Welcome to my Nerd Palace


Hi! You’ve reached akaKaro, a cranky little scrapblog staffed by an opinionated talking dictionary. Welcome to the madness.

Also my image upload kept coming up with freakin’ HTTP errors last night and I’m still traumatized from both WordPress AND Tumblr giving me grief but WP seems to have magically fixed itself so I’m seizing the chance to kick-start my blog while the going is good. This is what I meant by madness.

One of my chief difficulties in job interviews also happens to be most interviewers’ favorite question: “Can you describe your process to me?” I historically have not had a good answer for this because the honest answer is “What process?,” because my process is literally throwing things at a canvas and hoping they stick. Unfortunately that probably wouldn’t wash with most companies, with the result that my interviews generally sound like this:

“Oh, my process? Hahahahaha yeah I usually sketch things and then port them into Illustrator…” #lies

Cue miserable trailing off and hoping the interviewer is satisfied enough to ask me a question I can actually answer. My process has always been haphazard and tends to vary from project to project, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me until quite recently to start a process blog, with the goals of (1) observing my process and (2) putting together a better answer than the ones I’ve resorted to in the four years since I left graduate school.

With that in mind, here’s a progress shot of the new bio pic I’ve been working on for my About page:

I can actually describe my process for this one because I’ve been refining it since about 2003, when I first started coloring with Photoshop. Around 2007 I started drawing directly into the computer, and things kinda snowballed from there.


Underdrawing + Sketch

I start with a quick(ish) underdrawing to nail the pose down, then draw over it with a rough brush. I should note that I don’t excel at following my own underdrawings, and am insanely proud of how close this sketch is to the underdrawings.


I don’t always do a full lineart, but this is going to be seen by gods know how many potential employers, so it needed to be an actual illustration rather than the random scraps I’ve been doing lately. In the lineart stage I go over the sketch with a hard brush, making corrections and/or additions as I go.


The flat color stage usually takes the longest and is my least favorite because I haven’t figured out an efficient way of coloring yet 🙁

Finishing Touches

After I get the flats down, I shade and add special effects. (First time painting sea creatures, can I hear a wahoo?)

Extra Credit

I used to browse through other people’s tumblrs/instagrams and cry over how much better their art was than mine, but that was a problem that corrected itself when I stopped keeping up with tumblr because #ProblemSolving! 😀