMES that I've worked for before. He wants another illustration, pronto, for an article about bad stuff you can get on airplanes (mumps, TB, Asian flu, herpes, etc). !! This is tres exciting, so I already sent out three sketches for him to choose from. This is one he didn't pick:

Matthew liked it better than the one that did actually get picked, but mostly because it was so loose that it looked like I did it in 30 seconds (which, in fact, I did). I have to work out a few kinks in round 2, but nothing too major (hopefully, cross your fingers). The nice thing is, it's 7.5"x4" (huge!) and in color (huge!). I'm very excited. So excited, in fact, that the Times guy had to tell me to calm down. Oops. I guess that's what you call unprofessional. He was nice about it, though.

I'll post details as they come (final sketches due tomorrow, final final due on monday).

And, just because I couldn't keep from bragging about this new job doesn't mean you're no longer invited to the event on Thurs (see below). It might mean, though, that if you do come, I'll be way too big for my britches to talk to you.

But really - who even wears britches anymore?

Posted by ribbu at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2006

You're Invited

So, if you happen to be in the Washington area, feel like braving the miserable DC traffic, and have a hankering for seeing one of my wee scribbles that you've already seen here in technicolor, then, by all means, swing on by! There are sure to be other pieces by better-known and more talented illustrators, so it won't be a complete bust.

The particulars:

Opening Reception
Thursday, April 27, 2006
The Edison Place Gallery

The Edison Place Gallery is located at 702 8th St, NW, in Washington, DC (between G&H, at Gallery Place Metro). Hopefully, this means something to you, because I'm just copying down the gobbedly-gook that was on the back of the postcard invite. All I know about DC is that it is SOOOOOO important to pay attention to those tiny little letters, NW, or you find yourself in the totally wrong side of town at the totally right address feeling totally stupid.

Posted by ribbu at 11:30 PM

April 18, 2006

Voting Results are in...

Okay, so the voting results are in, and here's how it tallied up:

Oops: 18
Abracadabra: 14
Brussels Sprouts: 7
Toilet Fish: 5
Snail: 3
Homely: 2
Warm Air Balloon: 2
Granny: 1
Monkey Dance: 1
How Much: 1

The good news is, each of them got at least one vote. Hoopah! The bad news is, I ignored the results and am printing Abracadabra. Actually, I think someone just really liked Oops, because one minute it was like 3 and the next it was up to 18. So, either that, or someone just clicked VOTE a bunch of times to get to the results page (probably Dad), and since it defaults to Oops, it got all the votes. But, just to keep everyone happy, I included oops on the back:

Thank you all for helping out. Let me know if you're interested in a card, and I'll send one your way when they come in.

(and, I'm taking off the blogpoll, so that the icky green background goes away. voting is OVER. Over and out.)

Posted by ribbu at 10:45 PM | Comments (4)

April 10, 2006

Your advice

Hello all -
I have been planning on sending out a new promo postcard, but have been procrastinating because I haven't been terribly moved by anything lately. However, that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done anyway. So, I am hoping that you could lend some insight on which postcard I should have mass produced to represent (sort of) my "work" to be sent out to all of the most powerful and pockets-full-of-dollars art directors out there.

* NOTE: the poll thingamajiggy seems to take a little while to load, so, be patient. Or, don't be patient, tear your hair out, take your meds and then vote. Also, for some reason, it turns everything godawful blogpoll green, so if I can't fix it anytime soon, just take some more meds.

** blogpoll poll used to be here, but it's all over now... **

Images below, in order:

(Click on Results Ho for tallies. I imagine there aren't too many people voting out there, so please, do your best to screw things up and vote as many times as you want, if only to watch the little bar move back and forth.)

Posted by ribbu at 04:38 PM | Comments (2)

March 30, 2006

... and ye shall receive.

This arrived late last week in a box wrapped in brown paper. It said it was from Matthew and Iggy. I'm figuring it was all Iggy - she wants me to stay home with her and be an illustrator:

Can you say, "YUM"?
I can.
And I do.
Every time I look at my collection.


Posted by ribbu at 08:19 AM

March 07, 2006


Yeesh. I keep looking at my board designs hoping someone will vote for them, but with 5 days left I'm not even close to getting the minimum number of votes. So, this is a plea, once again, to vote for my WICKEDSHREDDINBOARDS!! I know you have to register, but really, wouldn't it be worth it, just to see me break my own neck on my own customized board?

If you vote on my board or my other
board, I'll send you an original postcard (not necessarily a dancing monkey, though).


Posted by ribbu at 12:49 PM

March 03, 2006

Vote for My Ride!

So - I so want to get a free snowboard, even though my knee is all bejeeked up. I can only get it if somebody votes for my designs at


(sorry, you have to register to see the goods) (or, you can just look below) (but then nobody will vote for me) (so, register, dammit, and see my future deathsled in all its gory glory!)

flush_it_lg.jpg scarlet_letter_lg.jpg

I had a grand plan to actually do something specific for the contest, but then realized just now (3.3.06, 2:00am) that submissions are due tonight at midnight. And I'm heading up to Philly to work the flower show tomorrow so this is my last chance. Worth a shot, anyway. At least they look different from all of the swoopy pink and black flower silhouettes I'm seeing.

Plus, how rad would it be to have a snowboard with one of my illos on it?
WICKED RAD@!#$&$^&@%!!!!

Posted by ribbu at 02:19 AM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2006

Ugly and Venemous


Sweet are the uses of adversity,
Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.

-Wm. Shakespeare As You Like It. Act ii. Sc. 1

I am lucky enough to have gotten an illustration project at work. Usually, I'm just moving rules around, aligning things, very dull stuff like that. If I do get to do illustration stuff, it's usually illustrator maps and the like (which, don't get me wrong, I love to do). But this was just a little spot for a small pamphlet thingie. The art direction was: Draw a toad, with, like, a jewel in his head, and make him ugly and venemous. You gotta love art direction like that!

Posted by ribbu at 07:15 AM

January 06, 2006


So - I've made my New Year's Resolutions. Now, I know that doing so is basically like shooting myself in the foot (especially since one of them is "keep desk clean") but I'm going to try to hang with it for a while here. Maybe writing about it will strengthen my resolve...

So one of my resolutions is to market myself (as an illustrator, not, like, a streetwalker) more consistently. I've only ever really sent out one official promo postcard, and visited some people with my portfolio once. Every time I've tried, I've gotten a job, but basically that just means I haven't tried very often. So the plan is that I will produce one postcard every day and send it out as a promo card to an "elite" list of potential clients. This will keep my fingers in the inkwell and hopefully make some little chime of recognition on the other end, just because they will be originals (NOBODY sends originals). So, I've drawn and scanned round one/week one, but I have to color them in and send them out yet. And draw round two, before next week. I'm already starting out behind! There's nothing like a New Year's Resolution to make you frantic and anxious for all of January and February (when you give up, and decide to try again next year).

Posted by ribbu at 09:22 AM

December 11, 2005


So - I got a job! I've been working on it for the past week and a half (I got my deadline extended a half-week, not because of me (I don't think) but getting feedback ended up taking longer than we thought) - it's for Leader's Edge Magazine. It's a magazine for the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, which means that nobody I know is going to just come across it. However, I am only going to post the roughs here, in order to boost sales of the mag to all my fans ($9/year subscription fee for members, $100 for non-members... talk about a discount! That membership must be worth millions! Millions, I say!) The article is called "Grow Your Own" and is not, as its title suggests, about the wacky tabacky. It's about nurturing and educating your management folks so that they can slide into the CEO position, instead of hiring someone out. Seems like this shouldn't be a new idea, but I guess it is. Anyhoo, I was asked to make an illustration that showed propagation and stuff, so these are a couple ideas I had. (Illustration is half-page, full-color, and a bit of a looker, too!)

After I polished off this big one, the art director decided he wanted another spot illo for later in the article. "I'll get right to it, sir!" I said, eagerly, rubbing my hands together in delicious anticipation of the glorious cash manna that would soon be falling down on me. These two are the drawings I liked better, but of course that they didn't pick.

I might use them somewhere else, though. Anyway, I submit the finals tomorrow and then continue to rub my hands together in delicious anticipation of the glorious cash manna that will soon be falling down on me.

(okay, on a not-inappropriate sidebar, I googled "manna" and found this which is hilarious. I think Wild Bill once told me about this, via one of his crazy holistic rants. Shrooms of the gods.)

Posted by ribbu at 05:10 PM | Comments (1)

November 29, 2005

Catching up

God cannot relate to the angels. They do not include him in tetherball. They are not of his hand, not his children. They rose from the foam of the sea, sprung full-formed from the head of Zeus. They fluttered about at Sinai, taunting Moses, undermining Gods authority. They are beautiful, intelligent. They walk among us, filling us with empty hopes, directing our attention across the desert acres to glittering pools that turn out to be sand.

From For the Love of God

I've been delayed. Matthew wanted me to get this project done before this weekend, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I've still got 11 more drawings to do, and I also am working on the silly xmas project for work that I'm not really supposed to work on during work hours, but it still needs to get done by mid-december. It's a recipe book for everyone. I'm afraid they've made the mistake of handing the project over to the two most [visually] scatterbrained people there. It's going to be an opus in disorder. I also got a call today from someone interested in giving me an illustration job. Keep your fingers crossed, everyone. I have to call back tomorrow for details, with the Handbook for Pricing and Ethical Guidelines in hand. We'll see how that goes. I've also decided to do a small book on saints:

and one on nuns:

That's as far as I've gotten, though. I've also got a nice Hester Prynne I need to find something to do with...

I guess she could be anybody, but that big old A is a dead giveaway. I guess that was the point, though, you little minx. It sure helps IDing the illo, anyway.

So, projects out the wazoo. I've got to put some color into some of these eventually, too.

Matthew's almost got four completely polished stories in the hopper too. Hopefully this means he'll post one of them soon, so that we go back to being idiots' box and not just idiot's box. Idiot.

Posted by ribbu at 09:37 PM

November 18, 2005


So - I'm posting this really quickly because I just sent a potential client over here and I didn't want the first thing he saw to be pictures of my dopey dog (and man).

I did this one a couple months ago when I thought I was going to be getting up early every morning to draw. For some reason, he reminded me of the Dalton Brothers, but after checking out that link, I realized I had no idea what they looked like, except for in Lucky Luke. So, I guess I wasn't all that original. Art is dead. But I like him anyway:

I did this one when I was back at bfg for bailey's - I don't know if they ever used it or not, but I like how it turned out anyway. Happy, hip, twenty-somethings enjoying life, I think was how I was supposed to depict them. Oh, and that there needed to be two girls and a guy, and the guy wasn't supposed to be particularly interested in one girl over the other. Tricky. Derivative illustrative vectory style, but what they hey - that's what they wanted. In fact, they said, "Make it look like this, please" and showed me some other illustrator's work. I hate the idea of stealing style, but I don't think I'm putting anyone out of business at the moment. And if I hadn't done it, the art director would have. Anyhoo:

Daryl asked me to do a logo for Labrat Labs. I think in the end he decided to go back to school instead of opening a lab, so too bad for me. But I like the logo anyway:

I did this as a thank-you card, and a miss-you card, and a thinking-of-you card. It's quite handy that way. Maybe I can make it into a fundraising t-shirt, if all goes well. (just kidding, potential client!):

Posted by ribbu at 11:19 AM

November 05, 2005

God for a day

Im taking off the god crown for a day, says God, and giving it to Kyle. Hes been waiting patiently for his turn at dodge ball, and no one will pick him for a team.
Kyle lays waste to Panama with a casual swipe of the god-scepter. There are mudslides throughout the Amazon, a plague of lemmings in Gibraltar.
God sighs, takes back his things. Theres a reason no one likes that boy, he says.

From For the Love of God

Finished this page today, in a frenzy of activity. I'm so tired, my eyes are going googly. The drawing is based on the original poster for the first Godzilla movie:


It's not quite the same, but hopefully people get the reference.

This is one of my favorite vignettes from FLOG - God's resignation is just so real.

Posted by ribbu at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

Uncle Walt

Back when I was an undergrad (oh, so many years ago!) I had one class with my future husband. While he spoke insightfully on Moby Dick, Self-Reliance, The Scarlet Letter, Because I Could Not Stop for Death, etc, I sat in the back, sullen and dumb, and doodled. Luckily, I managed to make an impression in spite of myself - I submitted a doodle of Walt Whitman to a show (whose subject was doodles) in the student gallery. Matthew went to see it and was duly impressed. The upshot of the story is, four years later when we met up again, he remembered me favorably.

I sent this newer [photoshop] version of the old doodle to him last week to remind him that I could still doodle. If you know what I mean. Doodle.

Posted by ribbu at 08:48 AM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2005

How it is...

I'm cranky, because my GD computer has been on the fritz all day long. Cranky, cranky, cranky. The good news is, I'm getting a new computer (well, work got it for me, G5, dual 2GHz processor, it WILL love me, it WILL) which makes me happy, happy, happy (at the moment I am working on a woefully slow G4 that has an even worse attitude about work than I do, if you can believe it). Because the internet and email wouldn't work, I had to submit to drawing in Photoshop. I suppose I could think of worse things. Somehow, though, the crankiness translated, in spite of the digital divide.

Also, I tracked down an old friend from when I was a foreign exchange student in germany. Hallo, David! (He's a lawyer now, which means he shouldn't be spending any time on this website during working hours). That was fun. Thank God for Google. It helps while away the hours. Except when computer is on the fritz, and then it will only while away the minutes.

Posted by ribbu at 05:01 PM

October 31, 2005

It's Nighttime

Where does the breeze come from tonight? The fans are all turned off and the sky is free of clouds. God is singing a ballad he remembers from childhood. The tides are higher than usual. Our dreams are vivid and short. We cannot sleep for long before we wake again, turning in our beds, bothered by the sound, the wind from the east, the dawns glow coming far too early this morning.
Gods song ends and we fall exhausted into sleep. Alarms go off across the city fifteen minutes later. We wake and start it all again. The day is hot and the traffic thick. God is nowhere to be seen.

From For the Love of God

When will we get some rest? Our vacations are filled with hotels, museums, people crowding the beaches. The axioms weve relied upon have come unraveled. Division and subtraction dont work any more. The statue of God is missing from the Acropolis. We clean the house and till the earth but the sun has fallen from the sky. It is night and time for sleeping. But we cannot find our pillows and our sheets are full of sand.

From For the Love of God

Finally colored these suckers in. I had to add a couple more colors to the palette of the third one just because everything was getting so darn grey. The red chimneys were from version two, but I added in some violets for a few details. My favorite part might be the fire hydrant in version three (it's taking up some expensive real estate) (seriously). Or the water towers on top of the high-rises. I've always wanted to do a documentary photography series on water towers, but then I found out someone else had already done it. And much better than I ever could. It's not like I don't have enough projects to work on already anyway.

In other news, halloween costumes have gotten way more sophisticated than they were when I was little. I saw two spidermen this year, with all kinds of muscles bulging out all over. Little mutants. Back in my day, a plastic mask and a garbage-bag-y-type printed apron were the limit for store-bought costumes. I had to make do with sheets and spraypaint and a crapload of safety pins (just look how far I've come...!). Actually, when we were wee, mom made us some pretty stylin costumes.


Thanks mom.

Posted by ribbu at 09:27 PM

October 23, 2005

The 'Burbs


At five thirty each night we get drunk in our homes and it�s something like religion. We stand on common ground, occupy a common state of mind as we watch the television. We say in unison that there is no more good news. We wonder together what God is up to. We eat our meat and potatoes. We sleep, a nation largely unconscious for the better part of eight hours.

From For the Love of God

So, there are three "nighttime scenes" in FLOG - I did the first a while ago, so it's all colored in and finished and whatnot. It took so GD long that I was feeling very daunted by the idea of making two more, each more complicated than the last. I finished drawing them last night, with dog at feet, cats in tower, man in office. It was quite cozy, really. The coloring in part is going to be way no fun, but the hardest part is over (and, like I secretly admitted before, I actually like the coloring in part). Keep in mind that these aren't consecutive in the story itself. I mean, they are in this order, but they aren't one right after the other. In order to find out where they go relative to everything else... well, you'll just have to buy the book. Once it's published. And preferably right after it hits the New York Times Bestseller list (then they start to offer them on discount, and you'll get a good deal). But, come to think of it, don't wait that long. I'd rather get more bang for your buck.


Where does the breeze come from tonight? The fans are all turned off and the sky is free of clouds. God is singing a ballad he remembers from childhood. The tides are higher than usual. Our dreams are vivid and short. We cannot sleep for long before we wake again, turning in our beds, bothered by the sound, the wind from the east, the dawn�s glow coming far too early this morning.

God�s song ends and we fall exhausted into sleep. Alarms go off across the city fifteen minutes later. We wake and start it all again. The day is hot and the traffic thick. God is nowhere to be seen.


When will we get some rest? Our vacations are filled with hotels, museums, people crowding the beaches. The axioms we�ve relied upon have come unraveled. Division and subtraction don�t work any more. The statue of God is missing from the Acropolis. We clean the house and till the earth but the sun has fallen from the sky. It is night and time for sleeping. But we cannot find our pillows and our sheets are full of sand.

So - there you have it. The best was drawing all those little tiny tiny windows. Whee!

Posted by ribbu at 11:11 PM

October 19, 2005

Almost Bushed

I often, selfishly, find other people's bad art to be greatly encouraging. When I see someone struggling with a nose, or a hand, or an upper lip, I secretly heave a sigh of relief. It's nice to be reminded that I am not the only person who sometimes really can't draw. I know it's extremely irritating to hear people who can draw say that, but some days really are better than others.

So - in the interest of those of you out there who are cripplingly, miserably selfish like me, I am posting some BAD drawings I tried to do last night of George Bush (the latter) (and, hopefully, the terminal) (no politics here!):

gw1.jpg gw2.jpg gw3.jpg gw4.jpg gw5.jpg gw6.jpg gw7.jpg gw8.jpg gw9.jpggw10.jpg gw11.jpggw12.jpggw13.jpggw14.jpggw15.jpggw16.jpggw17.jpggw18.jpggw19.jpggw20.jpg

I have to be careful not to fall into being a caricaturist - mostly because I'm not that clever or up-to-date. I am (sadly, tragically) mainly informed through Howard Stern, John Stewart, the cnn home page that pops up by default as a screensaver in OSX (and even then I find myself drawn to "Woman bears 15 children, 16th on the way!" (you know you looked at it too) "Madonna breaks leg, tour postponed, daughter in tears!" or, my most recent favorite, "Nut-cracking gorilla surprises scientists"). Also, I think it's just a different art form. I don't want to get pigeonholed into something I'm not really all that good at (says the egomaniac - would that I even had 1 (one) job right now...).

I especially like how as time went on, I started really taking it out on poor old GW - the snaggly-toothed dracula being the one I liked the best. Perhaps I need to work out my feelings with a psychologist - anyone care to join?

oh, and ps: the second image really looks like Mongomery Clift, yes no?

Posted by ribbu at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)

October 18, 2005



In his optimism, God refuses to admit that we are broken from the start. His confidence in our ability to do the right thing is almost enough to get us there. It breaks our hearts when we let him down, day after day after day.
Our failures make him moody, which sours the skies around the world and brings us rain. Crops flourish. This odd logic keeps our people fed.

From For the Love of God

So there hasn't been a creative meeting in weeks. Blame it on the Baltimore half-marathon and us having so many damn friends. So tonight I went back at it, this drawing thing, and didn't get very far. I have about a million bad doodles of GW, but couldn't scan them in because they're still wet. Tomorrow, and tomorrow...

So, instead I'm posting something old from FLOG that I moved to a different page (now going with new text) which makes me feel like I did something. It looks all brand new now. It does make me wax nostalgic for the south of France, though.

Posted by ribbu at 11:04 PM

October 10, 2005



God�s curiosity is not born of malice. He lacks imagination, and our antics delight him. He used to arrange us on a checkerboard, trying for interesting conflicts, novel ripples on the page. But soon he found that, left to his own devices, man will eat a dog twice his size.

From For the Love of God

I've given you the writing again so you can remember what this is all about, since it's been so long in the making.

Maybe it feels like longer to me. Big projects have a way of intimidating me into a corner. But, this one's done, and there's only 12 more to go before FLOG is finished. Whew!

In other news, my life is wholly uninteresting. Don't expect much out of this blog in the way of juicy gossip, high entertainment, or non-stop action, because man, have I got none of those in spades. It's 12:26, and hours past my bedtime...

Posted by ribbu at 11:41 PM

October 09, 2005



Yeah, okay. At this rate, I probably will not be done before the end of time (always, seeming, more imminent). But I have my excuses. A trip to New York. By bus. Altercations, delays, and a bizarre and yet grippingly entertaining show starring a good friend stood in the way of real artistic progress this weekend (though, said bizarre show has left some striking visuals that are bound to show up somewhere down the road...).
I promise to get more done tomorrow.

We were unable to have our creative meeting this morning, as we were in NY on an inflatable bed (no good for creative meetings) but this will not deter us (as the inflatable bed did). More progress, forthwith!

Posted by ribbu at 10:49 PM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2005

Oh, Disaster!


Gods curiosity is not born of malice. He lacks imagination, and our antics delight him. He used to arrange us on a checkerboard, trying for interesting conflicts, novel ripples on the page. But soon he found that, left to his own devices, man will eat a dog twice his size.

From For the Love of God

So, when Matthew was talking about properly identifying disasters, this is what he meant.

This is just the black and white drawing (obviously) - coloring in started last night but is so tedious (even though I secretly love it) that I'm going to have to work on it again tonight.

The question is, can you properly identify the disasters?

That's what I thought!

Posted by ribbu at 12:03 PM | Comments (4)

June 25, 2005

Missing the Mark


William Tell was this guy who shot an apple off of someone's head. Or else, he was the guy whose head the apple was shot off of. Either way, he was immortalized by Rossini and a couple of guys in Kentucky. It also was the demo on the keyboard I got in high school, which rocked.

Posted by ribbu at 10:49 AM

A Bird in the hand...


You heard me.

Posted by ribbu at 10:42 AM | Comments (1)