Category Archives: drawing + illustration

Moose-norah & Christ-moose Tree

I am not a huge fan of holiday cards (for reasons that I won’t get into right now – although, I do have a GREAT story about Christmas cards/letters that we have been receiving from total strangers for the last 6 years. Maybe I’ll share it soon. It’s hilarious, I promise.). But all the other illustrators are doing it, so I did too. Because I’m a follower like that, ya know.

So, yeah, I designed one. I went so far as to almost order them. Then my efforts stalled.

Do I really want to spend the money on cards that I may or may not have the motivation to actually address and mail? My track record for making it to the post office in a timely manner is not so great (probably because the nearest post office is filled with surly aging postal workers and lunatics of varying degrees. That, and I’m lazy.)

I could always sell them in my Etsy shop. But, I’m going out of town in two days and my shop will be closed for over a week.

Hmm. I don’t know. This is what I get for bandwagon jumping.

Anyway, here’s the card…

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Illustration Friday : Scattered

The Nightmare Carrots gather with other assorted evil vegetables to mourn the loss of their fallen leader. You may or may not remember what happened to him last week. His shreds will later be scattered on the evil compost heap.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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Daily Sketches : More Blue Owls

Right now, Sir is in a developmental phase where a lot of things are ‘scary’ to him. He tells me on a daily basis that certain things (animals, toys, etc.) are scary, but he isn’t really able to tell me why. He also calls us into his room at night to tell us that he is scared, but he can’t always pinpoint or put into words what is scaring him. It is heartbreaking and frustrating.

He often talks about blue owls being outside at night. When I ask him what they are doing out there, he doesn’t really have an answer. He just tells me that they are scary. So, I decided to do a little character development with his blue owls. When he saw my owl sketches from yesterday, he agreed that they were not scary at all. He liked them and wanted to look at them.

I am working on some ideas with these two owls. I plan to draw the owl on the right showing a range of emotions, while the owl on the left will remain mostly stoic, occasionally reacting the other owl’s emotions.

watercolor + ink

watercolor + ink + digital background

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Illustration Friday : Contraption

Recently, I had a run-in with some baaaaaaad carrots.


Not only did they make me sick, but they also gave me nightmares. And they weren’t just any old nightmares, they were nightmares within nightmares.

This band of Nightmare Carrots has a leader, a head honcho, if you will, by the name of Evil Carrot. You can see his early incarnations here and (with some evil cohorts) here.

To be honest, I have no idea how to fight an evil carrot. I’m thinking that employing the services of an evil rabbit might work. Sadly, I live quite a distance from Caerbannog, so I’m hoping the contraption above (also known as a grater) might work.

© 2011 ruth blohm-hunter

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The Birthday Train

Those of you who have been hanging out around here for a while may remember the Birthday Pact. The rest of you can either click that link over there…or not, whatever, your choice. Anyway, I have been so-so in keeping up with my commitment to making gifts for Sir’s friends. Honestly, I just tend to run out of time and it’s much easier to run to Target. Heh.

Fortunately, I actually did have time to make something special for one of Sir’s friends whose birthday was yesterday. I asked his mom what kinds of things he likes and I plucked the following from the list to work into this piece: trains, fruit (mangoes and grapes), and ‘airplanes with the trail behind it’. Heh.

Here is the finished illustration (I actually included his name at the bottom, but I cropped it off of the scanned copy).

watercolor + ink on paper

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Illustration Friday : Ferocious

Years ago, when the Mister and I were still in college, we started on a long journey of ill-fated impulse buys. This illustration was inspired by one of them.

About 15 years ago, shortly after moving into my first apartment, we were strolling through the aisles of Meijer (as we were often wont to do), when we happened upon the pet department. Oooo, I thought to myself, I want something soft and cuddly and cute to love and take care of! And now would be the perfect time because I have my very own apartment! Yay!

Ugh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been able to rationalize, on the spot, a bad idea…well, I’d still have less money than I have spent over the years on said bad ideas.

And so, the deal was sealed. I was buying a hamster (and all of the supplies required to care for a hamster, which is really more than one would think). We flagged down an employee to fish out our new little fluffy friend and in no time, he was in his travel box and we were headed back to my dumpy lovely little apartment to get him all set up for his new life of adorable unbridled cuteness. Aww.

On the way home, we named our new ball of love and fluff Fulford. Aww.

Fulford sat quietly in his box as we carefully set up his new abode, complete with running wheel, water bottle, food dish, and toys on a bed of comfy wood shavings. We even tossed in a nice toilet paper roll for him to hide in, because, well…aww. Yes! He was to be the cutest pet on the face of the planet. And we would love him and feed him and play with him every day. Aww.

Then, the screaming started.

Neither I nor Big Sir had ever owned a hamster before, so we were both blissfully unaware of a hamster’s ability (or in Fulford’s case, propensity) to scream. As I attempted to pluck him from his travel box, he backed himself into the corner of his cardboard prison and began screaming in a most unnatural and high-pitched manner. Then, the little f*cker bit me. And he drew blood! WTH?

Now, I’m not sure if this was Fulford’s first taste of human blood or if he had played his vampire game with unsuspecting pet department employees in the past, but one thing became clear very quickly. This hamster was bloodthirsty and EVIL. He was not the cute little pile of fluff we thought we could put in a ball to cavort happily around the apartment. NO. This hamster was not to be trifled with.

Any attempt to put a hand in his cage, whether to feed him, give him a toy, or fish him out for cleaning purposes, was met with constant screaming and teeth-baring. It was so bad that I had to buy a pair of leather gloves to wear when taking him out of the cage in order to protect my hands from being peppered with hamster bites.

Eventually, Big Sir and I both began to fear him.

Aside from giving him food and water, I mostly ignored him. I dreaded cleaning his cage and after the deed was done, I went back to completely leaving him alone. I didn’t even make eye contact with the little bastard, lest he begin screeching like some kind of crazed fur-covered banshee. He hated us. And we hated him.

Sometime in October of that year, he began a regimen of extended wheel-running. He would run for unnatural amounts of time. I’m not sure, but he may have been bulking up in an attempt to escape from his cage and kill us in our sleep. Fortunately, his plan never came to fruition.

On Halloween night, I went to bed as Fulford was entrenched in one of his wheel marathons. In the morning, I awoke to find him dead, an ex-hamster, if you will. He was still in his wheel, his legs outstretched in running position, as if his Dark Master had come to retrieve him in mid-stride…on Halloween night (because, you know, he was evil).





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Happy Birthday(s)

Today is my dad’s birthday. I’m not sure he ever has occasion to visit my blog (unless, of course, he’s looking for my perogie recipe), but here’s a little birthday message for him anyway.

Dad at Michigan State sometime in the 1960s
(little did he know then that his daughter would spend a lot of time in this very spot)

Dad and the aforementioned daughter (me) in 1977

Dad and his dad in 1982

Dad and Sir (and Lake Michigan) this summer.

Also, if you didn’t know, it’s this cool chick’s birthday too. Be sure to leave her some birthday love on her blog.

illustration : by yours truly

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Illustration Friday : Boundaries

When I saw this week’s topic, all that I could think about was the thin line between normalcy and utter destruction. That line was crossed this week as the typically tranquil waters of many rivers and streams breached the boundaries of their banks and became raging torrents, inundating homes, businesses, roads, parks, and a zoo. Lives were lost. Families were displaced. Property was damaged. Trash floated down streets, as brown, murky water mixed with heating oil spilled from flooded homes.

Truly, Mother Nature observes no boundaries – and every now and then she feels the need to remind us.

Please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross to assist in disaster relief around the country.

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Illustration Friday : Mysterious

Wow, two weeks in a row, can you believe it?

I’m still pretty sure the muse is on sabbatical, but perhaps she’s drawing nearer as I honestly have no idea where this illustration came from. I was just messing around in my studio, lamenting the fact that the near 100% humidity in our house has rendered much of my paper supply to a curled-edged mess.  Seriously, it is so humid from the constant rain that surfaces in my house are actually wet, as if it were raining inside as well as outside. And then, of course, there’s the flooding. But, I digress.

I did this with watercolor, pearlescent watercolor, alcohol, and brush pen. I also sort of carved out the outlines of the trees using an awl (no idea why I felt compelled to employ such a technique). The man showed up very near the end, when I decided the trees just weren’t interesting enough on their own. I’m not quite sure what he’s up to, but considering my current state of mind, I’d say it’s probably no good.

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Illustration Friday : Disguise

They could disguise their love no longer.

Okay, okay, I know this one’s a stretch. For weeks now, I have been in a terrible creative slump. I’ve tried everything to get out of it, including spending WAY too much money on art supplies. Nothing is working.

Every week, I try to come up with something for Illustration Friday. And every week I fail miserably. The image above was not what I intended to submit this week. I spent a couple of hours last night working on something that seemed like a good idea in my head, but just would not translate to paper.

What you see above is actually a little illustration I did as a gift for a friend of mine. She is a dental hygienist and I framed this little piece for her to put in her sons’ bathroom to remind them to brush their teeth (as if having a hygienist for a mother isn’t reminder enough!).

It didn’t scan very well, probably because I used pearlescent watercolors (from one of my art supply binges), but it is actually kind of cute with the mat and frame.

Please don’t ask why the tooth appears to have a unibrow. I have no idea what happened there.

Anyway, it was the best I could do in the absence of my muse.

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National Eat a Peach Day? Okay!

I would be lying if I said that I actually knew that today was National Eat a Peach Day here in the good ‘ol USofA. I had no idea until I saw it on Twitter this afternoon. Although, it could explain why I felt compelled to get a little crazy at lunch today and ‘invent’ a recipe using peaches in a somewhat non-conventional way and why I found myself drawing peaches this afternoon.

Honestly, I’ve never been much of a peach fan. As a child, I thought peaches only came out of a can – all mushy and covered in sugary syrup. Just the thought of eating those slimy things makes me cringe now. Then, when I got older and saw what a peach was supposed to look like, I was completely turned off by the fuzz. What can I say, I have texture issues?

Now that I have a little Fruit Monster in the house who demands any and all types of fruit, I have found myself buying a lot of things at the farmers’ market that I really have no experience with. Yes, that means peaches.

A couple of week’s ago, I made a peach crisp – something I had never made nor eaten. After kind of winging it on the recipe, I was surprised to find that it was actually quite delicious. Today’s peach experiment also went over quite well. So, I decided to try and illustrate them for They Draw & Cook.

This meant a) having to end my months-long drawing hiatus and b) figuring out how to draw a peach (among other ‘top secret’ ingredients). So, after avoiding my art supplies like the plague (mostly because I had somehow developed a fear of them – is that weird?), I busted out the pens, brushes, and paints and got to work on some peach sketches. You can see my progress below (don’t mind the little tub of cream cheese, he’s just hanging out for now).

photos : peaches by yours truly

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Illustration Friday : Swept

Wow, this is the earliest that I have finished an Illustration Friday submission. And, at only 2.5 x 1.25″, it is also my smallest Illustration Friday submission to date.

This was actually one of the two-color swatches that I mentioned earlier. I started doodling on a couple of them and thought that this one looked like the perfect setting for my favorite paper boat. So, here it is, being swept away by the sea. I hope it ends up somewhere better than where it started.

watercolor + alcohol + colored pencil on paper



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Illustration Friday : Shadows

Shadow Tree : watercolor + alcohol + ink on paper

This piece was a total experiment from start to finish. I incorporated some techniques that I’ve never tried with watercolor before and this is what it turned into. Admittedly, I had to tweak the colors a bit in Photoshop since I used some of my cheapy watercolors that I reserve for trying out new things. Plus, I rarely use dark colors and I’m not so good at it (yet).

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Illustration Friday : Asleep



…as the clouds approached, nearly everyone was fast asleep.

This is my second attempt at watercolor pencil on wood. I have to say, I am quite happy with it. I may even put it in the Etsy shop!

The most difficult part of the process is inking over the pencil sketch – too much pressure and the ink will bleed quite a bit. I am loving working with the watercolor pencils on wood though.

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