Tag Archives: fabric



The Kroyl is a funny sea serpent that’s soooo long it gets tangled up and occasionally needs to be saved from itself. I like to imagine that it gets really excited and swims around spastically, like a puppy-dragon, until it is too knotted to move anymore. It was originally created by Isaac Cates during the early world-building phase of Cartozia Tales, and has since been drawn by a number of amazing artists, as it has appeared in several issues. I won’t be including it in any of my stories, but couldn’t resist blogging my own version.

If you like what you see, you can subscribe to Cartozia here, and take advantage of our summer sale.


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Gremaxa is a feathered, reptilian practitioner of essence magic, introduced in issue 5 of Cartozia Tales by Isaac Cates and Mike Wenthe. She goes on to appear again in issue 6, written by Jen Vaughn and drawn by Caitlin Lehman, and again in Tom Motley’s issue 7 story. Since I will be continuing the story in issue 8, I spent some time sketching her yesterday, and used fabric collage to color the drawing. Visit the Cartozia store to subscribe, and be sure to sign up for a premium subscription with fun bonuses, so you can get a neat little treatise on Cartozian magic and learn more about the essence magic used by Gremaxa.

fabricgremaxa copy

This is one of the fun things you can do with layer masks in either Photoshop or Manga Studio/Clip Studio (I used Manga Studio 5 to create this image). Using layer masks allows me to choose where each fabric swatch should appear without actually erasing any of it. So if I need to, I can reposition the fabric under the mask to get all the colors and textures where I want them.

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Sand Witch

As we finish work on issue 7 of Cartozia Tales and lay the groundwork for issue 8, I’ve been looking back on the stories I’ve done for the series far. Many of the characters we create appear in more than one issue, being passed from artist to artist. Some only make brief appearances. In issue 6 I introduced a character who is NOT likely to appear again. She was only in one short flashback that took place 30 years before the main storylines, but she was such fun to write and draw that I wanted to revisit her.

The Sand Witch was Jessyn’s nasty, cruel alchemy teacher for a time, long before she had Gandria and Tierce or travelled to Upside-Town. The Sand Witch only appears in a couple panels, but her presence is felt for a whole page! She lived in the desert landscape near Urbs, on the western continent. We don’t know much about her except that she needs herbs for her work, and she likes rocks for her corns. But I wanted to do a color image of her, and thought the character and texture of her brief scene would lend themselves well to a fabric collage:


Here’s what she looks like in black and white on the pages of Cartozia, along with a young Jessyn:


If you want to see how she figures into the story, remember you can subscribe online at http://cartozia.com/store/.

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Children’s Lit Boat

Here is an illustration I made from my daughter’s old clothes. It appears on the cover of the catalog for The Loft’s 2013 Children’s and Young Adult Literature Conference.

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Senlac Hill

A mixed media (acrylic, fabric scraps) depiction of an ancient battle site. This was exhibited in Crossing Borders at Altered Esthetics last year.

Senlac Hill was the site of the Battle of Hastings, in which King Harold II attempted to defend England against Norman invaders from across the Channel. I think this battle is a very interesting episode in history because both sides were people who had migrated from other lands and undergone some degree of transculturation and assimilation. It represents layer upon layer of cultural clashes, compromises, and exchanges.

Linguistic fun (from Wikipedia): Senlac Hill was originally known in English as Santlache (“Sandy Stream”), which the Normans punned into Sanguelac (“Blood Lake”) which was then shortened to Senlac.

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Kalkriese Hill

A mixed media (acrylic, fabric scraps) depiction of an ancient battle site. This was exhibited in Crossing Borders at Altered Esthetics last year.

I am interested in the culture clashes of ancient times that helped form modern ideas about nationality. Kalkriese Hill was the site of one of those clashes. In 9 AD, when the Roman empire was spreading across Europe, the Germanic leader Arminius lured 3 Roman battalions into a vulnerable position–a narrow strip of land between a swamp and a large, tree-covered hill, where tribesmen were waiting in ambush. The Romans were routed, and subsequently abandoned the idea of expanding beyond the Rhine into what is now Germany.

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Hideaway in Deming Heights

One of the best things about parks in the Twin Cities is the presence of tiny doors for elves built into hollow spots at the bases of trees. They have hinges and latches, and when you open them, they reveal notes, toys, and other treasures people leave for the elves. There is one in Deming Heights park in Northeast Minneapolis, only a couple blocks from my house. The park is between the Audubon Park and Waite Park neighboorhoods, and is the highest point in Minneapolis.

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, done in June 2011. The central tree and door, as well as the strips at the bottom, are fabric sewn and glued onto the canvas. The doorknob is a bead. The hill is a piece of a plastic filter from a broken space heater.

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Moon Tree

There is an oddly-shaped tree a couple miles from my house. It became the subject of some surreal landscapes. Acrylic and mixed media on canvas, March 2011. I stitched fabric and feathers to the canvas to form the black hills at the bottom.

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