Dec 18, 2010

My Christmas Present to You: COOKIES

I made cookies today to send to friends and loved ones, and the post office closed an hour early so I didn't get to send them. DANG! So instead I'm going to post the super-fancy photo-illustrated recipe.

These are very lamely and nerdily inspired by all of the research I've been doing on Aztecs lately. They're chocolate-chip sandwich cookies with a little bit of chipotle powder in them so they're a little spicy, and the frosting to sandwich them is honey-vanilla-cinnamon buttercream. These are also good without the frosting if it's not your thing.


1 1/2 c. + 1 Tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp. ground chipotle (for less spice use cayenne pepper or more ginger)
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened slightly
1/2 c. brown suger, packed
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
~7 oz. chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate mini-chunks)
~1/4 c. granulated sugar

In a medium bowl (save your big bowl) combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, chipotle, cocoa, and baking powder.

In your big bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until it's evenly mixed and fluffy. Add the honey and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a small bowl (or even a shot glass or something), dissolve the baking soda in 1 1/2 tsp. boiling water. I just microwave some water in a coffee mug for 2-3 minutes to get it pretty hot.

Beat half of the flour mix into the butter mix, then beat in the baking soda mix, then beat in the rest of the flour mix. If the mix is going to be too dry and crumbly to roll into balls, add a little more soft or melted butter.

Add the chocolate chips and refrigerate the dough for about half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Roll the dough into 1"-2" balls depending on how big you want your cookies to be. Roll the balls in the granulated sugar and flatten slightly on the baking sheets. Because I wanted to make them sandwich cookies I made smaller, flatter cookies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your cookies. When the surface starts to crack it's a good indicator to take them out. Let them cool before frosting them.

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1-2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream all of the ingredients together.

To put the frosting on, I cut the corner off of a sandwich baggie to use it as a bootleg piper. Twist the open end of the baggie tightly closed and go to town.


Oct 3, 2010

Graphic novel development stuff

I've been working on two graphic novel projects. The one that I've been thinking about since Freshman year, but is currently on hold, is set in India around the War of 1812 and based loosely (very loosely) on the Kalki Purana, a Hindu religious text.

The protagonist and love interest as youths.

The antagonist as a little girl and during the main storyline.

And the other one that I'm working harder on right now is set in the Aztec capital during the Spanish invasion by Cortes and the conquistadors around 1518-1522.

The protagonists are going to be twin girls. Typically when twins were born, the younger one was killed as twins were considered a health hazard for the parents. The twins' mother dies in childbirth and their father has the second twin spared after her death.

The twins' parents on their wedding night.

Their parents a little later on--the twins' birth and their father (waiting to hear about the birth and a little older).

A couple of developmental sketches of the twins themselves, but I don't know if they'll end up looking like this. Lots of different ages represented.

One of the twins wants to participate in politics and the other wants to participate in religion. The political twin has plans to marry a noble and the religious twin plans to be sacrificed as a human representative of the goddess she's a priestess to, Xochiquetzal, the goddess of music, poetry, and everything pleasant. She wants to be sacrificed to join her former companion, a boy who is sacrificed as the god Xochipilli.

Here's Xochipilli.

This is a friend of the religious twin's--she also works as a priestess for Xochiquetzal. Xochiquetzal's priestesses act as consorts to victorious warriors and ball players, who were not allowed to be married due to their professions. They dyed their hair purple, wore yellow makeup, red mouth stain, and chewed gum. This girl's name is Nenextli, 'little doll'.

Here are some more harlots (as they were referred to by the Spanish).

The priestesses of Xochiquetzal were distinguishable from common prostitutes by the turquoise lip plug and ear plugs that they wore, a sign of a higher class citizen.

Some miscellaneous character sketches. A ballplayer, midwife, and Xochipilli's silhouette. To the right of them is a profile of Moctezuma/Montezuma's nephew who wants to take his place as ruler, Cacamatzin. Also, two young girls (I guess?), and one of Moctezuma/Montezuma's daughters that's given to Cortes as a gift.

I'm excited to keep working on the Aztec project right now. Right now the plan is to tell the story in three volumes, with volume I taking place during the year preceding the Spanish arrival in the Mexican capital city, volume II taking place during their stay and the imprisonment of Moctezuma, and volume III taking place during the siege and period following the Spanish conquest. My goal is to capture a feeling of the Spanish as invaders rather than discoverers, and to explore what it would be like to have your established life, with a charted past and supposedly foreseeable and planned future, destroyed and changed so drastically. I also want to try and make a culture and way of life that feels distant and esoteric to us as modern people feel more human and relate-able than we tend to think of it.

My Degree Project

I was going to wait to make it public but I don't think it will make much of a difference either way at this point. Thanks for watching!

Aug 9, 2010

Degree project, summertime, and beyond

I have not updated my blog in a long time. When I said a trailer for my degree project was coming soon, I lied. Straight up.

But good things are happening. I survived the rest of the year at RISD, finished my degree project a week late, and went on to have a super time at the FAV Senior Show.

I have to hide behind Tara's wonder.

And then I graduated, hallelujah.

And I was lucky enough to immediately start work at Augenblick Studios after graduating, mostly as a storyboard revisionist but I had fun picking up extra background and prop work. I'm happily starting up again, in a new position, in about a week.

'In the Beginning' was also selected to screen in this year's Animation Block Party! It was a huge honor to be in a festival with so many talented artists and amazing submissions, and it will ease the pain of my rejection from Ottawa. Congratulations to Barbara for winning best student piece!! I had to edit this post because I forgot to add that a couple of very very kind people have also been nice enough to mention 'In the Beginning' in their blogs and write-ups of the festival. Adam Ansorge has a nice rundown of the festival, and Chris Robadue saw it at the RISD FAV Senior Show, and had some excellent things to say about other projects in the Senior Show as well.

Guess what? I took a 3D CGI class last fall.

It was pretty painful.

A project from Digital Illustration, and an advertisement for the catering company that my mom and her friend run, all in one. 2 different business card/postcard options. If you need something catered around St. Louis, MO, now you know where to go.

Some 'In the Beginning' stuff.

And I did this as a preliminary thing for album art for the Walk-It-Offs, but it won't make the final cut.

That's all for now, homiez.

May 17, 2010

Degree Project and more

Promotional stills for my degree project, IN THE BEGINNING, which with credits has a runtime of 5 minutes and 15 seconds. Trailer coming soon.


AND, check out DJT at

Apr 26, 2010

Work that is not Degree Project

First attempts at using Corel Painter: Rihanna and Jon Stewart

Queen of Hearts playing card in Illustrator:

Mar 24, 2010

Illustrating. . . digitally

Self portrait as a fictional character

Super informative infographic about dachshunds

Why yes these were both homework assignments how could you tell

bidness cards

Mar 1, 2010

Jan 25, 2010

Even more DP work

I know I just posted for my DP but I have to show some of the background characters because they turned out better than I expected.

Jan 11, 2010